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Many of our clients have recently been contacted by representatives from AFLAC, Allstate, Colonial, and other carriers regarding Voluntary Benefits (aka Worksite or Payroll Deduction Benefits).  Employees normally pay 100% of the cost for these plans, and following are some considerations involved.


Short Term Disability Insurance  -  Term Life Insurance  -

Long Term Disability Insurance  -   Cash Value Life Insurance  -  Cancer Insurance

Critical Illness Insurance  -  Dental Insurance  -  Dependent Term Life Insurance


Ø  Fill gaps in existing employer funded programs

Ø  Employee input / survey results

Ø  Payroll costs and number of feasible payroll deductions

Ø  Number of programs that can be properly administered and communicated


Ø  Effective enrollment meeting strategies

Ø  Competing needs for employee contributions to fund Medical Benefits and Retirement Savings Plans

Ø  Employee demographics and turnover

Ø  Portability considerations, especially at retirement

Ø  Selecting the right carriers

We have considerable experience in helping employers identify programs and carriers that are effective for their employees. 

Please contact us if you would like to learn more about Voluntary Benefits.

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) requires even small employers to have a Summary Plan Description (SPD) for their Medical Benefits Plans.  Medical insurance carriers do not normally prepare SPD’s. Typically, our clients use a legal firm, accounting firm, or third-party administration firm to prepare these SPD’s.

“Average” costs are approximately $800 for the initial SPD document.  There is also an approximate average annual cost of $200 to prepare any Summaries of Material Modifications (SMM) that may be required.  Legal, accounting, and administration firms you currently have relationships with may be the most cost effective providers for you.  We also have information on a few legal and administration firms other of our clients have used.


Ø     Current Statutory NYS DBL coverage provides a maximum weekly benefit of $170 per week. Our experience shows that $170 weekly for non-occupational disabilities does not provide enough protection for most employees.

Ø      Disability Insurance carriers also recognize this need, and many are offering new products that enhance the Statutory NYS DBL coverage.  Other carriers are improving rates for Group Short Term Disability Insurance which supplements the basic NYS DBL.  If you have the limited Statutory NYS DBL coverage now, we’d like to help you review Enhanced DBL and Group Short Term Disability options.  The quotation/proposal/implementation process for these options is not difficult.


Medicare Part B covers physician services and many other “outpatient” medical expenses.  Unlike Medicare Part A, Part B is not “automatic”.  The 2010 Part B monthly premium cost is $110.50 for most Medicare eligible individuals.

Our clients are reporting an increasing number of problems regarding the coordination of Part B benefits with employer-sponsored Group Medical Plans.  Medicare eligible individuals are receiving claim denials from the employer’s group insurance carrier and Medicare.  Individuals are also being charged significant “late entry” premium penalties for Part B.

While most employers should not try to provide Medicare advice, the following general points of information need to be consistently communicated to all individuals who are eligible for Medicare benefits due to age or disability.

Ø      Whether working or retired, individuals (and their spouses) may need to enroll in Part B, even if they are covered by an employer-sponsored Group Medical Plan.

Ø      Individuals need to contact both Medicare and the group insurance carrier prior to becoming eligible for Medicare to determine if they should enroll in Part B.

Ø      If enrollment in Part B is delayed or ignored; individuals can incur significant unreimbursed medical expenses and significantly increased premiums for Part B coverage.

We would be happy to discuss general Medicare Part B guidelines with you.


Many local employers offer various Health Promotion activities and resources for their employees.  The time, effort, and dollars devoted to Health Promotion have a positive impact on medical insurance costs, paid time off costs, and workplace productivity.  In addition to positive financial outcomes, there are positive “attitude” outcomes for employees who appreciate these employer initiatives.  While the positive outcomes take time to develop, the long term advantages can be significant.

Some popular Health Promotion activities and resources are:

Ø      Worksite programs (sometimes with participation incentives) that emphasize healthy diet, healthy body 
 weight, physical activity, heart health, stress management, and smoking cessation

Ø      Quarterly newsletters that provide Health Promotion education in an attractive, easy to read format

Ø      Health risk assessment tools (electronic or paper) that help employees identify their unique “lifestyle based”
 health risks

Ø      Worksite screening of blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose to identify health issues that employees may not
 be aware of.

Medical insurance carriers can provide some activities and resources at minimal or no cost.  There are also local Health Promotion management firms that provide customized programs.

Employers normally survey employees to help identify the activities and resources that employees feel would be helpful.  We would be happy to provide a brief, sample employee survey form on request.