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Second Quarter 2014 ViewPoints

September 9, 2014

Spring has Finally Arrived!

The beautiful spring weather has made our trips to visit clients much easier to navigate.  Our spring has been full of renewal activity and long term planning.  If your group has completed your renewal activity, spring is a great time for plan review and assessment.

Consider your current benefit offerings and what (if any) changes may be needed for the year ahead. Mapping out your action plan in advance is an effective way to prepare for and manage change, especially as new deadlines approach for the Affordable Care Act.

Stacy, Renee, and Victoria

The Value of Annual Plan Reports

Insurance benefits are often a source of confusion for employees.  An annual plan report to employees and members can help reduce confusion and foster a greater understanding of benefits and employer contributions.

An annual report does not have to be long or extremely detailed to be effective.  The most successful reports share the key information employees need to better understand benefit and rate changes.

Some key information to include in annual reporting:

  • Types of insurance and funding mechanisms
  • Benefit changes or new product offerings
  • Renewal increase and strategy
  • Insurance committee members & roles
  • Claim and administrative cost ratios
  • Contact information

The annual report can also be a great time to feature a benefit that may be under utilized by employees.

Formulating Benefits

This spring we had the opportunity to attend great conferences.

In March we were at the Iowa School Business Officials (IASBO) Annual Conference.  April brought us to the Joint Annual Conference of the Iowa College and University Business Officials (IACUBO) and Iowa College and University Professionals Association (CUPA-HR).

Thanks to all our clients and contacts who stopped by our conference booths!

Medical Misdiagnosis

Misdiagnosis is thought to be one of the most prevalent health care quality issues.  Researchers used the data from 3 recent studies to better estimate the impact of medical misdiagnosis in the United States.  Their review concluded that over 5% (over 12 million) of the adult population seeking outpatient care are misdiagnosed. Half of these errors have the potential to lead to dangerous outcomes for the patient.

Misdiagnosis is a complicated problem with areas of concern including limited doctor-patient interactions and unclear clinical guidelines.  To help prevent misdiagnosis, patients should tell doctors about all their medications, ask questions, and consider bringing a friend or family member to doctor visits.

(Modern Healthcare, April 2014)

Disappearing Spousal Coverage

The Affordable Care Act does not require that spouses are offered medical coverage. As a result, many employers are electing to drop spousal coverage as a way to reduce plan costs.  A Towers Watson survey showed that 4% of employers did not offer spousal coverage in 2013.  That number jumped to 12% in the 2014 survey.

Employers not wanting to completely eliminate spousal coverage are applying surcharges to spouses with other available coverage.

Careful consideration should be given to this approach.  Although eliminating coverage for spouses can help lower plan costs and fees, it may also result in poor employee morale and retention.

New Address

Our office will be closed on Thursday, May 8th as we move to a different space in our current office complex.  Our  phone numbers and email addresses will remain the same.  We will be monitoring email and voice mail during our move.

Please note the address change:

2650 106th Street
Suite 220
Urbandale, IA  50322

View is a Matter of Perspective

At Perspective, we give you a broader view of employee benefits – a new perspective based on independence, insight, and initiative.