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Do you have an Advisor for your health plan members?

At Unified, we understand that benefits can be confusing and sensitive in nature. That’s why we offer a component to our administration called Unified Advisor!

Savings – We will combine fair cost data to provide significant savings for your benefit plan.

Engagement – We will support your members by providing a clear explanation of their benefit plan and help them understand how a procedure will affect them financially. We’ll also guide them on cost savings options for procedures and prescriptions.

Support – Whether your members need to schedule an appointment or learn about in-network options for a surgery or procedure, Unified Advisor has them covered! We’ll even schedule appointments on their behalf to take any guesswork out of the process.

Expertise – Having an expert at Unified is a great resource, but will your members use it? Our team will provide ongoing communication materials and if you pair that with financial incentives it will boost utilization – and help your bottom line! 

Contact your Unified Account Executive or our Wellness & Consumer Products Coordinator, Terri Vetor, to learn more about how our Unified Advisor program can enable your health plan members to be better informed and better engaged consumers!

W-2 Reporting Deadline

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), employers are required to report on form W-2 the aggregate cost (employer plus employee portion) of employer sponsored health benefits. Employers that issued 250 or more W-2s must comply with the reporting requirement for W-2s issued. Smaller employers, defined in the guidance as employers that issue fewer than 250 W-2s, are exempt from this reporting requirement until the government issues further guidance.

This reporting is for employee information only, to inform them of the cost of their health coverage and does not cause excludable employer provided coverage to become taxable. In addition a W-2 is not required to be issued to retirees who receive healthcare but no longer receive wages or salary or an individual who would not otherwise receive a W-2. The health care cost will be reported in Box 12 using Code DD of the form W-2.

Employer provided HSA and HRA contributions are not required to be reported on form  W-2. However, with regard to Flexible Spending Accounts, if the employer contributes to the account in addition to the participant’s election to the account, then the amount of the employer contribution must be reported on form W-2.

With respect to dental and vision coverage, if the coverage is a separate premium and election from the medical plan, the cost is not required to be reported on form W-2. If the coverage is core and an integrated part of the medical plan then the cost is required to be reported. With regard to on-site medical clinics, employee assistance programs and wellness programs, the employer does not have to include these in the cost of coverage if the employer does not charge a premium with respect to that coverage under COBRA.

Although other methods are provided in the guidance, generally in determining the reportable cost of coverage (aggregate cost) the employer may use the COBRA applicable premium method (less the 2% administrative charge).

Unified is assisting our clients in meeting the W-2 reporting requirement. We have two options available:

Option 1: Unified will prepare an eligibility file detailing which employees were active on the plan during 2017 and their choice of coverage.

Option 2:  Unified will prepare an eligibility file detailing the same information as above, however, including single entries for each employee that details the amount that should be reported on the W-2 for each employee with enrollment during 2017.

Please notify your account executive if you would like Unified to assist you with this requirement.

This information is provided by Unified Group Services, Inc. for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

 

 

Addressing Prescription Non-Adherence

There are many variables that can affect a member and their adherence to prescribed medications. “Studies have consistently shown that 20 percent to 30 percent of medication prescriptions are never filled, and that approximately 50 percent of medications for chronic disease are not taken as prescribed,” according to a review in Annals of Internal Medicine. 

This lack of adherence, the Annals authors wrote, is estimated to cause approximately 125,000 deaths and at least 10 percent of hospitalizations, and to cost the American health care system between $100 billion and $289 billion a year.

Our partners at ActiveHealth Management have developed 80 new Health Actions in their CareEngine database to communicate the problem to members and help drive adherence. These new Health Actions are aimed at people taking medications for chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, mental health, asthma/COPD, epilepsy, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic kidney disease, and hypothyroidism.

Since the addition of these Health Alerts just over six months ago, more than nine thousand Health Actions have been sent to alert people about medication non-adherence.

About ActiveHealth Management: Serving as a foundation for Unified Wellness, all medical claims and prescription data is uploaded into the CareEngine on a daily basis. The CareEngine, powered by ActiveHealth Management, reviews the entire patient record and compares the information against thousands of clinical rule sets derived from evidence-based sources. When an opportunity for better care has been determined, a Health Action is created. All Health Actions are then communicated to the treating physician and participant, resulting in better patient care.

Unified in the Community – 3rd Quarter

Our Unified team came together once again this summer to raise funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Throughout the last few months we conducted mini-fundraisers by selling Walking Tacos, Root Beer Floats, Bake Sale items and coordinating a Raffle. The combined donation totaled $1,127.00!!

We are so proud of the continued efforts of our employees and the unique ways they raise money to support local causes. The money will contribute toward a wish for a child and their family in Madison County, Indiana.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants wishes of children diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions. Some examples of wishes include family vacations, room makeovers, or a meet and greet with a celebrity! To donate, refer a child, or learn about ways to help visit oki.wish.org 

High Deductible Health Plans

While you are working with your Consultant and your Account Executive on benefit design changes we want to outline the 2018 IRS guidelines to consider.

The High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) and ACA Out of Pocket limits are increasing for 2018. Below is a snapshot of the changes:

HDHP Minimum Deductible

2018

2017

Single

$1,350

$1,300

Family

$2,700

$2,600

 

HDHP Out of Pocket Maximum

2018

2017

Single

$6,650

$6,550

Family

$13,300

$13,100

 

ACA Out of Pocket Maximum for Non-HDHP

2018

2017

Single

$7,350

$7,150

Family

$14,700

$14,300

 

Non-embedded/embedded deductible -

To be non-embedded in 2018, the lowest deductible would be $1,350 single / $2,700 family.

To be embedded in 2018, the lowest deductible would be $2,700 single and the family deductible can be anything, but usually double, so $5,400 family.

If you have questions about these updated guidelines or need guidance on benefit plan design changes, contact your Unified Account Executive.

Does Your Administrator Do This?

If you can't say YES to each of the items below, it's time to talk to your benefits consultant about the services and resources that Unified Group Services can provide to you as your Third Party Administrator!

Actionable Data

Does your administrator provide you with reporting to dissect your benefit plan, recommend plan design changes, and offer predictive modeling for future planning?

  • Unified provides comprehensive monthly reporting through UnifiedGrp.com, we can set custom queries in addition to the standard suite of reports.
  • Our Account Executives will meet with you semi-annually to conduct an in-depth benefit plan review. The review will breakdown benefit utilization, and our reporting team can look at your claims dollars and perform a “Claims Replay” to see how benefit changes would affect your bottom line.
  • Further, our integration with Benefitfocus allows for data mining on Medical and Prescription Drug claims. The Benefitfocus portal in conjunction with The Johns Hopkins ACG System can help a plan measure the potential burden of members based on predictive modeling analytics. ACG has over 140 million members worldwide covered by their system!

 

Population Health Management

Is your diabetic population properly monitored, do you have programs in place to mitigate kidney disease? How about integrated screening data to provide a complete wellness profile?

  • We offer the Diabetic Living Connected Program to provide 24/7/365 monitoring, counseling, and situational responses to blood sugar levels. Participating members receive a cellular-enabled glucometer, testing strips, lancets and more for no out-of-pocket cost.
  • Our Wellness team is also available to coordinate on-site screenings where all data will be integrated into our database. We can tailor programming to meet the specific needs of your population.

 

Customer Service Excellence

Do your members have a Dedicated Claims Account Manager to process claims and answer their benefit questions? When they call their current administrator are they greeted by an actual person instead of an automated voice prompt?

  • At Unified, our Claims Account Managers do not have voicemail by design; this is to ensure that your members get help with their claims questions at the time of their call.
  • Our member website is available for viewing claims accumulators, emailing their claims account manager, and access to valuable resources. If they’re on-the-go, UnifiedGrp Mobile provides benefit access at their fingertips!
  • Our claims team averages a five business day turnaround on claims – from receipt of claim until it is ready for client funding.

 

If you are still on the fence about self-funding, consider these tips for choosing the right TPA, or contact Forrest Williamson at FWilliamson@UnifiedGrp.com

4 Star AchieveWELL Designation

Unified was recently acknowledged by the Wellness Council of Indiana for our continued efforts to improve member wellness!

“On behalf of the Wellness Council of Indiana, we would like to congratulate you on your 4 Star AchieveWELL designation! You join a group of organizations who truly value employee health and well-being.”

Unified Group has been a member of The Wellness Council of Indiana since 2014. Our team received the 3 Star in 2016.

To earn the 4 Star we had to meet the following criteria:

•Demonstrated proof of specific program(s) addressing chronic disease management issues

•Demonstrated proof that wellness initiative is focused on all dimensions of well-being and not exclusively on reducing costs

•Must have a minimum of five programmed activities for employees ongoing throughout the year

•Demonstrated evidence of community involvement

•Documentation of increased awareness toward safety, ergonomics and/or corporate risk mitigation

•Must show proof of start date of wellness initiative and have completed 24 months of continuous program activity

•Onsite evaluation conducted and the workplace wellness assessment will be the guideline for the evaluation

We at Unified have been recognized for our chronic disease management data analytics, our robust walking initiative, our commitment to healthy meetings and new employee orientation. We are continually looking for ways to promote EAP usage/availability and all areas of well-being (such as financial, social and mental).

We will be honored at the 2017 Indiana Health and Wellness Summit luncheon on October 4 in Indianapolis.

If you are looking to engage your population toward a healthier lifestyle, contact your Account Executive at Unified Group Services.

A little info about the Wellness Council:

The Wellness Council of Indiana (WCI) works collaboratively to positively impact the economic vitality of the State of Indiana by evaluating and guiding workplaces and communities through the development of their own comprehensive health and wellness strategy. The Wellness Council of Indiana is an organization and the only statewide not-for-profit specifically dedicated to work site wellness and community well-being in Indiana. The Wellness Council of Indiana has grown to be one of the largest state councils in the United States. The WCI believes that the quality of life of any community is measured, to a large degree, by the health of its people. It is their vision to make Indiana a model state by improving the quality of life of employees and residents in order to enhance the competitiveness of our workplaces in a global economy.  https://www.wellnessindiana.org/

 

Outside Unified

Years of farming and urban expansion can take its toll on farmland and the wildlife native to the area. As a land owner, our own Rich Mousty, President & CEO of Unified decided to take a different approach to preserve the integrity of the land. He and his son-in-law, Ryan Chapman chose to place the 10 acres into the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Ryan, the Director of Business Development at Unified, has worked alongside Rich over the last two years to prepare the land in order to meet the guidelines of the program.

In the fall of 2016, the land was tilled and clover planted along the outer edge of the property. Clover acts as a natural fire break which is important because the land needs burned every three years. Burning the land replenishes soil nutrients in a natural way.

Earlier this year, the two worked the interior sections of land tilling up each acre and unearthing large boulders. This inner section of land is now planted with native Indiana grasses & wildflowers which will grow anywhere from 1 foot to 6 feet tall.

Rich chuckles, “Ryan doesn’t only work hard while on the clock, but also over the weekend doing manual labor! I’m sitting here in the comfort of my skid steer supervising!”

The CRP land will provide a natural habitat and protection to various types of regional songbirds and quail. Rich hopes to share photos of the property and growth of the redeveloped land as it flourishes.

The Conservation Reserve Program was established 30 years ago when President Reagan signed it into law. This voluntary program is set out to preserve land, improve water quality, and provide a safe habitat for wildlife.

Throughout the country there are approximately 500,000 acres of land participating in the CRP State Acres For wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) program.

What Is A Narrow Network?

Since the Affordable Care Act or "Obamacare" the conversation around narrow networks continues to increase.  We are often asked what is a narrow network and why?
 
A narrow network simply describes the number of providers and hospitals that are in the network. Narrow networks are nothing new to the marketplace.  They are often referred to in different terms; PPO, HMO, and EPO are all technically a form of narrow networks.
 
The next question I often get is why do a narrow network?  This is simple - to control costs and help improve care.
 
By limiting the number of network providers and hospitals, you are able to improve the continuum of care and offer deeper negotiated discounts.  Groups utilizing these types of arrangements beat the national averages when it comes to cost and trend.  
 
With self-funding your benefit plan, you have the flexibility to look at network alternatives.  Your group health plan may already have the best fit based on your location and benefit plan design, but I encourage you ask the question.  
 
If you have questions please contact Forrest Williamson at FWilliamson@UnifiedGrp.com.
 

Unified in the Community

Unified in the Community

Many of us go home after a long day of work to receive unconditional love from our pets! This is why our Unified Cares Community Project for this quarter is promoting the Madison County Humane Society!

MCHS is a no-kill cat and dog receiving shelter funded by donations, fund-raising efforts & nominal fees; they receive no taxpayer monies. MCHS shelters more than 100-115 homeless animals every day and often has some in foster care.

Our team at Unified held a soup luncheon, raffled off some gift baskets, gathered supplies and collected more than $450 in donations!

The Madison County Humane Society and shelters in your area are always looking for volunteers and assistance. If you are interested in adoption, donating or learning more, please click on the link below to locate a humane society near you.

LEARN MORE