Group Benefits and Insurance FAQ

What’s so special about an independent benefits agency?

Captive agents only have access to one insurance company’s programs and packages and are often employees of that same insurance company. Independent agencies like H|BC are their own respective businesses but are contracted with multiple different insurance and benefit providers in order to offer their clients multiple options and solutions year after year.

When should I start offering employee benefits?

This is a tricky question, and varies from company to company. Many startup tech firms who are funded by investors start out day 1 with very attractive benefit programs, as they need to be able to attract the best talent. What we see most often is a company that’s been around for 2-4 years that has started having issues either retaining employees or hiring employees due to their complete lack of a benefits program. The latter of these situations is what we run into more than anything else. Cost is a big influencer here, if a company cannot budget at least $250 to $300 per employee, per month for benefits, they probably should not try to start one just yet.

Are groups benefits still a differentiator to potential hires?

Without question. If you have a qualified applicant, and all else is equal, 9 times out of 10, that applicant is going to go where they are getting access to better benefits. In many cases, employees/recruits are actually comparing benefits packages of one company to another when they are deciding to stay with an employer or go elsewhere.

How does the ACA affect small businesses?

The ACA has impacted different businesses in different ways. For small businesses (1-50 employees) that historically had unhealthy populations, the ACA could actually help them have lower rates as the plans are no longer medically underwritten. On the opposite side of the coin, small businesses with traditionally healthy populations have seen their rates increase dramatically. For both populations, in the small business segment, there tends to be fewer plan options to choose from.

What do Self-Funded Plans mean and consist of?

A self-funded plan is simply a benefit plan setup where an employer takes on some of the liability for the claims. We are seeing a new, self-funded market emerge, especially in the small business space (1-50 employees) where companies with healthy populations can significantly lower their monthly benefits cost and they have a lot more freedom and creative control when it comes to plan design.

Why do I need international health insurance?

We highly recommend anyone traveling overseas to purchase an international health policy. It provides complete health coverage, just like you are used to here, so you can get assistance for more than just emergencies. These plans are extremely affordable. For example, I (Ryan Holloway) am traveling to the Middle East on a 9 day trip with a non-profit I am very involved with. I am buying for myself the best plan that is available ($0 deductible / 2 million dollar policy) and it is costing me $34 for the entire timeframe.

Are wellness programs worthwhile?

Yes, in theory, but it depends. In order for a wellness program to work, just like any corporate initiative, there has to be buy-in & involvement from the top down. If you, as a benefits owner, cannot get onboard and/or cannot get your management team onboard, then perhaps a wellness program would not be worthwhile. On the other hand, if you can successfully help implement a program as a business owner, in time you should see your team morale improve, and that’ll create a more positive work environment with healthier employees.

Should I offer executive incentive benefits?

Most successful companies realize that they have key leaders in their organization that they really need to keep on board. This can be achieved by offering different types of executive incentives. Life insurance, disability, and many other types of programs can be used as “golden handcuffs” which help keep your best people on board and engaged.

Does having healthy employees affect my benefits options?

Yes. If you have a healthy employee base, you are going to have more options. This is especially true in the small group market (1-50 employees). Outside of that market, there is still medical underwriting that takes place, so it is still very important to have a healthy employee base so you can secure good programs at reasonable prices.

Do employee benefits really affect staff retention?

Yes. One of the most common issues we hear from clients who want to start programs for the first time is that they are losing employees to other companies who offer health insurance and other types of employee benefits.

Does HBC help clients with ACA compliance paperwork?

Yes, we have a standard offering that can be customized from client to client, and a standard offering specific to our startup clients who have nothing in place. We collect all of the necessary company information from our clients and then work with various vendors to get these documents in place and put it all together in a nice, organized package. We normally present a hard copy version for the plan administrator as well as electronic versions.

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