Resources to Help Employees Deal with the Impact of Covid-19

As unemployment numbers in the US reach their highest levels since the great depression, business owners and their employees face every day the question, what do I do now? Not only do employees face loss of income, they also face the possible loss of health insurance and other benefits leaving them vulnerable to new debt or even financial collapse if they get sick or hurt. One In the midst of all the bad news, there are some things happening that can help.

Many health insurance companies are providing direct relief for people facing the health consequences of this pandemic. United Healthcare, Cigna and Humana are among the most proactive companies working to reduce the impact on both the insured and the uninsured. A recent article in Benefits Pro outlines just a few of the discounts and rebates being offered to people to help ((Read It Here)

In addition, United Healthcare has introduced a range of options for short term medical coverage to fill the gap for employees who are losing their employer sponsored coverage. They have created materials and information flyers for both employees and for employers who want to make sure their employees have the information they need to take advantage of these options. If you are interested in learning more about these policy options please contact us at 3to99 and we will get you the information you need.

Is Your Employee Benefits Program Ready for What’s Coming Next?

I know its crazy right now, and with businesses just beginning to reopen around the country there are so many things we still don’t know about the future. But one thing we do know, to be successful we will need to keep our employees. To do that every business owner needs to be ready to face the competition. Are you ready?

Check out this article by Ron Herrmann He has some great ideas about how to make sure your employee benefits package is well positioned to be at the front of the line when employees start looking for their next opportunity.

When you are ready to explore your benefits options, give me a call or send me a message. Give me 30 minutes and I will show you how 3to99 can help you develop a benefits strategy that lets you be an industry leader in team recruiting and retention.

How will you meet employee benefits challenges after Covid-19?

Businesses are beginning to reopen, and employees are coming back to work, or are they? Many employers are already discovering that some employees are not ready to come back. And even worse, some of the best workers in the work force are getting multiple offers from companies competing for their commitment. Now, more than ever, employee benefits can be the key to finding and keeping the team members you really want to have.

According to Kim Buckey, Sr. VP of Client Services at DirectPath, every employee has a different idea of what constitutes a good benefits package. But there are some key elements that work together to make a benefits package strong and effective. Read her article (linked here) and then give me a call or send me a message and let’s connect to see how we can help you make sure your business is in perfect position to recruit and retain the highest caliber of employees for the future.
#peoplematter #employeebenefits #healthinsurance #voluntarybenefits #benefits

COVID-19 and Medicare for All.

COVID-19 is killing people. There can be no doubt that this will go down in history as one of the most devastating pandemics to hit our world. We will weather the storm, but we will be changed by it. Our lives will be different, our economy will be different, and our view of critical services like health care will be different. The question is, how? We are still in the midst of the battle but I have already heard people begin the argument that “socialized medicine” or “Medicare for all” would have made this better. I thought it might be interesting to do some comparisons between what is happening in the US at this point and what is happening in some of the nations that have socialized medicine. DISCLAIMER: I am not suggesting that this information is the only consideration and the data analysis here could change significantly. Still, from today’s perspective and using today’s data, here’s what we know. (NOTE: All statistics come from the John’s Hopkins University COVID-19 data and are as of 3/2/2020)

The US is one of the 10 nations hardest hit by this virus. The others on that list are Italy, Spain, France, China, Iran, the UK, Belgium, Netherlands, and Germany. While all of these nations have variations in their health care systems, most of them have systems that embrace some form of socialized medicine or government paid health care. I just wanted to track one core statistic in this review. What is the death rate among patients in each of these nations? The table below sets out the numbers.

A quick review shows a trend. Those nations with Single Payer health care system tend to have the highest mortality rates. Now, before you attack me here, I know that this little study does not take into account demographic differences or other possible factors, but the numbers are still pretty stark. France, Italy, Spain, UK and Netherlands all have single payer systems. All of those nations are currently showing the highest mortality rates with the lowest number coming in the UK at over 8.5%. Italy’s mortality rate of 12.07% is nothing less than shocking! At the same time, the lowest mortality rates on this list are in Germany and the United States. Both of those nations have multi-payer systems. Interesting me, is that in the middle we find Belgium and Iran with mortality rates in the 6.2%-6.5% range. Those two nations have healthcare systems that divide the load between partially public systems and private systems.

Even in New York, the hardest area of the United States, the total mortality rate to date is running at 2.66%. Despite fears of equipment and supplies shortages and the potential for the pandemic to overwhelm the hospital systems, New York has adapted and adjusted to the situation keeping the overall death rate lower than any of the European nations that appear on the top 10 list with the exception of Germany. And, New York has a higher total number of cases than any of those nations except Italy and Spain.

Can we make any conclusions? It may be too early in the overall process to make firm conclusions, but it seems to me that there are some possible truths emerging. What stands out most to me is that it appears systems like those in the US and Germany are better able to manage a health care crisis like Corona Virus. In my view what makes this true is the entrepreneurial nature of those systems. Private sector participants are engaged and motivated to produce speedy results that exceed the capability of government to respond. This is happening across the US and, it seems, also in Germany. Only time will tell if this holds true throughout the course of this pandemic. But for now, it is what I see.

CountryFirst CaseTotal CasesTotal DeathsMortality Rate

Are Voluntary Benefits the Right Solution?

The past few weeks have found me spending most of my time talking with the leaders of small businesses about employee benefits.  The starting place for most of these conversations has been the question, “what can I do about benefits when I don’t have any money in my budget to pay for that”?  It’s a great question and it touches lots of pieces of the small business owner’s team building strategy.

In a recent article Corporate Wellness Magazine hit this topic dead on. (see the article at  They wrote that the solution for many (most?) small businesses is to offer voluntary benefits.  This is most certainly the right option for almost every small business and there are lots of ways to put them in place.  Here are some things to consider.

  1.  Any business with 3 or more employees is potentially eligible to add voluntary benefits to their benefits plan.
  2. You have a number of options for insurance carriers to find the right fit for your small business.  While we prefer and usually recommend Aflac, they are not always the right solution and we believe every business should have an adviser who brings all of the options to the table.
  3. Voluntary benefits offer flexibility to the team because each individual can choose the benefit options that best meet their budget and best cover their individual or family risk.

Now consider this. Many small business owners in the process of exploring voluntary benefits discover that one of the best ways to attract new talent and reward their current team members is to offer to pay for one or more “supplemental” or “voluntary” products.  And the cost is surprisingly low.  Here’s an example:

We recently worked with a small business (only three employees) to help them develop a benefits strategy.  In the process we helped them figure out where to get health insurance for themselves without paying the high cost of an individual market place plan.  We also helped them review voluntary options with Aflac.  As we were going through those options the business owner had an ahh haa moment.  They realized they could offer every team member Accident/Injury coverage for less than $34.00 per month per employee.  When they did the math they figured out their total cost for this plan was equal to less than .20 cents per hour.  They had been considering offering a .50 cents per hour raise to their team.

The business owner discussed this with the employees and learned, much to their surprise, that the employees would rather have the benefit than the raise.  Why?  The raise, after taxes, would net the average employee somewhere around $18.00 per week.  The insurance plan would give them coverage to protect against accident or injury that could be worth thousands of dollars to the individual employees.  For this team, that mattered more than the small increase in weekly pay.

Here’s the point. Small business owners have options.  Too often the problem is that you don’t know what the options are.  We are here to help with that.  Contact us today to schedule a review of your benefits options. We promise, the time will be well spent.



Guess Who’s Having A Baby?

I remember the night I came home and my wife started our dinner conversation with that question.  I immediately thought of our circle of friends wondering which one of them had received the happy news.  I wasn’t prepared for what she said next.  With a huge smile on her face she said “US.”  What? Who? When? Oh my!!  I was shocked, then I was over joyed.  This is what we had always wanted.  It was really happening.  What a blessing.

The next day, sitting at work I began to think about all the things we would have to do to be ready for the baby to arrive.  I started building a to do list.  You can imagine how it went: paint the baby’s room, get a crib, buy baby toys, buy baby clothes, buy life insurance.

Wait, what?  Where did that last item come from? What new dad puts buy life insurance on his new baby to do list?  I did, and here’s why.  I have seen too many times the tragedy that visits a family when something tragic happens and mom or dad are taken from the family.  While we are young we feel invincible, but none of us can predict the day or hour of our death.  Its not something that we keep at the top of our mind, but it should be in our mind and it should be in our preparations.

Life Insurance is a gift of LOVE!  It is one among many ways to show the people who matter in our lives how much they matter to us.  As we approach Valentines Day this year and millions of men and women consider what gifts to give to their romantic partners, consider this.  Prepare for the future economic security of your family now.  Contact me today and let me show you how.

Jobs, The Stock Market, and Your Business: I Have Good News and Bad News.

The Dow Jones Average passed over $25,000 for the first time in history yesterday.  Among the key drivers of the continuing growth in the market is the blistering pace of the US economy.  Over 250,000 new jobs were created in December and the pace seems to be continuing if not accelerating. Unemployment is at nearly historic lows across the US.  All of this is good news, right?  Well . . .

If you are an investor or an executive in a large business this is all great news.  The economy is growing at a strong pace and all the indicators available in the moment are positive for continued growth this year.  The Tax Reduction and Jobs bill seems to have had the desired short term effect of spurring new investment by big business in the US.  Jobs are being created at every level and opportunity is strong.  So what’s the bad news?

Talk to small business owners and you may discover that there is a growing problem finding, attracting, and keeping top employees.  Here’s the issue: when unemployment numbers approach “full employment” finding and keeping top talent becomes increasingly difficult.  Just like a hot real estate market creates demand and allows sellers to demand higher prices, so a hot employment market creates intense competition among employers for the best talent.  Big business attacks this challenge by increasing total compensation, offering improved working conditions, providing perks, and expanding benefits offerings.  How do small and medium sized businesses compete in this environment?

For many (most?) small businesses its a huge dilemma.  They want and need to have top people to grow and thrive, but they don’t believe they can afford to offer the higher compensation, perks, and benefits packages the big companies can.  But are they correct?  Are the benefits packages really beyond their reach?  Did you know that in most cases even the smallest of employers can actually offer a solid benefits program, often at no cost to the employer?

There are many different kind of benefits programs and insurance offerings.  Small employers have often not had the information they need to know how make a benefits/insurance package available that doesn’t break the budget.  In just the past three years we have worked with nearly 100 small firms to help them create a great benefits program that their employees love and their budget appreciates.  The key is understanding what is available and how to make it work for you.

Here’s the challenge: take 30 minutes in the next 30 days to learn what is possible and develop a plan to make it happen for your business.  Give us a call and we will be happy to talk with you about the possible.