The topic of compliance in employer benefits is of growing importance, due in part to the new reporting requirements under the Affordable Care Act, and because several benefit administration companies have recently been questioned about reporting, licensing and compliance issues.
Episode 71: Navigating the Changing World of Employers Insurance Benefits, Programs and Brokers
Company insurance and benefit brokers often get a bad rap. Having a broker you like, know and trust can go a long way, especially now, when change is the only constant thanks to new regulation, compliance and the ACA. That’s the reason I sat down with Justin Roberts, the EVP of Operations and Strategy of Decisely, to talk about the best way HR professionals should approach either selecting or re-evaluating their current broker.
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Justin believes that brokers don’t just help companies make better and more informed benefits decisions, but should also be a trusted advisor on benefits administration and compliance. Unfortunately, I have found that your broker is often your CEO’s golfing buddy or just some virtual entity in the wind who is pimping out their latest free paperless software technology.
Why Benefit Compliance and Licensing Are Separate But Important Topics
I asked Justin specifically about the recent media attention surrounding benefits compliance and broker licensing. Justin says that, “Compliance is like oxygen. Without it you (meaning an employer) will die.” Compliance must be at the heart of a broker’s client offering including Cobra, Section 125 and ACA pre-existing conditions. He recommends HR and brokers should meet quarterly to discuss a compliance strategy. Talk with your broker and have them walk you through changes ongoing and the impact from the caregiver network.
Justin tells us Decisely looks at licensing as an essential piece of employment. Every person at Decisely is licensed. All sales reps, of course, but account staff as well. Licensing is essential to making sure that you are on top of regulatory changes – and it holds the entire company at a higher standard.
Important Upcoming Benefit and Compliance Changes
I mentioned that there have been a number of changes relating to company (employer) benefits and compliance as of late. One change Justin mentioned in the podcast that’s coming in next couple months involves the classification company size from 1-50 employees changing to 1-100 in the Affordable Care Act. Make sure to listen into the podcast, as Justin walks us through how the ACA is changing make deep changes to how we deal with benefits. He also discusses another important change, that moves us toward a 4 tiered rating for each individual rate based on age, rate, gender zip code and independent status. HR professionals need to get ahead of these and other changes now and begin creating an employee communication strategy.
You can connect with Justin Roberts on LinkedIn.
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*A special thank you to my production team at Total Picture Radio.