Responsibilities Shifting for Employee Benefits

Controlling employer costs for healthcare benefits is a top priority among finance executives, according to a new study.

Prudential Financial and CFO Research Servicesfound that 70 percent of company executives are concerned about controlling employer costs for company provided healthcare benefits with 65 percent saying they are likely to shift a larger portion of costs for healthcare coverage to employees.

“The solution seems to be to shift the responsibility from the employer to the employee and in the process giving employees more authority, choice and a wider range of coverage options at a lower price,” said Sam Knox, director of research for CFO Research.”

Employee choice programs include voluntary and flexible benefits. In an employee-choice model, each employee is provided with a fixed amount of funding for benefits and employees select their benefits using those funds as well as their own funds.

Today, only 15 percent of respondents describe their current program as an employee-choice strategy.

Comment: In the past, the only firms that could possible implement an employee-choice strategy were very large employers with many thousands of employees.  With the regulation change in 2007 that allowed the pre-tax deduction of individual health policies, any size firm can now take advantage of this budget saving strategy. 



Defined Contributions Define Health-Care Future: Peter Orszag


Over the next decade, we are likely to see a shift in health insurance in the U.S.: So-called defined-contribution plans will gradually take over the market, shifting the residual risk of incurring high health-care costs from employers to workers.

The market today is dominated by “defined-benefit” plans, under which companies determine a set of health-insurance benefits that are provided for employees. These will gradually be replaced by defined-contribution plans, under which companies pay a fixed amount, and employees use the money to buy or help pay for insurance they choose themselves

Comment: More and more employers will come to this realization soon enough as they run out of options to contain the cost.  Don’t wait until the defined contribution plan becomes the last option available.  Implement the program now so you can get a leg up on your competition.  A Visor BetterFits  program can help you implement a comprehensive plan specifically designed to each of your employee’s needs.



FIFO-first in, first out

By Bill Hill

Will Massachusetts drop universal health care before everyone else adopts it?

The current Governor of Massachusetts just breathed a sigh of relief while he announced a three year $26.7 billion agreement with the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid(CMS).  This agreement is actually an increase of $5.69 billion over the previous waiver from the days of George Bush.  Why is this Massachusetts model the focus of so much buzz when the plan is bankrupting the state?  Read the comments of two Congressmen from Massachusetts as released by Governor Deval Patrick’s official website.  Congressman Edward Markey stated, “The Medicaid waiver serves as the cornerstone of Massachusetts’s health reform, and I’m pleased that the agreement announced today will provide the resources our health care providers need to care for our residents and will allow the Commonwealth to continue leading the nation in innovative health care solutions.”   In the same press release, Congressman James McGovern is quoted, ”We need to build on that success.  The initiatives supported by this waiver will continue to provide affordable access to high quality care for all patients while containing cost.” (emphasis added)

I just have one question for these representatives of the Commonwealth?  Which health plan are you referring to?


Benefits Selling Magazine: Bill Hill Interview

Cover Story : Bill Hill
Look inside >

Our PPACA Cheat-Sheet: Plan Ahead For Those Unwanted Changes

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is a whopping 2,500 pages of healthcare reform legislation that will span out over the next eight years. While you may not understand all the new laws and regulations that come with this legislation, one thing’s for sure: both employers and employees can expect numerous health-related provisions to take effect over the next few years. Some of these will be beneficial and others won’t, which is why we’re giving you some ideas on how to prep for those unwanted changes. Continued…

Small Business Health Plans: Where Do You Fit In?

If you’re running a small business, then health care is probably a hot topic for you and your employees. Let’s face it: the new healthcare reform laws will force small business owners, executives and entrepreneurs to make tough decisions regarding their employees’ health benefits. Continued…

Patient Protection, Affordable Care, and Plan Changes

What You Need to Know About the New Year and Over-the-Counter Medications

January 1, 2011 is just around the corner, which means that many aspects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will take effect. Section 9003 of this legislation amended previous legislated definitions of which over-the-counter (OTC) healthcare expenses are eligible for tax-advantaged benefits plans like Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRA) and Health Savings Accounts (HSA).