Monthly Archive: July 2014

Voluntary Benefits Are Growing

Voluntary benefits (benefits purchased at work) grew 9 percent in 2013.

Voluntary health product sales experienced a 13 percent increase from the prior year. Accident, critical illness and vision products grew by double-digits for the third straight year. Life insurance sales rebounded in the fourth quarter. Total life sales increased 14 percent in the fourth quarter to end the year up 2 percent. A survey of 800 employers revealed the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA.) Three out of four employers said they have changed or intend to change their medical plan design in the near future. Cost shifting is the most common strategy among the surveyed employers. Sixty percent said they have already or plan to increase employee contributions to the cost of coverage.

With cost shifting and other plan design changes, voluntary benefits become the best option for employees to maintain their overall insurance coverage. Research has found that more than 60 percent of employees prefer to buy health and life insurance benefits at work. Employees like using payroll deduction.


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California Assembly Bill 1838 lets doctors graduate faster

State of California Governor Brown signed legislation recently that will allow students at accredited medical schools in California to complete their education in three years instead of four. The goal of Assembly Bill 1838 is to meet the high demand for doctors that has been created by federal health care reform. Accelerated educational programs focus on the achievement of individual and academic skills for students who demonstrate a high level of scientific and medical understanding. Currently California faces an extreme shortage of trained medical residents and physicians. The bill takes affect in January 2015. This bill is considered an important step in addressing California’s primary care physician shortage.

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California Medical Insurance Update

Alarm clockIn California, small employers had the choice in 2013 to opt for “early renewal” of their coverage at the end of 2013. This allowed small employers to keep their current, non ACA-compliant plans or policies until late 2014.

On July 7, 2014, Governor Brown signed into law SB 1446. This law permits small group employers with “early renewal” or “grandmothered” plans that were in force as of 12/31/2013, and are still in effect on 7/7/2014, to renew until 1/1/2015 and remain in force until 12/31/2015.

Health plan contracts and insurance policies renewed under SB 1446 are exempt from some ACA provisions such as rating limitations, requirements to provide essential health benefits, and affordable care act mandated limitations on out of pocket expenses & deductibles.

It is important to compare “grandmothered” plan rates and benefits with ACA-compliant plans in order to know the best plan for each small employer’s unique situation.

For information about how options for early renewal may effect you, contact us at 858-361-0735.


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