Category Archives: Union Locals

Want a Zero Deductible Health Care Plan? Here’s How!

deductible stack 300

Shhhh. . . did you hear that?

 

Quietly–maybe even while you were sleeping–a revolution in the insurance industry began to occur early last year. Old ideas were abandoned, new ideas adopted, and new choices came into focus.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: You’ve heard all you can bear about the Affordable Healthcare Act and its wonders. Well, that’s not what this  post is about. It’s something about which you may have never heard a peep.

 

Deductible Insurance.

That’s it, in two words.

Sure, it has a longer name on the marketing materials, and someone stayed up all night to think of what to call it, but we’ll just call it what it is.

Deductible Insurance.

Something new. A new choice for your family protection portfolio, and even more necessary in today’s high deductible landscape. Here’s how it works:

 

Oldway

 

The old way of doing things is lost to the market now–probably forever–but it involved an “up front” approach to healthcare via higher coverage and higher premiums. The deductible was low, and co-pays kept office visits to a predictable cost. Those same premiums, however, never really stopped getting higher and higher each year. Supplemental coverage was difficult to justify with such high cost of coverage.

 

 

 

newway

 

The new way keeps premiums stable–or at least is supposed to–while taking some risk on the back end that we are generally healthy except for unexpected occurrences. That works well for some, but isn’t an accurate picture for everyone. Deductibles soared to share some of the cost (and risk), while the occasional supplemental plan could fill in a gap or two. Overall costs dropped, but only if utilization was low.

 

 

 

The average amounts for workers with an aggregate deductible for family coverage are $1,743 for HMOs, $1,854 for PPOs, $2,821 for POS plans, and $4,079 for HDHP/SOs  -Kaiser Family Foundation 2013 Employer Health Benefits Survey

 

bestway

 

“With great deductibles come great responsibility”. –Spiderman’s Aunt

 Okay, not the actual quote, but it works for this discussion. Medical plan deductibles have been sliding deep into the thousands, with family deductibles often hitting tens of thousands. Whatever the reason, this is the reality most of us face or will be facing soon. The risk is transferred almost completely to the insured for routine illnesses and minor injury incidents, while a scary number looms ahead should there be something requiring real attention.

Enter Deductible Insurance. Call it a hospital buy-down, catastrophic confinement coverage, a safety net. Call it whatever you like, but imagine having your entire personal deductible (up to $3000 per event, per person) paid in cash after a hospital stay. Accident, illness, childbirth, on-the-job injury, whatever the case may be. Your out of pocket may even be eliminated altogether, depending on your health plan and coverage. Coupled with an FSA or HRA (if your employer is that awesome), it gets even better!

Imagine knowing that your bottom line is covered, no matter what happens. With deductible insurance it is possible to have that kind of peace of mind. Relax, it’s covered. There is a better way.

 

Tim

 

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How To Reduce Worker’s Compensation Claims (and premiums!)

Industry surveys and research reports are a dime a dozen, but some are worth their weight in gold. Here’s a nugget for you, and it’s free to claim. No digging required.

 

claim

 

“A recent survey of more than 600 companies has shown a direct correlation between voluntary accident and disability insurance and a reduction is worker’s comp claims.” -Aflac customer survey

 

A reduction in workers comp claims? How? Why? Let’s take a look at the mechanics of it all, from a policy perspective:

Simply put, it’s a matter of personal responsibility, urgency and ownership. We all know that injuries sometimes go unreported until it’s just too late to ignore them. Minor injuries over the weekend that wait until Monday to hit the reality button. Strains and sprains that may not be work related, but get filed anyway because the aggravation presents itself during the work week. Under no circumstances is the employee intending to defraud or mislead, but the claims do occur because we care about doing right by our employee family.

Imagine a different choice exists for your employees, one where injuries–even minor ones–prompt an immediate doctor visit and filing of supplemental benefits that pay cash quickly for the incident. No hoops to jump through, claims are handled efficiently and promptly (in as little as 4 business days), and the employee receives a cash benefit that is free of strings. When a non-occupational injury occurs, the employee is far less likely to wait for treatment or other medical attention. In this scenario, the employer risk is immediately mitigated and any reporting of the injury removes the association with a workplace event. Because these policies pay claims regardless of the initial injury location, and allow for any medical facility to diagnose and provide care, the employee takes the initiative to seek treatment in a timely manner.

No hoops to jump through, claims are processed in as little as 4 days.

All of this has a secondary benefit for the employer, not just lower worker’s comp claims. The employee has extra money in their budget for immediate use if they miss work. Since follow-up with their doctor is encouraged through the comprehensive claims process, their recovery is not cut short by pressing matters of the pocket. We miss them while they’re gone, but they need to be 100% before things are able to return to normal. Should a true short-term disability present itself, they must be certified by a doctor (thus lowering your risk again) before returning to work. Bills can be paid, stress is lower, and life can return to normal faster.

Don’t offer voluntary short term disability or accident coverage in your workplace or local? You can, and there is never any cost to you to offer them. Why not reduce your risk–and your cost–and offer the most requested supplemental benefits to your employee or union local family?

 

– Tim

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Union Benefits FAQ: The top questions answered.

Perfect Union_opt-2

Quite a few folks have been asking questions about how our system works, and here are the top questions so far. I’ll add more as necessary to continue the flow of information.

Who are you guys?

Probably the most important question of all, so I’ll be direct. We are a team of agents who wish to see American Unions grow again, and we know how to help your Local do it. Since all we do is supplemental benefits, there is no confusion or lack of focus on our part. We partner with other agents around the country to make sure your Local is served by a friendly face (or two) who lives where you live, and will always be available.

How does this work?

In a few words: Simply, easily, and quickly. We already have the infrastructure in place using our relationship with a Fortune 200 company that is all-American and Union friendly: Aflac. With permission from the Local and a short series of conversations, we can have everything up and running for you to offer more to your members. No catch, no surprises. Honestly, it’s a bit like installing a vending machine. You don’t have any work to do, but your Local gets to provide the best products to your members.

How much does it cost, really?

Nothing. Nothing at all. Even the initial paperwork is painless, and only members who wish to be covered have any cost. Even that isn’t much; just a few dollars a week.

Can anyone have the benefits? What about family coverage? What about the Local office staff?

Yes, as long as they are a member of your Union Local, they are eligible. Their families too if so chosen. Even the office staff can choose the same great benefits, with no difference in coverage, cost, or service.

How long does it take to set up?

That depends on a few variables, such as the size (member count) of your Local, geography of your jurisdiction, and timing a few short meetings to discuss your wishes and ideas for how to announce the good news. For the most part, it takes from a couple of weeks to about 45 days to go from “let’s do it” to “all done”. We do all the work behind the scenes, and keep your management in the loop on timelines.

You keep saying “Local”, I thought this was a Union program?

It is important to treat each of your individual Locals as separate organizations. You are already organized into Locals, and therefore have structured everything around that model. So we follow that model. Each area has unique challenges, each city or region has unique needs and situations. We tailor our service to you, not the other way around. This keeps our service local, too.

Do you have a website?

Our website is in the works, but we still prefer to work one-on-one and provide as much personal interaction as possible. Our system is so simple, we can focus 99% of our energy on your members.

Are you legit? Do we need permission to work with your team?

Yes, we are Independent Agents with Aflac (exclusively, so there are no mixed messages), and are licensed in your state. As to permission: every Local, District, and/or State level within your Union will have different concerns or rules of the road. We insist that you follow the normal chain-of-command in your organization to keep things above board. Aflac is known to many Union organizations already, so the wheel need not be reinvented. We have taken the hard choices out of the equation and now, it is simply a turn-key decision for your Local and it’s future growth.

Growth?

Yes, growth. Everywhere our benefits are offered, Locals observe membership increases and more interaction with prospects. Some folks join up just to have our benefits, and will be loyal members for life because of what you’ve done for them and their families. We plan meetings, help at membership drives, bring visibility to your Local, and can even provide opportunities for press and publicity.

Press and Publicity? Now you’ve got my attention!

Okay, so that one wasn’t really a question, but it comes up a lot. We (Aflac) are partners with the PGA Tour, we sponsor the Heisman Trophy, and even have a NASCAR Racing team. Do you have a NASCAR team? We have traveling Mobile Retail Stores that we use to bring attention to your organization, throw parties, and make meetings fun and exciting. We take care to announce the event through press releases and local media (when appropriate) to make the maximum impact, and can even time their visits to your scheduled functions with enough planning time. This is a free service, and is our way of saying thanks for letting us serve your organization. They are a real hit at membership drives!

What if our Local already offers Aflac?

Please, don’t change a thing. We are the best at what we do, but we believe in relationships first. If you already have an Aflac agent serving your Local, we are happy to hear it! 

How do we get started?

Contact me through LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/timallenaflac), via email (tim_allen@us.aflac.com), or text/call me at the number below. Myself or one of my team will be happy to help your Local grow!

So far, so good. Please continue to message me with questions, or post the comments here. I will be happy to answer anything at all!

Tim Allen, LBC
Union Benefits Pioneer
423.326.9474
tim_allen@us.aflac.com
 
 Check out the new LinkedIn Group dedicated to discussions about Union growth and involvement in the community. A More Perfect Union: Outside of the Box Thinking. Join the group, join the discussion!
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