Early 2019 insurance rates highlight a need for benefit alternatives

Inurance Consultant ClaimLinx offers employers a solution for rising health care costs

BOSTONJune 7, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Insurance premium proposals for 2019 are rolling in this month, so far with requested rate hikes as high as 47 percent in some states. This on top of health care costs outpacing economy-wide inflation for the first time since 2010 forecasts a challenging market for business owners.

Nationwide insurance companies are citing policy changes to the Affordable Care Act, including the repeal of the individual mandate and expanded short term options, as the culprit for the requested higher rates.

Also driving up premiums are medical expenditures. They are expected to rise 2.2 percent this year, compared with 1.9 percent for overall inflation, according to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Yet rising prices have done nothing to quell employees’ desire for improving benefits, as they’re now being used as a benchmark in a tightening job market. Employers are going to need alternative benefit solutions to stay competitive with the national unemployment rate dipping to 3.8 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

They’re going to need options like those offered at ClaimLinx, a full-service consultant, insurance agency and third-party administrator that specializes in guiding business owners through the insurance market with its own unique strategy for achieving the best, most affordable health plan.

ClaimLinx has pioneered a solution for purchasing health insurance that combines traditional high deductible insurance plans with a customized self-funded medical expense reimbursement plan. The resulting plan enables employers to offer top-notch benefits at a much lower cost.

Tom Quigley, National Benefits Consultant at ClaimLinx, emphasized that this has to be business owners’ first priority.

“You’ve got to be providing the best assets you can to your employees or it’s going to become your liability — no question,” he said.

What started as a small idea in Cincinnati about cutting costs on health insurance has grown to a nationwide service with offices in Boston and North Conway, NH. In 2017 ClaimLinx helped business owners save an estimated $3.2 million.

John Moore, President of the manufacturing company Ohio Metal Products, changed his company’s benefits plan to the ClaimLinx solution because of increasing costs and even more limited options.

“Our company has saved tens of thousands of dollars,” Moore said. “ClaimLinx can provide the benefits that we want, not what the insurance company suggests.”

Contact: Whitney Faber, (617) 892-4655
wfaber@claimlinx.com
www.claimlinx.com

View the published press release.

Client Profile Subaru donates $16,500

This month Profile Subaru and Subaru of America, Inc. handed the Jen’s Fiends Cancer Foundation a check for $16,500. So we’re shining a spotlight on this client for giving so much back to its community.

The check was given as a part of the 2017 Share the Love Event, which is held from November to March each year.

This is the tenth time Subaru of America, Inc. has held this annual event, in which the company donates money for each car sold to certain national and local charities. This year the company donated a total of $21.8 million.

The Jen’s Friends Cancer Foundation was one of more than 670 local causes that received donations as a part of the campaign.  The national charities included the American Society of for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Make-A-Wish, Meals on Wheels American and National Park Foundation.

Over the last four years Profile Subaru and Subaru of America have donated more than $55,000 to Jen’s Friends from this event, according to the Conway Daily Sun.

The Jen’s Friends Cancer Foundation provides financial assistance to cancer patients and their families, most of whom are in the Mt. Washington Valley area. They focus on helping those that are uninsured, underinsured or have other financial challenges.

The support the foundation provides is intended to “allow them to focus on battling cancer, without worrying about the indirect financial burdens that often arise.

We are proud to highlight a company we have been working with that is doing so much good in the area.

Click here for more information about or to donate to the Jen’s Friends Cancer Foundation.

Introducing new coverage for 1099 and contract employees

The health insurance industry doesn’t have a lot of solutions for 1099 and contract employees. So when answering the question “Are you covered?,” too often the answer is a resounding, “NO.”

We understand. For a lot of businesses with contract or 1099 employees, there just aren’t the financial or administrative resources available for a traditional group insurance plan. These plans require time and an employer contribution that businesses just don’t have.

But what that means is that employees are left to purchase plans either on the federal and state exchanges or through the private marketplace. The former often having limited plan options with even more limited networks and the latter being increasingly more expensive.

Businesses with contract and 1099 employees need a product customized to fit them — one that can be provided at no cost to the company.

Try a quote for a new type of plan with ClaimLinx. Our agents take care of the application process, plan setup and the administration of the policy for employees. It’s no hassle for the business and requires no employer premium contribution.

This product is set up just like a traditional group plan, but without the financial burdens for the company. The employees cover 100% of their own premiums, but because the plan is being purchased as a group they will receive lower rates than they will find on the private individual marketplace.

With a group plan, employees will also enjoy a much larger physicians network and a more comprehensive benefit plan, including better coverage and pharmacy benefits.

The best part is once the plan is set up, there is no additional administration to worry about for the business. ClaimLinx agents take care of billing employees, paying monthly premiums, enrolling dependents and terminating any policies. All of this is included for a small fee employees pay monthly along with their premiums.

This is the perfect product for any small business with contract and 1099 employees that doesn’t currently offer a benefit plan. ClaimLinx agents are ready to start the application process and send a quote to you.

GET A QUOTE TODAY

FDA Joins Modern Nutrition Thinking With Updates

Which afternoon snack do you think is healthier: a handful of almonds or a handful of Frosted Flakes?

According to the Food and Drug Administration’s current definition of the word “healthy,” you should grab the Frosted Flakes.

The agency announced this month that it will be reevaluating its regulations on which foods can be labeled “healthy,” as well as other nutrient claims, after decades of evolution in the field.

 “Just because a food contains certain ingredients that are considered good for you, such as nuts or fruit, it does not mean that food can bear a ‘healthy’ nutrient claim,” FDA spokeswoman Lauren Kotwicki wrote in an email to the Los Angeles Times.

Current food regulations reflect the more simplistic views from the 1980s and 1990s. As such, food can only be marketed as healthy if it meets five criteria: fat, saturated fat, sodium, cholesterol and beneficial nutrients, such as Vitamin C or Calcium.

When the term “healthy” was first officially defined in 1994, low fat content was the primary focus for health professionals. Sugar content, processed chemicals and sodium levels were not yet on the FDA’s or most nutritionists’ radar.

For this reason, foods like Kellogg Co.’s Frosted Flakes and Pop-Tarts and Campbell’s SpaghettiOs can be marketed as healthy. Though they are all still high in sugar and processed chemicals, they meet all the current criteria, as they are low in fat and are fortified with vitamins.

Meanwhile, foods like salmon, avocado and almonds could not be marketed as healthy under the current regulations, because of their high content of fat per serving.

Kind, makers of the fruit and nut bars, discovered firsthand how outdated the FDA’s regulations are when they received a warning letter to stop using the word healthy on its packaging. As most of Kind’s bars are made with almonds and other nuts, they do not meet the requirement for low fat content.

Kind has since petitioned the FDA to change the requirements and has received support from doctors, dietitians and lawmakers around the country.

“We very much hope the FDA will change the definition of healthy, so that you don’t end up in a silly situation where a toaster pastry or sugary cereal can be considered healthy and a piece of salmon or a bunch of almonds cannot,” Kind Chief Executive Daniel Lubetzky said in an interview.

Congress is pushing the FDA to make this issue a priority, as it affects how agricultural companies can market their products in the future. However, the process will still likely take several years.

If the FDA changes the definition, it will first propose updating the “healthy” definition, followed by a comment period for food makers and the public to submit their ideas and research what “healthy” means. Then the FDA will present its proposed rule change, followed by another comment period, the final rule and an implementation period to give food makers time to comply.

It would serve as a test case in a long list of necessary FDA regulation updates surrounding nutrition — changes many nutritionists agree are finally time to make.

New Cases Of Diabetes Finally Decline In The U.S.

The message was clear: obesity and the resulting cases of diabetes were harming millions of Americans. Changes in lifestyle and eating habits had to be made.

And it appears many citizens actually listened.

Finally, after decades of what appeared to be an insurmountable number of reported cases, rates of diabetes in the United States have declined.

The number of new cases fell by about 20 percent from 2008 to 2014, according to research at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s the first consistent drop since the disease started to explode in the country about 25 years ago.

The decline has been slow, so gradual over the years, in fact that the drop was not statistically meaningful until new data from 2014 was released. They showed there were 1.4 million new cases of diabetes in 2014, down from 1.7 million in 2008.

“It seems pretty clear that incidence rates have now actually started to drop,” Edward Gregg, a diabetes researcher for the CDC said to the New York Times. “Initially it was a little surprising because I had become so used to seeing increases everywhere we looked.”

Experts cannot yet confirm if the change can be attributed to the increased efforts to prevent diabetes or if the disease has peaked in the population. But the shift is consistent with recent progress reported in the overall health of Americans.

The amount of calories consumed daily by the typical American adult, which peaked around 2003, has declined consistently for the first time since federal statistics began tracking the information more than 40 years ago. Children are also consuming on average about 9 percent less calories per day.

For the first time since the late 1990s, the amount of full-calorie soft drinks Americans are consuming has declined by about a quarter. All of this has likely contributed to the marked halt in the rise of obesity rates for adults and school-aged children.

Americans will need to continue with these trends, as experts say the number of people with diabetes is still more than double what it was in the early 1990s.

“It’s not yet time to have a parade,” Dr. David M. Nathan, director of the Diabetes Center and Clinical Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, said to the New York Times. But he noted, “It has finally entered into the consciousness of our population that the sedentary lifestyle is a real problem, that increased body weight is a real problem.”