Words from an Expert

Words from an Expert

Six Things to Consider about Health Insurance
By Nick Dmitrovich & Will Glaros, President/Managing Partner of Employee Benefits, Meyers Glaros Group, Inc.


Will Glaros

Many business owners throughout the state of Indiana have been actively following the national discussion regarding potential changes to America’s healthcare legislation, especially while trying to determine the best options for their company’s health insurance benefits. Now that we’re a bit further along in 2017, and it seems as though congress isn’t going to be taking any action on the subject this year, there’s been a bit of confusion about which course of action best meets the needs of companies without breaking an organization’s budget. Adding to the confusion is the notion that there could potentially be significant changes approaching over the next few years, but so far nobody’s been able to provide a clear answer as to what these changes might look like.

So what types of healthcare considerations should companies be concerning themselves with as things currently stand for the remainder of 2017? To find some answers, Building Indiana reached out to Will Glaros, a 30+ year veteran in the registered health underwriting industry and member of an advisory board for the Indiana Department of Insurance in addition to his duties as president of Meyers Glaros Group, Inc.

Glaros explained that while there’s not necessarily a one-size-fits-all answer that will satisfy every company’s unique needs, there are certainly a few helpful strategies to keep in mind during your planning. Here’s a look at what he described:

Healthcare Landscape 2017: Six Things to Consider

DO NOT stop following all compliance requirements until you are officially notified by the appropriate professionals, namely your benefit advisors. Soon after taking office, President Trump said he would not penalize anyone for not complying with the ACA. While he may have stated that, the associated agencies who are assigned to watch over those provisions will continue to monitor compliance.

  1. If your plan is currently on transitional relief, you should check ACA options. However, our experience has shown that retaining the pre-ACA plans is nearly always your least expensive option. Transitional relief plans are those that have not adopted the ACA required benefits but are not allowed to make any changes in their plans without losing their protections under transitional relief.
  2. Every employer with less than 50 employees should consider a level funded (partially self-funded) health plan option. These plans provide the employer the ability to change plans but not have to comply with the ACA rules on community rating. While they are self-funded, they do not carry the traditional risks of self-funding, and yet they still allow employers to share in unused claim dollars.
  3. Instruct your benefit advisor to confirm if your plan is truly under or over 50 employees for rating purposes. The State of Indiana changed the counting method for employer size to include full time, part time, union and seasonal employees. This will typically impact the construction industry but is not limited to that area. If your count is over 50 and you have an ACA plan or a transitional relief plan, then you have the additional option of being able to change plans, reduce cost, and get a more simplified underwriting process.
  4. Instruct your benefit advisor to review your employee population for access to the State of Indiana HIP 2.0 program for lower-paid employees. Qualifications start at income levels roughly at $16,250 for a single and $35,000 for a family and are adjusted by family size. This program can provide coverage for a minimal price to the employee and reduce your cost if they move from your plan to the HIP 2.0 option.
  5. Consider a high deductible health plan with Health Savings Account option linked with a quality educational program that links with a special clinic system that adjusts employee payments based on income and provides access to a lower cost prescription drug option.

As a final note to think about, today’s healthcare plan shoppers are advised to do due diligence when searching for a plan to last through the next year – don’t just simply settle for whatever coverage options you had last year. Towards the end of 2016, Aflac published a survey that found “58% of people in the baby boomer generation spent less than 30 minutes exploring their coverage choices during their last open enrollment. On top of that, 93% of those individuals choose the same benefits year after year with little research.” Although a familiar choice might be a comfortable one, it’s not necessarily going to be the best deal.

A year from now, there may be a whole new set of healthcare legislative changes that come our way, accompanied by a whole new round of confusion and questions. For the moment, however, it appears as though things will remain fairly unchanged this year, which one would assume could bring a sense of relief to some and frustration to others. Keeping yourself informed about your company’s policies and knowing which factors may or may not experience changes in the future is likely the best step toward remaining in compliance and keeping your people well covered.