“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.
Like the classic child question, "Why?" and the time-tested parent response, "Because!" there are some things in benefits that we as HR professionals just need to know even if they are not that remarkable. It's just good for us. Like eating vegetables. This is true for the annual cost of living adjustments. Many employee benefit limits are automatically adjusted each year for inflation (this is often referred to as an "indexed" limit). The Internal Revenue Service and the Social Security Administration have released the indexed figures for 2014. Because inflation is relatively low and some amounts are adjusted only if the increase meets a minimum, many amounts are unchanged for 2014. Limits of particular interest include the following.
For health and Section 125 plans:
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.
By Josie Martinez, Senior Partner and Legal Counsel
EBS Capstone, A UBA Partner Firm