The CheckPoint HR Blog

Innovative New Benefit Programs Help Keep Overall Health Costs Stable

Posted by Jennifer Camacho on Wed, Jan 23, 2013

According to data from a report recently released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on National Health Expenditures, the spending growth has remained stable between 3.9 and 4.2 percent for four consecutive years, 2009 - 2012. Furthermore, health spending is projected to continue to grow modestly at 3.8 percent in 2013.

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Topics: health care costs, human resource management system, benefits administration, healthcare costs, Health Insurance Plans for Mid-Sized Businesses, CheckPoint Choice, National Health Expenditures, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Healthcare Financial Management Association

Health Care Costs Rose 4.1% in 2012

Posted by Bill Faughnan on Tue, Nov 20, 2012

The cost of employee health benefits rose 4.1 percent this year, but is the smallest increase in the last 15 years. In comparison to 2011, the growth slowed 6.1 percent, according to the National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans conducted by Mercer annually. A 5.0 percent increase is expected for 2013. As 2014 nears and the impact of the Affordable Care Act becomes a reality, employers are recognizing the possibility of added costs as they are asked to cover more employees. The slow growth rate in 2012 can be contributed to this, as more employers attempt to rein in spending in preparation for health care reform. Employers across the country have implemented wellness programs, altered benefit plans or moved to consumer-directed health plans such as Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) to help keep costs down.

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Topics: health care costs

Health Care Premiums Expected to Increase

Posted by Jennifer Camacho on Fri, Oct 5, 2012

Over the past year, employers in the U.S. saw the lowest health care premium rate increases in six years. However, recent findings from Aon Hewitt predict average health care premium increases could jump up to 6.3% nationwide. Additionally, the average health care costs per employee are expected to increase to $11,188, up from $10,522 in 2012 and $10,034 in 2011.

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Topics: employee benefits, health care, Benefits, wellness program, health care costs, health insurance premiums, health benefits, Consumer-directed health plans, Aon Hewitt findings

Health Care Costs to Reach Double Digits

Posted by Bill Faughnan on Thu, Jul 5, 2012

A new study on medical costs conducted by Towers Watson found that health care costs are rising around the world at double-digit levels. Even with health care reform coming into full effect, these rising costs are expected to continue. According to findings from the survey, global employee medical benefits are estimated to rise by 9.6% this year. In the U.S., medical costs are expected to reach double-digit figures. In an attempt to curb these costs, many employers are implanting wellness programs. Some may eventually pass the costs on to employees through higher health care premiums.

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Topics: health care, health care costs, healthcare costs

Five Percent of Americans Responsible for Half of Nation’s Healthcare Spend

Posted by Bill Faughnan on Wed, Jan 18, 2012

In 2009, Americans spent $1.26 trillion on healthcare. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, that number rounds out to about $90,000 per person. A recent federal study found that a mere 1% of Americans accounted for 22% of healthcare costs in the same year. The report also found that around one in five healthcare consumers were among the top 1% of spenders for at least two years in a row. In other words, half of the US population spends very little on health care.

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Topics: Health Care Reform, employee benefits, health care, health care costs, health reform law

New W-2 Health Care Guidelines from the IRS

Posted by Bill Faughnan on Thu, Jun 9, 2011

On March 29, 2011 the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued new guidelines on W-2 reporting of health care costs, which will provide relief for small business who are filing less than 250 forms. For the tax year of 2012, the filing requirement for small businesses is now voluntary and will remain optional until further IRS guidelines are issued by the IRS in 2013. Employers with250 or more employees must report the individual health insurance costs of those employeed W-2s.

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Topics: health care costs, w-2 health care guidelines

Health Insurance Plans for Mid-Sized Businesses – Reviewing Your Options

Posted by Bill Faughnan on Wed, Mar 30, 2011

Health insurance plans vary in their benefits and costs depending upon a number of factors.  One factor is the size of the business purchasing the plan.  In most cases, federal or state laws consider a small business to be one with fewer than fifty employees.  More than fifty, and it is considered either a mid-sized business or a large business, depending upon the state.  There are numerous excellent health insurance plans for mid-sized businesses, and choosing the right one involves reviewing your options and selecting the one that fits your needs the best.

One common choice, and usually the best option of all the health insurance plans for mid-sized businesses, is group health insurance.  Unlike other plans, these plans insure an entire group of people as a whole, spreading out the risks among them.  In most cases, individual health forms from each employee are not required although a set of health related questions may need to be filled out.  Since the premiums and risks are shared through the group, the premium payments are usually lower since the risks that the health insurance company incurs are less overall.  However, coverage can actually be denied if too many of your employees have serious medical conditions or high risk factors.

Another option is to look into shared risk health insurance plans for mid-sized businesses.  These insurance policies can help lower an employer's premium payments even more by allowing the employer to take on a percentage of the risks associated with the plan.  If a claim is filed, for example, the employer may have to cover a percentage of the costs before insurance coverage would kick in and pick up the remainder of the bill.  Again, coverage isn't guaranteed, but for a company looking to find cost-effective health insurance plans for mid-sized businesses, sharing the risks in an insurance plan may be the best option at the time.

Comparing health insurance plans for mid-sized businesses involves a few different things.  One important thing to look into is what kind of charge the plan involves.  The two basic types of fees involved in health insurance plans for mid-sized businesses are age based and composite.  With a composite fee, the premium charge per employee is a flat rate regardless of their age.  With age based health insurance plans for mid-sized businesses, the fees will vary depending upon the age of each individual employee.  This is important, especially for businesses with many older employees.

Employees may end up contributing to the premium payments involved with health insurance plans for mid-sized businesses.  While many companies pay all of the costs on their own, some split the cost with their employees, who have a percentage of their checks deducted each pay period to pay for their share of the insurance.  On rare occasions, health insurance plans for mid-sized businesses will require employees to pay all of the costs but enjoy a tax benefits and discounted rate.  Whatever option you select, there are plenty of health insurance plans for mid-sized businesses to choose from.  You're certain to find the right one for your company with just a little effort.

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Topics: employee benefits, health care, health care costs, benefits broker, Health Insurance Plans for Mid-Sized Businesses

Controlling Health Care Costs – Five Quick Tips

Posted by Bill Faughnan on Tue, Mar 22, 2011

All businesses want to be able to offer their employees great benefits.  Health insurance is the most sought after type of benefit that potential employees look for when seeking employment.  But for businesses of any size, the cost of insurance can be more than they expected.  Controlling health care costs is an important aspect of providing employees with insurance.  By considering a few steps, a business can still provide their employees with insurance benefits but lower the amount they have to pay for it.  And insurance isn't just the only factor.  Employee absences due to illness and workers compensation can also hurt your budget.  Here are five things you can consider implementing for controlling health care costs in your business.

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Topics: Health Care Reform, employee benefits, health care, Benefits, health care costs, benefits broker

Five Healthcare Benefit Trends to Consider

Posted by Shannon Cortina on Tue, Mar 15, 2011

Employers are always looking for innovative ways to balance the needs of their workforce but now in a post- Health Care Reform era this becomes even more important. One thing is for certain, employers must work with a trusted advisor to ensure they sustain an optimal benefits program.

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Topics: Health Care Reform, health care, human resources, benefits strategy, health care costs, benefits broker, health reform law

Voluntary Benefits: How Small Businesses Can Take Advantage

Posted by Bill Faughnan on Tue, Feb 15, 2011

It's often difficult for small businesses to maintain the delicate balance between what the business needs to succeed and what employees need to succeed.

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Topics: Health Care Reform, employee benefits, health care, Benefits, benefits strategy, health care costs, benefits broker, voluntary benefits, health and wellness