Employee Benefits Adviser

This is the Employee Benefits Adviser category of the Broad REach Benefits blog. At Broad Reach Benefits, we focus on employers that have between 30 and 500 benefit eligible employees. We’re employee benefit specialists, not a big box brokerage firm or payroll company with a sales force peddling policies.

One Question Makes a Big Difference: Is your broker simply shopping your medical program, or utilizing actuarial analysis?

The real issue is how do you know if you are over paying for your medical plan? When we hear that companies are not using an actuary we ask another simply question: How do you know you are not overpaying? Where’s the analysis? We’ve yet to hear a convincing explanation. How can you or your broker possibly know, because they aren’t trained or qualified to interpret incurral factors, group specific trend and expected large claims versus actual as an actuary is, so they can’t know if there is an argument to be made. […]

By |August 26th, 2016|Employee Benefits, Employee Benefits Adviser|Comments Off on One Question Makes a Big Difference: Is your broker simply shopping your medical program, or utilizing actuarial analysis?

What You Need To Know about Narrow Provider Networks

So what’s a narrow network?  Narrow networks are health plans that offer their subscribers a limited choice in health care providers compared to their larger national or regional network.  These plans contract with a smaller group of doctors, specialists and hospitals, and those entities are then considered in-network.

Because all plan participants are directed toward certain facilities and physicians, these providers can then reduce the cost for each visit and service—operating under the idea of “buying in bulk.” This, in turn, results in lower premiums for the consumer and cost savings for insurers.

In recent years, narrow networks have gained popularity.  Many unsuspecting consumers have purchased health plans in the market and were unaware that the plan they purchased had one of these narrow networks.

On the employer side do these narrow network options makes sense?  They can in the right situations such as using a narrow network plan as a low-cost employee option alongside your other medical plan offerings.  And of course, you absolutely need to effectively educate your employees.

Why are narrow networks becoming more popular?

Narrow networks have been around long before the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In fact, 23 percent of employer-sponsored health plans offered narrow networks in 2012. However, their popularity has accelerated since the ACA was signed into law and the Health Insurance Marketplace was created.

Since insurers can no longer compete to cover the healthiest group of individuals or raise deductibles past the ACA’s limits, some have turned to narrow networks as a way to manage expenses. According to a study by McKinsey & Co., a consulting firm, 70 percent of the plans sold on the Marketplace in 2014 featured a limited network. Premiums for those plans were 17 percent cheaper than those with […]

By |July 20th, 2016|Employee Benefits, Employee Benefits Adviser, Uncategorized|Comments Off on What You Need To Know about Narrow Provider Networks

The Numbers Are In… And They’re Shocking!

We’ve successfully identified two types of brokers in the benefits industry and created a short video to explain things a little further. Once the video comes to an end you will be able to easily determine if your company is with the majority, or the minority. Making this determination could be exactly what you need to save money, and gain the extra support your HR Department has been hoping for.

So, who are you working with? […]

By |July 11th, 2016|Employee Benefits, Employee Benefits Adviser, Human Resources|Comments Off on The Numbers Are In… And They’re Shocking!

Unique HR and Benefit Department Challenges for Law Firms

The Human Resource and Benefits departments of law firms face unique challenges when dealing with attorneys and staff, personnel issues, and hiring and retaining talent.  Because Broad Reach Benefits works closely with law firms of all sizes, we are familiar with the issues you face every day.  Some of the expected challenges HR and Benefits departments can keep in mind when working at a law firm include:

Reporting Structure
While attorneys must supervise the legal work conducted by paralegals and assistants, there is often a reporting structure within the legal support staff, as well as the need to report to HR for performance, administrative, and personnel issues. With so many levels and layers in the organization, consistency is key. It is important to have a handbook that everyone can reference and rely on and an engaged HR department that maintains professionalism and proactively avoids conflict. […]

By |June 22nd, 2016|Employee Benefits, Employee Benefits Adviser, Law Firms|Comments Off on Unique HR and Benefit Department Challenges for Law Firms

We Are Employee Benefits Advisors

By |January 29th, 2016|Employee Benefits Adviser|Comments Off on We Are Employee Benefits Advisors

Broad Reach Benefits: Part of the Benefit Advisors Network

By |January 29th, 2016|Employee Benefits Adviser|Comments Off on Broad Reach Benefits: Part of the Benefit Advisors Network

Step #1 in Designing a Cost-Reduction Strategy for Your Employee Benefits

Controlling rising employee benefits costs requires an understanding of the drivers within your employee benefit programs that are controllable and then taking corrective action.  If you are an employer with over one hundred benefit eligible employees then one of the drivers which plays a part is the way your employee benefits broker is compensated- Commissions vs. Fees.

As employee benefit advisors we know the first item to look at to assist in lowering the trajectory of future cost increases is to examine how the broker or advisor is being compensated.  No, we are not talking about a race to the bottom to see which brokerage firm can provide the cheapest annual cost.  We’re talking about how employers compensate an employee benefits broker.     The typical arrangement is on commission.  The brokerage firm receives a percentage of the medical premiums as compensation for their services.  The employer pays their premium to the insurance carrier or Third Party Administrator (TPA) and the carrier or TPA passes the commission on to the broker.  While the commission may be a fixed percentage from year to year, left unchecked the actual dollar amount your brokerage firm is receiving each year is increasing, mirroring your medical premium increases.  This compensation is disclosed on a Schedule A and then in your annual 5500 filing. […]

By |March 23rd, 2014|Employee Benefits, Employee Benefits Adviser, Medical|Comments Off on Step #1 in Designing a Cost-Reduction Strategy for Your Employee Benefits