4 Ways to Make This Year’s Open Enrollment Your Best Ever

4 Ways to Make This Year’s Open Enrollment Your Best Ever

As open enrollment approaches for most companies, you might be dreading this time of year. Just as Q4 quotas stare you and your people in the face and the stress of the holiday season creeps in, you also have the burden of deciding on benefits decisions for the entire year. Have no fear! Not only can navigating open enrollment be relatively simple and straightforward, it’s actually an opportunity to streamline your operations while improving your value proposition to current and future employees of your ...

Employee Benefits 101 – 7 Steps to a Better Benefits Strategy

Employee Benefits 101 – 7 Steps to a Better Benefits Strategy

The following list will outline key considerations to make your benefits strategy more powerful: KNOW YOUR WHY WHY are you offering benefits? Is it to attract and retain talent? Is it out of a desire for your employees to live healthy lives? To make your employees feel valued? The answers to these questions, and their order of importance, as viewed by your management, will shape what plans you choose, how you communicate the options and value of these plans, and ultimately how your employees view and use ...

5 Things The ACA Got Right (In Plain English)

5 Things The ACA Got Right (In Plain English)

"A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing." - Oscar Wilde, in Lady Windermere's Fan In the recent wake of criticisms of our nation’s healthcare, it can be easy to give into cynicism. And with a subject as critical and emotional as our health, it’s easy to understand why this could be. After all, we’re talking about the most important asset we’ll have on this earth. Not just that, our spouses, our children, our friends… Are ...

A Low Cost, High Value Approach to Attracting And Retaining Top Talent

A Low Cost, High Value Approach to Attracting And Retaining Top Talent

The Goal: In the world of HR and employee benefits, we hear a phrase repeated over and over… “Attracting and retaining top talent”. What can your company do to attract great employees, while at the same time, keeping them performing and engaged for the long haul? While this article isn’t going to tackle every factor involved in achieving this goal, I am going to focus on a very important part of the equation: Compensation. If you were to ask your employees what factors are most important ...

Anthem Blue Cross EPO for 2017: What Nobody’s Talking About

Anthem Blue Cross EPO for 2017: What Nobody’s Talking About

Anthem has taken a lot of heat for their recent transition from PPO to EPO... And it's easy to understand why. When your family's health coverage is about to change, this isn't something most peolple take lightly... For good reason! We are, after all, talking about the health and welfare of you and your family. Like a lot of things, however, change isn't always as disruptive as it may seem initially. In this post, we're going to clarify the basics of this transition, and ...

Prescription Pricing: 5 Ways To Keep Costs Low!

Prescription Pricing: 5 Ways To Keep Costs Low!

According to most estimates, about 60 to 70% of Americans are taking some form of prescribed medication in a given year. (Sources: healthline.com and Washington Post) Among those prescribed, many rely on reduced pricing, available through their health insurance plan. While most prescription drug users are "safe", and purchase medications covered under a carrier's pharmaceutical formulary list, there are most definitely exceptions. Many enroll in plans without first considering whether or not a necessary medication is covered... Or even worse, enroll in a plan featuring reduced ...

Understanding ACA Reporting – Helpful Tips and Links to Keep Your Sanity!

Understanding ACA Reporting – Helpful Tips and Links to Keep Your Sanity!

Dealing with ACA reporting can be a huge pain... If you've dealt with fulfilling your forms 1094-C and 1095-C requirements, you know exactly what I mean. In the best case, it takes a ton of time and headache... In the worst case, you could be facing some substantial fines and penalties for not complying. For these reasons, among many others, HR managers and C-Level directors are turning to ACA reporting and compliance vendors to get their yearly reporting completed and submitted. As with ...

Zenefits and the Employee Benefits Advisor Role

Zenefits and the Employee Benefits Advisor Role

  Reading through a recent article on bloomberg.com by Claire Suddath and Eric Newcomer, I cant help but laugh… First, a little background: Our firm, SCI & Associates, is a Santa Clarita (Los Angeles), based employee benefits advisor, specializing in employee benefits strategy, online enrollment, and compliance for groups between 5-500 employees. In early 2013, our team could sense a change was coming... The employee benefits space had rested in its laurels for far too long, and we knew that major disruption was going to force ...

5 Mistakes that Will Ruin Your Performance Reviews

5 Mistakes that Will Ruin Your Performance Reviews A big part of running a successful company is pushing your employees to give their best. Simply telling them to do well is meaningless if you don’t give regular feedback on how to do that and track performance. That’s why the performance review process is so important. Properly engineered, performance reviews can help companies foster a culture of continuous improvement. They also help alleviate tension from some of HR’s biggest challenges.According to Bersin by ...

4 Key Takaways: Benefits Technology Podcast with TechnologyAdvice

4 Key Takaways: Benefits Technology Podcast with TechnologyAdvice

Nolan Waterfall, an ‎Agent at SCI & Associates, was a recent guest on the TechnologyAdvice Expert Interview Series. The series, which is hosted by TechnologyAdvice’s Josh Bland, explores a variety of business and technology landscapes through conversations with industry leaders. In this episode, we discuss HR technology, compliance, and benefits funding strategy.   Below are Nolan Waterfall’s four biggest insights from the conversation. The healthcare industry in our country is lagging behind. I'm sure you're aware that it's very expensive. We are the ...

PODCAST: The Future of Benefits Technology

PODCAST: The Future of Benefits Technology

The employee benefits space has seen an unprecedented amount of change in the last few years. Rising expenses, increasing regulation, and the increasing role of health and wellness have all brought new challenges to companies offering employee benefits. But what's the key to dealing with all this? Technology. Amidst the changing health and regulatory landscape, employers simply must use the right technology platforms to streamline their HR operations. This means automating what you can, getting rid of paper, and engaging your employees both online, and via mobile ...

Why offer benefits? Your employees don’t even know what they have…

Why offer benefits? Your employees don’t even know what they have…

Ok... Maybe that's a little melodramatic, but consider this: Your company invests considerable money to provide health insurance and other benefits to employees. So far, so good. There’s a problem though. What if the return on investment isn't there? After all, many employees don’t really understand the value of their medical plan, and don't even know how it works. Why? Because the plan information was never presented to them in a way they understand. Now, if employees don’t know how their plan works, or appreciate the value of that plan, ...

Affordable Care Act: The Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Subsidies

Affordable Care Act: The Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Subsidies

  On June 25, 2015, the Supreme Court upheld the availability of tax credits (subsidies) in all 50 states under the Affordable Care Act. The court affirmed in a 6 – 3 vote that the language in the Affordable Care Act allows the government to help people buy insurance (through subsidies or tax credits) anywhere in the country and not only in states that have established their own insurance exchanges, or Marketplaces. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority. Justices Scalia, ...

Self Funding: Risk vs. Reward

Self Funding: Risk vs. Reward

Self Funding has been around a while, yet is seldom talked about. With many firms saving $1000's each year by adopting a self-funded benefits strategy, it seems strange that this is the case... (More on this later) Starting with the basics: In a typical benefits arrangement, a company offers a selection of medical plans to employees. Under this arrangement, the employee can choose to enroll in a "sponsored" plan, and benefit from a discount: The portion of the plan, paid for by the employer. At ...

Covered California: 3 Key Issues to Consider Before Taking the Plunge

Covered California: 3 Key Issues to Consider Before Taking the Plunge

Saving money is a good thing. But... We've all been the victim of a good deal gone wrong haven't we? You know what I’m talking about – You find something for a reduced price, and everything looks pretty good... Slowly but surely, however, you find youself investing more and more time to make it work.... Only to realize this wasn't the best decision after all... Your total investment (money, time, aggrivation...) has exceeded the value of the deal. Whether it's a used car, a cheap electronic gizmo, or even ...

The Federal Poverty Level: Do you qualify for a subsidy?

The Federal Poverty Level: Do you qualify for a subsidy?

As an individual seeking health coverage, you may qualify for subsidy assistance based on your income, relative to the Federal Poverty Level. What is the Federal Poverty Level? Quite simply, it is a range of incomes, compared with the number of people in a given household, which is then compared to the Federal poverty line. Once your income is compared to the "FPL", you can then see if you qualify for subsidy assistance on your coverage, when applied for within Covered California. (or ...

Covered CA:  FAQ’s to keep you sane through open enrollment!

Covered CA: FAQ’s to keep you sane through open enrollment!

It's hard to believe, but the state of California is at the leading edge of our nation's quest to implement the Afordable Care Act. Having said this, things are far from perfect, with many enrollees scratching their heads on a few key issues. Take a look at the following 9 KEY questions that EVERYONE should know before enrolling in coverage through Covered California. Q:  I'm currently covered with Covered CA, and am current on my bill... Do I need to do anything to ...

Is Staying Grandfathered The Way to Go?

Is Staying Grandfathered The Way to Go?

It's never been more difficult to manage one's health insurance than it is right now... Regardless of carrier, the Affordable Care Act has many individual policy holders scrambling to keep up. Constantly changing laws and ever shrinking networks have many people wondering when stability will be restored in the marketplace. All except grandfathered policy holders, that is. You see, as a grandfathered policy holder, many individuals have managed to stay "safe" from almost all of the recent turmoil in the marketplace. The reason? Grandfathered plans have not been ...

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