Join Cornerstone and Dental Care Plus for a Free Training Event!

Cornerstone and Dental Care Plus Group present:

Dental 101 and Vision 101

Click here to RSVP.

Image of business partners listening to female employee at meeting

DATE: July 6, 2017

TIME: 10:00 am–12:00 pm

PLACE: The Hampton Inn

986 E. State St. | Athens, OH 45701

 

TRAINING SCHEDULE:

10:00–11:00 — Vision 101

11:00–11:15 — Break

11:15–12:00 — Dental 101

Benefits With Technology

Paul Conroy

Paul Conroy, Director of Employee Benefits, Cincinnati and Northern KY

Everyone would prefer to do away with the outdated paper-based process. If an employer is managing benefits with paper today, the benefit administration burden often falls to broker consultants who, in turn, must figure out how to run an efficient, cost effective operation with carriers.

In pursuit of paperless benefit administration, those that have tested the waters have been saddled with an expensive and clunky software program with virtually non-existent support.

Admittedly, constructing a benefits administration system using only technology is difficult to do, especially when considering data security, configuring benefits, and maintaining direct connections with multiple carriers. Add to the mix constant changes in state and federal regulations, rising premiums, and the growing prevalence of high deductible health plans, and the result is a higher standard in what we need from a vendor.

Ideally, the next wave of benefit administration solutions will successfully merge technology, process, and people.

Innovation now seems to be focused on the experiences surrounding the benefits program. As more data accumulates and becomes readily available, benefit administration technology can easily convert the data into recommendation engines and decision support tools. These immediate online resources can help people understand the costs and complexity of what they are buying and help consumers select from their options and allocate costs within their budget. As benefit consultants, we must adjust how we fit into the process and flow of engaging employees, work in accord with technology, and establish our relevance within a purchasing logic founded on data analytics.

Adam Kenter, a Market Sales Executive with Paycor explains:

“On a personal note, when I enrolled in my benefits at Paycor, I was tasked with selecting the right plan for myself and my family. My wife, a teacher, brought home a giant stack of paper for her benefits and asked me to sort it out for her. Rather than spend hours sorting through and calculating, we just added her to my plan in seconds with Paycor’s Perform Benefits, and had an exact calculation of our expenditure per pay period and annually. It has been my experience, and that of our clients, that an online enrollment tool will drive more participants to employee benefit plans due to the simplicity of enrollment.”

While this continues to develop, benefit consultants should consider how to adjust the way they position their skill sets and services to employers. In addition to the core benefits strategy we have always offered, become more familiar with ever-changing technology. One other important observation: Technology is now in the hands of the brokers, the employers, and the employees. Don’t get squeezed out.

Studies continue to reflect that HR technology is a top priority among employers. Investment in HR management systems is growing exponentially, and organizations are frequently replacing older systems. Employers are searching for knowledgeable partners to guide them through the complex process of finding the best tech solution for their organizational needs. This is an ideal scenario for brokers/benefit consultants to fill a need and contribute to the client’s decision-making process. Overlooking this opportunity could result in clients turning to another broker.

The trend is headed toward paperless enrollment and self-service for employees. So what specific features are required to meet this need?

Decide what the client needs. There’s definitely a trend to set up lots of simple tools specifically designed for the annual open enrollment. The shortcoming to this more focused approach is that you lose the ability to use the program throughout the year. It takes a different technology to handle the administration rules that come outside of open enrollment. Decide upfront: Do you only want support for open enrollment, or do you need something year round?

Look for an established business partner. There are many newcomers to investigate beyond the novelty and creative marketing. While conducting your search, look for an organization with a proven reputation for being responsive and delivering hands-on service to their clients. A perfect technology company does not exist, so when something goes wrong, you may need people to fix it.

Agility is just as important as ability. Any technology investment in this day and age should be dynamic and continuously improving. Agile, cloud-based technologies are built to evolve and improve over time. The platform you select today should be better six months or a year down the road. Look to work with companies that release product updates on a regular basis, and most importantly, look for a company that listens to their customers’ feedback and freely implements suggestions to improve functionality. The utopia everyone is looking for is integration with a payroll system. True integration allows for one point of input. Based on the obsession we have with our smart phones, I believe the demand for systems with mobile app enrollment will increase, so it’s good to ask if the system offers this technology now or in the near future.

Availability to small business. Any system needs to be user friendly. If it is too difficult to use then it is a flawed system. One simple test: How easy is it to correct an enrollment/election mistake? Technology service being available to the small business market is often a sign that it is easy to use. Small companies don’t have a lot of resources to deploy and manage a technology. For any solution to be successful in this environment, it needs to perform and automate as much of the busy work as possible. For example, employees should be able to enroll in all benefits via the system and benefit descriptions should be easily available in the system or via links.

Employee education. It is more than providing relief from administrative burdens. Does the process help employees understand the benefits they’re being offered and how to use them throughout the year? Benefits plans are designed to make sure that employees are healthy and productive at work, but that value is only realized if employees know what they have. Can the system help provide a better, more convenient information source? Are you, as the Benefit Advisor, able to deliver content and provide information about benefits in this format? With help from you, the portal can become a central information source that expands benefit awareness. Adam Kenter explains:

“With Paycor’ s Employee Benefit Tools, administrators can create and run online enrollment events to make new hire benefit enrollment and open enrollment periods paperless. Administrators can manage individual employee elections to account for life events or employee corrections. These tools will make the end user experience less time consuming, and will allow them to better budget for and decide on the best possible employee benefit package.”

Keep an eye on all the mobile technologies that look beyond the open enrollment period and engage employees year round in their benefits. With these programs and apps, employees can better understand the financial impact of their benefit plan, locate network providers, and compare costs conveniently through their smart phones. Mobile engagement is bound to increase, and insurance brokers and benefit advisors will need to adapt.

Cornerstone aims to be the trusted partner in solving complex benefit challenges. For more information on our value-added services and how we can help you grow your business, be sure to contact us today.

Dental Care Plus Group Offers Live Customer Service

When clients, providers, and members call Dental Care Plus Group, they will be in direct contact with a live customer service representative. Between the hours of 8:00 am until 4:30 pm EST, Monday through Friday, clients will encounter a live representative rather than a voice recording.

The company released their 2016 customer service stats:

  • Received 145,000+ calls throughout 2016.
  • Average speed of answer: 15 seconds.
  • DCPG’s call abandon rate was under one percent.

 

RESOURCES

Dental Care Plus Group Broker Brush Up

Dental Care Plus Group 2016 Financial Highlights

Dental Care Plus Group’s President and CEO Anthony Cook released highlights from their 2016 financial year, including a nine percent increase in revenue and growing to more than 382,000 dental and vision plan members.

The company also included the following highlights in their release:

  • Securing a 94.8 percent group retention ratio.
  • Growing the PPO business in expansion markets by 16.5 percent.
  • Providing PPO members with access to dentists in all 50 states through networks that include more than 246,000 access points.
  • Being granted authority to conduct business in Illinois and Virginia.
  • Expanding the individual product offering to Indiana.

RESOURCES

Dental Care Plus Group Broker Brush Up

Anthem Network Addition: Aultman Hospital

Aultman Hospital and affiliated partners are now part of the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield network, effective May 15, 2017. This network addition includes Aultman hospital, providers, and ancillary services (e.g., home care, infusion, dialysis, DME, skilled nursing, hospice, rehab, and LTAC), and applies to all Anthem networks (Blue Access, Blue Preferred, Medicare Advantage HMO and PPO, and the Exchange (Pathway) HMO and PPO).

For more information, contact your Cornerstone representative today.

FormFire Quoting for 3rd Quarter in Northern Ohio

The Results Are In!

After some study and analysis, Cornerstone will begin using FormFire’s quoting engine to generate your quotes this week. Here are the advantages:

  • Quotes will be returned in Microsoft Excel format. You’ll only need to add your logo and the current/renewal plans OR you can copy/paste into an existing document.
  • A standard disclaimer is included on the quote. We recommend retaining it on what you share with the customer.
  • Streamlined to a smaller list of plans from Cornerstone’s “Quote Profile”. In our Profile, we pull the most popular and common plan design options from each carrier. Click here for the list of plans in the quote profile (you can always request specific plan options or all plans).
  • Results are 1% or better – see the table below:

Of course, if you still prefer actual quotes from the carrier, you can request those up front too.

We also recommend that you have a specific quote generated if you are going to recommend a plan or carrier change. (If you sell the case, we’ll need to run an actual quote as well to submit with sold case paperwork.)

How we validated the results:

  • We pulled quotes for each age band and each gender in each of the 7 rating areas covering northern Ohio.
  • We compared actual quotes with the same census files and zip codes as FormFire.
  • We discussed results outside the norm with FormFire who reached out to the carriers to ensure they had matched the quoting methodology as closely as possible. PLEASE NOTE: methodology is somewhat proprietary so exact matches are not possible, but if within 1-2%, FormFire considers the quotes accurate.

Please let us know if you have questions or concerns about this approach to handling your quotes. We believe this will be more efficient for you and your team!

Attached are contacts for offices your area:

  • Cleveland (click here)
  • Lima (click here)
  • Toledo (click here)

Anthem to Release New Employer Portal June 16

Anthem’s new employer portal, also known as EmployerAccess, will release on June 16 featuring many of the same functions as the old portal with a new design and updated technology.

Some highlights of the updated portal:

  • New self-registration flow
  • Enhanced Menu of Resources, including Client Information Insights reports
  • Enhanced Online Group Billing dashboard

Clients’ existing usernames and passwords will give them access to the portal on June 16. Users will be required to sign a new internet Group Usage Agreement and User Usage Agreement upon logging in.

Questions? Contact your Cornerstone representative today.

 

RESOURCES

Coming Soon! Anthem is moving to a new and improved Employer Portal in June

PRODUCT HIGHLIGHT: Group Employer Income Protection

Take a look at this product from The Standard. As a form of Long Term Disability Income for businesses, it enables the employer to protect against loss of income if key employees become disabled. A great solution for law, physician, or engineering firms where billable hours drive revenue.

Login to the Broker Centric Marketing Portfolio or contact your Cornerstone representative for more information about The Standard and its products.

 

RESOURCES

Employer Income Protection

Medical Mutual’s Healthy Outlooks Newsletter to Release May 31

Medical Mutual’s 2017 Spring/Summer ‘Healthy Outlooks’ newsletter will be released May 31, 2017. Members will email addresses on file with Medical Mutual and have opted into electronic health and wellness information through My Health Plan will receive the newsletter.

The newsletter will be released for two different audiences: under 65 and over 65.

 

RESOURCES

Medical Mutual Broker Update (May 25)

Medical Mutual to Send Out Annual Membership Survey

Medical Mutual will send out a 10-minute survey to all group officials from their email list the week of May 29. Group officials must complete the survey within 2 weeks about their membership representatives and enrollment and premium billing processes. The survey is designed to give group officials the chance to provide feedback and suggestions to improve Medical Mutual’s Membership enrollment services.

(Applies to: small group (51–99), 100+ full insured, 100+ self-funded)

 

RESOURCES

Medical  Mutual Broker Update (May 25)