Four Workplace Trends of the Future

Lindsey Pollak, a key note speaker, best selling author and consultant on next-generation career and workplace topics, shares what she believes will be four future workplace trends:

1.  Wellness at Work – 90% of employers are now offering wellness programs.  They are taking care of the health of their employees by offering weight loss programs with incentives; smoking cessation programs, and stress reduction programs, to name a few. In order to attract and retain the best employees, wellness programs are a necessity and no longer a luxury for employers.

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2. Degree or not to Degree? – Young people are asking themselves, “Is it really worth it to get a four year college degree?” This stems from the $28-30K student loan debt graduates are carrying. Young people are trying to determine if they can get a good job without a four-year degree, or if they should consider an associates degree, online degree, or community college degree. We may begin to see more incentives from companies to help pay back college loans.

3. iMoms – Although we typically think of millennials as kids, they are quickly reaching the age of 30.  We are now seeing more millennial moms in the workplace, as well as more single moms and younger parents. In fact, 46% are responsible for their kids financially.  A Hartford Survey in 2013 revealed that 10% of millennials have parents relying on them financially.

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4. Design Mind – Although it may sound superficial, this trend is about how everything looks.  Millennials have been marketed to their entire lives. Thanks to Steve Jobs of Apple, millennials are extremely visual and design savvy. They want to be proud of their company’s brand visually, and expect attractive employment & benefits materials, as well as company communications. Milllenials utilize visual social media outlets such as Facebook, Pinterest, Vine, Instagram and Tumblr.  Look for new product designs to appeal to the visual desires of millennials. Companies who embrace and understand this concept will reap big rewards in the future.

To see the short video by Lindsey Pollak in its entirety, please click here.

Shining a Spotlight On…Gary Slowik, National Sales Director

To strengthen our expertise in Commercial Group Benefits and to support continual client growth in the industry, Gary Slowik has joined ClaimLinx as our National Sales Director.  He has specialized in Group Health Benefits for over 26 years.  His experience includes being a Sales Executive for UnitedHealthcare of Ohio, Standard Insurance, John Alden Life and Colonial Life.  At UnitedHealthcare, he additionally served as a member of their Leadership Council for internal corporate guidance.

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Over his years, Gary has earned numerous awards and has been recognized nationally for sales and service performance. According to Gary, ” Today’s ever-changing dynamics in Group Health benefits is a challenge.  ClaimLinx offers a clear and proven solution for employers to control costs without sacrificing benefits to their employees”.

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To find out more about ClaimLinx products and services, please feel free to email or call Gary at 513-677-6262.

US Health Spending Expected to Grow 5.8% Annually

Estimates project aggregate health care spending in the U.S. will grow at an average rate of 5.8% for 2012-2022, according to data released from the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

The increase is one percentage point faster than expected in the gross domestic product so that the health care share of the GDP in 2022 is projected to reach 19.9%, up from 17.9% in 2011.

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These projections reflect a combination of factors affecting health care spending, including forecasted changes in the nation’s economy and provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

For 2013 health care spending was projected to remain under 4% because of the sluggish economic recovery, slowed growth in Medicare and Medicaid spending, and continued cost-sharing requirements for the privately insured.

But starting in 2014, growth in national health spending is expected to accelerate to 6.1 percent. The sharp rise in the coming  year is mainly due to the expanded insurance coverage as a result of the ACA, though either Medicaid or other marketplaces.

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The use of medical services and goods, especially prescription drugs and physician services, among the newly insured is expected to contribute significantly to spending increases in Medicaid and private health insurance. In addition, out-of-pocket spending is expected to decline 1.5% in 2014 because of new overages and lower cost sharing for those with better coverage.

Further analysis may indicate these increases may not be cause for alarm, however. The Office of the Actuary also studied the relationship between economic growth and health spending over the past 50 years. It suggests that health spending growth is likely to accelerate once economic conditions improve markedly.

“Although projected growth is faster than in the recent past, it is still slower than the growth experienced over the long term,” Gigi Cuckler, lead author of the study, said.

To learn more about the reasons for the spending increase, read the press release provided by Health Affairs.


Health Coverage Premiums Rise Slowly Again this Year

Despite a relatively slow rise in costs again this year, premiums for employer health coverage reached above the $16,000 mark for the first time, according to a major survey.

The 4% increase in the cost of a family plan represents the same rate of growth as last year, rising from a cost of $15,745 in 2012 to $16,351 this year. The slowed rate likely reflects employees’ continued tendency to limit the use of health care, said Gary Claxton, vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which performed the annual poll.

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However, the exact reason for the relative lull in the continued upward march of health care costs is a topic of debate among health care economists. Some people believe that it is largely a result of the recession, and the effect will likely end when the economy rebounds.

Other economists prescribe to the idea that the downshift may be more tied to permanent changes in how health care is being purchased. For example, higher deductibles and increased efficiency among health care providers overall may be slowing the rise in costs.

Claxton said this year’s results showed minimum impact from the federal health law. Most of the major provisions take effect next year, and other, smaller conditions, such as the addition of children up to the age of 26 to their parents’ plans, have already been incorporated into the cost of coverage.

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The survey also showed that higher-deductible plans are retaining popularity. The share of employees enrolled in plans that have an annual deductible of $1,000 or more for single coverage hit 38% in 2013, an increase from 34% last year.

For more information on 2013 health care costs, see the article by Anna Wilde Matthews this information was taken from.

ClaimLinx is proactively ready for the many changes of Health Care Reform. For more information, please contact Tom Quigley at or (800)858-1772 X 25.

Many State Health Insurance Marketplaces Will Exceed Requirements

This October brought a monumental start for the country. With its first day, the health care marketplaces opened, and the largest, most complex aspect of the Affordable Care Act began.

While there are problems to fix, the state-run health insurance marketplaces are poised for success, as they are expected to exceed minimum requirements by 2014.

According to a Commonwealth Fund report, the state-run exchanges will surpass federal quality-reporting standards, offer small-business employees a choice of health plan and promote a seamless “one-stop-shop” for consumers to begin coverage.

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The report found that several states are achieving this by using innovative tactics to improve consumers’ experience beyond the law’s requirements:

  • Reporting quality: Nine states plan to display data on quality in their marketplaces. This is two years before the act requires such data.
  • Increasing options: Small-business employees in state-run marketplaces will have more choices. Nearly all of these marketplaces will provide firms with the more than one plan, starting in 2014
  • Promoting insurer participation: Eight states and the District of Columbia have adopted formal rules to require or incentivize insurers to participate in the marketplaces.
  • Balancing members: Many states have taken steps beyond act requirements to encourage a balance of health and sicker people in the marketplace so that participating plans do not end up insuring mostly unhealthy people.
  • Limiting choice for ease: Insurance carriers may sell at five different tiers of coverage. But many states are limiting the number of plans an insurer can sell at each tier in order to make the choices more manageable.
  • Streamlining eligibility: Fourteen states and the District of Columbia used federal funds to adopt a one-stop shop computer system that will determine coverage potential enrollees are eligible for.
  • Improving assistance: In addition to allowing agents and brokers to sell coverage, the state exchanges are also expected to educate consumers and help them sign up for health coverage.

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For more information on the state-run health exchanges, see the press release this information was taken from or the report it concerned. Also please visit the ClaimLinx Exchange as well as the interactive guide to health reform for additional resources and information.