Employee assistance programs can yield savings of $5 to $16 for each dollar invested. But if very few of your employees use your employee assistance, you’re not getting anywhere near that kind of ROI.
Organizations with the highest rates of employee assistance program use save the most money through reduced absenteeism, lower employee medical costs and employees who get back on track sooner after personal and substance-abuse problems.
Here are eight suggestions for boosting employee assistance program participation:
- Make it convenient for employees to contact the employee assistance program. Employees will use the service more if counselors are a five-minute drive from work or if they can access them online or via a 24-hour, toll-free hotline.
- Enable low-visibility access so employees won’t worry that co-workers will see or hear them asking for help.
- Ask your employee assistance provider to host wellness seminars, such as free lunchtime “brown bag” sessions on stress management or time management.
- Let employees’ families know they can call for help. Ask your employee assistance provider to send information to workers’ families advertising services, hours and phone numbers.
- Publicize the employee assistance program constantly. Promote it through regular reminders via email, your website, your intranet, etc. Use free posters and refrigerator magnets that advertise the employee assistance program’s hours and phone numbers. Introduce it to new employees during orientation sessions and emphasize the benefits.
- Run a regular reminder about the employee assistance program in your employee newsletter, complete with the program’s office location and phone number.
- Encourage staff to bookmark the employee assistance program website. Add a link to the employee assistance program on your internal site.
- Train supervisors to recognize work problems and to suggest the employee assistance program as an option for employees whose personal problems may be affecting job performance.
Learn more about Employee Assistance by contacting Benefit Specialist at (800) 383-6375. Remember, a company’s values and its corporate culture can have a huge impact on the level of stress of its employees.
Source: Business Management Daily
Americans use insurance to protect a host of assets, from cars to to jewelry. But many people forget to insure their most important asset — the ability to work and earn a living.
As a recent Social Security fact sheet states, “Just over 1 in 4 of today’s 20 year-olds will become disabled before reaching age 67.” And if disease or injury renders you disabled early in your working life, the lost wages can be worth much more than a house or a sedan.
Do the math: If you make $50,000, 20 years’ labor pays $1 million.
The good news is that if you don’t have insurance and get hurt or ill, you aren’t doomed. The Social Security Administration provides some form of disability benefits as a safety net.
But it’s hardly enough to live comfortably. As of March 2013, the average disability payment was less than $1,130 per month. Furthermore, there is a complex eligibility process, and benefits apply to Americans with a medical condition that prevents them from working for at least 12 months.
For many families, the prospect of losing just a few months’ income or living on half the paycheck just isn’t an option. If this sounds like you, it may make sense to seek out some form of disability insurance to protect yourself.
Here are your options if you’re looking at disability insurance:
• Group Disability Plans. The most common kind of disability insurance, group plans are typically offered through your employer. The lowest tier of group coverage is extremely affordable, so that’s a big plus, but benefits vary greatly. Consider that group plans typically don’t come close to replacing your full paycheck, with a reimbursement rate of about 60% being typical. Furthermore, group plans often place a monthly or yearly cap on the dollar amount you can be paid, or set a maximum time frame for benefits that could be as little as two years. Because of these drawbacks, it’s important to read the fine print on group plans because they may not help much if illness strikes.
• Individual Disability Plans. If your employer doesn’t offer a group plan or you don’t like what you’re offered at the office, you can shop around as an individual. But keep in mind that, without a group, your price is based on your unique situation and needs. Like health insurance, that means individual plans are generally cheaper if you’re young and healthy and costly if you’re old with heart trouble. But even so, shopping as an individual opens a wealth of options — such as coverage for lost bonus income above your salary, or portability to keep the disability coverage even if you change jobs. If you have unique needs and are willing to shop around, an individual plan is worth pursuing.
• Supplemental Disability Plans. If you have a basic employer-sponsored disability plan or if you’re content to rely on Social Security for any long-term disability claim, then supplemental disability coverage is a decent and affordable bridge. As the name implies, it is an additional layer of coverage to help pay for medical or living expenses that may not be covered by a long-term plan. For instance, if you have an employer-sponsored group plan that pays just 60% of your paycheck, for a modest monthly fee you may be able to add on a supplemental policy to bring that amount up to 80%.
For full article and important disability options, click here.
For more information on how disability insurance claims work, call Benefit Specialists today at 701-492-7372 and let one of our representative help you.
Children make prime targets for identity thieves specifically because they have no credit history and thus, clean credit reports. Because parents don’t think to check their children’s credit histories, the theft can continue unchecked for over a decade. How appealing are children’s identities to identity thieves? Protect your children with LifeLock and prevent them from having their identity stolen. LifeLock identity theft protection helps proactively safeguard your credit, your finances and your good name with vigilant services that alert you of potential threats before the damage is done. If identity thieves steal your personal information, they could take out a mortgage, commit tax fraud, and open new credit accounts and a whole lot more.
Last year the number of identity theft victims reached 12.6 million, up 1 million from the previous year, according to a Javelin Strategy and Research Identity Fraud Report released in February.
According to the AllClear ID 2012 Child Identity Theft Report, about one in every 40 households with young children is being affected. Since children have clean credit records and the theft can go undetected for years, child identity theft is a fast-growing crime. Federal Commission consistently sates that children are the 6% of America’s victims. Identity theft criminals access personal information from everything from school and medical records to stolen wallets and the Internet.
To discover if credit has been opened in your child’s name, he said parents should contact one of the credit rating agencies — Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion — just as they would to check their own credit history.
Here are some other tips Chappell offers in the book:
- Teach children well. Make sure they know the risks associated with giving personal information to anyone.
- Do not share. Do not put your child’s Social Security number on school, medical, insurance and other forms.
- Keep it safe at home. Don’t carry your child’s birth date or Social Security number in your wallet or purse.
- Don’t reveal personal information on social media. Tell your children not to place their birth date or address on social networking sites.
- Be wary of scams. Warn children about offers they receive by phone, mail or e-mail that could be scams.
Parents are advised to monitor their children’s identity just as diligently as their own. The impact of identity theft on a child’s credit can be substantial. As they grow toward adulthood, damaged credit can affect everything from the ability to get a student loan, car loan, apartment or even a job. Call Benefit Specialists today to inquire the details about LifeLock and how it can help your children from identity theft criminals.
According to Social Security Administration, there has been a 29% increase in Americans with little or no work experience getting disability payments since 2003. The federal government spent nearly $250 billion in 2011 paying more than 23 million Americans some type of disability claim. These numbers don’t include people out on worker compensation claims, which are mostly paid for by private companies.
There are many reasons for the increasing disability claims, most notably the recession, an aging population and advances in medical technology.
The recession: the economic downturn in 2008 and early 2009 has been blamed for the major reason for the increase in disability payments to people formerly working. The rise in the number of disability claims have been seen with every recession since people are looking for options in terms of income support. The 2001 recession brought a jump in disability claims by 13% and 21% increase in disability claim was seen during the 2009 recession.
Aging population: Since 2003, the US population has increased about 8%. The population is also getting older as the baby boomers retire. Those that are laid off in their late 50s or early 60s and have some kind of injury, they know it’s going to be hard for them to find another job.
Welfare reform: According to John O’Neill, director of employment and disability research at the Kessler Foundation, a non-profit focused on disability issues states and municipalities. If any were found, state workers helped the people apply for federal disability benefits.
Medical Advances: This implies especially to military veterans. Thanks to the better surgical techniques, according to the Veterans Administration, soldiers are ten times as likely to survive today’s wars. The decision to view post-traumatic stress disorder and illness related to cancer causing chemical defoliant Agent Orange as a disability has lifted the number of disability claims.
For more information about disability insurance, contact Benefit Specialists.
Most medical insurance plans don’t cover dental or routine vision. Therefore, you are usually given an option for signing up for those benefits as a separate entity. Here are a few key things to keep in mind when choosing a vision benefit plan that is right for you and becoming familiar with your new plan.
Vision insurance plan and medical insurance are often provided by different companies. Even though you may only be issued a card for medical plan, an entirely different insurance company may be administering your vision benefits. If it is an available option, you can call your vision benefits provider and request a card, print one from the website, or simply write down the name on the back of your medical insurance card.
- Know the difference between a funded benefit plan and discount plan
A funded benefit plan usually offers vision exam at low-copay and gives an allowance amount for you to use towards glasses or contact lenses. Since a benefit plan offers the most savings, the benefit is usually only offered as a one-time use throughout the year. A benefit plan is the extended coverage that may be offered for unique situations such as early replacement of lost glasses or eyewear for certain eye condition.
A discount plan comes with a lower premium and offers lower savings at the time of your visit. It guarantees you a percentage off the practice’s retail price for exams and eyewear. Most discount plans don’t put a cap on how often you can cause these discounts throughout the year. Knowing the difference can help you calculate your savings from the actual benefit versus your savings from the higher/ lower premium.
- Know your vision benefit frequency
Find out if your benefits are reset every calendar year, or by last service date. Unlike most medical insurance plans, vision plans often don’t require you to meet a deductible. So, the benefit frequency doesn’t necessarily follow that of your medical plan. Knowing this will help you better plan out how to make the most of your benefits and allowances.
- Know your physicians network for both vision and medical
Vision benefit is usually used for a routine exam. But a visit to treat pink eye, glaucoma testing, or cataract surgery would be considered medical. your Vision panel of doctors may not always be within your medical network panel, so be sure to coordinate accordingly to minimize any out of pocket expenses, should you ever need to have a medical eye visit.
It is important to evaluate and understand services being offered when you choose a vision insurance plan. Call Benefit Specialists today to find out how vision insurance can help you.
Consumer Driven Health Care, CDHC has seen a considerable growth in the past decade. It includes greater acceptance of consumer driven health care and related products by both employers and employees. Thus, making these plans and the associated products such as health savings accounts viable option for millions.
The development of consumer driven health care system has changed the benefits industry as an attractive option for small employers or individual as a way to control costs, is now a main benefit. Large employers looking to curb rising premiums while driving employee engagement and responsibility for health care choices.
According to America’s Health Insurance Plan, the number of people with Health Saving Account (HAS) coverage rose to more than 12.5 million up from 11.4 million in January 2011. In 2013, companies have seen record-breaking HSA numbers. Earlier this year, UMB said that its HSA balances savings account grew 55 percent in the past year reaching $615 million as of January 31.
CDHC’s biggest accomplishment has been getting consumers more invested and involved in their own health care. UMB health care explains that in a CDHC plan, the patient is now the center of the health care decision process engaging with providers to make a plan for a coordinated and cost-conscious care. This model pushes providers to focus on providing less sick care and more well-being care.
The research by Cigna, a Global Health Insurance and Health Service Company, showed that when customers in traditional Preferred Provider Organization, PPO and Health Maintenance Organization, HMO plans were compared, those in a CDHP both lowered their risks while reducing total medical costs. They were more likely to access cost and procedure in wellness programs and health assessments, and were 59 percent more likely to access cost and procedure information to help them review potential medical costs. The shift towards bringing consumers to the forefront of their case is vital to make the country’s health care system work.
The U.S. population is aging rapidly, with projections that the population of those over age 65 will nearly double by the time the last baby boomers reach age 65. In 2000, seniors comprised 12 percent of the U.S. population. By 2030, that number is expected to rise to 19 percent or 72 million Americans over the age of 65. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services projections estimate that 70 percent of Americans who reach the age of 65 will need some form of long-term care in their lives for an average of three years. With the aging population come important social and public policy questions about preparing for and providing quality long-term care.
The Associated Press-NORC Center conducted a national survey of Americans 40 or over to contribute rigorous and highly relevant research to this policy problem. With a focus on understanding the experiences and attitudes of this population as they begin to plan for their own care and interact with the long-term care system to provide care for loved ones, we examine their understanding of the long-term care system, their perceptions and misperceptions regarding the likelihood of needing long-term care services and of the cost of those services, and their attitudes and behaviors regarding planning for long-term care.
With a focus on generating new and actionable data about this population to inform the national dialogue surrounding long-term care issues, The AP-NORC Center, funded by The SCAN Foundation, conducted 1,019 interviews with a nationally representative sample of adults who are at least 40 years old.
- Although Americans 40 years or older report several concerns about aging and losing their independence, they are not taking actions to plan for their own long-term care needs. Only 41 percent of this population has taken the important first step of discussing their preferences for long-term care with their families and only 35 percent have set aside money to pay for their long-term care needs.
- There are widespread misperceptions among those 40 or over surrounding the costs of long-term care services, with significant proportions of the population underestimating the costs of nursing home care and overestimating the role of Medicare in paying for that care.
- The survey reveals majority support among Americans 40 or older for some public policy options for financing long-term care. This includes bipartisan support for tax incentives to encourage individual saving for long-term care expenses.
- Americans 40 or over count on their families to be there for them as they age, but those who are currently receiving long-term care or who have received it in the past are less likely to believe they can rely on their family in a time of need.
To view the full article and detailed survey result, click here.
Call Benefit Specialist for a better understanding of long-term care and to learn how you can save yourself from having to deal with last minute long-term care planning.
Long-term care policies have only been offered on a large scale since the 1980s, which means the providers are realizing that more people hold on to their policies until they can file a claim. Years of rock bottom interest rates have kept the long-term care insurance providers from earning a decent return on policies whose benefits increase three to five percent. And that could make it more difficult, or expensive for individuals to get a policy.
A number of long-term care providers have left the business and others are hiking up the rates. Companies are also starting to differentiate among potential customers in new ways to ensure that premiums better reflect policyholders’ risk profiles.
According to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, insurance companies didn’t understand hoe gender differences would play out when they first issued the policies. But now that they have realized that women get two-thirds of the benefits, long-term care insurance providers have already begun charging single women more for policies.
Some long-term care insurance providers have started drawing blood to undertake their own analysis of applicants’ health in deciding whether the applicant qualifies for the policy. Insurers have their own medical professional to conduct evaluations of applicants’ insurability, instead of relying on outside doctors’ exams.
The changes in long-term care insurance raises questions like do you want a plan whose value grows slowly, or not at all? Or do you want to pay more for greater policy protection against health care inflation? Should you take out a pricy policy now? Paying more premiums over your lifetime. Or gamble that you will stay healthy enough to qualify in a year or two?
Patrice Goldfarb, a certified senior adviser and an employee benefits consultant, is adamant on the need for single women to jump in before rates go up. But in general, experts say, whether to buy long-term care insurance now depends on your tolerance for financial risk, and your net worth.
Researchers have found prices of high-end long-term care plans – those with protection against inflation of up to 3 percent – varied by as much as 92 percent.
Wealthy individuals can also opt to self-insure – to plan on shouldering their long-term care costs themselves. But be prepared to spend big. A recent Met Life study pegged the cost of a private room in a nursing home in New Jersey at $123,000 per year
Benefit Specialists is here to guide you and provide you all the information you need. Call us today at 701-492-7372 to find out if long-term care is right for you.
A good dental insurance
will cover for preventative dental care such as fluoride treatments and professional dental
cleanings, or diagnostic treatment like X-rays.
Choose your dental insurance
provider smartly so that all your basic dental
care is covered through insurance so you don’t have to deal with out of pocket costs.
Your dental insurance
can cover even up to 50% of the overall expenses when you need dental
crowns inlays, on lays, bridges, or partial/full dentures.
For major dental
services, there is generally a waiting period of up to 12 months until it will offer any coverage.
cavity fillings, dental restorations, root canal treatments, gum disease treatment or even extractions can be covered by your insurance in proportion of up to 80%. The waiting period for these basic dental
treatments with insurance is approximately 6 months.
You will need to pay a small deductible, so instead of paying $150 for a cavity filling, you will need to pay only $30 + the slight deductible.
When you choose a family dental insurance
, choose one with orthodontic coverage, so if the time comes when your child needs braces, you insurance might even cover 50% of the costs.
The waiting period for orthodontic care is about 24 months. Even though the wait period is long, in the long run it can be very cost effective.
Orthodontic treatment can be very expensive, and if you don’t have the right coverage, you will have to pay out of pocket costs of even $6000 for the dental
braces that your family needs.
For help in choosing the best dental insurance for you and your family, call Benefit Specialists at 701-492-7372 to meet with one of our professional consultants.
Enrollment in dental benefit plans has been progressively rebounding since 2009 when enrollment rates took a big hit because of high unemployment caused by the recession, according to the National Association of Dental Plans, NAPD.
A 2012 report by the NAPD and the Delta Dental Plans Association showed that there were about 176 million people, or 57 percent of the U.S. population, enrolled in a dental benefit plan in 2011. That represents an increase of a half of a percentage point.
The most popular type of dental plan is dental preferred provider organization, which makes up nearly three-fourths of the market. The dental insurance market was valued at $38.6 billion in 2010, according to the NAPD.
More employers, especially smaller employers, are offering dental benefit plans. Costs are shared by employer and employee in 66 percent of the plans and paid for by employees only in about a quarter of the plans, according to NAPD figures. There is a continued rebounding in enrollment levels and there has been strong price competition due to the number of carriers. It’s typical for there to be 20 to 30 carriers in a particular state which constructs a lot of competition.
The vision market has been booming with the number of employers that offer vision plans that has doubled since 1994, with more than half of all companies providing a vision care benefit in 2011.
It’s a popular benefit among employees as more and more people need glasses every day. When employers were asked about the benefit plan they wanted to add after medical, vision was second after dental so there is an opportunity for growth.
And it’s not just older employees who appreciate vision-care benefits. Employers tend to think that their older employees value vision benefits more than younger employees because they are more likely to need glasses, but that assumption is incorrect. Using [age] 40 as a dividing line, both groups value it equally—65 percent for both. That speaks as to how enduring these benefits are.
For help in choosing the best dental and vision insurance plan, call Benefit Specialists at 701-492-7372 to meet with one of our professional consultants.
The Federal Reserve’s plans to keep interest rates low for the foreseeable future mean thatsome holders of long-term care insurance
haven’t seen the last of increases in their premiums. But if you are notified of your increased rate in the near future, you have more flexibility than you think to respond to it.
Your insurance premiums are tied in part to interest rates. When rates are low, insurers see a lower rate of return on their reserves, which can result in investment shortfalls and, thus, premium hikes. Some policyholders in recent years have seen the annual cost of their coverage jump 50% or more.
According to an article in the current issue of the Journal Financial Planning, if you are facing an increase in your premium, there are choices than paying the premium or getting rid of the insurance policy.
Some of the alternative options to deal with hike in long-term care insurance care include keeping the current premium, say from $250 a day to $200 a day and reducing the policy’s benefit period, say from 5 years to four years, and/or keeping the current premium and reducing the policy’s benefits inflation rate.
A lot of people decide its best to keep their policy and pay the new premium increases because the existing policies are still much less expensive than a new coverage would cost today.
If the new premium proves unaffordable, the next best step for many might be to reduce the benefit period – especially if the original policy covers five years or more of care because an average long-term care insurance claim period is only about 2.8 years, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.
Even though the increase in premiums have been upsetting, insurance providers want the clients to understand that with this increase, companies are not trying to make up for lost profits but trying to keep the company solvent to pay policy owners.
Nearly 70% employers offer a group legal plan to improve employee benefit solutions, while 44% and 32% respectively, did so to boost employee loyalty/retention or for competitive reasons. This result was shown in a recent industry survey conducted by SourceMedia, the parent company of Employee Benefit News for Hyatt Legal Plans, the nation’s largest legal voluntary benefits provider.
These survey findings support the experience of customers that include Sprint, Interpublic Group, and PepsiCo etc. and research done within the past year by the federal government, American Management Association, Society of Human Resource Management, Towers Watson and Metlife. Most of the studies project up to one-third of the employers expecting to see an increase in voluntary turnover in 2013.
Measuring the ROI
About 40% of Fortune 500 companies across various business segments now offer legal plan benefits. The American Bar Association estimates that 71% of Americans have at least one new or ongoing legal issue each year.
Hyatt Legal Plans found that the most popular service were:
Planning wills and estate document (26%)
Family matter (22%)
Home purchase and sales (17%)
Credit problems (17%)
Consumer matters (16%)
Civil litigation (16%)
The survey also discovered that the value of legal plans is recognized from one year to the next, with 93% of respondents saying they plan to keep legal plan benefits offering and 64% describing it as one of the easiest voluntary benefits to administer. However, 70% of the respondents aren’t measuring the return on investment (ROI).
Assessing quality and cost
To ensure quality, it is important to screen new law firms and re-credential attorneys every year. Hyatt Legal Plans’ extensive selection criteria and attorney code of excellence, as well as commitment to resolve complaints about network attorneys, whose average panel tenure is 8.74 years, within 48 hours.
Hyatt Legal Plan enrollees pay just $18 per month on average to access a national network of attorneys, whereas those without access to voluntary benefits spend $290 per hour an average for legal counsel.
Nearly 70 percent of Americans aged 65 or older are expected to need long term care at some point, and they turn to long term care insurance to help them cover its high costs. However, those that are planning to get long term care insurance may not be able to afford it.
The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) is expecting a need to raise premiums by 85 percent within the next two years. Private insurance companies like CNA Financial and Manulife Financial (MFC) have gotten approval from California Insurance Department to raise their long term care premiums by 40 to 45 percent.
Insurance companies have been struggling to build up the loss reserves they need to pay out claims due to low interest rates and weak investment returns.
And with long term care insurance often extending for decades, the assumptions that insurance companies make about what returns they’ll be able to earn are even more important than on other types of policies, such as homeowners’ insurance.
At the same time, health-care costs have continued to rise. The same factors that are making it problematic for the federal government to ensure Medicare’s continued stability are hitting long term care insurance providers. Private insurers face the added handicap of having a smaller pool of available revenue and financial reserves to draw from.
Insurance companies also over estimated the number of people who would let their insurance policies lapse over years.
Insurance companies like MetLife and Prudential have decided to stop selling long term care insurance policies due the challenges associated with the necessity of big premium increases.
One of the biggest mistakes that the professionals at CalPERS made was in failing to fully take into account how rising life expectancies would affect the actual cost of coverage. CalPERS is now offering policy benefits that cover long term care payouts for between three and 10 years as a lower-cost alternative to lifetime coverage.
Call Benefit Specialists at (701) 492-7372 for more information on long term care.
The Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury (the Departments) issued joint proposed regulations on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s prohibition of waiting periods of longer than 90 days for group health plans on March 18th.
For plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2014, the proposed regulations provide that group health plans and insurance providers are prohibited from applying a waiting period of longer than 90 calendar days for employees and their dependents who are otherwise eligible to participate in a group health plan.
In addition, the regulation will be imposing a 90-day waiting period where coverage begins on the first day of the month following the expiration of such waiting period is no longer permissible, as the total waiting time for employees and dependents would exceed 90 calendar days. Group health plans containing such provisions would need to be amended prior to the start of the 2014 plan year. To avoid potential mid-month plan entry dates for employees and their dependents, a plan may apply for a shorter waiting period (such as 60 days).
While a plan will need to make coverage available to employees and their dependents within 90 days, the proposed regulations do not penalize plans if an employee or dependent delays the election to participate in the plan beyond such 90-day period.
Group health plans and insurance providers are still able to condition eligibility on factors other than the passage of time (such as whether an employee meets specific sales goals or reaches specified commission levels) if the condition is not imposed to circumvent the 90-day rule. The proposed regulations also have outlined special rules that apply to variable-hour employees when a specified number of hours of service per period is a plan eligibility condition.
For more information, go to http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/90dayreg.pdf
For advice on how group health plans work, call Benefit Specialists today for a consultation.
What does vision care insurance cover?
Vision care insurance usually pays for the following basic services:
- A yearly eye examination, including refraction to check your vision
- Eyeglass lenses
- Eyeglass frames
- Contact lenses
- LASIK and PRK vision correction procedures at a discounted rate
Your specific vision insurance plan may have a limit (such as every two years) on how often it will pay for lenses and frames.
Where Can I Buy Vision Care Insurance if I Can’t Get It From an Employer?
Similar to dental insurance, you may be able to purchase vision care coverage through a local business group, college alumni association, fraternal organization, or religious group. If you are over 65, you may have a vision care benefit if you are part of a Medicare Advantage Plan.
Should I Buy Vision Care Insurance?
If you wear corrective lenses and need periodic eye exams and changes in your eye lens prescription, it may be worthwhile to purchase vision care insurance. If you do not currently wear or need glasses, you may be able to get a periodic eye exam through your regular health insurance plan.
When you purchase vision insurance, whether it is a benefits package or a discount plan, you buy two products:
- Access to a network of eye care providers who have agreed to provide services and/or products at reduced prices (either to you or to the company administering the plan). These providers typically are optometrists and general ophthalmologist. In some cases, ophthalmologists who are refractive surgeons and provide LASIK and other vision correction procedures may be included.
- Specific eye care services and products, such as eye exams, eyeglasses and contact lenses. Therefore, when choosing a vision insurance plan, you need to evaluate both the eye care provider and the services being offered.
For more information regarding vision care insurance, call Benefit Specialists at (701) 492-7372.
Purchasing travel insurance is always a good idea if you are going on a trip overseas. Having travel insurance makes it easier to receive health care while you are in a foreign country, makes it easier to get your belongings replaced if they are lost or even get you home if your travel plans are interrupted.
- Nearly $2 billion worth of travel insurance products were purchased in 2010. That represents the most current year where figures are available. A whopping 94 percent of the insurance products being purchased are related to travel interruptions. Medical coverage and evacuation coverage was also a popular insurance product being purchased for trips overseas.
- There are many options when it comes to purchasing trip insurance. While most people still buy their insurance from a traditional broker, the Internet is becoming a popular tool for buying coverage as well comprising almost one third of sales made in 2010.
- Being medically evacuated out of a foreign country could cost a fortune. Therefore, traveling in a country that is experiencing a disease outbreak can be costly as well as put an early end to your trip. 64 percent of travelers said that their health and safety were the most important consideration when deciding where to travel.
Purchasing trip insurance is a great idea if you are traveling a long distance for a business trip or just to go on vacation. If anything were to happen to you, it is comforting to know that you are taken care of financially. The last thing you want is to be stranded in a strange city without your clothes or suffering from a medical condition. Therefore, make sure you have your travel insurance covered before you leave for your next trip.
For more on regarding travel and insurance, call Benefit Specialists at (701) 492-7372.
More companies these days are turning to voluntary benefits to bolster business and empower employees. Nearly six out of 10 companies agree that voluntary benefits are a significant part of their benefits strategy.
According to MetLife’s 11th annual report on “Study of Employee Benefits Trends”, 58 percent of employers say that voluntary benefits are a “significant benefits strategy”. The sentiment is most pronounced among businesses with more than 500 employers: Nearly three-quarters of these firms view voluntary benefits as an important aspect of their businesses.
Among the employees that were surveyed, 51 percent said that employer-paid life, dental and disability benefits influenced their decision to join their employer and stay with them. 45 percent employees view voluntary life, dental and disability benefits as key to their decision to join their employer and 47 percent stay with their employer for the same reason.
The survey also revealed that 62 percent of surveyed employees want their employers to diversify their voluntary benefit. This desire is most pronounced among young workers: 70 percent of Gen Y employees and 67 percent of Gen X employees.
Challenging economy has amplified employee interest in benefits that meet personal and diverse needs. 77 percent of employees value benefits geared to their individual circumstances; voluntary products allows them to customize their benefits program.
Benefit Specialist can guide you to the right benefits plan for you and your company. Call us today at (800) 383-6375and let us help you.
Long-term care has been a hot topic these days and a growing concern for baby boomers and their parents. Purchasing a long-term care insurance might be out of the question to some, especially when finances are tight and when people don’t foresee themselves needing one. However, even though long-term care insurance is not for everyone, it is important to have a good understanding of what it is.
All of us have probably come across people that are not getting proper care and have a tough living condition due to lack of resources. The last thing you want is bigger responsibilities to take care of yourself when you are facing physical and/ or mental health problems. You might have a spouse that you expect to take care of you when you are in need, but taking care of another person’s daily personal care, keeping up with the house, appointments, daily chores and picking up your slack is not an easy chore; certainly not for someone that is in their later years. It is also not wise to count on family members to step in every time you need something, since they might not be available all the time.
It is understandable that no one wants to think about having to rely on someone to just do the simplest routine of everyday life but life is uncertain. People that are taking advantage of long-term care insurance live a less stressful and at ease lifestyle. Some people might have more profligate long-term care than the others, but either way, the extra help around the house keeps life’s challenges at bay.
We have adapted the way of equipping ourselves for the future through insurance, that’s why we insure out health, homes, vehicles, and our lives. You might take a step back from long-term care because of the idea of relying on the uncertainty of insurance, but you will be pleasantly surprised at how much the policy will cost you each month and the wide range of support it has to offer. So it is important to plan and talk to someone about long-term care insurance policy and its finances unless you have a reliable nest egg.
At Benefit Specialists, we are more than happy to assist and guide you to the right direction when you need some help with making long-term care insurance decisions. Call us at (701) 492-7372 to talk to a specialist today.
How is your company tapping healthy and fun spin at work? American Psychological Association’s (APA) has provided some great examples of how companies are providing employee assistance to reduce the level of stress of its employees.
The APA awarded its 2013 Psychologically Healthy Workplace awards to companies who showed that they valued their employees by providing employee assistance program that everyone loves. The employees in these companies had almost half of the average rate of employees reporting chronic work stress, 19 percent compared to the national average of 35 percent. These employees also showed greater employee satisfaction due the employee assistance program made available and less likely to look for a new job.
According to the APA, these companies took a comprehensive approach by avoiding a quick fix. These companies targeted several areas that affect an employee’s level of stress. The winners offered wellness programs that included full health insurance benefits as well as programs that provide or reimburse for physical fitness and mental wellness activities.
Bowers + Kubota, Hawaii
Work-Life Balance: Consulting in Hawaii offers flex time and telecommuting. They allow employees to bring children to work and take leave when necessary. Instead of a sick leave, the company offers a paid time off, which encourages employees to use it when needed. Employees can earn one extra day of PTO for doing community service.
Employee Recognition: This Company presents occasional on-the-spot bonuses to employees who exceed expectations. If the company is doing well, it pays bonuses twice a year in addition to its 401k matching, profit-sharing and cost-of-living raises.
Helen F. Graham Cancer Center’s Cancer Management Department, Delaware
Employee involvement: Each year, prior to their annual retreat, the staffs respond to survey that covers issues related to leadership, team effectiveness, communications and work satisfaction. Then the retreat organizers choose topics and exercises based on the survey responses. Employees are included in decisions, changes and initiatives to their respective department.
Triple-S, Puerto Rico
Employee Growth and Development: In this company, employees can take part in a Leadeship Development Academy, which includes courses on leadership, emotional intelligence, time management, conflict resolutions and other leadership skills. The course gives them tools and resources to better manage their demands.
Do you think you are making an effort to create employee satisfaction by providing the right employee assistance? If you are the employee, make sure to utilize the employee assistance programs that your company is providing. According to Ballard, only 36 percent of employees say they participate in their companies’ health and wellness programs.
Learn more about Employee Assistance by contacting Benefit Specialist at (800) 383-6375. Remember, a company’s values and its corporate culture can have a huge impact on the level of stress of its employees.
Choosing long-term care is a very important decision. Even though the current headlines regarding long-term care insurance was not that encouraging, you should plan and think about it long before a crisis occurs. According to Genworth Financial Inc., the nation’s largest seller of long-term care coverage, they are suspending sales of individual policies in California as it seeks regulatory approval for a new product, one with higher prices.
The cost can run as high as $4,000 a year, or more, depending on a policy’s features, your age and, in growing cases, your gender, which gives many people a pause.
Facilities: A long-term care policy should cover a range of facilities that includes nursing homes, assisted-living centers, adult day care and hospices. Some newer policies reimburse for at-home care.
Eligibility: To be eligible for a long-term care policy, a person has to face challenges carrying out daily living activities like eating, bathing and dressing. Some policies requires a person to be unable to perform six functions before the benefits can take effect while others might require only three.
Benefits: A policy might not give as much benefits as you are expecting. It covers a percentage of certain costs or a percentage of “usual and customary” charges. If you have a coverage that is designed to pay a fixed amount per month, you could end up receiving less if your insurers determines that some expenses aren’t covered.
Affordability: One rule of thumb when it comes to long-term care policy is that premiums should account no more than 7% of your income; otherwise you can’t afford them. You can reduce the cost by choosing a policy that pays for a certain years of care, since most stays in care facilities don’t last more than three years.
Contact Benefit Specialist at (701) 492-7372 if you have questions regarding long-term insurance policies today.