A Benefit Strategy is usually developed in concert with
a Compensation Strategy.
Plan Design—Using our client’s Benefits Strategy,
FBS either develops totally new benefit plans or changes to existing
plans, so they are competitive, yet totally within realistic cost
limits. Section 125 plans are used to the maximum extent possible, to
gain tax exemption for employee contributions.
We will also recommend and coordinate
personal health risk assessment and behavior modification programs
(health screenings, wellness fairs, lifestyle assessments, periodic
health communications, etc.) to help reduce medical and disability
plan expenses on a long-term basis.
Funding Alternatives—Self-funding may be desirable for some
clients’ coverages, but not for other clients’. Only a careful
analysis can determine the best course of action. FBS has
several decades’ experience evaluating and installing self-funded, ASO,
minimum premium (partially self-funded), and insured plans.
Claims Analysis & Audit—We analyze your quarterly claims for
any looming problems. Possible problems, which are brought to your
attention, along with recommended actions. We may then switch to more
intensive monthly claim analysis/audit to resolve issues. Some
examples of our claim analysis and audit services are:
For insured plans, the
analysis of carrier underwriting, reserve assumptions,
careful archiving of claims data for future underwriting can reduce
rate increases. Also, careful monitoring of network provider usage
and in-network claims can be used to your advantage. Can some of
these expenses be reduced? Yes, with FBS’ technical experience.
Is there evidence of claim payment errors, fraud, or
payments consistent with the plan terms? Are employees accessing your
plan for occupational injury claims? FBS works with your vendor to
quickly identify causes of delays and errors, shut them off, and
plan provisions result in unnecessary costs or failure to meet our
client’s Benefit Strategy? Does the plan meet employees’ and
dependents’ needs? Is your plan competitive with other employers?
care and provider
network analysis—Is the correct strategy being used (PPO, HMO, EPO,
POS)? What about network penetration rates, procedure frequencies,
specialist usage, preventive care usage, etc? Are employees using
their benefit plans in the most effective manner?
and procedures audit—Are
the most efficient procedures being used for eligibility data
maintenance and transfer to carriers, new hires, changes, and
terminations, annual enrollment, timely COBRA notifications, HIPAA
certificates, and employee problem resolution? Do some administrative
procedures build in unnecessary costs and delays? FBS can take over
these annoying details for your staff.
Vendor Evaluation, negotiation, and Management—Today’s
world of benefits is complex and costly. Poor vendor
choice is critical. Our clients pay for,
and deserve, vendor efficiency, effectiveness, service, and
integrity. We have strategic relationships with the leading vendors
in their fields, so change isn't always necessary. FBS provides your company tangible help with:
service commitments and results analysis—Will
your vendors commit to meaningful service guarantees? Are
their services valuable to your employees?
technology should take a burden off of your benefits team. Computer
system linkages are critical to smooth, accurate “back of the house”
functioning (eligibility, enrollment, claims payment, etc.) for your
benefit plans. At FBS, we have experience designing effective,
efficient system linkages that are consistent with your company’s
pricing—You get what you pay for. The best vendor is often not the
cheapest; rather, it’s the best blend of price, services rendered, and
commitment to your Benefits Strategy. FBS’ staff has three decades of
experience with vendors of all types, and will guide you in this key
administrative practices and procedures—Practices and procedures
either build in efficiency or inefficiency. FBS believes vendors must
constantly improve, and that harmonious relationships are both
desirable and achievable. This means that vendors serve you.
Vendor Selection and Transition—Occasionally,
vendor changes are unavoidable. FBS can give you just the help you
need for a turnkey project:
Preparation of the RFP
Solicitation of proposals from solid vendors
Evaluation of vendor proposals
Evaluation of vendor capabilities and reference checking
Preparation of side-by-side bid comparisons
Recommendation of vendor(s) for client selection
Managing the transition to a new vendor—If a change in
vendor is necessary, a number of critical steps must occur, often in
the correct sequence, for the transition to be successful. FBS will
work with your old and new vendors in your best interests.
Benefits Legal Compliance Oversight--With rapid, unceasing
changes in HIPAA, COBRA, forms 5500, SPDs, etc., compliance is a
full-time job. While regulatory compliance is an unproductive
expense, non-compliance can be very expensive. FBS helps you comply
with benefit laws and regulations in the most cost-effective manner,
avoiding additions to your staff.
A new compliance
concern is HIPAA privacy regulations. These new regulations took
effect on April 13, 2003 for large employers, with small employers to
be covered on April 13, 2004. Flatly speaking, they impose very
significant privacy responsibilities on self-funded plans, with
somewhat lesser responsibilities on insured plans. In either case,
compliance will result in new administrative methods and procedures
for employers. FBS will help you meet this new regulatory challenge.
Email us for help.
Benefits Administration Outsourcing—Increasingly,
employers are outsourcing some or all of their benefits
responsibilities and focusing their attention on “core” activities.
FBS will assist our clients by assuming administrative and
communications responsibility for:
Normal employee enrollment, changes, and terminations
Mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures
Monthly billings to carriers and vendors
COBRA and HIPAA administration
Flexible Spending Account (FSA), Dependent Care Spending
Accounts (DCSA), and Transportation Reimbursement Account (TRA)
Policies and Procedures—Client benefits policies
and procedures either build in efficient or inefficient plan
administration; lower costs or higher costs.
They should result in streamlined,
efficient, and equitable benefit programs. Clerical and support
operations should be minimized.
FBS has 30 years of
experience helping our clients design customized policies and
procedures that reflect those customers’ benefits strategy and their
10. Benefit Communications—Effective communications are
critical for a benefit plan to be understood and perceived favorably
by participants. Today’s realities of increasing benefit costs,
tighter profit margins, and employees’ anxiety about benefits only
increase the importance of benefits communication for our clients.
Without well-conceived, effective communications, employee morale can
plummet and suspicion can rise.
Designing and delivering
effective, multi-media communications is difficult and
time-consuming if it’s not your regular business.
There are many barriers
to effective benefits communication. FBS overcomes these barriers
Benefit strategy communication
Plan changes, introductions, and terminations
Changes in contribution levels by employees or companies
Mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures
11. Employee handbooks—Handbooks are an important, but separate, part
of benefit communication for both legal and practical reasons. In
addition to communicating HR policies, work rules, and benefits to
employees, evolving regulatory requirements must be met, including
“understandability” requirements, required notices of changes, etc.
FBS has the
communications experience and technical software to produce highly
customized, readable, understandable employee handbooks. Let us help