United Benefit Advisors Insight and Analysis Blog

Leadership is Leading the Way

Posted by: Bill Olson    Dec 20, 2013 11:53:00 AM

“Complaining is not a strategy.”-- Jeff Bezos, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Amazon.com

It’s no secret that the insurance benefits industry is rapidly changing, probably at the fastest rate in its history. United Benefit Advisor’s Chief Executive Officer, Thom Mangan, has been outspoken about the fact that advisors who don’t keep up with the changing benefits industry will quickly get left behind. Mangan is often recognized for his drive to stay one step ahead of the game and was recently honored with the CEO Leadership Award from the Institute of HealthCare Consumerism (IHCC) as a result of his leadership in this area. In this brief interview with the IHCC, he shares his thoughts on the future.

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Topics: health care costs, health insurance, ACA, UBA, employee benefits, health care reform, health care, Thomas Mangan

Private Exchange vs. Traditional Large Employer Coverage

Posted by: Reina O'Beck    Dec 9, 2013 3:04:00 PM

Many large, traditionally-insured employers are watching companies like IBM, Walgreens, TimeWarner, Sears, Aramark, Ingram Micro and Trader Joes move to private exchanges. And like most employers, they are asking themselves: 

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Topics: health care costs, health insurance exchanges, ACA, health marketplace, health care reform, PPACA, actuarial value

If PPACA Were the Joneses, “Keeping Up” Would Be Hard to Do

Posted by: Bill Olson    Dec 3, 2013 4:23:00 PM

Delay, delay, delay … Error, delay, repeal. That seems to be the trend with health care reform, but it doesn’t mean employers are exempt from compliance in 2015 or the requirements that remain in effect for 2014 under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). 

Under PPACA, employers still have varying degrees of responsibility, based on number of employees, for providing health coverage that is both affordable and offers a minimum standard of coverage. 

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Topics: HR webinars, health care costs, health insurance, health insurance exchanges, ACA, employee benefits, health care reform, PPACA

Insurers Given Permission to Renew Policies That Don't Meet PPACA Requirements

Posted by: Linda Rowings    Nov 21, 2013 2:54:00 PM

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Topics: employee communication, health insurance, ACA, health marketplace, employee benefits, health care reform, health care, PPACA

How Voluntary Benefits Are Rising to the Top

Posted by: Bill Olson    Nov 18, 2013 2:12:00 PM

Health care reform and the shift towards a defined-benefits model have moved voluntary benefits from the fringes of corporate benefit plans into the spotlight. Skyrocketing costs and ballooning compliance duties have pushed more employers to a tipping point, and companies are slashing or eliminating their medical plans. Those shrinking benefits, though, can crush a company’s ability to recruit and retain a top-notch workforce. To remain competitive, many employers are turning to ancillary (voluntary) products as a way to lighten the impact of reduced health care coverage and to broaden the overall appeal of their compensation package.

Policies like flextime, corporate and social responsibility charters and voluntary benefits may become the cornerstones of your recruitment and retention strategy. In fact, United Benefit Advisors predicts, based on results from the 2013 Ancillary Products Survey, these policies will be a greater differentiator in 2014 than ever before.

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Topics: ancillary benefits, health care costs, ACA, voluntary benefits, employee benefits, health care reform, health care

Is the Advent of the Marketplace a Change-Of-Status Event Under Section 125 Plans?

Posted by: Bill Olson    Nov 13, 2013 11:57:00 AM

The IRS does not consider the availability of the health exchanges/marketplaces a change in status event that would allow an employee to make a mid-year change under a Section 125 plan. However, the IRS has said that it will allow an employer with a non-calendar year plan to amend the plan to allow employees to make mid-year election changes to move from the plan to the marketplace, to allow employees who previously declined coverage to enroll in the plan as of Jan. 1, 2014, or both. (Because coverage purchased in the marketplace will be effective Jan. 1, 2014, calendar year plans should not have this issue.) There had been some question about whether this option was only available to large employers; the IRS has now clarified that employers of all sizes may amend their plan to allow for mid-year changes because of the new marketplace coverage.

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Topics: ACA, health marketplace, health care reform, PPACA, section 125 plans

Making Sense of the New Guidance Around HRAs

Posted by: Bill Olson    Nov 1, 2013 11:49:00 AM

On Sept. 13, 2013, the IRS issued details on permissible health reimbursement arrangements(HRAs), providing some clarification on minimum essential, minimum value and affordable coverage, and addressing payment of individual premiums through an employer-provided plan.

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Topics: compliance, ACA, HRAs, Health Reimbursement Accounts, health care reform, PPACA, HR compliance

Explaining Health Care Reform to Your Employees

Posted by: Peter Freska    Oct 30, 2013 10:06:00 AM

Peter Freska, CEBS
Benefits Advisor
The LBL Group, A UBA Partner Firm

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Topics: employee communication, ACA, hr consulting, health care reform, PPACA, UBA Partner Firms

Three Strategic Steps to Getting Your Business Ready for 2014

Posted by: Holly Parsons    Oct 22, 2013 2:24:00 PM

Mike Humphrey
Sr. Benefit Advisor
The Wilson Agency, a UBA Partner Firm 

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Topics: compliance, ACA, UBA Partner Firm, health care reform, PPACA, HR compliance

Boiling Down PPACA

Posted by: Bill Olson    Oct 21, 2013 1:26:00 PM

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Topics: compliance, ACA, employee benefits, hr consulting, health care reform, PPACA, HR compliance