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Is Medicare-for-all Good for Business Owners and Employees?

Jeff Griffin

Today the first official votes will be cast, both in Iowa and California, for the 2020 presidential election. A hot button topic in the discourse leading up to this moment has been whether the country should migrate to a single-payer healthcare system commonly referred to as "Medicare-for-all."

While every Democratic candidate still in the running supports some level of change to the current healthcare system, Medicare-for-all is a solution championed primarily by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Both are pushing for a single-payer solution where Americans would be enrolled automatically in a government-run medical insurance plan. Both of their policies call for essentially disbanding private insurance, or relegating it to something only needed to supplement care outside of the provisions provided in their single-payer solutions.

Should Employers Embrace Medicare-for-all?

Would this transition to Medicare-for-all be a good thing for employers, 4.5 million of which are providing employer-sponsored group health insurance to over 160 million Americans representing 49 percent of the country's total population?

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Topics: Cost Containment, Disruption, Legislation

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Skyrocketing Prescription Drug Prices - Finally In Bipartisan Crosshairs

Jeff Griffin

Last week we wrote about a recently issued Executive Order by the White House to hopefully usher in healthcare price transparency from hospitals and insurance carriers, both of whom hold their secret price negotiations close to the vest. We expressed optimism over the order’s ability to tame runaway consumer and employer healthcare costs. Sunlight, after all, is said to be the best disinfectant.

There’s another area of equal concern which has been driving up the cost of employer-sponsored healthcare for quite some time - prescription drug pricing. In a word, it is skyrocketing, with no end in sight.

The price of pharmaceutical drugs is rising 3x faster than wages, and 5x faster than inflation. In fact, more than 3,400 drugs have boosted their prices in the first six months of 2019, an increase of 17 percent in the number of drug hikes from a year earlier. And the average price hike across all prescription drugs stands at 10.5 percent.

A new coalition of health advocate groups was formed in October to make their voices heard on drug price transparency, caps on drug price increases, and other price reducing strategies. The coalition has identified drug manufacturers and pharmacy benefit managers (aka the middlemen) as the culprits, but it’s literally going to take an act of congress to get this under control.

The drug hikes come at a time when (or perhaps because) lawmakers and the Trump administration have vowed to address the problem of rising prescription costs.

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Topics: Cost Containment, Disruption, Legislation, Price Transparency

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Employers Should Welcome Healthcare Price Transparency, Despite Industry Objections

Jeff Griffin

The Trump administration, hungry to notch a win on healthcare prior to the 2020 election, continues to push ahead on initiatives designed to reign in healthcare costs. We applaud these efforts and are disappointed and dismayed by those in the healthcare industry opposed to these undertakings.

Announced November 15, the White House’s price-disclosure initiative would most certainly upend the $3.5 trillion healthcare industry. In fact, the requirements called for, by executive order, are far more extensive than many industry experts predicted. Somewhat expectedly, they have drawn the ire of hospitals and healthcare delivery providers caught in its crosshairs.

The Executive Order On Healthcare Transparency

Issued jointly by the Department of Labor (DOL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Treasury Department, the proposal imposes new transparency requirements on group health plans and health insurers in both the individual and group markets.

In the simplest of terms, the proposed rule will force hospitals and insurers to disclose the highly secretive rates they negotiate with each other for an extensive list of services, including doctor and facility fees, supplies, and even drug costs.

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Topics: Cost Containment, Disruption, Legislation, Price Transparency

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Is it Time to Fire Your Employee Benefits Broker?

Jeff Griffin

Many companies stick with their employee benefits broker for years on end, not giving too much thought to whether a change is warranted. HR directors always have long to-do lists full of time-sensitive issues, so finding a new broker is typically the last thing on their minds — except maybe during contract renewal season if the news isn’t good (and it never seems to be with health insurance these days).

The issue here is that there is a point when it’s time to fire your broker, but recognizing it when the time comes is difficult because you have a million things on your mind and far more pressing matters at hand.

However, there are some definite signs it’s time to find a new employee benefits broker and it’s important to keep an eye out for them. Here are some of the big ones.

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Topics: Employee Benefits, Compliance, Education, Disruption, Strategy

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6 Ways Employee Benefits Administration Software Can Save You Time (and Money)

David Rook

Some employers choose to take on employee benefits administration with paper forms and spreadsheets, thinking they’ll save money. They see the cost of online automation, coupled with the monthly commitment — usually per employee, per month (PEPM) — and find it hard to believe the benefits of the software would be worth the investment. It’s true that employee benefits administration software is not free, but the benefits of automation far outweigh the cost.

The reality of the situation is that regulation complications, paperwork, and human error end up costing employers far more time than it's worth. And of course, that doesn’t include the fines your business could incur as a result.

Here are six ways leveraging employee benefits administration software with automation can save you time and money.

1. Increased Efficiency for Both Employer and Employee

Automated employee benefits administration increases efficiency for both the administrator, and your employees who use it. Regardless of the task you are trying to complete, it will, in short order, take less time when it’s automated as opposed to old-fashioned spreadsheets, or worse, paper. 

Many companies still have employees fill out paper forms, which an HR director or assistant then has to manually enter into a payroll system, an HR system, and the health insurance system. What took two or three people to accomplish could have taken one — the employee — if an employee benefits administration software was used.

With well-organized systems, all of those different parts talk to each other and disperse the information where it needs to go, which means you get to focus on real work instead of paperwork.


Discover how our platform-agnostic approach to automation transformation provides the confidence our clients demand when implementing the perfect platform for any enterprise. Click here to learn more.


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Topics: Compliance, Enrollment, Disruption, Technology, Automation

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Bringing Mobile Healthcare to Underprivileged Youth

David Rook

As an employee benefits broker, we immerse ourselves in health care issues every day. After all, it’s part of our mission to ensure our clients’ employees and their dependents get access to outstanding health care resources. 

Yet our reach in this regard only extends so far. For the unemployed and under-employed, employer-sponsored health care simply isn’t an option. And for some, not even the marketplace exchanges and other government-provided relief programs make their way to the youth of this country. 

That’s why, as long time supporters of underprivileged children’s charities, it gives us great pride to lend our support to The Hope Association and their Run for Hope initiative. Their mission is to build and operate two mobile health clinics to serve underprivileged children in the Washington, DC and Los Angeles metro areas, with possible expansion to other cities thereafter. 

We announced this collaboration back in September, when Levi Rizk, a Virginia Pediatrician, set off from Santa Monica Pier to run from LA to DC in just under 100 days.  To cover that distance, he'd have to run roughly 40 miles a day. That essentially two marathons a day, back-to-back for 100 days. Tomorrow morning, Levi will run the last 3 miles of this journey, up the National Mall in Washington DC to the steps of the US Capital.

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Topics: Preventative Care, Innovation, Disruption, Giving Back, Community

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Bringing Health Care to Underprivileged Youth

David Rook

As an employee benefits broker, we immerse ourselves in health care issues every day. After all, it’s part of our mission to ensure our clients’ employees and their dependents get access to outstanding health care resources. 

Yet our reach in this regard only extends so far. For the unemployed and under-employed, employer-sponsored health care simply isn’t an option. And for some, not even the marketplace exchanges and other government-provided relief programs make their way to the youth of this country. 

That’s why, as long time supporters of underprivileged children’s charities, it gives us great pride to lend our support to The Hope Association and their Run for Hope initiative. Their mission is to build and operate two mobile health clinics to serve underprivileged children in the Washington, DC and Los Angeles metro areas, with possible expansion to other cities thereafter. 

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Topics: Preventative Care, Innovation, Disruption

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Healthcare Innovation Through Disruption: Lab Testing & Theranos

Joe Genova

Healthcare Innovation Through Disruption: Lab Testing & Theranos

Silicon Valley has been a hub of innovation for the past few decades, and Palo Alto-based Theranos is no exception. Founded in 2004 by Elizabeth Holmes, then a 19 year old Stanford dropout, Theranos is poised to disrupt the 75 billion dollar laboratory testing industry.

Their business model is simple; they developed technology which allows them to be quicker, more convenient and far cheaper than their competition. 

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Topics: Cost Containment, Innovation, Disruption

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