BAGI Programs

October 11, 2017
BAGI group health

Health Insurance Options for Small Business Owners

With the largest providers of individual health insurance coverage in Indiana pulling out of the Affordable Care Act exchanges, business owners are scrambling. Not only are they at risk of losing their employees to competitors that offer group health plans, they are losing their own coverage too. As a small employer, you may feel there are just too many barriers to offering an affordable employee health insurance plan yourself. Too few employees, high costs and poor risk ratings are the top three worries, all of which most likely can be overcome because you are a member of the Builder’s Association of Greater Indianapolis or BAGI. BAGI offers a group health insurance plan to its members which focuses on providing a quality option to small businesses. Too Few Employees to Qualify If you are like many BAGI members looking for health insurance options, you are the owner of a small, closely held business. The BAGI plan has been crafted to allow for a group health plan to be written just for a business owner and his/her spouse, as long as they are both covered and both are 30+ hours per week employees. So, two employees, including yourself, is enough to qualify for the BAGI plan. Insurmountable Costs The key to assessing the cost of group health insurance is to consider the amount you have to pay, not the set premiums. As an employer, you only have to pay 50% of the premium for your employee to be competitive—not the full amount for the individual or any part of family coverage. Offering access to an individual plan with or without family coverage is what is essential, not necessarily paying for all of it. Another idea to consider is that if you need to purchase health insurance for yourself, implementing a group plan could reduce your personal premiums. If health insurance is going to be an expense for your business anyway, it makes sense to make the most of the line item. Poor Health Risk Ratings The first step in offering an employee group health insurance is the underwriting process to assess your group’s risk factor score, which determines the level of premium you will pay regardless of the plan you choose. For employers with healthy employees, this step is easy. However, if your workforce has medical issues, worry sets in. Fortunately, Scott Wharton of Wharton Insurance & Financial Services, who manages the BAGI plan, can look at other options in the brokered group marketplace if the BAGI plan is not favorable to your situation. Knowing that there are other options available should alleviate the angst associated with the underwriting process. The BAGI Group Health Insurance Plan BAGI’s group health insurance is implemented by Anthem, who has a lot of experience with providing association-based plans within multiple industries. They understand our local marketplace and have structured the program to serve BAGI members well. There are 12 coverage options to choose from, all of which allow you and your employees to use local doctors […]
August 30, 2017
BAGI Health Insurance Plan

Don’t Lose Good Employees Because They’ve Lost Their Individual Health Coverage

Let’s face it—the Indiana individual health insurance market is a mess. With two of the largest health insurance providers in our state, United and Anthem, no longer participating in the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges, people are left with no good options for personal coverage. Coupled with a tight labor market, employers are facing losing their best employees to firms that offer group health insurance. Fortunately, as a contractor member in good standing with BAGI, you have options available to help you protect and retain your workers. BAGI Group Health Insurance Program As an association, BAGI is able to offer a group health insurance program that avoids the restrictions of the ACA. The program uses the pooling concept to provide cost-effective coverage by spreading employee health risks over the total membership rather than company by company. This model means less rate volatility and a potentially better rate structure than purchasing your own plan. Your employees can choose from 12 different plans, from benefit-rich and low out-of-pocket options, all the way up to plans with the maximum-allowed federal out-of-pocket limits. With BAGI’s program, you and your employees get affordability, quality and choice in their health insurance coverage. The Current Individual Health Insurance Landscape Over the past few years, many small employers have recognized the need to have group health insurance but have been reticent to adopt their own programs. Many took the option of grossing up wages to assist employees with purchasing their own coverage on the ACA exchanges. Unfortunately, the current state of the ACA in Indiana means this course of action is impractical. Workers now only have access to short-term major medical coverage, which is not a viable option for the long-term, or a CareSource plan, which offers coverage through an 800 number and is headquartered out of state. Their final alternative is to go without health insurance, which could lead to debilitating payments or even bankruptcy if someone gets sick. No wonder employees are placing access to group health insurance at the top of their list of requirements for where they work. As long as you have 2 or more full-time employees, you may be eligible to join the BAGI group health insurance program. Member Scott Wharton of Wharton Insurance and Financial Services is the administrator of the program. For more information about how your company could offer your employees the health benefits they are looking for, send Scott an email or give him a call at 317.663.4138 .      
July 29, 2015
Affordable Care Act info

BAGI Member Sessions: The Affordable Care Act and Your Business

The Affordable Care Act has changed the health insurance and human resources landscape. As a business owner, what can you do to stay ahead of it? Join your fellow BAGI members as Scott Wharton of Wharton Insurance & Financial Services presents valuable information on the changes your business faces within group health insurance. Thursday, August 6th 9-10:30am or 2-3:30pm BAGI Offices 1011 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. Indianapolis, IN 46202 Topics Will Include: Expected changes to the 2016 BAGI/IBA Group Health Insurance Program Shorter renewal periods forcing quicker action The activation of additional rules within the ACA How to manage the expected average double digit rate increases In addition, Kelly Cathcart from ADP will present information on HR Compliance/ Employee Related Responsibilities required under the ACA. Members must register for a session at
July 7, 2015
Affordable Care Act

What the U.S. Supreme Court’s ACA Decision Means for Your Business

The highly anticipated U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act created certainty around the law. The issue under question was one of financing, regarding the 36 states that have opted to forgo setting up their own state health insurance exchanges and using the federal exchanges. The ruling clarifies that the residents of those states are entitled to take advantage of the available premium tax credit if they qualify. The subsidy structure already in place was affirmed, therefore the law has not changed, but the future has become clearer. Within a day or two of the Supreme Court’s ACA decision, Aetna announced its plans to purchase Humana for $37 billion. Centene announced it is buying HealthNet, and Aetna and Cigna are in merger-related talks. It seems evident that in the wake of the Supreme Court decision comes consolidation. The health insurance marketplace is shrinking to fewer providers, leaving less choice for individuals and organizations. The industry is lining up toward a two-tiered system: programs with funding coming from the Federal government and programs for those fortunate to have a job that offers group health benefits. The private sector will have a role in this new world, but it will change. As an employer, what does this changing landscape mean to you? According to a recent New York Times article, health care insurance providers will be seeking a double-digit rate increase for 2016, possibly between 20% and 40%. Federal mandates requiring companies who employ 50 or more full-time workers to provide group health insurance will kick in January 1, 2016. These mandates and associated penalties are already in affect for 100+ employers. Fortunately, we have group health insurance benefit options for you: 1) Join the BAGI Group Health Insurance Program The BAGI program takes advantage of the power of pooling resources. Joining together the employees of other BAGI builder members allows an even spread of risk, less rate volatility, and a potentially more affordable option to the double-digit rate increases we expect for 2016. As the sole administrator of the program, Wharton Insurance is in a unique position to help you take advantage of this option. Click here for more information on the BAGI program. 2) Continue with Your Current Group Health Benefits Plan As long as you do not make any changes to your current plans, the federal government is allowing a “Transition” renewal year in which employers can keep their current group health insurance plan. Electing this course of action means accepting your provider’s rate increase. A knowledgeable insurance broker can help guide you through your options, helping you weigh the pros and cons of keeping your plan. 3) Eliminate Your Group Health Benefits If you employ under 50 full-time workers, you can elect to not offer group health insurance benefits and send your employees to the marketplace. Individuals must have insurance or be subject to a penalty, so many employers who take this option often gross up employees wages to help offset the costs of health insurance. […]
April 8, 2015
GRAVIE health insurance

Non-Builder BAGI Members Have Group Health Insurance Options Too

Wharton Insurance & Financial Services works closely with the Builder’s Association of Greater Indianapolis to provide valuable services to their members. We facilitate the BAGI Group Health Insurance Program for builder members. WIFS also has options for non-builder members of BAGI who are not eligible to participate in the BAGI Group Health Program. WIFS can offer businesses that have 2-50 employees access to a private health insurance exchange called GRAVIE. A technology platform, GRAVIE serves business owners who wish to disband their group health insurance program but would like to continue to support the health of their employees. Employers may gross up the wages of their employees and then send them to GRAVIE to purchase their own individual plans. GRAVIE Benefits Both Employers and Employees: 1) GRAVIE has access to over 900 health insurance plans, and well-trained customer service associates available 24/7 to walk your employees though their choices. 2) As an employer, you are no longer in the health insurance business. No more yearly reviews of the plan choices, or open enrollment meetings. 3) Employees are given more control over their health care choices. They can find a plan tailored to their needs, and allow them to access federal subsidies that could end up saving them money. 4) Your company’s bottom line is no longer subject to the yearly rate increases on your group health insurance plan. By combining health insurance coverage with wages, you can more accurately budget what you would like to spend on labor. 5) In many cases, GRAVIE programs cost 20-40% less than what you and your employees have been paying toward your group health insurance plan, saving everyone money. The Affordable Care Act has brought many changes to the health insurance world, for both employers and employees. Starting January 1, 2015 all individuals must have health insurance, either through their employer or on their own, or be subject to a tax. Therefore, if you disband your health insurance plan, and an employee chooses not to buy health insurance with their increased wages, then they are subject to fines not you. Wharton Insurance is pleased to be able to offer this option to non-builder BAGI members. For more information about the GRAVIE program, send us an email, or give us a call at 317.663.4138.
March 11, 2015

Did Your Employee Group Health Insurance Rates Skyrocket? You Have Options.

Our clients who renewed their employee group health insurance plans for December 1, 2014 saw an average of a 12-15% rate increase. In 2013, we were closer to 7-8%. With the drastic changes in health insurance over the past two years, no one knows when this upward trend will level off. Fortunately, Wharton Insurance & Financial Services has access to unique options for employers of 50+ full-time employees to reduce their benefit costs sooner rather than later. 1) PEO Program Professional Employer Organizations offer large employers an efficient way to manage all of their human resource efforts. By entering into a co-employment contract with the PEO, all HR services are taken care of while the employer retains overall management of their employees’ work. The PEO’s group health insurance plans allow access to large-group programs and pricing, shielding employers from the volatility of the group health insurance market. As the Indiana Broker of Record for local PEO, Worksmart, the WIFS Team is in the unique position to present this option. 2) BAGI Group Health Insurance Program Builder members of the Builder’s Association of Greater Indianapolis have access to the organizations’ employee group health program. By pooling the buying power of their members, BAGI’s program allows for a more even spread of risk, less rate volatility, and a viable answer to the double-digit rate increases we are seeing this year. With 12 different plans, from benefit-rich and low out-of-pocket plans, all the way up to plans with the maximum allowed federal out-of-pocket limits, there is an option for everyone. WIFS is the sole administrator of the program, offering local, personalized service to all BAGI members. There may be no need to just accept the huge increases for your employee group health insurance rates, or to wait until the next renewal cycle. Send us an email, or give us a call at 317.663.4138 to learn more about your options to lower your costs now.
October 22, 2014
employee health insurance

Facing a Large Rate Increase on Your Employee Health Insurance Plan?

The WIFS Team has been preparing for the release of group health insurance policy renewals rates over the past year. Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, we have gained a lot of experience guiding our clients through the changing employee benefits landscape. Our clients look to us for expertise in managing the challenges presented by large rate increases. It is during these times of upheaval that they are fortunate to have an experienced insurance broker on their side. Facing a large rate increase on your employee health insurance plan? There are options: 1) Stay with your current plan. The benefit of accepting the rate increase with no changes to your plan is that your policy is not subject to community rating* for 2015. If you have a healthy workforce, staying out of the general pool will most likely save you money. Altering the percentages paid by employees can help your company’s bottom line manage the rate increases. 2) Partner with a PEO. Professional Employer Organizations offer access to employee benefits programs similar to large companies, providing you with protection from large jumps in premiums as well as a wide variety of plans. WIFS is the Indiana Broker of Record for Indianapolis-based Worksmart Systems, placing us in a unique position to offer you this creative solution. 3) Access an Association Program. Many industry associations offer private group health insurance plans. Locally, the Builder’s Association of Greater Indianapolis (BAGI) has partnered with the WIFS Team to offer a cost-effective, fully-insured insurance plan. Members in good standing may take advantage of the benefits of this plan, such as staying out of the community-based rating model. 4) Drop your employee health insurance benefits. In some rare cases employers are facing such large jumps in their health insurance premiums that they are eliminating their plans altogether. In this case, we can help create a plan to supplement the employees’ costs for individual plans on the federal exchange. The days of price shopping for insurance brokers are gone. Today, you need a broker with solutions. The WIFS Team works with clients every day to find creative solutions for their group health insurance issues. We can help you too. Send us an email, or give us a call at 317.663.4138 for more information. *Community rating refers to the manner in which health risks are managed. In this model, the lower costs of covering healthy employees are balanced by the higher costs of covering unhealthy employees. The risks associated with each are leveled over the entire coverage base, and charged to all.
September 10, 2014
BAGI Group Health Insurance

BAGI’s Group Health Insurance Program Could Solve Your Double Digit Rate Increase Issue

Group health insurance policy renewal rates are being released by insurance companies right now. On average, Indiana employers are seeing a 14% increase this year – quite a jump from last year’s rate jump of 5-7%. As a business owner, you want to provide a good work environment that attracts and retains employees, but not at the cost of a healthy balance sheet. Fortunately as a member in good standing of BAGI, you have options available to help you manage these seemingly competing goals. 1) BAGI Group Health Insurance Program This Program uses the pooling concept through BAGI membership to bring about a more even spread of risk, less rate volatility, and a viable answer to the double digit rate increases we are seeing this year. WIFS is the sole administrator of the program. Benefits: pool your employees into a wider group of insured individuals, thereby diluting the effects health risks have on your policy rates avoid large rate increases by tapping into group buying power opt-out of the community-based rating pool, which particularly benefits companies with healthy employees choose from 12 different plans, from benefit-rich and low-out of pocket plans, all the way up to plans with the maximum allowed federal out-of-pocket limits 2) Seamlessly Move Employees to the Federal Health Care Exchange for Coverage Smaller organizations are realizing cost savings by ending their group health insurance benefits and supporting their employees’ ability to find their own coverage on the Federal Exchange. We work with employers to create a budget for health care spending, and then to build a formula by which they can supplement employee out-of-pocket expenditures, usually by grossing up their wages. We also can assist employees in obtaining coverage. Benefits: eliminate increasing cost variability of group health allow employees to choose a plan that best suits their needs maintain employee good will by supporting their health insurance coverage If you are facing a huge jump in your group health insurance premiums, give us a call at 317.663.4138  or send us an email. We have the knowledge and experience to help you balance employee needs with bottom line concerns.  
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