Archive for 2015

Sleep Deprived

December 28th, 2015 by United Benefit Advisors

Why can’t a bicycle stay up? Because it’s two (too) tired. Now that you’ve stopped groaning, lack of sleep is a growing problem among corporate America and a serious health concern.

Want to be Productive? Don’t Skip Lunch.

December 22nd, 2015 by United Benefit Advisors

It seems that every office has its share of employees who appear so dedicated to their jobs that they are always available, never or seldom take a lunch break, and when they do take a break, they remain working at their desk.

What Do You Mean You Haven’t Gotten Your Flu Shot Yet?!

December 7th, 2015 by United Benefit Advisors

It’s flu season again and that means it’s time for everyone to get their annual flu shot.

UBA Health Plan Survey: Plans Popular with Employers Aren’t Always Tops with Employees | Florida Employee Health Insurance

December 3rd, 2015 by Clemons

By Bill Olson, Chief Marketing Officer at United Benefit Advisors

The UBA Health Plan Survey tracks plans offered by region as well as enrollment by region. From a prevalence perspective, preferred provider organization (PPO) plans are most prevalent in the Central U.S., though they generally dominate nationwide, except in the Northeast where consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs) are most prevalent.

2015 Health Plan Survey Plan Prevalence by Region

From an enrollment perspective, PPO plans have the greatest enrollment in the Central U.S. The Southeast and Northeast saw the biggest increase in PPO enrollment (7% and 8% respectively) this year. Enrollment in health maintenance organizations (HMOs) is down across most of the country, but is on the rise in the Central and Western U.S. Point of service (POS) plan enrollment has stayed virtually flat from last year. CDHP enrollment is highest in the Northeast U.S. at 29.2%, an increase of 11.5% over 2014. But the Southeast saw nearly a 23% increase in CDHP enrollment from 2014. Conversely, the North Central U.S. saw a 23.5% decrease in CDHP enrollment.

2015 Health Plan Survey Enrollment by Plan Type by Region

Sometimes, plans offered by employers are also equally desired by employees; in other words, what is offered most is also what employees opt to enroll in the most. For example, CDHPs and PPO plans are the most prevalent plans in the Northeast and also the top two plans employees enroll in. But it is interesting to note that those employees flip the order of their preference, favoring PPO plans more than CDHPs, while CDHPs are most popular among employers. Employers and employees in the Southeast, North Central and Central states mostly see eye-to-eye when prioritizing PPO plans, followed by CDHP plans as a distant second. In the West, employees enroll in PPO plans at a far greater rate than the prevalence rate of these plans among employers.

This information can be very helpful when choosing your plan offerings. Download the free 2016 Health Plan Survey Executive Summary for additional information on health plan cost trends across the U.S., including employer contributions and costs for employees.

To benchmark your plan against others in your region, industry or size bracket, contact a UBA Partner near you to run a custom benchmarking report.

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Be Prepared for the Next Big Storm

November 30th, 2015 by United Benefit Advisors

Storm preparation, whether for a hurricane, blizzard, or other natural disaster is critical for surviving the event with minimal impact.

When the C-Suite Gets Seriously Sick | Panama City Benefits Broker

November 30th, 2015 by Clemons

By Bill Olson, Chief Marketing Officer at United Benefit Advisors

Someone in the C-Suite of a company gets sick. I’m not talking about a cold or flu; I’m talking about a major, possibly even terminal, illness. Depending on the level of severity, what can the human resources department do to help When the C-Suite Gets Seriously Sickcommunicate this information properly to the company’s employees?

There will always be privacy concerns, but there are also requirements with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that mandate publicly traded companies to disclose information that may impact an investor’s decision to buy or sell stock. A serious illness could be interpreted as something that needs to be reported to the SEC. Other than that, how much information should a C-Suite executive share with HR, when should he or she share it, and should they discuss any plans for a successor – either temporary or permanent? On the HR side, how much of this should they release to the rest of the company?

Based on an article on Human Resource Executive Online titled, “Disclosing Illness in the C-Suite,” when handled correctly, the disclosure of an executive’s illness can do more than satisfy SEC compliance. It can reassure employees and investors that the company has a plan going forward, it can address important questions, and it can stop the almost certain spread of false rumors.

Sharing information today is common and rapid, which makes hiding a major illness next to impossible. Rather than letting the company’s rumor mill disclose the information in a way that could be harmful to the executive and his or her family, detrimental to the company, and potentially completely false, it’s better to have it come directly from a company representative. Current examples include Goldman Sachs CEO and Chairman Lloyd Blankfein, who sent a memo to employees and the SEC just one day after his lymphoma diagnosis. Contrast this with Apple CEO Steve Jobs who withheld his cancer diagnosis for an entire year. The latter example is cited as a textbook case of how not to handle this. The “doom and gloom” speculation of what was happening to Jobs was rampant both internally at Apple and with investors.

This type of speculation almost always leads to decreased employee morale and productivity, which is why HR should communicate information as quickly as possible. That being said, it’s up to the C-Suite executive to determine how much information he or she wants to divulge. The role of HR is to communicate how this is going to impact the company’s daily operations, whether someone will be temporarily assuming those responsibilities, and if the company has a succession plan in place if the executive is not able to return to work.

Because this type of news can disrupt the operations of a company, HR should continually provide updates and put them in a positive light. As it states in the article, you can’t draft this type of plan, especially a plan of succession, after a critical illness diagnosis is announced. This is something that must be thought of ahead of time in order to avoid the turbulent aspect it can produce. Regardless of this, HR also needs to emphasize the seriousness of the issue and that it must be handled with respect, sensitivity, and professionalism.

Hopefully, an HR department will never have to deal with this unfortunate experience. Striking a balance between the C-Suite executive’s privacy and everyone else’s need to know may be one of the most difficult things an HR department can face. This is why planning ahead can often provide that level of confidence during this time of corporate instability.


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Ways to Increase Employee Participation in a Wellness Program

November 24th, 2015 by Clemons

Check out and share this video about increasing employee participation in your wellness program!

Access Denied

November 23rd, 2015 by United Benefit Advisors

We’ve become a very connected society, but that doesn’t mean we want to share everything with everybody.

Healthcare Cost Reduction: Community Paramedicine as a New Primary Care Delivery Model | Panama City Employee Benefits Broker

November 19th, 2015 by Clemons

By Peter Freska, Benefits Advisor at The LBL Group A UBA Partner Firm

I recently read an article on what some say is the conventional wisdom of healthcare costs in the United States which, as a percent of gross domestic product, are higher than most other countries. The article works to demonstrate that the reason for the higher than average cost and the lack of “better” health outcomes in light of significantly higher spending is attributable to non-healthcare issues such as lack of access, especially for the poor. With the drive of healthcare reform to make sure the U.S. population is insured and address the shortage of primary care physicians increasing as high as 31,000 (“Physician Supply and Demand Through 2025: Key Findings,” Association of American Medical Colleges, April 1, 2015), where will people receive their primary care, and at what cost? What if there were a more efficient and cost effective way to deliver care to populations that lack access or don’t have the ability to easily access care.

Here are some data points to set the stage:

Enter community paramedicine. According to the California Emergency Medical Services Authority, “Community Paramedicine focuses on providing services, where access to care is limited, or a short term intervention is needed. By targeting locally identified health care needs, and offering a creative solution to fill local health care gaps, [Community Paramedicine] helps to increase access to care, and often reduces health care costs by providing the right level of care based on the individuals medical needs.” (Source: Community Paramedicine Fact Sheet, California Emergency Medical Services Authority)

So what is community paramedicine? Paramedics with this additional training (EMT-P designation) operate under strict standards and procedures with clear medical control by a supervising physician as they respond to emergency situations and provide some medical transportation roles in the communities they serve. Community paramedics are experienced paramedics with additional training in patient assessment and familiarization with healthcare providers and social services that are available to the community they serve. The net result is a more direct, integrated and immediate approach to healthcare delivery in a community.

EMS FunctionsChart source: Beyond 911: State and Community Strategies for Expanding the Primary Care Role of First Responders, National Conference of State Legislatures, 2012

How does this impact insurance and benefits? Financing of community paramedicine services faces many hurdles, but there are several bright spots across the country and on the federal level. Several states (Minnesota, Maine, and Colorado) have passed legislation to allow reimbursement for these services under insurance plans. On the federal level, Medicaid doesn’t currently recognize community paramedic services for reimbursement, but alignment to value-based medicine and a patient centered medical home model may allow for alignment of these services in the future. If the states and federal government can come into alignment and allow reimbursement for community paramedicine services, insurance companies will align policies to allow this service. If provider organizations adopt community paramedicine as part of a commitment to value-based medicine and patient-centered medical homes, they will be able to provide more direct, local care, in a timely fashion at a lower cost. With 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 every day and millions of previously uninsured joining the insured ranks, primary care is a focus in the provision of health care now and for many years to come. Community paramedicine is a primary care force multiplier that makes sense.

The National Conference of State Legislatures summarizes the need for community paramedicine by stating “Using community paramedics to deliver basic primary care offers unique opportunities to reduce emergency room contact and improve health outcomes for underserved patients.  As policymakers consider their role within this workforce shift, they will benefit from the experiences of community paramedic pilot programs. Emerging data on cost and quality outcomes will help policymakers and payers assess the impact of these interventions on health care costs and individual and community health.  Policymakers can play an important role in ensuring that these coordinate public and private resources, track health care and cost outcomes, and foster innovation while also protecting patient health and safety.”

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When the C-Suite Gets Seriously Sick

November 18th, 2015 by United Benefit Advisors

Someone in the C-Suite of a company gets sick. I’m not talking about a cold or flu; I’m talking about a major, possibly even terminal, illness.