About ACS Insurance

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far ACS Insurance has created 63 blog entries.

The myths behind why small businesses don’t offer voluntary benefits

from ColonialLife.com

Many small business owners are just plain unaware that they are able to offer their staff this kind of benefit, thinking they are just for the bigger players. The vast majority of smaller companies may have never had a conversation with anyone about employee benefits. All these points have led to the creation and perpetuation of a number of widely-held beliefs that are untrue.

Myth – Affordability

Small businesses believe they can’t afford to pay for voluntary benefits, even if they see the positives in offering them.

The Truth

Voluntary employee benefits can be partially-funded or even fully-funded by the employee. It means that the company has complete control on how much they decide to spend and what options they choose to add.

Myth – Not enough employees to qualify.

The Truth

While it does depend on the carrier and the product, many voluntary benefits are available to businesses with single-figure numbers of staff, and some have no minimum requirements.

Myth – Administering a voluntary benefits plan is costly and complex.

The Truth

Certain benefits provide tax advantages and are tax-deductible. Some can be paid for through payroll deduction. Many qualified carriers will be pleased to help with education of employees and can provide easy enrollment and administration, usually at no direct cost – allowing the employer to get on with running their business.

Myth – Employees don’t value it.

The Truth

This misperception often stems from employers themselves. While most employers believe employees value take-home pay over benefits, employees actually value non-medical insurance benefits and voluntary benefits almost twice as much as employers believe.2

1 “Small Businesses Face Operational, Regulatory Challenges.” Gallup Economy, 28 Feb. 2014. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.
2 “Small Business, Big Benefits: Sharpening the competitive edge with voluntary benefits.” Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company, May 2014. 

 

Read More Here

Voluntary Benefits Now Essential

Voluntary Benefits Now Essential, Not Fringe

Student loan help and financial planning aid are among offerings on the upswing

Employers no longer consider voluntary benefits as simply add-ons but rather as “a way to address a host of employee needs, offer choice and allow employees to personalize their rewards,” said Lydia Jilek, director of voluntary benefits at consultancy Willis Towers Watson.

Voluntary benefits are supplemental to core health insurance and retirement savings plans and are typically employee-paid through salary-deferred contributions. They can be a cost-efficient way to provide additional coverage to employees, who can purchase these plans through their employer at a lower, group rate.

Newly released findings from Willis Towers Watson’s 2018 Emerging Trends: Voluntary Benefits and Services Survey of large employers show that:

  • Only a handful of respondents (5 percent) say voluntary benefits will have little importance to the value they offer employees through their total rewards strategy. Five years ago, 41 percent of employers said voluntary benefits would have little importance.
  • More than two-thirds of employers (69 percent) believe voluntary benefits will be a very or more-important component of their total rewards strategy in three to five years.

The survey was conducted in November 2017, with responses from 336 large U.S. employers representing more than 4.3 million employees. Eighty percent of the respondents have more than 1,000 employees.

“While employers continue to embrace traditional voluntary benefits, such as life and disability coverage, they are offering benefits more often to help employees and their families with their financial issues,” said Mary Tavarozzi, managing director of health and benefits at Willis Towers Watson.

“The good news is that improvements in enrollment technology are making it easier for employers to expand their voluntary benefit offerings—and the expanded choices are resonating,” said Sherri Bockhorst, managing director of benefits delivery and administration at Willis Towers Watson.

Options on the Rise

“Attractive benefits can make the difference between whether a prospective employee accepts a job offer or not,” said Ray August, CEO of Benefitfocus, a benefits management software company. The firm’s 2018 report The State of Employee Benefits, published earlier this year, analyzed data from 540 large employers with more than 1,000 employees, representing 1.3 million benefit plan enrollees.

“For 2018, 42 percent of employers offered at least one of three voluntary income protection benefits to their employees—voluntary accident, critical illness and/or hospital indemnity plans—and 18 percent offered all three,” said Justin Verona, Benefitfocus lead researcher and co-author of the report. Those numbers are up from their 2016 levels.

“Employees continue to appreciate these options,” added Logan Butler, Benefitfocus lead writer and report co-author. “When given the choice, 25 percent elected at least one of the three voluntary income protection products for 2018, with over 20 percent enrolling in multiple plans.”

 

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

Strategies to help clients attract and retain top talent

Employee Benefit Adviser

Published April 25, 2019

You could say we are in a sellers’ market when it comes to talent, with job seekers now finding employers fighting to hire them.

Data from the U.S. Labor Department shows a near record low unemployment rate at 3.7%. At the same time, private sector hourly wages are up 2.8% from last year, indicating employers are upping their pay to remain competitive.

While finding the right amount and level of talent to achieve business goals is the most important business objective for 21% of employers — according to Aflac’s WorkForces Report, a survey on benefit trends — attracting and retaining talent is not always easy, especially in today’s tight labor market. Businesses face fierce competition for top talent. While salary is still an important factor, offering a comprehensive benefits package that appeals to a wide range of workers is another area where employers can have a competitive edge.

In fact, 55% of employees admitted they are at least somewhat likely to take a job with slightly lower pay, but a more robust benefits package, the survey said. The importance of employee benefits is only heightening, and employers are turning to advisors for answers. As companies map out their hiring strategies for the rest of 2019, below are three ways benefit advisors can help clients build an informed, loyal workforce.

Understand changing workforce expectations

The values of younger generations are redefining the way companies attract and retain talent. This is not surprising considering that more than 1 in 3 American workers (35%) are millennials, according to Pew Research Center. And there is a whole new group of workers just getting started in the labor market companies should begin to consider. Generation Z is made up of approximately 61 million people in the U.S., with the oldest graduating college this year. Together, these influential generations have different expectations from their older counterparts. As the youngest employees in the workforce, millennials and Gen Zers are typically healthier and further from retirement, so they are focused on short-term financial priorities like repaying student loans and building up an emergency fund. Younger workers do not typically consider traditional insurance and retirement benefits as differentiators.

Benefit advisors should work with clients to think beyond insurance to engage these employees. One way is by offering benefits that not only protect them in case of illness, but also addresses their health holistically, including their physical, mental and financial well-being. Incorporating benefits employees appreciate — and are applicable to their lifestyles — such as student loan repayment programs and telemedicine services, can round out a strong benefits package and have an immediate, positive impact.

Throw out the one-size-fits-all strategy

Each employee is unique, and their benefit options should reflect that. Working with businesses to provide products workers can weave together to address their specific needs, family history or lifestyle will result in employees feeling better protected. Introducing voluntary insurance, or widening the voluntary portfolio, is one way to achieve this goal. In fact, a strong majority (85%) of employees see a growing need for voluntary insurance benefits, according to the Aflac survey. Voluntary products help provide financial support when insureds experience an injury or illness. When qualifying events occur, they can receive cash benefits to go toward health-related costs and other expenses, regardless of other insurance policies already in place. Recipients can choose to use the money as they see fit, even for daily living expenses such as rent, groceries or child care, which may be hard to keep up with after an illness or injury. Offering voluntary insurance will not only help employees better customize their insurance coverage, but can also help provide the added financial protection many of them seek so they can focus on recuperating instead of finding ways to pay their bills.

READ MORE HERE

Advantages of Telemedicine for Your Convenience

7 Ways to Get Employees Engaged in Telemedicine

 TelemedicineTelemedicine is having a moment in a big way, and for good reason: The ability to receive 24/7 phone- or video-based medical support offers a more affordable and flexible approach to health care — one that doesn’t require driving to and from appointments or searching ad nauseam for the right in-network provider.

Employers have caught on. In a 2018 survey, 96 percent of large employers said they planned to offer virtual medicine as part of their 2019 health benefits packages. But for all the enthusiasm of business leaders, employees themselves are slow to join the movement: The vast majority of employers see telehealth engagement rates below 8 percent. It doesn’t have to stay that way, though.

The Advantages of Telemedicine

Given the ample upsides of telehealth services, it can boggle the mind to think of so few people using them. For example, telemedicine offers:

  • Cost savings. Virtual appointments cost an average of about $100 less per visit than a face-to-face appointment.
  • Expanded access. Those in underserved communities — such as rural regions or areas without many specialists — can get remote expertise with a tap on their phone.
  • Convenience. Virtual health is kind of like having a doctor in your pocket at all times, whether you’re experiencing a sinus infection on vacation or you’re up at all hours of the night with a sick child.

Still, many employees feel cautious. Some may distrust the credentials of a practitioner available over the phone, while others might be wary of getting an incorrect diagnosis without an in-person exam.

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

Association health plans expanded under Trump look promising so far

PowerPost by Paige Winfield Cunningham

crop of new health insurance plans enabled under regulations from the Trump administration appears more consumer-friendly and less like “junk” insurance than Democrats originally charged.

Chambers of commerce and trade associations have launched more than two dozen of these “association health plans” in 13 states in the seven months since the Labor Department finalized new rules making it easier for small businesses to band together to buy health coverage in the same way large employers do. And there are initial signs the plans are offering generous benefits and premiums lower than can be found in the Obamacare marketplaces.

President Trump billed the new rules as one of several ways to provide consumers with cheaper coverage options than they could find in the Obamacare marketplaces, prompting complaints by Democrats that he was undermining consumer protections laid out in the Affordable Care Act. There’s indeed plenty of evidence the administration is trying to weaken the ACA, including the Justice Department’s refusal to defend it in court.

But when it comes to these new association health plans, they appear — at least so far — to offer benefits comparable to most workplace plans and haven’t tried to discriminate against patients with preexisting conditions, according to an analysis released today by Kev Coleman, a former analyst at the insurance information website HealthPocket.

“We’re not seeing skinny plans,” said Coleman, who founded a website last year with information on association health plans. “We’re seeing the regular doctor care, we’re seeing emergency room care, we’re seeing mental health coverage.”

Read More >>

Association health plans gain foothold with Nevada members

Monday, Dec. 3, 2018

RENO — With members struggling to meet health insurance costs, some Nevada business and trade groups have begun offering discounted policies as one big bloc through a product known as an association health plan.

The Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce and five other Nevada associations have begun offering similar health plans to members, the Reno Gazette Journal reported.

Others are the Las Vegas Metro and Henderson chambers, the Nevada Contractors and Nevada Builders Alliance associations, and the Builders Association of Northern Nevada.

Reno-Sparks chamber CEO Ann Silver called the option a game-changer for small businesses competing to attract and retain skilled employees.

“Health insurance has been, for at least a decade, unaffordable for small employers,” Silver said, “but small businesses struggle to recruit and retain employees without it.”

Bob Fehling, president of Reno general engineering contractor Versa Grade, said that for more than a decade he was beset by annual double-digit increases in costs and diminished health care.

“The costs keep getting greater and greater and greater while the coverage of the plan decreases,” Fehling told the Reno Gazette Journal. “We’re paying more for less.”

Fehling, who decided to join the Reno-Sparks Chamber Association Health Plan, called it a marked improvement over previous options.

“It has lower deductibles and lower out-of-pocket costs,” he said. “It has better coverage and lower total cost all the way around.”

A Gazette Journal project found that in Nevada, fully-insured association health plans are overseen by the state because they’re offered through traditional insurance carriers such as Prominence, Health Plan of Nevada and Hometown Health Plan.

As the name implies, association health plans pool small businesses to obtain rates like those typically available to larger employers. They fall under a broader category of services known as multiple employer welfare arrangements, which provide members with health and welfare benefits.

Their origins can be traced to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.

Association health plans had a checkered past before gaining renewed interest after the U.S. House of Representatives in March 2017 passed the Small Business Health Fairness Act. It created federal requirements for the plans, including certification, coverage and rates for contribution.

President Donald Trump signed an October 2017 executive order to further expand their availability to small businesses, and the Department of Labor eased conditions and requirements for the plans.

Department rules took effect Sept. 1 for fully insured association health plans and will take effect in early 2019 for self-funded plans that are not tied to an established insurance carrier.

Not everyone supports the idea.

“We’ve run this experiment before and we saw a lot of fraud and a lot of mismanagement,” said David Chase, vice president of national outreach for Small Business Majority, a network of 58,000 small business owners and 1,000 business partners including chambers of commerce, economic development groups and workers associations.

“At the end of the day, the victims were small business owners and employees. They were the ones left holding the bag the last time we went down this track.”

Stacey Bollinger said she heard association health plan horror stories in the past. But she and her husband Mark, owners of Sierra Nevada Door & Window, signed their staff of 10 up for a Nevada Builders Alliance plan that counts more than 800 companies among its members.

The Gazette Journal reported that coverage, provided through Prominence, was 30 percent cheaper than what Sierra Nevada Door & Window had been paying.

Sign-ups drop, so far, for health insurance exchange

Sign-ups drop, so far, for health insurance exchange in Nevada

By Jessie Bekker / Las Vegas Review-Journal

Purchases of policies on the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplaces are down nationwide and in Nevada through the first four weeks of open enrollment, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported Wednesday.

Enrollments were down 12.8 percent nationwide and an even steeper 13.3 percent in Nevada.

While the figures concern Heather Korbulic, executive director of Nevada’s Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, they don’t come as a shock, she said.

“We’re really focusing on pushing on the gas pedal with everything we can,” she said.

Korbulic said sign-ups have been affected by competition from association health plans tailored to small-business owners and sole proprietors; the Trump administration’s elimination of the individual mandate that penalized the uninsured; and a widespread robocall campaign urging potential buyers to instead tap into so-called short-term, limited-duration plans and health-sharing ministries.

The Trump administration’s proposed change of a public charge rule also has had a “chilling effect” on immigrants signing up, Korbulic said.

The policy change would consider use of public benefits programs as a basis to deny an immigrant’s petition to legally enter the United States, obtain a green card or adjust an immigration status. It wouldn’t penalize anyone for buying a subsidized plan on the exchange, she said.

CMS also released a report Wednesday that found about 86 percent of those who selected an exchange plan during open enrollment last year paid for it and remained insured into early 2018.

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

 

Life Insurance Options – Reno NV

As we grow older, get married, build families and start businesses, we come to realize more and more that life insurance is a fundamental part of having a plan. We can’t know when we’ll pass away. It could be today, tomorrow or 50 years from now. Life insurance can help provide protection for those uncertainties.

Are you looking for a life insurance policy to protect your family in case of an unfortunate death and to ensure their financial stability? Are you interested in saving for your children’s college education and protecting their future?

ACS Business Insurance Services, Inc. works to provide you with the best life insurance plan coverage available based on your lifelong future goals. We know that life insurance options can be overwhelming and confusing at best. That’s why we sit down with you and discuss what options are available that fit your needs and your budget.

If you are interested in learning more about life insurance plans and options, call us today to setup a meeting.

(775) 425-3233

 

Nevada Health Insurance Robocalls

Warnings for Nevadans besieged by health insurance robocalls

Jessie Bekker / Las Vegas Review-Journal

Her voice is cheery. Her pitch sounds promising.

But insurance experts warn that health insurance robocalls offering low co-pays and premiums to all are often misleading or false.

“If it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” says Heidi Sterner, president-elect and legislative chair for the Nevada Association of Health Underwriters, a group for licensed health insurance professionals.

With the annual open enrollment period for health insurance through the state exchange now open and running through Dec. 15, Nevadans are being bombarded by canned sales calls offering the opportunity to sign up at great rates.

One recent phone call claimed to offer Blue Cross Blue Shield and Aetna plans that would help consumers “save up to 50 percent.”

“Enrollment is easy, approval is guaranteed and all ages are accepted,” a female voice says. “Press ‘one’ to be connected.” It came from a local area code, but when a Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter tried to call the number back, it was disconnected.

Blue Cross Blue Shield did not respond to a request for comment, but an Aetna spokeswoman said in an email the company wasn’t responsible for the call and stopped selling individual plans in the non-Medicare market over a year ago.

‘Buyer-beware market’

Experts say the caller’s claims are misleading at best.

Nevada Division of Insurance Deputy Commissioner David Cassetty said he’s noticed an increase in the frequency of such calls since the Trump administration announced a rule in February extending short-term, limited-duration policies.

 

Read Full Article Here

HMO vs. PPO What’s the Difference between Plans

When it comes to health insurance, you have your choice of several plan types. Two you’ve probably heard of are a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) and a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO). Generally speaking, the difference between HMO and PPO plans includes the size of the plan network, ability to see specialists, plan costs, and coverage for out-of-network services.

Be sure to consider your medical needs, the availability of HMOs in your area and income. If you’re looking at an HMO, take a close look at the network to determine if the choices of doctors and medical facilities are enough to meet your needs. A PPO gives you more freedom, including the potential to be covered for medical bills outside the network, but your costs may be higher.

Contact ACS Insurance if you would like to discuss your options for either of these insurance plans (775) 425-3233 or andy@acsinsurance.com.