Rebate Game on Overdrive

White Pills with a bottle and American Dollars

Every time I turn around there is another shell to watch in the game of rebate pricing. And just when you thought the pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) pricing structure couldn’t get more convoluted, it is… Most employers are already aware that PBMs provide significant rebates every time brand drugs are dispensed. As the cost of… [Read More]

Retiree Healthcare Back in Focus

A mixed race senior couple is kayaking down a river together. The image's focus is on the elderly woman smiling in the foreground. She is Pacific Islander and has graying hair. Her husband is seen in a kayak in the background. In the distance behind the couple you can see the shoreline and a bridge. The happy couple are wearing casual clothing. It is warm outside.

With the upturn in the economy, employers are again starting to look at improvements to benefit programs, especially for their key employees. Retiree healthcare is a topic where I am surprised that discussions have changed from “how do I eliminate this obligation” to “tell me what other employers are doing for their key staff for post-employment… [Read More]

Compliance Is Not Just Acronym Soup

Healthy Alphabet Soup in Tomato Sauce  Ready to Eat

ACA, ADA, GINA, HIPAA, EEOC, AARP, GDPR – the acronyms abound and these are just a few you need to be familiar with if you’re the wellness compliance guru at your company. I’ll limit today’s discussion to two of the more recent updates you should be aware of. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)­ Basically, the… [Read More]

HSAs and Medicare – Like Oil and Water

Oil bubbles with water

I see more and more employers offering high deductible health plans (HDHPs) every year. This type of plan can be tricky, but it’s increasingly popular in the quest to keep premium spend down as healthcare costs rise. We come across our fair share of questions and issues with HDHPs and health savings accounts (HSAs) at… [Read More]

Why HR Should Care About User Experience

Portrait of a young adult male sat using his laptop in a modern office. Bangkok, Thailand. April 2017

You know that feeling – when you’re pulling your hair out over what should be a simple task on your computer or mobile device? It’s rare to go through the day without some kind of technological interaction, and when the tech doesn’t work or it’s not easy to navigate, we eventually wash our hands of… [Read More]

Anthem’s Entry Signals Further Stop Loss Market Growth

Arrows up isolated, many different styles, illustration vector

The tectonic plates continue to shift underneath the health insurance market. Ten years ago, most medical carriers were predominantly “risk-bearing” entities – taking in premium dollars and in return, paying claims. But as those claim dollars rose and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) introduced additional fees to the insurance market more employers moved towards self-funding,… [Read More]

Bridging the Wellness Generation Gap

Big multi generational group of people stitting outdoors, smiling and looking at the camera.

I remember when we held our first “employee engagement” meeting here at Frenkel. I was pleasantly surprised by the turnout, differing in age and professional level in the company. Once we opened the floor to ideas about desired wellness offerings, the generational gaps in interests revealed themselves. Younger employees requested things like company-sponsored happy hours,… [Read More]

DOL’s Final Rule on Disability Claim Procedures

A gavel rests on its sounding block with a several law books and a justice scale out of focus in the background.  A cool blue cast dominates the scene.

I’ve been keeping my eye on movement here for well over a year and after some delay, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued final regulations amending the existing claim procedures for ERISA-governed plans providing disability benefits. The DOL is looking to provide needed protections for American workers, and any disability claims filed on or after April… [Read More]

ACA Penalties for Failure to Provide or Have Coverage Are Still Around

finance business calculation with calculator and pen on chart

There is a lot of confusion out there concerning ACA penalties. The 2018 tax act did not eliminate any employer penalties for not offering health insurance coverage. The only change was reducing the individual coverage penalty to zero – however, this change does not go into effect until 1/1/2019. Applicable large employers (ALEs) with more… [Read More]

This Flu Season’s Outbreak Is No Laughing Matter

Cropped shot of a sick businesswoman blowing her nose in the boardroom

I’ve had more clients than usual reach out to me for communications related to this year’s flu season and flu prevention tips. Why, you ask? Because this year’s influenza outbreak is widespread with hospitalizations occurring in 49 of 50 states. And it’s no longer just dangerous for children and those age 65+… Now employees age… [Read More]