United Benefit Advisors Insight and Analysis Blog

The Key to Reducing Health Care Costs – Have We Found It?

Posted by: Elizabeth Kay    May 19, 2015 12:00:00 PM

Self-funding is a very hot topic these days for a number of reasons. For small group employers offering a self-funded plan this means they can charge a composite premium rate based on the employee population versus the community rates that are based on each individual enrollee’s age. For all employer sizes this also means that they are not subject to all of the taxes under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), which alone can translate into a savings of 3% to 4% of their premiums.

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Topics: wellness, health care costs, self-funding, self funded health plans, consumer-driven health plan, Elizabeth Kay, Cigna Collaborative Care Program, claims data

Congress Taking (Small) Steps for Employee Wellness Programs

Posted by: Jennifer Stanley    Apr 9, 2015 12:00:00 PM

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) specifically encourages and promotes the expansion of wellness programs in both the individual and group markets. In the individual market, the secretaries of the departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Treasury, and Labor are directed to establish a pilot program to test the impact of providing at-risk populations who utilize community health centers an individualized wellness plan that is designed to reduce risk factors for preventable conditions as identified by a comprehensive risk-factor assessment. Results will be compared against a controlled group.

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Topics: wellness, employee benefits, wellness programs, PPACA Affordable Care Act, 2014 Health Plan Survey

Wellness Programs Feeling the Heat as the EEOC Increases Its Efforts - Part 2, Federal Regulations

Posted by: Jennifer Stanley    Dec 30, 2014 1:00:00 PM

As mentioned in the first posting, wellness programs must be analyzed under a myriad of laws and regulations. This post will discuss generally the wellness program landscape in light of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)/Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA), the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA), the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and the Nondiscrimination Regulations. This is a 30,000-foot overview of laws and regulations that are in need of microscopic scrutiny when applying them to a wellness program.

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Topics: wellness, UBA, EEOC, Jennifer Kupper, iaCONSULTING, Part 2, Federal Regulations

Wellness Programs Feeling the Heat as the EEOC Increases Its Efforts - Part 1

Posted by: Jennifer Stanley    Dec 18, 2014 1:00:00 PM

While wellness programs have increased in popularity, according to the 2014 UBA Health Plan Survey, actual wellness program adoption has been in a holding pattern. As one might expect, the highest percentage (58.8%) of plans offering wellness benefits came from employers with 1,000 or more employees and the lowest percentage (8%) of plans offering wellness benefits came from employers with fewer than 25 employees. On average, wellness programs are down slightly by 1.3%. It’s no wonder given all the pending litigation and regulation surrounding these programs, including the fact that the health of an employee population is no longer a rating factor for smaller employers.

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Topics: UBA, health plan survey, 2014, wellness, EEOC, Part 1, Jennifer Kupper, iaCONSULTING

EEOC Files Suit Over Wellness Program

Posted by: Linda Rowings    Sep 9, 2014 1:32:00 PM

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has sued an employer because the penalty it applied for not participating in its wellness program was, in the eyes of the EEOC, so high that participation was not, as a practical matter, “voluntary.” Under EEOC rules, an employer may conduct medical examinations, which includes obtaining medical histories and blood draws, only in limited situations. One of those permitted situations is a voluntary wellness program. Because the program did not qualify as “voluntary,” the questions employees were asked about their health on a health risk assessment, a blood draw, and a range of motion assessment violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), according to the EEOC’s Complaint.

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Topics: health care reform, employee benefits, health care, health care costs, employee satisfaction, hr consulting, employee engagement, wellness, ancillary benefits, absence management, disability management, absenteeism, UBA Partner Firm, voluntary benefits, ACA, employee health, insurance solutions, medical plan, self funded health plans, disability insurance, wellness programs, HRA, health risk assessment, PPACA Affordable Care Act, health care reform

Overcoming Employee Disengagement

Posted by: Bill Olson    Aug 27, 2014 2:31:00 PM

By Peter Freska, CEBS, Advisor
The LBL Group 
A United Benefit Advisors Partner Firm 

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Topics: health care reform, employee benefits, health care, health care costs, employee satisfaction, hr consulting, employee engagement, wellness, ancillary benefits, absence management, disability management, absenteeism, UBA Partner Firm, voluntary benefits, ACA, employee health, insurance solutions, medical plan, self funded health plans, disability insurance, wellness programs, HRA, health risk assessment

The Road to Better Absence Management

Posted by: Bill Olson    Aug 11, 2014 4:14:00 PM

By Stephen Coffman, Group Practice Leader
The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America  

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Topics: health care reform, employee benefits, health care, health care costs, employee satisfaction, hr consulting, employee engagement, wellness, ancillary benefits, absence management, disability management, absenteeism, UBA Partner Firm, voluntary benefits, ACA, employee health, insurance solutions, medical plan, self funded health plans, disability insurance, wellness programs

How Long Commutes Impact Workplace Productivity

Posted by: Geoff Mukhtar    May 19, 2014 12:44:00 PM

What do all employees have in common? They all have a burning dislike for their morning commute! Let’s face it, it’s not the actual commute that most people dislike, it’s the hassle of dealing with traffic, long lines, and rude people that make the trip so despised.

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Topics: health care reform, employee benefits, health care, health care costs, employee satisfaction, employee engagement, wellness, ancillary benefits, absenteeism, voluntary benefits, ACA, employee health, insurance solutions, medical plan, self funded health plans, wellness programs

Taxing Wellness Incentives

Posted by: Josie Martinez    Oct 8, 2013 2:00:00 PM

By Josie Martinez, Senior Partner and Legal Counsel
EBS Capstone, A UBA Partner Firm 

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Topics: PPACA, health care reform, employee wellness, wellness, UBA, ACA, wellness incentives

An Uptick in Obesity Disability Claims

Posted by: Josie Martinez    Aug 26, 2013 9:41:00 AM

By Josie Martinez, Senior Partner and Legal Counsel
EBS Capstone, A UBA Partner Firm

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Topics: employee benefits, health care, employee wellness, wellness, disability management