COVID-19 Economic and Benefits Uncertainty: Q and A with Beau Reid
It’s an undeniable truth — in this time of COVID-19 and economic uncertainty, employers are desperate to preserve the jobs of the people they work alongside. If an insurance solution can save two or three jobs, every penny might just be worth it.
Because of this, Holmes Murphy has been working to come up with solutions that can help. We had a chance to sit down with Employee Benefits Sr. Vice President Beau Reid recently to talk about this very topic and see if there are innovative programs available to help employers save money on employee benefits.
Take a look.
Q: With so much economic uncertainty right now and businesses struggling to find cost-effective insurance solutions, are there services Holmes Murphy provides that can help?
A: Yes! We understand the struggle; we are seeing it firsthand with the employers we talk with daily. I’m happy to say there are three very relevant solutions that are bringing tangible savings to employers and employees right now. They are:
Tell us about SimplePay Health — What Is It, and How Does It Work?
Right now, more than ever, expenses are going to be looked at under a microscope…and rightly so. We understand that and hope to help on the expense side of things.
SimplePay Health is a revolutionary plan design that lowers the overall cost of a health insurance plan by providing simple price transparency to the consumer in a manner that enables employees to know exactly what their cost will be BEFORE they go to the doctor.
The efficiencies gained from this variable copay plan driven by functional transparency ends up delivering significant savings to the overall cost of employee benefits claims. The program enables employers to save money while HELPING their employees lower their cost and improving the adequacy of their plan. In an era where preserving jobs is important, this is one of those rare win, win, win.
How does everyone win?
- Employers provide simplicity and lower costs to employees.
- Employees understand what they will pay before they choose to have a procedure or buy a medication. Employees get one simple bill at the end of every month — credit card style, complete with the ability to pay a minimum payment. There are NO explanations of benefits (EOBs).
- Finally, the providers, facilities, and pharmacies don’t collect a single dime from employees at the time of service. Instead, the providers get paid in full by SimplePay Health, eliminating the provider from the billing and collection business which makes them incredibly supportive of this initiative.
The best part…employers that have adopted SimplePay Health have seen savings over 20 percent to their medical spend. It is a win for the employer, employee, and even the provider and produces the financial results we need now more than ever.
You also mentioned Take Command Health. What Is This Service?
Take Command Health converts the current Defined Contribution Health Insurance Model to a tax-favored Defined Contribution Model. Think 401(k) for health insurance.
Let me explain this a bit more.
Currently, employers typically pay a percentage of the premium for the group health insurance plan they select and sponsor — knowing full well the plan offered doesn’t necessarily work for the everyone.
Take Command Health takes advantage of the recently passed Individually Controlled Health Reimbursement Account (ICHRA) legislation. ICHRA allows employers to contribute tax deductible dollars to their employees, while providing access to a private individual exchange offering a multitude of carriers, plan designs, and budgets for employees to self-select (with the assistance of a Take Command Concierge). Employees must purchase health insurance to receive the employer subsidy, and employees receive the money tax free.
This enables organizations that are at their tipping point regarding health insurance cost escalation to define what their business can afford and then deliver that economic assistance to their employees on a tax-favored basis, while providing the employee much more flexibility to meet the personal needs of themselves or their families.
What is Avant Market Source and How Can It Help Employers?
Avant Market Source (AMS) is a procurement platform that brings more than 20 health insurance carriers into an electronic procurement platform to manage the RFP process for life insurance, short-term and long-term disability, dental, and vision insurance.
These ancillary coverages have become huge profit centers for insurance brokers. Once a proposal is received from an insurance company, it is cross referenced to ensure contractual accuracy. Then, all of the proposals are placed in order from least expensive to most expensive and unblinded to the other competitors. The clock starts on a reverse auction and carriers can lower their price to win the bid.
This process has resulted in a 22 percent average savings over the last 4 years.
Additionally, AMS represents a quick way for employers to save meaningful money while improving benefits for their employees.
COVID-19 is having a significant impact on short-term disability claims, and carriers are speculating that the morbidity tables, derived to help price short-term disability, are going to see a significant increase prior to January 1, 2021. AMS can be leveraged now to save immediate money, while locking in the current pricing for three years, compounding the economic impact on businesses.
If Someone Wants to Learn More about These Services, What Should They Do?
For those of you reading this who are interested, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your local Holmes Murphy office. All of these employee benefits solutions result in immediate savings, while restructuring these benefits to save money for the foreseeable future.