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February Client Spotlight: PT Orthodontics

Posted by Caitlin Miley on February 22, 2017



Company Name: PT Orthodontics

Owners: John R. Phillips III and Mark A. Todd

Location: 10 locations throughout the greater Birmingham, AL area—Hoover, Mountain Brook, Cahaba Heights, Greystone, Leeds, Pell City, Hueytown, Gardendale, Jasper and Tuscaloosa

Years in Business: 29 years

Industry: Orthodontics


With the belief that a smile can change a life, PT Orthodontics has been serving Birmingham and the surrounding areas since 1988. They currently have 10 locations to make great smiles convenient for families—each with a skilled, energetic, fun-loving staff! exterior_picture-small.jpg

PT Orthodontics has been a client of Cobbs Allen since 2011. Dr. Phillips and Dr. Todd trust Cobbs Allen not only with their practice but also with their personal insurance. They especially appreciate how every person on the Cobbs Allen team makes them feel valued and demonstrates excellent customer service.

“Moving our insurance to Cobbs Allen has been one of the best decisions we have ever made,” said Dr. John Phillips. “The attention to detail in every aspect of our business has been phenomenal. With multiple locations this is so important so that we have the peace of mind that we are well covered.”



(Pictured: The newest PT Orthodontics office in Cahaba Heights.)

Happy Valentine's Day from Cobbs Allen!

Posted by Caitlin Miley on February 14, 2017


Transparency Tools at Work at Cobbs Allen

Posted by Sarah Grauel on February 13, 2017


Compass Professional Health Services is a transparency service that companies (like Cobbs Allen) invest in for their employees, providing complimentary access to a dedicated Health Pro advocate that offers assistance and support in regards to healthcare. Compass is specifically designed to help with the confusion and frustration that often comes along with the mysterious world of healthcare.      

I’m not one to brag, but I like to consider myself Cobbs Allen’s very own in-house Compass Health Pro expert. I have probably called and emailed Melissa (our Health Pro representative, we’re on a first name basis now) more frequently than anyone else in the office—impressive, I know.

Why am I so quick to reach out for help from Compass, you might ask? Because just a quick phone call or simple email has saved me hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars as well as my time and sanity.  

When I moved back to Birmingham to work at Cobbs Allen, I didn’t have a primary care provider in the area and the thought of going to my parents’ 100-year-old physician wasn’t exactly appealing. So I decided to put Compass to the test. Within 48 hours of my email, Melissa responded with a list of in-network physicians near me, based on my preferences, complete with their office hours and individual reviews. She even called and set up an appointment for me!

I went to my appointment and it was a painless, even pleasant, experience. But what happened next, when I went to fill my monthly prescription, was not so pleasant. My once $15 copay was now, drumroll please…$265. That couldn’t be right, could it?

I immediately went back to Melissa. Unfortunately, it was right. But she researched available generic options that have the same components and effectiveness at a fraction of the cost. She also told me about an app called Good Rx that helps you find the lowest price for your prescription by comparing prices across the pharmacies in your area.

5 Benefits of Captive Insurance

Posted by Marc Escalona on February 8, 2017


1. Premium Control: Your rates are based on your own 5-year loss history and your own exposures. Therefore, you do not pay for the sins of poorly performing companies. Best in class business are rewarded for their commitment to safety and risk management.

2. Do-it-Yourself Insurance: In the captive, you are the owner of an insurance company and the owners elect a board of directors. The board’s oversight guides the performance of the captive so that the program is healthy and successful.

3. Control Your Claims Process: The claims administrator acts on your behalf as an independent vendor. You choose who handles your claims and dictate the claim management process.

4. Appetite for Risk: As a captive owner, the members choose and implement the captive’s risk profile and risk appetite. This insight allows you to choose the captive with like-minded companies, and that share your same level of commitment to reduce and control their cost of risk.

5. Cost Center Becomes a Profit Builder: When you become a captive member, the bulk of your investment is used to earn investment income that pays for your losses. At the end of the captive term, you receive the profits from the invested income and from the return of your unused premium. Also, premiums paid into the captive are tax-deductible.


Marc Escalona, MBA, ARM, is Vice President of Captive Practice. 

CMS Disclosure Due by March 1st for Some Employers

Posted by Tracy Leeth on February 6, 2017


Friendly reminder that employers who sponsor a group health plan must disclose whether the plan's prescription drug coverage is creditable or not, based on Medicare Part D coverage.  Two disclosures are required – (1) to CMS, and (2) to individuals.  Disclosure to CMS is made online and due annually within 60 days after the beginning of the plan year.  Employers with plan years that began January 1, 2017 must complete the online disclosure by March 1, 2017.  Contact your carrier/TPA/PBM to confirm creditable coverage status.  We often find that employer plans provide creditable coverage with the exception of high deductible health plans, which may or may not.  Whether coverage is creditable or non-creditable is inconsequential to employers; notice requirements apply regardless.  See information below for details.

1. Disclosure to CMS of a plan’s creditable coverage status must be made by the employer annually within 60 days after the beginning of the plan year (i.e., renewal, contract year, etc.) and if/when changes to creditable coverage occur mid-plan year.  Disclosures are made online at  As mentioned above, disclosure for health plans that began January 1, 2017 must be completed by March 1, 2017.  Health plans with non-calendar plan years must also disclose within 60 days from the beginning of the plan year.  For example, plans beginning on February 1, 2017 must disclose to CMS by April 1, 2017.  CMS provides line-by-line instructions, as well as, commonly asked questions and helpful hints; see links below.

2. Notice to Part D Eligible Individuals must be distributed by October 14th of each year, as well as, mid-year based on certain trigger events; see links below for additional requirements. These individuals may include active employees, employees on leave, retirees, as well as their dependents, and COBRA continuants.  Best practice is to provide the notice with enrollment materials, e.g., new hire packet and annual open enrollment packet; or separately if necessary to meet the deadline.  Be sure to document distribution of required notices for audit or other purposes

View CMS website for model notices and to make annual online disclosure to CMS

View Line-by-Line Instructions, including screen shots, for disclosure to CMS

View FAQ & Helpful Tips for disclosure to CMS

View Summary of Rules for Online Disclosure to CMS

View Summary of Rules for Creditable Coverage Notice Requirements to Individuals and CMS 

Get More Steps in Your Day

Posted by Martha Bell on January 30, 2017


What’s the secret to getting in your daily steps?

We’ve all seen the lists: take the stairs, walk at lunch, park at the far end of the lot, set a goal, use a Fitbit, get a dog, etc. You can become exhausted and discouraged just reading the lists. “Getting my steps in” should be fun, not another burden added to your daily to-do list. So how do you make it fun?

Tip 1: Make sure the environment you choose is fun.

If going to the gym and walking on a treadmill is your ideal choice, you have many venue options. One of my colleagues once called it a “dreadmill,” but it doesn’t have live up to that moniker. To the contrary, a treadmill is an efficient way to run up your total steps, helping you feel good about your efforts and maximizing the time you spend.

If you are using a treadmill at a gym, you have the advantage of other folks there who are embarking on the same routine; their encouragement can help you overcome any inertia you may be feeling. After all… we want to look committed when we are at the gym!

However, if you’re the person who is fed by being out in the world watching squirrels and listening to the birds, don’t tie your convictions to a treadmill; it simply won’t work. Perhaps you have a friend who will be your “walking buddy”. Walking with someone can make the time seem to melt away. Plus, you can encourage each other on low energy days and enjoy easy conversation as you go (but don’t miss the squirrels and birds).

Bottom line: Figure out what kind of environment feeds your soul as well as helps you meet your body’s needs. Start there. 

Grizzly Awards

Posted by Caitlin Miley on January 27, 2017


Pictured: CEO Grantland Rice III with Matt Cate, Grizzly winner, vice president for employee benefits and group benefits consultant.


Last week Cobbs Allen took time to recognize special achievements and celebrate our associates’ accomplishments at our annual Grizzly Awards Dinner.

“Many good things have happened at Cobbs Allen because of the collective efforts of so many people—including those in this room,” said CEO Grantland Rice, III as he kicked off the evening. “But what is so exciting is that I believe the company’s best years are ahead of us.”

Recognition was given to those who excelled in acquiring new business, those who distinguished themselves in a service capacity to our clients, and to those who continued their education.

Risk consultants Rob Nielsen, Matt Weaver, Margaret Ann Pyburn, Johnathon Stevens, Terry Holloway, Burgett Tonsmeire, Robert Berman, Bo Hartsfield, Terry Holloway and Kyle Chambers were each recognized for their outstanding results last year.

The Denson Award, named for Chairman Bruce Denson, Sr., is given to teams who have jumped hurdles, turned obstacles into opportunities and worked together to go the extra mile for our clients. This year’s the Denson Award honorees were Johnathon Stevens, Andy Davenport, Gail Bevier, Sara Mann, Chris Haynes, Tracy Carter, Shannon Lynch, Lisa Shearon, Brad McGill, Stephanie Crane, Carol Evans and Davida Miller.