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Edit Employers are Accelerating Adoption of Benefits Technology to Meet the Needs of Tomorrow’s Workplace

Posted By Martin Trussell CFC, Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Since 2012, investors have steered more than $14 billion into human capital management (HCM) software and platforms. A new study by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America® (Guardian) confirms that human resources technology is top of mind for many employers seeking greater efficiencies and workforce engagement.  The study reveals most employers have increased their spending on benefits-related technology in the past five years, with approximately 50 percent expecting further increases in the next three years. The latest set of findings come from The Fifth Annual Guardian Workplace Benefits StudySM, Game-Changer: The Digitalization of Employee Benefits Delivery.

“Our lives increasingly revolve around new technologies and digitalization, and this study confirms that benefits technology is reshaping how employers think about their benefits strategy,” said Marc Costantini, executive vice president, Commercial and Government Markets, at Guardian. “A multi-generational workforce along with mounting pressures on employers to contain costs, simplify their benefits, and stay compliant are prompting employers to make this a priority.”

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Tags:  Technology 

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ABA’s McKechnie Calls on Congress to Expand HSAs

Posted By Martin Trussell CFC, Monday, June 11, 2018

In testimony before the Joint Economic Committee today, American Bankers Association Health Savings Account Council Executive Director Kevin McKechnie called on Congress to expand and strengthen health savings accounts as part of the ongoing effort to improve the American healthcare system.

Noting that HSAs are important tool for improving the quality of healthcare while keeping costs down, McKechnie urged lawmakers to support several HSA-related proposals currently before Congress that would expand HSA access to more Americans, permit the accounts to be used for over-the-counter medications and allow HSA-qualified health plans to cover care for medically complex chronic conditions with no deductible. He also called for an increase to contribution limits to match the statutory limit on out-of-pocket expenses for HSA-qualified plans, and advocated for an additional method of determining HSA-qualification using the more flexible actuarial value approach.

“These ideas are vetted, bipartisan and affordable,” he said. “Some would actually save taxpayer money. Individually and together, they can dramatically strengthen the proven, successful HSA model.”

Tags:  ABA  HSA  McKechnie 

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ECFC's Busy Week on Capitol Hill

Posted By Martin Trussell CFC, Friday, June 8, 2018
Hill Day Visits

ECFC Members were busy on Capitol Hill this week. Ten members of the ECFC Government Relations and Interpretations Committee were in Washington DC on Wednesday, June 6, and met with the legislative staffers of 24 House and Senate congressional members.

ECFC members stressed to lawmakers the important role that consumer-directed health plans are serving to help employees meet ever increasing health plan deductibles and out-of-pocket medical expenses.  

They also shared data showing that consumer-directed plans like FSAs and HSAs are middle-class benefits. According to a survey conducted by ECFC, the median household income for an FSA participant is $57,060 and $57,860 for an HSA participant.

While on the Hill, ECFC representative made policy recommendations and pointed out specific legislation that it supports. 

Subcommittee Testimony

Meanwhile, Wednesday morning, Jody Dietel, ECFC Board Chair, testified in-person before the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health. Download a copy of her testimony here.

ECFC also participated in the hearing,  “Lowering Costs and Expanding Access to Health Care through Consumer-Directed Health Plans,” by submitting written testimony. Click here to read more.
 

 

Tags:  Hill Day  Testimony 

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Student Loan Benefits Poised to Take Off

Posted By Martin Trussell CFC, Friday, June 8, 2018

Amanda Eisenberg published an article this week on EBN describing how millennials and Gen Zs are entering the workforce saddled with $30,000 of debt and lower wages than their parents earned at their age.

Eisenberg notes, “The changing workforce demographics have created a new protocol for HR departments to follow, which includes updating the benefits package to resonate with younger employees.”

While such companies as Aetna and Estée Lauder Companies are now offering about $10,000 in lifetime contributions to employees’ student loans, these benefits are not tax-preferred which Eisenberg notes makes it a difficult offering for the majority of companies to squeeze into their ever-growing benefits package.

Click here to read more and to find out what Congress may be doing about this problem.

Tags:  Student Loan Reimbursement 

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Health Subcommittee Examines Ways to Lower Costs, Expand Access

Posted By Administration, Friday, June 8, 2018

This week, the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee held a hearing on lowering costs and expanding access to health care through consumer-directed health plans. 

 Click to see highlights of testimony presented by ECFC Board Chair, Jody Dietel, and others including Roy Ramthun.

Tags:  CDHP  Dietel  house hearing 

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Chairman Roskam Announces Hearing on Lowering Costs and Expanding Access to Health Care through Consumer-Directed Health Plans

Posted By Adminsitration, Wednesday, May 30, 2018
House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam (R-IL) announced today that the Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “Lowering Costs and Expanding Access to Health Care through Consumer-Directed Health Plans.”The hearing will examine trends in enrollment and demographics for health spending account holders and the benefits of consumer-directed health care. It will also examine policies designed to give more consumers access to tax-favoredsavings accounts, including Health Savings Accounts.The hearing will take place onWednesday, June 6, 2018in 1100 Longworth House Office Building, beginning at11:00 AM.

Tags:  Hearing  House Ways and Means  Roskam 

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Ideas to Make Health Care Affordable Again

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) has published a white paper called “Ideas to Make Health Care Affordable Again.” In the paper, Cassidy notes that “more Americans are concerned about health care costs (85%) than are concerned about other common worries like retirement (73%), housing (66%), and child care (49%).” He states that everyone agrees that the top health care priority should be lowering health care costs.

Cassidy urges members of Congress to take commonsense actions to lower health care costs by focusing on six policy areas: I. Empowering patients to reduce their health care costs II. Lowering health insurance premiums III. Ending health care monopolies by increasing competition IV. Decreasing drug costs for patients V. Eliminating administrative burdens and costs VI. Reducing costs through primary care, prevention, and chronic disease management.

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Tags:  Sen. Bill Cassidy 

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Americans’ Health Care Costs Rise Again, Now $28k per Family

Posted By Martin Trussell CFC, Thursday, May 24, 2018

Katie Kuehner-Hebert is reporting in BenefitsPro that the cost of health care for a typical American family of four receiving coverage from an employer-sponsored preferred provider plan will rise by just 4.5 percent this year. This is according to the 2018 Milliman Medical Index.

The article notes that the index also found that prescription drug trends are down for the third consecutive year. However, while employers are paying more, employees are paying a lot more. Over the long-term, Milliman had seen employees footing an increasingly higher percentage of the total. That trend continues in 2018, with employee expenses increasing by 5.9 percent, while employer expenses increased by only 3.5 percent. Read more

Tags:  2018 Milliman Medical Index  Health care costs 

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HSA Bank Health & Wealth Index Reveals where Americans Stand with their Physical and Financial Well-being

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, May 23, 2018

HSA Bank, a division of Webster Bank, N.A., released the HSA Bank Health & Wealth IndexSM for 2018, a new report that explores how today’s consumers are faring when it comes to their financial and physical health. More than 1,000 U.S. adults were surveyed about their health plan enrollment status, health practices, ability to pay for health-related expenses, and level of engagement in their own health and wealth. The results showed that 41 percent never save money for future healthcare expenses and 35 percent never consider cost when selecting health services.

Key findings from the report show that although consumers are paying attention to their physical health and engaging in healthy lifestyle behaviors, opportunities exist for employers, benefit administrators, and healthcare providers to further educate consumers on the various factors that play a critical role in influencing physical and financial health.

1. Consumers can improve their focus on the financial aspect of healthcare.
2. Consumer confidence in health plan coverage does not align with their financial literacy of health plans.
3. Consumers are making lifestyle changes to improve their health.

To view the full report, visit hsabank.com/healthandwealthindex.

Tags:  HSA 

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High-Deductible Health Insurance: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Posted By Martin Trussell CFC, Friday, May 11, 2018
From Forbes, By John Goodman

Kaiser Family Foundation study finds that about half of all people with employer provided coverage have a deductible of at least $1,000 . An Avalere study finds that the average deductible for silver plans in the (Obamacare) exchanges this year is almost $4,000. Some employers of fast food workers are only offering plans with the maximum out-of-pocket exposure Obamacare regulations will allow. Currently, that’s a $7,150 deductible for an individual and double that for a family.

There has been a sea change in the way the health policy community thinks about this. When Gerald Musgrave and I introduced the idea of Health Savings Accounts  25 years ago, the reaction was almost uniformly negative – in the health insurance industry, among the professional societies, among the hospitals and in the academic world.

The prevailing view at that time was that patients are incapable of making good decisions about how to spend health care dollars and that these decisions should instead be made by managed care professionals. Today we find even liberal Democrats defending extraordinary out-of-pocket burdens faced by people who get insurance in the exchanges they helped create. 

Despite this remarkable change in attitude, very few people seem to understand what is going on.

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Tags:  HDHP  John Goodman 

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