Group Benefits with Great North Insurance a division of HUB International
Q&A with Account Executive Camden Caraveau
Who do you see as the ‘typical’ GNI/HUB Group Benefits client?
We serve any group of employees from two to 10,000. We have the ability and passion to help any size of business, from small businesses whose HR Department consists of just the company’s owner, to large corporate entities.
How do you help employers streamline the open enrollment process?
Our process to serve our clients starts well in advance of open enrollment. In some cases, it will start as early as 2 months after the previous year’s renewal. We have discussions with key team members within each company to discuss specific needs, upcoming changes they see relevant and any other areas of need we can address.
Why should companies use a dedicated employee benefits broker, vs. going directly to a carrier?
A few reasons come to mind with the biggest being our team of professionals. We have advocates to serve your specific business needs. We have individuals on our team that have served in a variety of roles— including underwriting, which will help you as a business owner or HR Director understand more about the policies we provide and how we can aggressively negotiate terms and premiums for your business.
What help do you provide clients in developing their benefits communications?
We don’t see ourselves as just ‘plan designers,’ but as communication experts. We are not here to only deliver your policy at renewal, but to help you negotiate solutions to your coverage needs. One of the biggest keys to our process is utilizing our large team of experts to meet your every need and walk you through the process from A to Z. We have dedicated team members fluent in healthcare, Medicare, group benefits, dental, vision and disability insurances.
What are your thoughts on how to attract and retain employees in the current landscape/workforce environment?
Becoming a leader in your industry starts with implementing a thriving company culture. Great North Insurance, operating as HUB Great Plains, has the ability to not only assist you in implementing a top-notch benefits package, but to have a team of experts to help you lead the way in staying on top of relevant HR trends. We have a team of experts ensure that you have a competitive advantage in your market. We utilize benchmarks to lead the way in salary and benefit trends and we compare them to others in your field within your state, region, country and even local community to show you, as the employer, how you line up with other, similar employer groups.
FAQs on Supplemental Insurance
We offer a high deductible health plan. Are there supplemental plans we can offer to employees on a voluntary basis that will help employees pay out-of-pocket medical costs?
In the market today, many employers are looking for ways to help employees pay out-of-pocket expenses. The most common voluntary plans are:
- Accident Plan: pays benefits to the insured to help reduce out-of-pocket expenses associated with an accidental injury. Benefits are paid in addition to other coverage and can assist the insured in paying out-of-pocket expenses, such as deductible, coinsurance or increased out-of-network costs for care. Benefits are available for treatment of everyday injuries, such as burns, lacerations, broken bones, dislocations, concussions, eye or teeth injuries and more.
- Critical illness Plan: pays the insured a lump-sum benefit upon the diagnosis of a covered critical condition. Benefit is paid in addition to other coverage and can be used to pay for out-of-pocket expenses, experimental or homeopathic treatment, travel for treatment, second opinions or even living expenses if employees need to take time away from work to recover.
- Hospital indemnity Plan: pays a benefit to the insured if they are hospitalized due to a covered illness (including pregnancy) or injury to help reduce their outof-pocket expenses. Benefits are paid in addition to other coverage and can assist the insured in paying out-of-pocket expenses, such as deductible, coinsurance or increased out-of-network costs for care.
What are some other voluntary plans employers are offering to their employees to help with recruitment and retention?
- Identity Theft: coverage that alerts you if your identity has been stolen and takes care of the resolution process. Coverage typically also monitors credit and banking accounts (including retirement accounts), in addition to helping reduce unwanted solicitations and removing information from public databases to lessen the likelihood of a breach It also provides legal coverage such as traffic tickets, contract review, name or gender identifier updates, real estate disputes, adoption, consumer issues, debt collection, tax audits, elder law, etc.
- Pet Insurance: coverage that provides benefits for pet medical treatment, ranging from network savings to reimbursements for treatments received. Coverage can include benefits for injuries, sicknesses, prescriptions and wellness.
FAQs on Medicare Insurance
I am turning 65 and not planning to retire. Do I have to sign up for Medicare?
At age 65, you do not have to enroll in full Medicare. If you are eligible to remain on your group health plan you can do so. If you are enrolled in a traditional health plan, many people will enroll in Medicare Part A only. You should have a Medicare analysis completed to make sure you are enrolling or not enrolling in the appropriate parts of Medicare as well as making sure you are enrolling in the best plans available to you.
I am turning 65 and not planning to retire. I contribute to an HSA. Does Medicare status impact that?
This has become a very common question as HSA active accounts have grown over time. The easy answer is if you enroll in any part of Medicare, you are no longer eligible to make contributions to your HSA nor can your employer. Many people who make contributions to an HSA want to continue but think they cannot once they are 65. This is simply not true. As long as no parts of Medicare are active, you can continue to make contributions. Once on Medicare, HSA dollars do not expire or go away. The HSA account balance can be used tax and penalty-free to pay the Medicare Part B premium, Part D premium as well as Medicare-approved out-of-pocket expenses.
I heard there are penalties if I don’t sign up right away for Medicare. Is this true?
There are late enrollment penalties associated with Medicare. However, as an active employee of a creditable health plan, those penalties are waived when you elect Medicare after the age of 65. Upon enrollment, your employer will complete a Request for Employment Information form which is submitted for processing to avoid penalties. If you do not have an active employee plan available to you or your spouse, you will need to enroll in Medicare upon eligibility to avoid penalties. This can include retiree health coverage and COBRA.