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Insights

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Survey: Many Americans with Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance, Especially Millennials, Struggling with Rising Out-of-Pocket Costs

Less than half of employees are aware of supplemental group insurance benefits designed to help them manage the unexpected expenses of an injury or illness, survey finds

July 17, 2017 10:43 AM Eastern Daylight Time

ST. PAUL, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With deductibles continuing to climb, many Americans who have health insurance through their employers, particularly younger workers, are struggling when it comes to out-of-pocket medical expenses.

According to a new survey from Securian Financial Group, a provider of supplemental group insurance products, nearly four in 10 workers on employer-sponsored health plans are personally experiencing or know someone who is having financial difficulty due to medical bills. Notably, more than half (52 percent) of Millennials on a health plan through their employer are personally struggling or know someone who is struggling to pay medical bills.

While solutions for combating unexpected medical expenses are available, most workers do not know about them. The survey found that fewer than half of Americans with health insurance through work (44 percent) are aware that many employers provide supplemental group insurance options to help employees pay for out-of-pocket expenses and other costs associated with an accidental injury, hospital stay or critical illness.

“The rising cost of health care has driven many employers to offer supplemental group insurance products, often in conjunction with a Health Savings Account,” said Elias Vogen, a director with Securian. “This combination can be cost-effective for both employer and employee, and our survey shows that when employees are aware that these benefits are available to them through work they opt in at a high rate—64 percent for accident insurance, 59 percent for hospital indemnity insurance and 47 percent for critical illness insurance.”

Access the full article and links here.


 

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On Thursday, June 22, 2017, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky released a 142-page healthcare “Discussion Draft” of legislation, called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA), which is the Senate version of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) “repeal-and-replace” legislation American Health Care Act (AHCA) passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last month.  An updated “Discussion Draft” of the BCRA was released on June 26, 2017 with the intention of calling for a vote on the bill before the Fourth of July recess. However, Senator McConnell had to delay that vote after it became clear that it would not get the 51 votes required under the Budget Reconciliation rules to pass.  A further updated Discussion Draft of the BCRA was released on July 13, 2017.  A summary of the updated July 13 draft of the BCRA by the U.S. Senate Committee on the Budget is available here and a section-by-section summary of the July 13 version is available here and here.  

Click here to review the full update.


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(Pictured left to right are Matthew Graham, Nikita Austin, and William Lathem.)

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(Pictured left to right are Ellis McConn and Jenna Daniels.)

Cobbs Allen is pleased to welcome Matthew Graham, Nikita Austin, and William Lathem to the Birmingham, AL office and Ellis McConn and Jenna Daniels to our Houston, TX office. 

Matthew joins us as the new Vice President of Loss Control and Senior Safety and Heath Consultant. He has over 15 years' loss control experience and comes to Cobbs Allen after success as a private consultant. He has extensive technical knowledge and leadership acumen within the environmental, health, and safety disciplines. He has a B.S. in Biology and General Science and an M.S. in Health Promotion, both from Mississippi State University.

Nikita is the first smiling face you will see when you visit our corporate office and serves as our receptionist. Nikita is an administrative specialist with over 15 years of office management, customer service, and sales experience. Her work experiences includes: local government, education, non-profit, and retail. Nikita has an A.D. in Administrative Office Management and a B.A. in Business Management, both from Virginia College.

William worked as a Cobbs Allen summer intern for the past two years and joins us full-time as a risk consultant. During his internship last summer, he obtained his Property & Casualty license. This fall, William will participate in the North American Relationship Development program with Miller Insurance Services, LLP in London. He graduated in May with a B.S. in Finance from Auburn University. 

Ellis joins the Houston energy team with over nine years of industry experience. His experience includes brokering joint venturing transactions in the Eagle Ford Shale group. He has a B.S. in Political Science with a minor in Global Business from the University of Houston and has obtained the designation of CLCS.

Jenna will support the Houston energy team as an Associate Account Executive. She has over 10 years' experience in servicing energy accounts. She will assist the team and clients with day-to-day operations, requests and special projects.


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 The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration today proposed a delay in the electronic reporting compliance date of the rule, Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses, from July 1, 2017, to Dec. 1, 2017. The proposed delay will allow OSHA an opportunity to further review and consider the rule.

The agency published the final rule on May 12, 2016, and has determined that a further delay of the compliance date is appropriate for the purpose of additional review into questions of law and policy.  The delay will also allow OSHA to provide employers the same four-month window for submitting data that the original rule would have provided.

OSHA invites the public to comment on the proposed deadline extension. Comments may be submitted electronically at www.regulations.gov, the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal, or by mail or facsimile. See the Federal Register notice for details. The deadline for submitting comments is July 13, 2017.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.


Four Fun Facts for the Fourth

Posted by Caitlin Miley on June 30, 2017

Ahh, Independence Day. Nothing says, "I'm proud to be an American!" quite like the Fourth of July. Fireworks, barbecue, patriotic pride--I love this holiday! Here are four fun facts to help you celebrate the day with a little more knowledge!

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1. Time to Hit the Road

Nearly 38 million Americans are expected to drive, according to AAA, which defines the Independence Day travel period as Friday, June 30, through Tuesday, July 4.

Some 3.5 million people are forecast to fly. And 3.25 million others will take a different form of transportation, be it a bus, train or cruise ship.

If you're one of those 38 million jumping in your car to head somewhere fun, you know the drill! Take your time, don't speed and watch out for drunk drivers. Helpful hint: travel ON the holiday if you can to avoid traffic. 

2. Red, White and FOOD

During the holiday season, Americans eat around 150 million hot dogs and 750 million pounds of chicken, meaning that there’s well over a 1-in-4 chance that you’ll be consuming these grilled foods. To give you an idea of what that means, that’s enough hot dogs to stretch from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C.

Whether you choose a hot dog (me!) or chicken--be sure to keep all of your foods at a safe temperature (that means keep you cold foods cold and your hot foods hot) and throw away any food that sits out in the sun for more than an hour or two!


June Client Spotlight: Birmingham Zoo

Posted by Caitlin Miley on June 30, 2017

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Company Name: Birmingham Zoo, Inc.

Location: Birmingham, AL

Years in Business: 62 years

Industry: Zoo

Website: www.birminghamzoo.com

 

The Birmingham Zoo, which draws more than 575,000 visitors annually, seeks to “inspire passion for the natural world in all aspects of the zoo’s exhibits, program, facilities and programs. The zoo is home to approximately 950 animals of 230 species—including endangered species from six continents.

“The Birmingham Zoo started working with Cobbs Allen in 2015 on all of our insurance needs,” said Jennie Whitman, CFO at the Birmingham Zoo. “The teams that we work with are great partners, and will help out with guidance even if it does not mean extra business for them.”


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Cobbs Allen is pleased to announce an addition to our current line-up of client services:
Executive Total Rewards Services - executive retirement plans, compensation, and benefits.
 
Cobbs Allen has been an industry leader in providing a diverse suite of value-added client services. Our client service consultants are seasoned professionals that work hard to provide a high level of assistance, solve problems, and to create a strong sense of partnership. With the addition of the Executive Total Rewards Services, Cobbs Allen can now help companies manage their executive retirement plans, compensation, and benefits through these Executive Total Rewards Services:

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You will now have access to retirement actuaries, financial analysts and other qualified consultants that can assist you to answer these and other relevant questions such as:

  • Is our executive total rewards program competitive with our peers and aligned with industry best practices?
  • Is our executive compensation aligned with shareholder interests with proper performance measures and rewards?
  • Are we providing prudent and cost-effective executive retirement programs?
  • Is our current non-qualified deferred compensation plan cost effective, using best practices, and secure for our executive team?
  • Are our compensation arrangements compliant with §409A and other relevant regulations or do we need a checkup?
  • We have a rabbi trust to find and secure our executive benefits. Is that trust up to date and efficiently funded? How do we benchmark after-tax performance?


If you like more information or would like to schedule a consultation, contact your Employee Benefits Consultant.