How to Read Your Health Insurance Explanation of Benefits Statement

People generally know less than they think they do when it comes to understanding their health benefits — which can lead to problems down the road. According to the American Institutes for Research, 3 out of 4 people said they felt confident that they knew how to use their health insurance. But only 1 out of 5 could accurately calculate their out-of-pocket costs. This lack of knowledge can hurt when the explanation of benefits (EOB) shows up in the mail. The EOB is a form that identifies the treatment or services you were provided and what amount your insurance will pay, says Erin Singleton, chief of mission delivery at the Patient Advocate Foundation, a nonprofit that provides professional case management services to people with chronic, life-threatening and debilitating illnesses. The EOB often says “This is not a bill” in large letters, and then has a chart or balance sheet detailing …

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How to Determine Which Voluntary Benefits to Offer

You know voluntary benefits can help boost employee satisfaction, but where should you start? Ensuring you offer the right kind of voluntary benefits will help you get the most out of the entire benefits package. These tips will put you on the path to offering voluntary benefits your employees will take advantage of — and value. Identify Gaps One of the main purposes of voluntary benefits is to provide coverage where core benefits fall short. This is seen most often in health benefits, with voluntary benefits covering costs that core benefits don’t or adding onto coverage. If you look into voluntary health benefits, ensure they fill gaps, says Darren Ambler, managing director at Insight Insurance Agency. “It is very important that employers offer voluntary benefits that complement existing programs so that no overlap occurs.” Duplication can result in offsetting benefits as opposed to enhancing them. Work With Your Vendor Your …

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The 6 Most Common Benefits Mistakes Long-Term Employees Make

If you’ve been with a company for a long time, it’s easy to get comfortable with your position there. This goes for your employee benefits, as well: You might fall into a routine and not realize the many options your employer offers that fit you better than your current coverage. Don’t miss out by making these benefits mistakes. 1. Ignoring Communications HR sends out all sorts of announcements about employee benefits — are you listening? If you’re not paying attention to employee communications, you could miss enrollment deadlines or valuable new benefits that you didn’t know you had. Chris Lokken, an employee benefits consultant with Johnson Insurance, says he often asks employees how many took advantage of the regular free eye exam their health insurance often covers. “Usually I get 3 or 4 hands to go up, and 5 or 10 people see me after the meeting and ask me …

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U.S. Life and Health Direct Premiums Expected to Decline for First Time in 4 Years

According to S&P Global Market Intelligence’s U.S. Insurance Market Report: Life and Health, a variety of forces are expected to lead to a 1.2 percent decline in combined U.S. life, annuity, and accident and health direct premiums this year. Experts say uncertainty in the market is the main driver: As companies scramble to outmaneuver each other in the face of changing regulations, direct premiums are dropping. “Competition for market share between life insurance carriers is highly competitive at the moment,” says Anthony Martin, owner of Choice Mutual, a burial insurance agency based in Citrus Heights, California. “That’s caused a number of carriers to continue to reduce premiums, primarily on their term life insurance portfolios.” Here’s what you need to know. Life Insurance: Competition Drives Down Costs Life insurance rates are decreasing for three main reasons, Martin says: First, people are living longer, largely due to advances in health technology. Secondly, …

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