Pamela was frustrated as a small business owner in Alaska and decided to do something about the high cost of healthcare in 2020. We’re not a traditional “benefit broker” but as an Alaskan employer, you know all too well how high the cost of traditional medical insurance can be. For many, next to salaries, it’s the highest expense in an organization and therefore, many business owners forgo benefits all together. No more: If you care about your employees and have an investment in their health, come look at our “mini-med” options (officially called MEC PLANS for “minimal essential coverage” that are ACA compliant and flexible. For employers over 50 employees, you would avoid Penalty “A” with this plan in place. Make 2020 the year you provide great benefits to YOUR employees…at a quarter of the cost of medical insurance.
WHAT IS A “MEC Plan” (sometimes called “mini-med”)?
- A good “mini-med” plan should provide “MINIMAL ESSENTIAL COVERAGE” (aka “MEC“) that provides the minimal coverage required by PPACA (aka “ACA) that is required by employers to provide if you have over 50 employees.
- PREVENTATIVE BENEFITS: should be provided at NO COST to the employee for 100% of the ACA preventative benefit lists. Annual preventative screenings are critical for employees to get as “early detection saves lives” and lowers overall healthcare costs.
- TELEDOC: A good mini-med plan (especially for Alaskans) is a way for employees to resolve their non-emergency care and treatment quickly and affordably. Using Teledoc means that employees can use their smart phones to call 24/7/365 and reach a network of US board certified physicians and pediatricians. Fluent in over 360 languages, know that 92% of issues are resolved after one visit with the doc able to fill a prescription quickly, have the employees avoid a costly and time-consuming office visit and get back to work doing what they love!
- IN NETWORK PPO SERVICES: With healthcare costs so high in Alaska, a good min-med will have a strong “in-network” provider base that will provide discounts on service, but also only “CO-PAYS” for primary care. specialty offices, urgent care, even diagnostic and x-ray/CT and MRI services. No “hidden” balance billing costs. A low co-pay won’t break the piggy bank and they will thank YOU, their EMPLOYER!
- PRESCRIPTION BENEFITS: One in two Americans are now taking prescription drugs and over half report that when budgets are tight, their scripts take a back-seat to paying bills. A good mini-med plan will pay for most of the prescriptions with a strong network and only co-pays for both Low Cost on up to Tier 6 – Non preferred meds. Let’s make it easy for your employees to stay on their medication and stay healthy!
- OPTIONAL CASH – INDEMNITY BENEFITS: When a trip to the ER, or outpatient surgical center or hospital is required, a good mini-med pan should provide CASH benefits to the policyholder as “min-med” plans are NOT traditional medical but these cash benefits can ease the financial burden.
WHO QUALIFIES FOR A MEC PLANS & WHO PAYS?
- Approved in Alaska, the APEC MEC is a PPACA compliant product, ideal for $8-$20 per hour full or part-time employees
- Available for seasonal of 1099 staff
- You set the eligibility: you decide who qualifies for the mini-med with hours works, number of days worked, etc.
- Minimum number of employees to place the plan is FOUR employees
- Always “guarantee issue” – NO HEALTH QUESTIONS
- NO AGE BANDS! Rates are the same per person, and benefit options are for employee only, employee + spouse, and the family
- EMPLOYER FUNDED OPTIONS: You, the employer, decides how to fund the mini med. You could fund zero percent, employee ONLY (and have the employee cove spouse and dependents), with costs starting at $200 per month per employee only. Employee-paid premiums can be payroll deducted on a pre-tax basis
LET’S FACE IT. EVERY EFFECTIVE VOLUNTARY OR MINI-MED PROGRAM HAS A TERRIFIC BENEFITS COMMUNICATION STRATEGY
One of the key questions we will ask our clients is how well they believe their employees understand their benefits. Voluntary or mini-med, if employers “cut corners” on communication the benefit, the program will have little value. Elite-VB’s strength is designing a plan the takes in account your organization’s demographics, your locations, how your current communication now and design a CUSTOM plan that is effective and easy:
BENEFITS COMMUNICATION ROCKS…
- There is a knowledge gap in the understanding and use of employee benefits among certain employee populations. More lower-and middle-income workers are likely to say that they wish their employer did more to help them set financial priorities than upper-middle-income workers. * (Mass Mutual 2018 Worksite Benefit Study)
- Although only one in four employees is offered financial education at work, as many as half would welcome additional help or guidance on personal finances from their employer with Millennials being dramatically more open and interested in receiving help at the workplace.
- Studies show that some workers are less informed about their benefits than they realize. A Guardian study released in June showed that although 80% of employees believed they understood their benefits, only 49% did.
- Employers should be concerned about this statistic for several reasons. First, employers won’t be able to enjoy the engagement and retention benefits that come with employee perks if employees don’t know about them or how to use them. When employees understand what their full compensation package is worth, they’re more likely to be satisfied with their pay.
- Few people eagerly look forward to their benefits enrollment, but younger workers report higher levels of stress, anxiety and confusion than other workers. Stress: 28%, Anxiety 32%, Confusion 29% (versus 21%, 20% and 22% for all employees, respectfully)
- Suggestion: combine high tech-and high-tech tools, while remembering that technology is never an end in itself –more it’s an enabler that makes enroll and ongoing benefits administrations easier. Partner with a benefit provider that brings this expertise to you!
THREE TYPES OF ENROLLMENTS
- Voluntary only
- Min-Med + Voluntary (ideal)
Once we determine the type of enrollment and determine the desired employee-paid benefit portfolio desired (with or without a mini-med) and any “value-add’s”, we will prepare customized marketing and communications materials. My clients utilize my six and a half minute video paired with a benefit presentation on the specific programs your company offers and in a quick half hour (minimum) we can explain the benefits, follow up with those who are interested and take care of every new hires, every single month!
Benefits communication is important as industry research shows that employees who understand their benefits make the best choices, with no selling or pressure required. True benefits education begins and ends with face-to-face communication – which we can do REMOTELY with the Covid-19 virus, through “go-to-meeting”)
Elite-VB has conducted core enrollment for over 23 years and I must stress that the problem with most voluntary benefit programs is the LACK of communication. Employees won’t be interested in programs that aren’t presented with passion and visually appealing. My six and a half minute video accomplishes this quickly, make YOU, the employer look great and can be customized for each employer.
ZOOM OR GO-TO-MEETINGS
We are in a “new normal” with face-to-face meetings now on hold due to Covid. Pamela and her team are skilled at video conferencing, video presentations and more so that every employee, no matter WHERE they are working from can attend a virtual “employee presentation ” to learn about the benefit offering
Pamela created her six minute “five-product” video that works for most companies. It’s terrific to use when starting a virtual presentation and in pre-enrollment e-mail blasts. If requested, our team will produce a custom video for distribution to staff when group meetings aren’t 100% available to all staff. PERFECT FOR VIRTUAL ENROLLMENTS
Often employees are out in the field and no accessible to e-mail. When appropriate, text alerts can drive employees to their landing page and enrollment options via their mobile device
ONLINE SCHEDULING TOOL
Employees can utilize our online scheduler tool to schedule their one-on-one benefit counseling session, freeing up phone and e-mail tag
RATE/ INTEREST SHEETS – they still work
An effective way to introduce voluntary benefits is with complete transparency regarding the strength of these benefits: affordability. When appropriate, we encourage full brochure packets to all staff with sample rates so employees can understand the approximate premium costs before enrolling in benefits online or with a benefit counselor through co-browse
GREAT FLYERS and E-MAIL blasts
Voluntary benefits are emotionally charged and employees need to understand the value of the benefits and how they will positively impact their lives. Pamela’s skilled at putting together virtual tools such as flyers and e-mail blasts that build excitement on behalf of HR that the benefits have value, what to expect and how the enrollment process will happen. COMMUNICATION IS CRITICAL
CLAIMS AND CUSTOMER SERVICE
Every enrollment process has to include the “next step” which is AFTER their policies are effective. How do they contact customer service? How to they check on their coverage? How do they file a wellness benefit or file a claim? All of this is important and what we know at Elite-VB, is our Midtown Office has been highly valuable for policyholders who need a place to print their EOB’s, scan and send follow up claims info and our door is open and coffee/water available. Local Midtown Office for our Alaskan policyholders!
DOESN’T YOUR COMPANY DESERVE A SWEET “Elite-VB” EXPERIENCE
Let’s celebrate! A well-orchestrated communication strategy will engage your employees, appeal to all demographics and drive the employees to enroll in benefits in a variety of methods. As each company is unique, once Elite-VB understands the GOALS of your benefits program, we will use our expertise and our partners to execute a communication plan that is a treat for both HR and your employees.
With a mandatory enrollment experience with our new clients, employees who meet with the benefit counselor will receive special sticker that indicates “their benefits were sweetened by Elite-VB”.
In addition, we will come in after the enrollment (within a month) to celebrate employees receiving benefits they chose with an “Elite-VB Ice Cream Social”. With Alaskans eating more ice cream per capita than any other state in the US, we need to celebrate and end the initial enrollment with a treat for HR, staff and the benefit counselors connecting with staff for on-going service needs.
OUR CORPORATE PARTNERS
LEARN ABOUT VOLUNTARY AND COVID AT THE WORKPLACE
Schedule Pamela to give her one-hour CE Course here!