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What is Stop Loss Insurance?

Jeff Griffin

More and more companies are choosing to forego the traditional method of funding health insurance and are instead opting for a self-funded insurance program. 

For many companies, this is a great way to reduce expenses because the employer gets to drop any collected but unspent premiums to the bottom line. (In a fully-funded scenario that profit would go straight to the insurance company.) That said, self-funding is also a gamble, since an employer can also experience a plan year in which medical claims are higher than collected premiums.

This is where stop loss insurance comes into play.

What is Stop Loss Insurance?

Stop loss insurance is essentially insurance for an employer’s self-funded insurance plan (the technical term is Reinsurance or Excess Insurance). It caps the amount an employer would be responsible for paying in the event of a catastrophic claim, or series of catastrophic claims.

Stop loss caps come in many shapes and sizes and are typically driven by the risk tolerance of the company putting them in place. Stop loss insurance can prevent you from ending up in a number of financially dangerous situations because of employee illness or injury, including:

  • Decimating your budget (or your emergency reserves) for the year out of a need to cover employee healthcare costs.
  • Being unable to pay employee healthcare costs, then finding yourself being sued as a result.
  • Losing great employees due to the fact that you're no longer providing the coverage they expected (and used to receive) from their employer.
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Topics: Employee Benefits, Plan Design, self-funding, CHRO, Strategy, Risk Management

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Why Employee Benefits Might Finally Play a Role in Seasonal Hiring

David Rook

When most companies think of hiring seasonal workers, they’re not thinking about employee benefits. Most seasonal hires don’t qualify for benefits beyond that of an employee discount for a variety of reasons — they won’t be working for a long enough period of time (or enough hours) to qualify for healthcare, and employers don’t really need to entice them to stay onboard after the end-of-year shopping season.

That’s all changing this year. With an economy that’s at virtual full employment, seasonal hires may be many companies’ best option to coax some of these works into becoming full-time staff. With this in mind, it makes good sense to take another look at your employee benefits policy when it comes to attracting seasonal workers.

Employee Benefits to Attract Seasonal Hires

Andrew Challenger, vice president of career transitioning firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, believes this year will yield more seasonal-to-permanent hires than in recent years, and if you’re planning to implement this strategy, you’ll need to make sure your employee benefits package is good enough to make those temporary workers want to stay on full-time. But first, you have to figure out how to get them in the door to apply.

Your seasonal hires may be attracted to your company simply because of the employee discount. Perhaps they get 20 or 30 percent off regular priced items in your store (some companies even offer up to 50 percent!), which could help them get through their holiday shopping with a lighter punch to their wallets.

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Topics: Employee Benefits, Recruiting, Strategy

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Active vs. Passive Enrollment: Which One is Right For Your Company?

David Rook

Open enrollment is a very busy time of the year for companies both large and small. Employers can approach employee benefits open enrollment in one of two ways: active or passive enrollment.

Active enrollment means that employees MUST re-evaluate their previous benefit choices and elect from current options for the upcoming year. Passive enrollment allows employees to simply re-enroll in their current choices with little or no involvement in the open enrollment process.

So what are the pros and cons of active vs. passive enrollment?

Passive Enrollment

According to the most recent (albeit very dated) survey available, 72% of U.S. employers prefer passive enrollment over active enrollment. Why is that? Well, for starters, it's simply easier on both ends. Employees can check off a box re-selecting their previous year's health insurance choices, and employers have less of an administrative burden to deal with, especially if plans remain relatively the same. A passive approach saves time for both employees and employers.

But does simple mean better? With benefits trending more and more towards consumer-driven health plans, a passive enrollment does not work well alongside that type of benefits approach. 

According to a 2016 Open Enrollment survey by Aflac, over half of employees (54%) claim that they waste up to $750 per year on poor decisions related to insurance benefits. Passive enrollment is basically an invitation to continue making the same benefit election mistakes of the past, and it allows for a path of least resistance which cheats employees from an opportunity to reflect, reevaluate and reeducate themselves on what works best for their families.

Life situations can change yearly, whether it's divorce, marriage, adoption, the birth of child, maturing dependents or significant health changes. An auto pilot approach to this simply isn't beneficial to employees or employers.

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Topics: passive enrollment, open enrollment, active enrollment, Strategy

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Creating a Strategic Advantage Through CFO/CHRO Alignment

David Rook

In this day and age, it's critical for Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and Chief Human Resources Officers (CHROs) to partner together with a shared sense of purpose to ensure a strategic advantage for their organizations. 

Consider the role of each in managing one of the largest costs to organizations today: healthcare benefits.  Due to the increasing cost of employer-sponsored healthcare, employee benefits are now often the third or fourth largest line item on an organization’s P&L. CFOs cannot ignore such a sizable expenditure, and must take a keen interest in understanding the underlying cost factors of providing medical coverage to workers.

CHROs are in a unique position to provide insight into these cost factors. Thus, CFOs and CHROs share the responsibility of managing human capital costs appropriately. Only with solid alignment between the objectives of the CFO and the CHRO will organizations continue to grow and prosper in today’s hyper competitive corporate climate.

We recently released an in-depth ebook which addresses not only the obstacles to creating CFO/CHRO alignment, but also the commonalities the two functions share, and the steps that must be taken to achieve proper alignment and sustainability of both financial resources and human capital resources in the coming years. You can download this free ebook/white paper simply by clicking here. It covers all of the following:

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Topics: Employee Benefits, Strategy

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