Large Employers: Start Planning for 2018 (Yes, 2018!)
When you’re a large employer of 1,000 employees or more and you’re interested in finding a new company health plan that can help your organization’s bottom line, you can’t afford to delay the process. If the goal is to offer a new plan in time for open enrollment of the next year, there’s bad news: Believe it or not, you’re already behind.
In our experience, too many companies are unaware how long the process of transitioning to a new company health plan can be. While some employers are still considering their options for 2017, the reality is that it’s already time to start planning for 2018. Yes, 2018!
Too Late for 2017?
Does that mean it’s too late to develop a new company health plan for 2017? It may very well be, but you’ll never until you speak with a corporate healthcare consultant who can advise you. GM&A is a corporate healthcare consulting group that can provide an alternative way of reducing costs to your company health plan; we call that alternative method direct contracting, and it’s one of the simplest (yet most effective) health plan models you’ll ever encounter.
Regardless, industry limitations being what they are means that it takes us multiple months to put a direct contracting plan together for a large employer client. We have to meet with you, look at your company health care claims data and then begin putting a plan together that can be incorporated before the final stage, open enrollment.
What’s the First Step?
It may be too late for 2017, but you’ll only know after you ask – and if it is, then the time to start the process for 2018 is now. Contact GM&A Healthcare Consultants to request a complimentary health plan meeting, at your location anywhere in the U.S., for the decision makers in your organization. We will be glad to show you what direct contracting can do for your company!
Covered California Raises Premiums – And it isn’t the Only One
Have you heard the latest news on Covered California? Last week, news broke that
California's health insurance exchange will increase its premiums by anywhere from 13 to 17 percent by 2017. This is all thanks to two major insurance companies requesting substantial rate increases from the program: Anthem, which requested a 17 percent increase, and Blue Shield, which is seeking a 20 percent increase.
These premium increases will impact a whopping 1.4 million Californians who currently receive healthcare coverage under the Covered California plan. The good news is, the proposed rate hikes are still subject to review by state regulators. The better news is, consumers can choose not to participate by seeking healthcare alternatives.
Although we primarily work with businesses to provide lower cost coverage to employees, GM&A Healthcare Consultants can also work with consumers who are tired of the rising costs of insuring themselves –not just consumers who insure themselves with a PPO, but also consumers who participate in a state exchange
Other State Exchanges with Rising Premiums
Although Covered California seems to be getting the bulk of the media coverage when it comes to state exchanges with rising premiums, it isn’t the only state exchange to do so. Take a look at these startling rate increase projections from around the U.S.:
- Alaska: 9.8 percent rate increase
- Washington State: 13 percent rate increase
- New Mexico: 25 percent rate increase
Can you believe it? So no matter where in the country you are: If you rely on a state exchange for your healthcare coverage, expect to see the amount you pay for that coverage to start rising.
What if you’re an employer?
What if you aren’t an employee, but rather an employer that has thus far been unable to cover employees? If so, it’s time to give them a better way than the state exchange. GM&A can help you provide them affordable, high quality coverage with direct contracting. That way, you’ll never lose another employee to a company that provides healthcare benefits! They can stay at your place of business, because you will provide them the coverage they need – all at a cost that is affordable for you.
We were among the many healthcare experts who predicted this would happen in the early days of the Affordable Care Act – and finally, everyone is waking up to the fact that the Affordable Care Act isn’t so affordable after all. There’s a better, more affordable way for employers and employees, and that way is directly contracting with healthcare providers. Ask GM&A for more information!
Reducing Health Plan Costs in Risky Government Jobs
City, county and state governments tend to get a bad rap as employers sometimes, thanks to the incorrect notions some ascribe to – you know, the mischaracterizations that government jobs are for “lazy” people. These generalities are unfair to not only the brave law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency workers who put their lives on the line every day, but also the highly skilled professionals like city landscapers, equipment handlers and maintenance people who work for their municipalities – people who put their bodies at risk for the local government job they do.
When one of these workers gets injured in the line of duty – be it through a tragic gunshot wound, an unfortunate equipment accident, a fire, an explosion, a vehicle crash or any other various possibilities – that employee automatically becomes an emergency patient that needs both immediate and ongoing treatment. The medical costs of surgery, therapy and follow-up visits for the injured employee can be staggering, and the employer is obligated to pick up the tab. With that in mind, we at GM&A Corporate Healthcare Consultants want to make sure local governments know that direct contracting can help them save on these costs immediately, if they switch their health plans to our cost-effective model of coverage.
Local government employers, from police departments and fire departments to landscape and maintenance departments and more, can take advantage of direct contracting to reduce the costs of covering employees in these high risk fields. Contact GM&A today to find out more; we are happy to meet with local government employers throughout the United States who may be interested in learning how to cover their valuable employees with quality health plans for less money.
Covering Employees with a Pre-Existing Condition – For Less
We are sometimes asked by employers whether we can do anything to help them offset the cost of covering an employee with a pre-existing medical condition. The answer is yes, we can – by helping the organization switch to the direct contracting health plan model. Here are some of the pre-existing conditions we are referring to:
- Diabetes, which affects 9.3% of Americans
- Asthma, which affects 25 million people or 8% of Americans
- Heart disease, which is the leading cause of death for both men and women
- Cancer (37% of cancer survivors make a work adjustment, but many remain employed)
Taking all of this into account, it makes sense for employers to find ways to cover valuable employees for less when they are affected by a pre-existing condition. Here’s how direct contracting can help.
In cases like these, GM&A acts a broker that negotiates lower rates with the providers that the affected employees rely on. Whether it’s an oncology practice, a hospital with outstanding cancer treatment or a heart specialist, we can work with them on lowering costs so they can remain part of your network – but at a rate you can afford as a benefits provider. Then, your talented employees can be covered affordably and you’ll no longer be inclined to find their conditions “expensive.” This is just another way that direct contracting can be incredibly valuable for an organization, whether it is a private or public employer.
To learn more, contact GM&A to request a complimentary health plan “checkup.” This is a free phone appointment – or in person, for large employers – that outlines all the benefits of switching your health plan to our direct contracting service. We can be reached at (325) 224-3245.
Corporate Wellness Plans: Worth the Cost?
Corporate wellness programs seem like the thing to do when you’re an up-and-coming company striving to create a reputation of being that progressive employer everyone wants to work for. These programs certainly look good at first glance; after all, they foster camaraderie among employees who participate and encourage staff members to work towards their short and long-term health goals. But do they really make sense for the employer?
The human resources experts we talk to tell us that the big myth about corporate wellness programs is that they boost employee retention. “They really don’t,” one expert said recently. “When you consider how frequently today’s young professionals move from job to job, pouring resources into a company wellness program is hardly worth the investment.” And older employees? “They don’t always value these programs either,” the expert told us. “They tend to be more self-conscious about their wellness goals and would prefer to work on those things privately. Older professionals are very guarded about their personal lives now, especially when they’re new to a company.”
So no, corporate wellness programs don’t actually help companies retain employees. But do they save employers money? As corporate health plan experts, we have found the answer to be no. Companies that implement these programs spend more money on them than they’re worth: incentivizing employees with cash bonuses, gadgets and even vacations. Then there’s the loss in productivity that comes from employees sneaking in longer lunches for group walks, holding scheduled meetings to discuss their weight loss efforts, etc. It’s a slippery slope that many employers regret stepping on in the first place.
What we have found will save employers money on covering their employees, though, is the direct contracting healthcare model. By directly contracting with medical providers, employers can save up to 30% a year on healthcare costs. Letting the employees be in charge of their own health and using your resources to improve their coverage is a win-win. To learn more, contact GM&A at (325) 224-3245 for a free health plan consultation.