Archive for month: March, 2014

5 Things a Health Insurance Exchange Won’t Accomplish

Categories: Articles

With the arrival of Federal, State and Private Health Insurance Exchanges, people expect many things to come.  Here is a list of things that Health Insurance Exchanges will NOT accomplish:

  1. Lower Healthcare Costs—healthcare costs have been rising for those with insurance already.   The general consensus from Warren Buffett to healthcare policy experts is that Health Reform, Obamacare, and The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will not lower healthcare costs.
  2. Fix the Moral Hazard that exists when people consume healthcare—the Moral Hazard is that people do not measure value (price and quality) well when someone else (i.e. insurance) is paying the bills.  A better way of saying this is below:

    MANAGED CARE HAS BECOME PRE-PAID HEALTH CAREAll anyone knows about their insurance is three things:

      1. Their copay to see a doctor
      2. Their copay to fill a prescription
      3. Their payroll deduction for insurance premiums

     

    AS A RESULT, WE HAVE BECOME CO-PAY JUNKIES!

      1. Disconnect between employees’ out of pocket costs for their health care and the real costs of those services.
      2. No incentive for employees to understand or care about the costs of their health care
      3. Employees are motivated to utilize their health plan lavishly in order to maximize their perception of the benefits provided by their employer.

    We must convert everyone from Healthcare Users to Healthcare Consumers!

  3. Remove the Externality that exists in healthcare—an Externality is when the decisions of one person affect another person without that effect being taken into account.  For example, playing loud rock music affecting a neighbor, or in Healthcare the doctor and patient being wasteful and as a result causing everyone’s insurance premiums to rise.  It is critical to educate employees that their medical purchasing decisions have a direct impact on their peers’ future premiums.
  4. Decrease the Confusion in Healthcare—if anything, an online Health Insurance Exchange may increase confusion.  The fine print of health insurance policies, the foreign medical terminology used by doctors, and the cryptic codes used in medical billing require healthcare consumers to have expert, personal guidance—not a website of choices.
     
  5. Decrease Out-of-Pocket Expenses for Healthcare Consumers—According to an article in Forbes, the average premium for a silver plan will be $328 per month with deductibles ranging from $1,500 to $5,000.  The article goes on to say that the deductibles will be more than twice the average deductible in employer-sponsored coverage.

 

SUMMARY

So when considering a present-day Health Insurance Exchange, keep in mind you will NOT:

  1. Lower costs
  2. Correct the skewed incentives
  3. Align behavior
  4. Reduce confusion
  5. Decrease employee out-of-pocket cost.

Now, could Health Insurance Exchanges be fixed over time?  Yes, but not in their current incarnation.

“Nobody spends somebody else’s money as wisely or as frugally as he spends his own.”
Milton Friedman
Economist and recipient of the 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize for economic science

About the Author:  Carl C. Schuessler, DHP, DIA, GBDS is the Managing Principal of BenefitStrategies, LLC. an Insurance and Employee Benefits Brokerage and Consulting firm. We specialize in Insurance, Risk Management and Employee Benefit Consulting.  BenefitStrategies helps improve your cash flow, save money and retain top talent with well-structured employee benefit and financial planning solutions.  With more than 20 years of experience in employee and executive benefits consulting and financial planning experience, he guides large firms, privately held companies and executives through the challenges of evaluating planning opportunities.  We pride ourselves on our ability to be creative in designing innovative, optimum plans and helping companies and individuals make the most of their financial resources.

For more information:

Carl C. Schuessler, Jr., DHP, DIA, GBDS

Managing Principal

BenefitStrategies, LLC. • 2776 Ridge Valley Rd. • Bldg. 100, Site. 150 • Atlanta, GA 30327

Direct (404) 941-5519 • Mobile (404) 277-7852 • Fax (928) 833-2265
carl@benefitstrategiesllc.com

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Managed Print Services – A New Year’s Resolution for Your Office

Categories: Articles

With the start of a new year in progress, it is the perfect time to look into how your business can improve. Resolutions don’t have to simply be personal aims, and with savings to be made and efficiency to be improved, these resolutions can have a real impact on your business.

 

Effective Document Management

In an office, there can be hundreds of company files used on a daily basis which, if left unmanaged can become a real pain, not to mention the security problems an unmanaged system creates. With a system such as eCopy, you have a mechanism for all notes and work to be stored on a firm’s central servers, providing the ability to convert scanned documents into a searchable and editable format for improved archiving, document retrieval, and productivity.

Document security is a vital aspect of company life, and through taking measures like implementing a pull-print environment, each print job has to be authorized at the device, reducing the potential for sensitive documents to be forgotten about and left on the printer, and the ability to print securely to share workgroup devices.

Systems such as Equitrac utilize ‘anytime anywhere’ software which includes mobility features; with the ability to securely print to a user’s terminal of choice across a firm’s corporate network. Flexibility is also a key aspect to the solution and with additional Airprint technology implemented; staff are able to print directly to networked devices using tablets or smartphones.

 

Managed print services

In the business world, printing is essential, there’s no avoiding racking up some costs when it comes to getting a hard copy of some documents. Spending too much on printing is easily avoidable though.

On unmanaged systems, it is estimated that a number in the range of 20% of printed work is forgotten, lost or trashed unread. How many times have you headed over to the printer, only to have to rifle your way through dozens of sheets waiting to be collected? For many mid-sized businesses, this adds up to vast amounts of wasted paper and more importantly, costly ink. This is clearly a huge area in which you can make potential savings. Smart printing systems provide pull-print functionalities so that all documents are either retrieved or not output at all.

 

Print fleet

If your company is behind the times when it comes to your print devices, then you might want to think about swiftly addressing that point. You may assume that using personal printers or old models are a better option for your business, however in terms of costs and security this is not the case. Using an outdated print fleet not only raises the cost of printing per sheet, but also means the solutions identified above aren’t available.

Primarily, your business should conduct a detailed site audit, identifying which devices are unnecessary and inefficient, and where there are opportunities to save costs.

It is often beneficial to replace all desktop printers with shared workgroup Multi-Functional-Devices (MFD), which can significantly reduce power consumption and save on costs. MFDs can also be set up to reduce paper output, color and toner usage and expenditure.

 

Rich Simons heads the Sales and Managed Print division for EDGE Business Systems.  He helps improve efficiencies for medical practices providing analysis, customization and recommendations to create an efficient work environment for all document processes.  Feel free to connect at rsimons@edgeatl.com.     

Employers Seek to Enhance Retirement Readiness

Categories: Articles

Employee retirement readiness is a top priority among more than three-fourths of employers participating in Deloitte Consulting’s Annual 401(k) Benchmarking Survey, 2012 Edition. Only 12% of plan sponsors said that most employees are or will be “financially prepared for retirement.”

Employers are attempting to address this situation by implementing retirement readiness assessments; nearly two-thirds reported conducting such assessments in 2012.

 

Automatic enrollment is among steps taken

Other steps taken by sponsors include offering automatic enrollment. About 86% of those whose plans have this feature see a positive effect on employee participation rates. More than 50% of plans offer a Roth 401(k) option to enhance participation. And almost two-thirds are offering individual financial counseling and advice, demonstrating the focus that plan sponsors are placing on participant education.

 

Planning tools are not being used

Unfortunately, the survey results also revealed that participants aren’t using education tools and other planning resources to the fullest. This has led to employers encouraging providers and recordkeepers to develop innovative approaches like podcasts and webcasts, where participants can get education on demand, and more extensive social media and mobile applications.

 

Visit http://tinyurl.com/Deloitte2012AnnualBenchmarking for more Deloitte survey results.

Monterey Wealth is eager to assist your company with retirement plan benchmarking, investment analysis, and employee education/communication strategies.  Jay Cohen, President and Founder, can be reached at 404-201-2284 or at jay.cohen@lpl.com.  For more information on Monterey Wealth, please see their website at www.montereywealth.com

For Plan Sponsor Use Only- Not for use with participants or the general public. This information is not intended as authoritative guidance or tax or legal advice. You should consult with your attorney or tax advisor for guidance on your specific situation.

Kmotion, Inc., P.O. Box 1456, Tualatin, OR 97062; 877-306-5055; www.kmotion.com

© 2014 Kmotion, Inc. This newsletter is a publication of Kmotion, Inc., whose role is solely that of publisher. The articles and opinions in this publication are for general information only and are not intended to provide tax or legal advice or recommendations for any particular situation or type of retirement plan. Nothing in this publication should be construed as legal or tax guidance, nor as the sole authority on any regulation, law, or ruling as it applies to a specific plan or situation. Plan sponsors should consult the plan’s legal counsel or tax advisor for advice regarding plan-specific issues.

RP-09800-1213

Tracking #1-226613

Practice Manager of the Month

Categories: Practice Manager of the Month

The HST team is about “professionals dedicated to the success of medical practices.”  Each month, we recognize a practice manager who shares our passion and success in doing this, and provide you her or his advice.

Melissa Ross
Premier Care for Women

What do you enjoy about your job?

I enjoy talking with patients and working with people, I like trying to help patients make their visits easy and enjoyable.

Prior to Premier Care, Melissa  was a Practice manager for a previous OB/GYN and MFM group.  Two  she offers about being a successful practice manager are to “Listen to patients and your staff, your staff are the actual people who are living in the trenches they a great with coming up with ideas to help with flow etc….  It always helps the patients.”   Melissa also follows advice she got from Tanya Mack, “I have known her for over 14 years and she has always said listen to what people have to say.”

Dr Eva Arkin, MD added this about Melissa. “Melissa is a dedicated manager at Premier Care for Women now for 18 months.  She has stepped into a large practice and has organized the staff and the management of the day-to-day running of the office.  She certainly has encouraged the staff in many ways and keeps up the morale on a regular basis.  The staff appreciate her managerial skills and always look forward to her monthly newsletters.  She is always trying to seek ways of being fiscally prudent.  She has organized the staff and has created a pleasant and stable work environment.”

When You Can’t Hire High-priced Marketing Experts, Fractional CMOs Provide Wholesale Value

Categories: Articles

As the marketplace and your customers become increasingly sophisticated, “outsourced Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) offer small- and medium-sized practices both high-level marketing counsel and the resources to execute marketing plans without paying six-figure salaries.

In what other ways can a fractional CMO bring value to your practice? As objective, third-party advisors, fractional CMOs provide:

  • strategic insight into how to reach your short- and long- sales and business objectives.
  • knowledge of and experience implementing effective marketing tools.
  • recommendations for marketing vehicles that are best suited for your practice and industry.

The primary financial benefit of engaging a fractional CMO is reduced overhead costs. Engaging fractional CMOs when needed or on a project basis can save your business monthly expenses associated with employing full-time marketing professionals. Also, if your practice’s business is seasonal in nature, you can retain outside marketing counsel just prior to and during peak times and cut back during quieter months.

A Harvard Business Review blog post from earlier this year takes a more focused look at the role of today’s CMO, whether an employee or an outsourced company, one step further. The article examines the value of CMOs and how they are increasingly driving the strategies for practice technology. It states that CMOs who are focused primarily on digital marketing efforts, “…have the self-awareness and the confidence to take bold action even when the context has shifted beyond their sphere of influence and scope of expertise. That is leadership.”

Fractional CMOs are inclined to push the envelope, which is a distinct advantage for companies that are experiencing little or no revenue growth, are traditionally risk averse, and/or employ leaders who resist change. Taking risks and getting out of your comfort zone are necessary qualities companies should look for in marketing leaders.

During your practice planning sessions, consider whether utilizing a fractional CMO could help you optimize your marketing strategy and execute digital campaigns that advance your practice’s leadership.

As the digital marketing agency for B2B and B2C clients who have limited marketing staff resources, NicheLabs is a fractional CMO, trusted advisor and results-driven service provider.  For more information, please contact Hal Schlenger at hschlenger@nichelabs.com or 770-335-0077.

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