Employee Benefits

Strong benefits attract and keep good employees

At EP&H, we proactively advance your long-term business strategy with a unique approach to employee benefits. We start by working closely with your team to understand your views on benefits, identify your priorities and learn your desired outcomes. Next, we outlie a strategic plan that maps to your organization’s future direction for employee management. We then utilize our proprietary 3C tactical process of cost containment, compliance and communication to optimize our benefits program for you and your employees.

While the cost of the total rewards package and controlling the costs associated with it remains an important issue, those concerns have been eclipsed by the need for talent management. Today, the shortage of qualified employees and motivating and retaining existing employees is the top priority for most organizations. To deliver solutions that address today’s needs while looking forward to eliminate tomorrow’s problems, EP&H builds Benefits Strategic Plans for clients.

Strategic planning determines where an organization is headed over the next several years – and maps out how it will get there. A solid strategic plan results from activities that:

  • Assess needs and resources
  • Define a target audience and a set of goals and objectives
  • Plan and design coordinated strategies
  • Logically connect these strategies to needs, assets, and desired outcomes
  • Measure and evaluate the process and outcomes

The Objective
A Benefits Strategic Plan is specifically focused on the current and future needs of a company as it relates to its employee benefits program. It articulates how the benefits program will continue to support the attainment of the overall business plan and corporate objectives while taking into consideration tactical priorities. The main objective of the plan is to strengthen the management decision-making process by recognizing and addressing key internal and external factors that affect the business and the benefits program.

The Process
Strategic planning is a collaborative effort between benefit advisor and client. By working together to strategize and develop the essential components of a well-defined plan document, benefit advisors gain insight into clients’ business issues to ensure clearer alignment of the total rewards strategy with the overall business strategy. Because of each client’s unique environment – leadership, culture, business issues, management structure and size – our strategic plans vary by client

The Implementation
Once a EP&H benefit advisor produces a final document that memorializes the Benefits Strategic Plan, we gain client approval – and the authority to act. At that point, the plan becomes a roadmap for the near-term, governing the introduction of new products, enhancing or improving benefits communications, adjusting or implementing new administration processes, and so on. We also review each plan on a regular basis to gauge progress and ensure activities are aligned with it, and update the plan as necessary.

A well‐defined road map is an essential tool to ensure proactive management of the rewards program and its alignment with the business mission – and can be a unique competitive advantage for the company.

An attractive benefits plan is critical to maintaining top talent. Yet, rising costs due to regulations, utilization and medical trend continue to consume profits and wages alike, make it increasingly difficult to provide a package that satisfies both employers and employees. That’s where EP&H can help.

Instead of simply limiting plan design choice, cost shifting or carrier shopping, we look at underlying benefit cost drivers – and how we can change them. Our focus is on giving employers and employees the control they need to lower their spending today, and over the long term, through a variety of methods.

  • Claims analysis. To help you understand the cause of rising claims and opportunities to control cost drivers, we analyze data monthly and use the information for forecasting, modeling, and benchmarking – critical for effective benefits planning and negotiating pricing aggressively.
  • Funding reviews. Based on your population and company culture, we’ll weigh the risks and rewards of different funding options like self-funding, stop-loss captives and multi-employer purchasing groups, and recommend an appropriate strategy for your organization.
  • Wellness promotion. We can help you incorporate proven programs and incentives that drive participation for reduced benefits usage and increased productivity – and a measurable ROI.
  • Consumerism options. With a variety of consumer-driven options available today, we can help you give employees access to the level of benefits – and savings – they want based on their unique circumstances.

The result? Creative solutions that maximize your plan’s value for you and your employees.

Since failure to comply can be costly, EP&H’s experienced team guides you on the complex laws and regulations that affect employee benefit plans, administration and policies and procedures. Our compliance professionals, led by an employee benefits attorney, provide detailed information and advice on the regulatory landscape, including ERISA, ACA, COBRA and various other DOL, IRS, CMS and HHS regulations and guidelines.

Among the comprehensive compliance services, we offer clients include:

  • Assessment of deficiencies in plan documentation and/or policies, including employee notices and disclosures, Form 5500 filings, CMS disclosures, PCORI and Transitional Reinsurance Fee filings
  • Guidance on the ACA, including the employer mandate, best practices, and new reporting requirements, such as Form 1094 and 1095 filings
  • Assistance in preparing ACA-related documentation and forms
  • Advisory briefs disseminated via email with up-to-the-minute advice on statutory and regulatory changes that can impact the operation and administration of health and welfare plans and the actions businesses need to take – and when
  • Preparation and filing of Form 5500s in a timely manner
  • DOL support and audit preparation, including the creation of a wrap plan document, Summary Plan Description, Summary of Material Modifications, and required employee notices and disclosures
  • Total compliance and administration support for COBRA, from the preparation of the initial DOL notice to new plan entrants through qualifying event notices, coupon generation and premium collection services

Non-compliance can be costly. Trust EP&H to ensure ongoing compliance and minimize potential liability.

Give employees a raise with a flexible spending account

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) give your employees the opportunity to pay for eligible health, dental, vision, dependent care, and commuting expenses with pre-tax income. Your company administers this valuable benefit at absolutely no cost to employees.

With an EP&H FSA, we’ll give each employee The SmartFlex Card ™ card, a MasterCard©-based debit card they can swipe to pay for services. We’ll pay the vendor directly each month from your FSA account. You’ll never need to pay cash for services, fill out claim forms or wait for reimbursement.

These Flex Dollars can help your employees pay for a wide range of services … from health, dental and vision services such as prescriptions, eyeglasses, and chiropractic care – to dependent care – and even commuting costs such as parking and mass transit.

You and your company benefit with better recruiting and retention, savings of FICA tax dollars, a benefit for employees at no net cost, and simple administration.

Your employees benefit with a simple, direct way to pay with no claims forms, plus improved take-home pay, and no need to wait for reimbursement checks.

And remember, there’s essentially no cost, because our monthly administrative fee is less than the tax savings you’ll realize.

Call us today for a free quote on this popular … and smart … employee benefit.

We'll take the complexity out of dental insurance

Dental benefits are consistently cited as one of the most sought-after employee benefits. So your dental plan not only helps ensure loyalty, it can also save you money by reducing absences or poor work performance when employees have dental problems. You’ll face a variety of decisions with a dental plan, and that’s where we can really help make life easier. We work with all the top carriers, and will help you to weigh the costs and benefits of features like …

 

  • Giving employees free choice of their dentist.
  • Deciding whether to cover diagnostic, preventive and emergency services.
  • Choosing what types of routine dental care to cover.
  • Evaluating whether to cover crowns, bridges, braces and other procedures.
  • Covering emergency care, and care away from home.

All of these and more can affect the cost of your plan, but dental plans can typically be divided into two broad categories:

 

  • Fee-for-Service Plans. These are typically freedom-of-choice arrangements, with the dentist being paid according to the fees established by the dentist or the carrier.
  • Managed Care Plans. These are essentially HMO’s, which contain costs by restricting the type, level and frequency of treatment and controlling the level of reimbursement for services.
  • For help getting the best coverage for the lowest cost, please email or call us to request a quote.

We provide timely, critical information that keeps employers and employees abreast of the latest changes that impact their plans — and wallets.

Benefit Compliance Resources
Our employee benefits attorneys and other members of our team serve as your compliance resource. We provide answers to your compliance questions, host regular events on legislative updates, and issue bulletins on pending and enacted laws and how the changes may impact your plan. We also give you access to a desktop library of national news, federal legislative updates, and forms and documents.

Seminars & Events
A recognized leader in the industry, we lend our expertise to employers through a series of seminars, webinars and other events on pertinent topics such as healthcare reform, consumerism, wellness and compliance.

Health Interest & Employee Satisfaction Surveys
We can help employers assess employee satisfaction with their benefits programs through survey design and tools to ensure you’re delivering a valuable package that will retain and attract top talent.

Benefit Steering Committees
Decisions about benefits are often cultural – and making changes can make or break a workplace environment. Our consultants work with HR professionals to build committees and guide them toward change that complements greater organizational goals and reflects corporate values.

Interactive Support
We embrace the latest technologies to streamline processes, encourage“self service” and provide consistent, convenient communication to active employees, new hires and family members.

Web Portals
Our customizable portals deliver critical company and benefit information to employees and their dependents, including plan and rate information, plan documents and employee manuals and company policies.

Online Enrollment
Employees can enroll online instantly 24/7 in a secure, intuitive environment. Centrally managed and integrated with your other systems, the data can be used for detailed tracking and reporting activities to maximize its benefits.

Dedicated Client Service Team
We assign each client a dedicated service team that allows us an in-depth understanding of your staff’s particular concerns – and gives employees access to the same advisors each and every time they call.

Workplace Meetings
During open enrollment and throughout the year, we hold a series of meetings to address your employees’ specific questions on everything from carrier choice and plan changes to maximizing benefits and understanding how to be better healthcare consumers.

Benefit Literature
Customized to your plan and employee base, we design a comprehensive range of pieces to ease the transition to a new plan, maximize benefits and encourage self-care, such as open enrollment guides, benefits booklets and wellness program materials.

Total Compensation Statements
Demonstrating the value of your benefits program is more critical than ever. That’s why we offer personalized annual total compensation statements for employees that highlight the amount your organization spends on each employee’s behalf, including salary, 401(k) contributions, benefits, paid time off and more.

Flexible coverage options in group medical care

Your company can increase benefits in this important area while reducing total operating costs. As a local company, our licensed professionals will visit with you to discuss your needs and your budget, and help you to customize a plan.

Since we work with nearly every carrier in the region, we can offer comprehensive packages that improve employee satisfaction and reduce your administration and cost. We’ll help you attract and retain key employees, and reduce the need to switch carriers every year.

Here are just some of the services you can count on …

  • Handling administrative details, including adding and removing employees.
  • Acting as the one source of contact … you and your employees will never need to call the carrier.
  • Managing compliance, reducing need for counsel, and limiting your liabilities.
  • Resolving claims, so you and your employees won’t have to make aggravating calls to the carrier.
  • Analyzing your plan when it’s time to renew, to help you control costs.
  • Administering COBRA and state continuation requirements when employees leave.
  • Building a custom employee benefits web portal with 24/7 access.

And all of these services are offered without consulting, management or administrative fees. All you pay is the plan premium.

Let us compare plans from the top providers to get you the best coverage for the lowest cost. Just email or call us for a quote.

Group Life Insurance is a comforting benefit for employees

Your employees will appreciate that you have their families secure financial future in mind. Group life insurance is a relatively inexpensive company benefit, and since we work with all the major providers, you’ll know you’re getting a plan that fits your needs.

Working with EP&H, you can take advantage of a variety of related programs …

  • Basic Term Life, with a scheduled benefit amount or a defined multiple of an employee’s pay in the event of the death.
  • Will Preparation, so insureds can protect their assets with fully-covered legal fees.
  • Optional Term Life, which allows additional amounts of group life that’s portable, depending on state regulations.
  • Dependent Term Life, for employees’ spouses and dependent children at group rates.
  • Portability Provisions give your people continued coverage when employment ends.
  • Accelerated Benefits Option (ABO) can help ease the financial burden that terminally-ill insureds face.
  • Waiver of Premium, allows covered employees to receive death benefit coverage after life insurance coverage ends.
  • Total Control Account® (TCA) gives beneficiaries immediate check-writing privileges for their insurance proceeds.

Group life insurance policies always contain exclusions, limitations, and reductions of benefits and terms, and we’ll be happy to discuss these details with you.

Let us compare plans from all the top providers. Just call or email us and we’ll get started.

Protect employees from the financial strain of disability

Disabling illness and accidental injuries can severely disrupt the lives of your employees. EP&H works with the top providers in the marketplace to give your company and its people the right combination of Short- and Long-Term Disability coverage.

Some two-thirds of disabilities are non-work-related so they’re not covered by workers’ compensation, and the typical employee’s savings last less than five weeks. So managing treatment early can mean better outcomes and faster return-to-work.

Long-Term Disability pays benefits equal to a portion of the employee’s wages when they can’t work. You can select benefit amounts, determine how long benefits will be paid, and select other plan features.

Features can include rehabilitation, work/life assistance with personal problems, adaptive equipment when someone returns to work, partial benefits for part-time return to work … and much more.

Short-Term Disability also allows you to select benefit amounts, how long benefits will be paid, and other plan features. To encourage employees to return to work, many STD plans include rehabilitation services and professional counseling, and pay partial benefits if employees return to work part-time.

We’ll help you compare to get you the best coverage for the lowest cost. Please email or call us to request a quote.