Group Benefits

Group Benefits

One of the main questions on the minds of virtually every business owner and benefits manager today is, “What can I do to contain my company’s increasing healthcare premiums?”

At ICNE, we strongly believe that having a comprehensive group benefits program in place is one of the most powerful tools you can use to attract and retain outstanding employees. In addition, we are fiercely dedicated to keeping your company’s healthcare costs affordable.

An explanation of group insurance benefits with a stethoscope on topWe know that the prospect of facing double-digit benefits program renewal increases every year in perpetuity is probably the source of great frustration and concern for you. The ICNE group benefits team is here to help relieve some of the mounting financial pressure coming from these rising healthcare costs and to be your advocate with insurance carriers across the U.S. You can count on us to work as hard for you, keeping your renewals low, as we would if it was ICNE’s own money being spent on healthcare benefits.

Our group benefits staff will take a customized and strategic approach to negotiating your renewals and ensuring that carriers reduce any increases to where they are very fair and economical. How can you be confident that we have the expertise to handle this important responsibility? As former employees of many of the top national insurance carriers, our group benefits staff has an in-depth understanding of how your rates are being determined and whether they are substantiated and equitable.

In order to maximize your benefits offerings while containing your costs, our group benefits department will aid you in the following three ways:

Step 1
Identifying a variety of cost-saving options for your group benefits program:

Our specialty is helping you offer affordable benefits options to meet the needs of your employees. Due to our strong relationships with all the top national health insurance carriers, we will be able to find you a carrier who will not only offer insurance options that are the best fit for your unique business, but who will also provide you with multiple ways to control your group health insurance costs. Here are some of the different funding arrangements that your ICNE professional might review with you:

Fully Insured

A more traditional way to structure an employer-sponsored health plan, a fully insured program is when your company pays a premium to an insurance carrier. Premium rates are fixed for one year, based on the number of employees in the plan each month and will only adjust if the number of employees in the plan changes. The insurer collects the premiums and pays the health care claims based on the coverage benefits outlined in the policy purchased. Your employees and their dependents are responsible to pay any deductible amounts or co-payments required for covered services under this policy type.

Self-Funded (or Self-Insured)

Typically more suitable for larger employers, this plan is operated by your company as opposed to purchasing a fully insured plan from an insurance carrier. Your business might choose to self-insure because it allows you to save the profit margin that an insurance company adds to its premium for a fully insured plan. However, it’s important to know that self-insuring exposes your company to much greater risk in the event that more claims than expected must be paid. There are ways to limit your risk, though, and your ICNE benefits specialists will be glad to walk you through your options.

Level Funded

An excellent option for some small businesses, this type of plan falls in between the range of fully insured to self-insured and might provide you with the benefits of both insurance models but with very few, if any, of the risks. The “level” in the term level funded refers to the fact that you are self-insured, but pay a level or steady fee each month as determined by your insurance carrier. If you want to learn more about level-funding and the benefits for your small business, talk to your ICNE benefits professional today.

Captive Insurance Arrangement

A type of “in-house” health care benefits plan that mid- to large-sized companies are opting to implement. A company looking for an alternative to traditional insurance offerings may want to consider the option of captive insurance, which has been around for decades but is just now starting to become more mainstream. This option can provide businesses with the ability to control costs, achieve tax benefits, and manage risk. At ICNE, we are happy to discuss the benefits of investing in an Insurance Captive for your company.

You can count on the ICNE benefits specialists to review the pros and cons of each type of program with you and to use our state-of-the-art industry tools to provide you with a proactive, multi-year, and budget-conscious strategy for your group benefits plan. Our benefits team may also talk about the benefits of offering a health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA), or a combination of these to help you and your employees pay for qualified medical expenses under these funding arrangements.

Step 2
Taking the pressure off of your HR manager and their team in a variety of ways, including:

  • Implementing a useful and easy-to-navigate Human Resources administrative web-based and enrollment platform.
  • Preparing custom benefits communications in the form of payroll stuffers, letters, brochures, and more
  • Providing onsite consultations with a professionally certified Human Resources professional from ICNE who can:
    • Share best HR practices, such as how to manage employees taking a leave of absence
    • Examine policies for compliance with new and pending laws
    • Review your employee handbook
    • Analyze your HRA, HSA, and FSA offerings
    • Support you in many, many other ways
  • Assisting with implementation of wellness programs and administration of COBRA or HIPAA.
  • Alleviating the tangle of paperwork for you, including the preparation and filing of the IRS 5500 form and ERISA documentation.
  • Offering informational seminars to your management and HR teams to review any changes in employment and benefits laws that might affect your business.

Step 3
Providing ongoing education to your employees so that they can be informed and effective consumers:

Our benefits specialists are happy to come to your place of business to run pre-enrollment seminars, post-enrollment refreshers, or lunch and learns. We also offer continuing education emails or newsletters that can be shared with your employees. In addition, ICNE has a Spanish-speaking professional on our team so we can provide you with marketing materials and other documentation in Spanish, as well as help your non-English speaking employees interpret their benefits.

Businesses like yours across Massachusetts, Connecticut, and throughout New England, have turned to ICNE for not only our employee benefits expertise, but also the personalized service we provide to management and employees. A member of our staff is always available to answer questions and provide one-on-one assistance; it’s really never too early or too late for us to meet with you and your workforce about the important healthcare issues you face. Our goal, as we collaborate with you on the design of your program, will be to help you drive employee satisfaction, create a culture of loyalty, and, ultimately, contribute to your long-term success.

Whether you’re a busy property manager with just a few employees helping you oversee your buildings, a manufacturing facility with a hundred workers, or a large human service organization with thousands of employees, the ICNE team will help you navigate the ever-changing group benefits marketplace.

If you are ready for a more personal relationship with a trusted insurance agent who is always looking out for you and your business, then contact us today at (800) 243-8134.

ICNE’s dedicated employee benefits team can provide your business with a full range of group benefits, including:

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