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Showing posts from 2023

2024 open enrollment checklist for employers

Open enrollment can be an extremely positive and rewarding experience for you and your employees, providing you plan for it well in advance. It’s important to review and modify your benefits offerings to enhance your employees’ physical, mental and financial health. Use this 2024 open enrollment checklist to help your organization prepare for a successful open enrollment period, from early planning to follow-up. Then, check out our eight- to 12-week timeline below to see what you need to do in the following months. 8-12 weeks before open enrollment The 2024 open enrollment period starts Nov. 1, 2023, and ends Jan. 15, 2024. While it may seem far away, you’ll want to start preparing now. By giving yourself plenty of time to gather and develop essential materials, you’ll better overcome end-of-year hurdles, including: more people out of the office due to holidays, vacations or illness; major end-of-year deadlines, such as annual reports; and slower reply rates and project turnarounds.

Multigenerational workforce benefits toolkit

Today’s multigenerational workforce is the most age-diverse in modern history. It spans four, or sometimes even five, generations. A person’s age influences many of their characteristics over time, including their preferred benefits. One of the biggest challenges for employers is finding benefits that suit employees of all generations. A benefit valued by millennials might not be useful for a baby boomer. People in different generational segments have varying expectations about what a benefits program should entail shaped by their own experiences, culture and lifestyle situations.  If employers want to provide benefits that their employees will actually use, they must take their varying preferences into account.   Use our multigenerational workforce benefits toolkit  to see which benefits are most valued across different cohorts. How employers can use this toolkit This toolkit will help employers understand employees’ shared concerns and distinct needs. Employers can then tailor their

High prescription drug costs cause a negative health impact

A 2021 CDC study found that 8.2% of Americans aged 18 to 64 skipped, delayed or reduced the amount of their prescription medications because of cost concerns. The National Health Interview Survey revealed that to reduce expenses, 9.2 million adults were not taking medication as prescribed. According to the report, about 60% of adults age 18 and older took at least one prescription medication, with 36% taking three or more. Out-of-pocket costs on retail drugs rose 4.8% to $63 billion. Since high costs limit many Americans’ ability to take their medications as prescribed, these patients may require additional treatment. 6 prescription drug cost key takeaways While this study was conducted in 2021, key takeaways are still applicable today due to rising prescription drug costs. Consider the following findings: Women (9.1%) were likelier than men (7%) not to take medication as prescribed. The percentage of adults not taking medication as prescribed due to cost varied by race and origin: n

How to improve your self-discipline

Self-discipline is an important skill that can help you reach your personal and professional goals. It can enable you to push forward, stay motivated and take action, regardless of how you feel physically or emotionally. It also allows you to focus on your goals and control yourself and your reactions. So, what steps can you take to learn how to improve your self-discipline? Like any skill, self-discipline can be refined with practice, and you may only sometimes be successful. Persevering, even when you fail, is crucial to reaching your goals. 6 simple steps you can take to improve self-discipline Habit building is essential when improving self-discipline. Consider integrating these simple habits to improve your self-discipline: Start with small goals and outline a strategy or plan to achieve them. Put your goals in a place where you can see them every day. Practice prioritization and eliminate distractions or temptations that may take you off course. Hold yourself accountable and enl

Live Well, Work Well Video - September 2023

The link between health and happiness In the pursuit of a fulfilling life, happiness is a common goal. However, happiness is not an isolated concept; it’s complex and connected to your overall physical and mental health. By understanding and nurturing the links between your health and happiness, you can be on your way to an enriched and balanced life. Physical health forms the foundation upon which happiness thrives. When your body functions optimally, so can your overall sense of well-being. As such, prioritizing physical health through regular exercise, a balanced diet and adequate sleep sets the stage for a happier mood and healthy life. Mental health is equally important to your happiness. When you nurture your mind, happiness can flourish. Supporting your mental health through self-care, stress management and relationship-building can improve your emotional resilience and a positive mindset. By embracing a holistic approach to health, you can unlock the potential for a life filled

Benefits Breakdown - September 2023

2024 Open Enrollment: 3 Preparation Strategies With the 2024 open enrollment season fast approaching, employers have an opportunity to develop attractive benefits offerings and proactively communicate with employees. Early preparation can help show employees they’re valued, convince top performers to stay in their current positions and attract new talent. Consider these three strategies to prepare for 2024 open enrollment: 1. Tailor benefits offerings Benefits offerings are one of the top reasons employees join companies and stay at their jobs. That’s why it’s critical for employers to speak with employees about which perks provide the most value. Adding or tweaking a few benefits options could be the difference between retaining and losing top performers. 2. Determine key messaging Benefits communications should account for employees’ desire to feel safe. Thus, key messaging should demonstrate how workplace offerings can protect employees. Outlining different benefits offerings can he

Prescription drug coverage to lower costs and improve employee health

Healthcare costs are expected to grow 5.6% for a hypothetical family of four from 2022 to 2023, according to the 2023 Milliman Medical Index . That’s an increase from $29,424 to $31,065. This year-over-year growth is increasing pressure on employers to provide employees with health coverage at an affordable price. One strategy your organization can look into is prescription drug coverage. Over the past month, HANYS Benefits Services has put the spotlight on how changes in coverage could help your company save and boost employee health in the long run. Read our Benefits Toolkit: Prescription Benefits Drugs for a comprehensive synopsis. Then, top it off with our additional prescription drug and alternative therapies resources: Prescription drug pricing trends ; How prescription drug importation can lower drug prices ; What you should know about biolsimilars ; and Managing costs with cell and gene therapy . If you have questions or need assistance, contact us today . Our dedicated team o

How Prescription Drug Importation Can Lower Drug Prices

The cost of prescription drugs in the U.S. is the highest in the developed world and is rising quickly. Americans often pay more for prescription drugs than individuals in comparable countries. According to a 2021 RAND Corporation study , U.S. prescription drug prices were 2.56 times higher, on average, than those in the 32 comparison countries. It’s no surprise many Americans struggle to afford the prescription drugs they need. Addressing the lack of affordable prescription drugs is a top public health priority in the U.S. Prescription drug importation is one option some policymakers are pursuing to lower drug prices for Americans. While prescription drug importation has bipartisan public support, it remains a controversial issue with benefits and risks that must be examined. This article explores the potential impacts of prescription drug importation on U.S. drug prices. What is prescription drug importation? Prescription drug importation is the practice of purchasing prescription dr

Prescription drug pricing trends

There’s an uptick in prescription drug pricing trends. As drug costs continue to increase, it’s important for employers to understand why prescription prices are rising and what cost-cutting solutions are available to manage expenses. Prescription drug cost drivers Although prescription drug spending has historically been a small proportion of national healthcare costs compared to hospital and physician services, it has grown rapidly in recent years. According to CMS, prescription drug spending increased 7.8% to $378.0 billion in 2021, up 3.7% from the previous year. A recent study found that “In 2022, overall pharmaceutical expenditures in the US grew 9.4% compared to 2021, for a total of $633.5 billion. Utilization (a 5.9% increase), price (a 1.7% increase) and new drugs (a 1.8% increase) drove this increase.” These results illustrate increasing prescription drug spending, especially with new, specialty and cancer drugs. Employers will have to watch for a predicted rise of 6% to 8%

What you should know about biosimilars

Rapidly increasing healthcare costs will likely continue to impact employers for the foreseeable future. As a result, many employers are considering strategies to manage these costs, including rising prescription drug costs. The introduction of biosimilar drugs as an alternative to biologics may bring value to healthcare by offering cost savings and increasing employee access to necessary medications. While biosimilars can potentially combat rising prescription drug costs, employers will need to learn more about them before considering how their health plans can accommodate these newer drugs. This article explores biosimilar drugs and ways employers can promote or manage their use. What are biosimilars? The European Medicines Agency defines a biosimilar as “a biological medicine highly similar to another already approved biological medicine.” It is produced from living organisms — humans, animals or microorganisms, meaning they aren’t created from synthesized chemicals. They are also

Managing costs associated with cell and gene therapy

Employers continue to struggle with controlling rising healthcare costs and providing employees with affordable and quality care options. Of particular concern are the high costs associated with specialty drugs, including treatments like cell and gene therapy. The specialty drug industry has grown from a few available drugs in the 1990s to more than 300 specialty drugs today. Specialty drugs are the fastest-growing expense for most employer-sponsored health plans. As these treatments become more widely available, employers will likely be forced to address even higher specialty drug costs. The recent rise of cell and gene therapy may create even more concern for employers. These treatments typically range from $250,000 to $3.5 million per individual. While CGT is currently limited to a handful of orphan drugs and extremely rare conditions, this is expected to change in the next few years. Investment in regenerative medicine has grown 16% in three years, hitting a record high of $23.1 bi

HBS Q3 Market Recap: So far, so good

In spite of investors’ concerns over a possible recession entering 2023, capital markets and the U.S. economy have been resilient in the first and second quarter, with significantly less volatility. The U.S. equity market’s strong performance in the second quarter was propped up by the unexpected growth boom in artificial intelligence technologies. Overall, the S&P 500 gained 8.74% in Q2, resulting in a year-to-date gain of 16.89%. However, the fight against inflation is ongoing. Compared to the strong headline equity market performance and stock gains we’ve had so far this year, fixed-income markets remain uncertain. The Federal Reserve has a long way to go to get back to its target of 2% inflation, causing fixed-income markets to keep a close eye on further rate hikes. The coming months will be of vital importance to better quantify the unique dynamics of this market and determine whether a true “Goldilocks scenario” can be achieved.  Read the  Retirement Market Recap  to learn m

Attraction & Retention Newsletter - Q3 2023

Attraction and Retention: stay up to date on trends, challenges and tips Each quarter, the  Attraction and Retention  newsletter offers statistics about the employment market, suggestions on securing top talent and insight to attract and retain workers. The  third quarter edition  explores: current labor market trends; how to use mentorship to bolster employee retention; and pay transparency. Since retention plummeted in 2022, employers continue to find themselves needing help attracting and retaining talent in this tight labor market. However, not all labor challenges are equal across all industries or positions. For example, finance and insurance industry job openings are increasing while nondurable goods manufacturing show a downward trend. To navigate today’s work environment, it’s more crucial than ever that employers stay up to date on the current employment landscape and the needs and desires of workers. Download your copy  of  Attraction and Retention  today to stay up to date

Benefits Buzz - August 2023

  FDA approves OTC daily oral contraceptive; IRS issues draft forms for ACA reporting FDA approves first over-the-counter daily oral contraceptive On July 13, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first nonprescription daily oral contraceptive to prevent pregnancy. This drug is expected to become available to consumers without a prescription from stores and online retailers in early 2024. Insurance coverage The Affordable Care Act requires most group health plans and health insurance issuers to provide first-dollar coverage of certain specified preventive services for women, including all FDA-approved contraceptives, as prescribed by a healthcare provider. The ACA’s contraceptive coverage mandate does not cover over-the-counter oral contraceptives that are obtained without a prescription. It is possible that the Biden administration or Congress will take action to expand insurance coverage of over-the-counter oral contraceptives. In the meantime, employers should review t

Employer’s #1 mistake when improving employee morale and productivity

  Selecting the right health benefits is complicated for even the most educated consumer. It can be overwhelming to sift through benefits options during open enrollment and when receiving health services. If you’re not aware of how your health benefits impact your employees’ morale and productivity, you may be making a big mistake. In fact, eight out of 10 employees said they faced challenges when receiving care, according to Quantum Health ’s study. These challenges were worsened by the complexity of their healthcare benefits. If you haven’t considered how confusion toward health benefits can take a toll on employees in the workplace, keep reading. You’ll be surprised to learn what you can take away as an employer. Unexpected findings on complex health benefits The Quantum Health study tracked how employee morale and productivity were impacted by complex health benefits. The results were unexpected. The study concluded that a vast majority of consumers reported facing hurdles in the p

2024 HSA and HDHP Limits: Free Chart

For individuals who rely on health savings accounts and high-deductible health plans, there is some good news on the horizon. Each year, the IRS announces inflation-adjusted limits for these plans, helping individuals save money on healthcare costs.  Looking ahead to 2024, the new limits bring some key changes over the previous year. Our free downloadable chart below shows how much individuals can save in their HSA accounts and what the minimum deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses will be.  Read more about how HSA and HDHP limits will increase for 2024. Of course, it's important to note that these limits don't apply to everyone, as they're only for those eligible for HSA-qualified HDHPs. But for those who can take advantage, the new limits offer a welcome opportunity to build up funds while taking control of their healthcare expenses.  If you have questions or need help determining your coverage, HANYS Benefits Services can help review your plans to see how the changes w

HSA and HDHP limits will increase for 2024

On May 16, the IRS released  Revenue Procedure 2023-23 , which provides the inflation-adjusted limits for health savings accounts and high-deductible health plans for 2024. The IRS is required to publish these HSA and HDHP limits by June 1 of each year. These limits include: the maximum HSA contribution limit; the minimum deductible amount for HDHPs; and the maximum out-of-pocket expense limit for HDHPs. These limits vary based on whether an individual has self-only or family coverage under an HDHP. Eligible individuals with self-only HDHP coverage will be able to contribute  $4,150  to their HSAs for 2024, up from $3,850 for 2023. Eligible individuals with family HDHP coverage will be able to contribute  $8,300  to their HSAs for 2024, up from $7,750 for 2023. Individuals age 55 or older may make an additional $1,000 “catch-up” contribution to their HSAs. The minimum deductible amount for HDHPs increases to  $1,600  for self-only coverage and  $3,200  for family coverage for 2024, up

Benefits Buzz - July 2023

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a stay of enforcement of a lower court’s ruling in  Braidwood Management Inc. v. Beccara . In  Braidwood , the lower court vacated a key portion of the Affordable Care Act’s preventive care coverage requirement.  In this issue, let’s get into what the court’s reinstatement of the ACA’s preventive care mandate means. We’ll also look at another ACA insurance-related topic: Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute fees. The ACA Preventive Care Mandate Explained  The ACA requires most health plans and health insurance issuers to cover a set of preventive services without imposing cost-sharing requirements when the services are provided by in-network providers. Among these are evidence-based items or services that have a rating of A or B in the current recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. In  Braidwood , the lower court ruled that preventive care coverage requirements based on an A or B rating by the USPSTF on or af

The Differences Between Short- and Long-term Disability Insurance and COBRA

Voluntary benefits are becoming increasingly important to employees as they focus on their physical, mental, social and financial health. As a result, many employers have expanded their voluntary benefits offerings to address employees’ needs and improve their attraction and retention efforts.  Because some of these offerings are disability benefits, it’s more important than ever to understand the differences between short- and long-term disability insurance and COBRA. What are disability benefits? Disability benefits provide guaranteed income or job protection to employees who are unable to work due to serious illness or injury. The most common disability benefits are STD and LTD insurance. However, understanding the differences between short- and long-term benefits and other laws, such as the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act , can be complicated and difficult for employers to navigate. This article provides a general overview of STD, LTD and COBRA and explores how both