About Our Employee Benefit Services
With experienced insurance consultants, market-place knowledge and a proven approach to meeting client needs, we are the advocate in employee benefits.
With rising healthcare costs in recent years, employers are constantly piecing together an approach to reduce their overhead. Accordingly, increasing employee premiums, co-pays and percentage contributions, as well as decreasing employer-paid benefits, can be some of the ways employers are being forced deal with rising benefit costs.
Benefits Planners, Inc. offers a variety of innovative solutions to maintain the delicate balance of reducing costs for the employer, yet maintaining employee health and overall satisfaction.
Our robust benefit packages contain solutions like Health Savings Accounts, Flexible Spending Accounts, Wellness Plans and Voluntary Benefits – all great cost-saving options to help employees cover absorbent healthcare costs.
We encourage you to browse the full description of each of our benefit solutions to the right and more information on our process and value add services below.
Benefit Plan Details
Click the tabs below to read more about our Group Insurance plans, and how they typically work. Then make sure to scroll the entire page for more services we provide.
Traditional Group Health Plans
Benefits Planners, Inc. offers traditional health plans through most major carriers. Depending on your needs, we have plans that offer the Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) as required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to full customized packages that offer a rich variety of benefits.
A Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)requires group members to obtain their health care services from doctors and hospitals affiliated with the HMO. Members required to designate a primary care physician who treats and directs health care decisions and who coordinates referrals to specialties within the HMO network. HMOs offer access to a comprehensive package of covered health care services in return for a prepaid monthly amount (or “premium”). Most HMOs charge a small co-payment depending upon the type of service provided.
With a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)members save the most money on healthcare, if they use providers within their network. If providers outside of the network are used, it is possible that those services may not be covered at all. Deductibles must be met on this plan before some services will be covered. PPOs require a co-pay for physician visits.
A Health Savings Account (HSA) combines a high deductible/lower premium health insurance plan (PPO) with a savings account. Both employer and employee can contribute, tax-free to the savings account, which can help fund the deductible and other qualified medical expenses. Meet the deductible, then the insurance starts paying.
A Health Reimbursement Account (HRA)combines high deductible/low premium health insurance with a tax favored savings account. Employers contribute to the savings account, which can be used for to fund co-pays and other qualified expenses prior to the deductible being met.
Single, Dual or Triple Option Plans offer eligible employees a choice between several different types of plans as described above.
Worksite Benefits, also known as ancillary or voluntary benefits. They are additional insurance products, plans or programs which an employee can purchase through their employer, through payroll deductions, at a discounted group rate to supplement their employer-paid benefits.
Examples of ancillary or voluntary benefits offered are listed below.
- Life Insurance
- Disability Insurance
- Dental and Vision Plans
- Long Term Care
- Critical Illness
- Hospital Indemnity
Self-Funded Health Plans
When employers self-fund their own health plan, they will benefit from a significant savings in premiums, increased cash flow, tax advantages in addition to having more control over the benefits that the plan offers. Self-insured plans considered to be good options for both small and large employers. Benefits Planners, Inc. specializes in helping employers set up and maintain self-funded health plans. Receive a no cost analysis to determine if a self-funded health plan option is right for your company. Below you will find a little more information on exactly how self funding works.
How Self-Funded Plans Work
A self-funded health plan requires the employer to become the insurer. Most often, employers will partner with a PPO to provide services for the plan. A third party (a TPA) hired to handle claims and processing. Because self-insured employers run the risk of large catastrophic claims, they will purchase stop-loss insurance to protect them in such an event. Even with the additional expense of stop-loss insurance, employers can enjoy saving thousands in premiums and other advantages.
Many employers find that gap coverage, when combined with a low cost, high deductible major medical plan, are together much less expensive than one stand alone lower deductible, major medical policy. Gap insurance provides benefits that supplement a major medical and comprehensive benefit package. It works by paying a significant amount of the deductible on a major medical plan. More specifically, the additional benefits help to cover out-of-pocket expenses related to coinsurance, co-pays and deductibles for inpatient and outpatient services. For example, if you have a $5,000 deductible on your major medical plan, gap coverage could pay up to $4,000 of that deductible.
Section 125 Plans (Flexible Spending Accounts)
A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is a cafeteria plan under Section 125 of the tax code and allows for benefits to be paid with pre-tax dollars which results in tax savings to both the employee and the employer.
The average working employee in America spends thousands of dollars annually on certain types of medical benefits, daycare expenses and transportation services. By participating in an FSA, an employee’s taxable income is reduced, which increases the percentage of pay they take home and allows them to pay for these benefits and services with the pre-taxed dollars, in essence giving them a discount on these services.
Here’s how an FSA works.
This tax-favored savings account is funded solely by the employee through regular pre-tax payroll deductions. Employees elect how much they want withdrawn from each pay period. Elections are changed annually or upon a qualifying event such as marriage or divorce. Throughout the plan year, funds can be withdrawn from the account (tax-free) to pay for eligible medical, dental, vision, prescription and dependent daycare expenses. Some FSAs include work-related parking and transit costs. An FSA debit card conveniently tied to your FSA, makes it easy to use the account when needed.
Premium Only Plans (POPs)
A Premium-Only Plan lets employees purchase their own individual insurance with pre-tax dollars, potentially saving employees thousands annually in taxes and premiums combined. Employees elect a set amount of pre-tax dollars deducted from each payroll. The employee purchases an individual health insurance policy in which he/she chooses completely on their own and is responsible for paying the monthly premiums directly to the carrier. The employee gets reimbursed by the employer for the monthly premium with the pre-taxed dollars.
Shared Funding Plans
Shared Funding Plans allow small employers to take advantages of all the cost saving and benefit design features of a self-insured plan that typically designed for larger groups. However, any small or large group could benefit greatly by the cost saving opportunities of a shared funding plan.
Here’s how Shared Funding Plans work.
First, an employer will select any of the fully insured plans that the carrier offers and rates will be determined by the group’s claim history. Stop-loss insurance is added to protect against catastrophic claims. Just like with an insured plan, the carrier will handle the administration of the plan, processing claims and offering members on-line access to benefit explanations and other reporting tools.
Premiums for shared funding plans are generally much lower than fully insured plans because the employer shares some of the risk. Employers who opt for shared funding plans may save even more costs by implementing wellness programs into the workplace.
Group Life Insurance
Along with Health Insurance, Life Insurance is considered to be a key part of the benefit package for employees. Besides being a valuable tool in attracting top talent, you’ll have happy and productive employees feeling secure their loved ones will be taken care of in the event of illness or an untimely death.
Whether employer paid or voluntary, a good life insurance policy provides for an employee’s final expenses, taxes, mortgage and even their children’s education as well as offering additional added benefits. Benefits Planners, Inc. can help employers protect their employees and their employees’ families with a variety of different life insurance products.
Life insurance that ties premiums to various types of investment accounts (stocks, bonds, money market, etc.) in which the savings can be tax deferred and/or borrowed against, if needed. These policies: whole life, universal life and variable life insurance.
Life insurance that does not build cash value, however, it will pay a set amount to the named beneficiary upon the death of insured within the stated term. Some policies may also make payments upon terminal or critical illness.
Group Dental or Vision
Benefits Planners, Inc. offers Dental and Vision Plans through many of our major insurance carriers. These plans offered on a stand-alone (voluntary or employer-sponsored) basis or incorporated into the group health plan offering. Whether as voluntary or paid benefit, employees appreciate both dental & vision coverage as part of their Employee Benefits Package. Below you will find detailed information on the benefits of Dental and Vision plans.
Regular dental exams help employees stay healthier and more productive in the work place. Simple routine visits to the dentist, covered 100% by insurers, help to detect serious underlying conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. The National Association of Dental Plans and the Centers for Disease Control have performed studies that show that employees with Dental Insurance plans have better attitudes and are less likely to suffer from depression, a common condition in today’s fast-paced world.
Dental Plans offer a variety of diagnostic, preventative care and corrective services including cleanings, exams, x-rays, fillings, root canals, orthodontia for children, and emergency care while traveling.
Similar to dental policies, vision plans are inexpensive and save money on routine exams, eyeglass frames and lenses, contacts, and even discounts on procedures like LASIK. Monitoring your eye health with regular exams also helps to prevent serious eye diseases like glaucoma and cataracts and also helps to detect early stages of diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Group Disability Insurance
National surveys have shown that Short Term Disability and Long Term Disability remain of high importance for most employees. Savvy employers attract and retain top talent by offering both STD and LTD insurance. This part of the employer paid benefit package or as a voluntary (worksite) benefit. Here’s how Disability plans typically work.
Short Term Disability
During the time an employee is unable to work due to a qualifying disability (illness or injury), STD applies. STD generally allows for income payments to the employee to begin after about a two-week waiting period. It may continue to pay the employee until he/she recovers or maxes out the benefits–usually anywhere between one month to two years, depending on the policy.
Long Term Disability
During the time an employee is unable to work due to a qualifying disability (illness or injury), LTD applies. LTD generally allows for income payments to the employee to begin after about a 90-day waiting period, although it could be much longer. It depends on the policy, but will continue to pay the employee far longer than STD. This could be a few years, up to age 65, or even for life.
Group Long Term Care Insurance
Group Long-Term Care plans are becoming an increasingly common voluntary benefit offered by employers today. The prospect of long-term care is one of the most important issues your employees may have to face. LTC is expensive. However, LTC not covered by other employee benefits, disability or even Medicare. If someone requires long-term care, it is not just an emotional strain but a financial one as well. Financial strains impact retirement savings and overall financial position.
Savvy employers know that access to additional resources can increase employee productivity when confronted with managing long-term care situations. Long-Term Care plans demonstrate to your current and prospective employees that you care. Thus, increasing the ability to attract and retain the very best talent.
More Details on LTC
Most LTC plans provide benefits for care through nursing homes and assisted living centers. This also includes home health care and adult day care. Employers can provide a base benefit while giving the employees the opportunity to “buy up” the policy. This will allow them to obtain the level of coverage that they need for their families.
More About Our Group Benefits Services
Consultation and Strategy
Assisting clients and employees in getting the abolute best value for their investment.
We work with business owners and companies of all sizes, ranging from 2 employees to 250+ employees. Accordingly, utilizing the latest technology and analytical tools, we will perform a thorough analysis of your current benefit offering. This includes design and contribution structure, as well as claims data from your carrier. We also discuss your company’s cost concerns and objectives. Then, we will uncover and develop solutions that best fit your company’s overall unique situation and circumstances. With over thirty years of experience in the market, we have well established relationships with many major carriers. What does this mean? We can skillfully negotiate lower rates on your behalf.
No cost consultation.
We compensated by carriers. Thus, there is no charge clients for our benefit design and strategy expertise. In fact, all commissions and fees are built into insurance premiums whether you use an agent or not. This assures you are receiving the best, non-biased advice.
Communication designed to make employees knowledgeable of their own healthcare.
Savvy employers know that quality benefits attract and retain valuable employees, the kind of employees that help build strong, profitable companies. However, the development of a cost-effective benefit package is just the first step. Thus, it is also imperative that employees understand their benefits. Thus they will be able to maximize the full value of them. And, they will also appreciate the value of the investment made on their behalf.
Benefits Planners, Inc. will host on-site enrollment and plan implementation. We also provide other value-add services. These services designed to engage employees and encourage them to take more responsibility with their health care benefits. Accordingly, following is a sampling.
- One-on-one answer sessions
- HR technology that streamlines and provides ongoing employee benefit education
- Self-service online benefit management tools
Helping you every step of the way in maintaining your benefit offering.
Maintaining your benefit plan requires many tedious, mundane, and some very important, tasks and compliance requirements. Thus, acting as a single point of contact, Benefits Planners, Inc. will assist you with these tasks. Accordingly, your time will be freed to focus on doing what you do best, growing your business. Following is a sampling.
- Assist with forms, claims, billing, network, pharmacy issues and more
- Enrollment and terminations
- Facilitate timely renewals
- Assist with COBRA, HIPAA, ERISA and other compliance