Employee Benefits: Advice & Tips from HUB Experts

Written by: Josiah Kopp

Welcome to a new era of employee benefits—Great North’s merger with HUB International Great Plains marks a significant step forward in their commitment to providing clients with unparalleled insurance solutions and exceptional service. By combining their local expertise with HUB International’s extensive resources and industry reach, they are poised to bring you an even higher level of support, coverage options, and innovation. Let’s hear from their group benefits team as they provide insight, tips, and expert advice on some of the most common questions surrounding employee benefits.

Taylor Vaughan, Strategic Account Executive

Answering the 8 most common questions we get from clients

“When reviewing our client’s needs, we use a set of benchmarking tools to compare their performance, practices, or metrics against those of similar organizations in the same industry. These tools can help identify areas of strength, areas for improvement, and best practices. In the context of insurance and risk management, we can use these tools in various ways.”

1. What types of services does HUB offer to help employers evaluate their benefits strategy?

Premium & Coverage Analysis

This will compare premium rates and coverage offerings helping our clients stay competitive and ensure their offerings, are in line with industry standards.

Claims & Loss Data

Analyzing claims and loss data in comparison to industry benchmarks can help insurance companies understand their performance in terms of claim settlement efficiency, loss ratios, and customer satisfaction.

Persona Analysis

Gaining a better understanding of an employer’s demographic allows us to curate benefits packages tailored to the business’s specific needs.

Employee Benefits and Compensation

HUB will use benchmarking tools to compare our client’s employee benefits and compensation packages with those of similar companies. This helps ensure they are attracting and retaining top talent.

Cory Jorbin, Chief Compliance Officer

2. Have the 2024 HSA contribution limits and High Deductible Health Plan minimum deductibles been announced?

Yes, these were both updated earlier this year—The HSA contribution limits will see a significant increase from $3,850 for individual coverage and $7,750 for other tiers in 2023, up to $4,150 and $8,300 in 2024. Meanwhile, the minimum deductibles have increased from $1,500 to $1,600 for individual coverage and from $3,000 to $3,200 for other tiers of coverage. As a reminder, the minimum deductibles apply based on when the plan year begins. For employers who sponsor off-calendar year plans that start in say, December of 2023, the 2023 minimum deductibles will apply.

Taylor Vaughan, Strategic Account Executive

A competitive compensation and benefits package can make your organization more attractive to skilled and experienced professionals!” – Taylor Vaughan

3. What can we do as an employer to mitigate our healthcare costs?

A few things come to mind for us when taking action to reduce healthcare costs, which include:

Holding Wellness Campaigns

This has been known to improve employee health, increase morale, enhance productivity, decrease absenteeism, and has been even shown to reduce healthcare costs.

Adjusting Your Company’s Contribution Strategy

This will benefit both your employees and the organization as a whole. When employees feel that their compensation and benefits align with their needs and expectations, they are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs.

Shopping for a New Plan

Getting quotes from multiple carriers helps to see if your rates are in line with industry averages, or hopefully find a cost reduction for your group.

Educate Yourself on Your Current Plan

Education on where to receive care (i.e. urgent care when appropriate) and education on ‘benefits of benefits’ (i.e. some plans are waiving cost shares for telehealth visits, EAP, etc.).

Cory Jorbin, Chief Compliance Officer

4. Have the 2024 FSA contribution limits been announced?

No, these are not announced until late October or possibly even November. Every year, employers who sponsor calendar year FSAs eagerly anticipate this number being released so they can start their Open Enrollment. Employers can plan for Open Enrollment and even start it and then just update the FSA contribution limit once it is announced.

Fran Scott, Health & Performance Practice Leader

5. How can we address overall well-being, especially if we’ve never done it before?

We have access to many resources within our organization, one being our in-house guru, Health & Performance Practice Leader, Fran Scott: “Today’s Health and Performance space is much more sophisticated than it was even a few years ago, resulting in expanding value propositions and exciting new frontiers (mental health and community development to name a few). While this is interesting and exciting, it can also be quite noisy for clients. My job is to help them navigate the intersection of the science of lifestyle medicine, industry best practice, and strategy while bringing the perspectives that come with many years of hands-on operational experience driving health and wellbeing initiatives.”

Pro Tip

Utilizing tools HUB offers such as ChooseWell can be a great benefit to your organization. ChooseWell is a comprehensive wellness program designed to enhance employee health and can offer numerous advantages to both employees and the organization.

Cory Jorbin, Chief Compliance Officer

6. Now that the Public Health Emergency (PHE) has ended, what does this mean for group health plans?

The PHE related to the COVID-19 pandemic was in effect for over three years and finally ended in May of 2023. With it coming to an end, group health plans now only need to cover COVID vaccines obtained at in-network providers at 100%. While the PHE was in effect, vaccines needed to be covered at 100% for both in-network and out-of-network providers. Likewise, COVID testing (in-network, out-of-network, and eight at-home tests per member every 30 days) needed to be covered at 100%. Though self-insured plans have the flexibility to still cover the out-of-network vaccines and tests at 100%, very few seem to be doing so.

It is also worth mentioning that starting in 2025, Qualified High Deductible Health Plans which are designed to be HSA compatible, can no longer cover COVID testing or treatment as preventive.

Quick Takeaway

Wondering about changes in your currently offered FSA? The IRS isn’t planning to release the 2024 FSA contribution limits until late October or early November, so keep an eye out for these upcoming changes.

Taylor Vaughan, Strategic Account Executive

7. Can you explain the new HSA & HDHP figures that were released earlier this year?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has once again provided clarity on the financial landscape of healthcare by releasing the limits for health savings accounts (HSAs) and high deductible health plans (HDHPs). These annual adjustments, based on inflation and regulatory considerations, play a vital role in shaping the healthcare choices and financial strategies of millions of individuals and families across the country. The surges reflect continuing inflationary pressures. As a reminder, ‘family’ coverage means any coverage other than self-only

Understanding the nuances of HSAs, HDHPs, and the corresponding IRS limits can be complex. To help individuals make informed decisions, our team at HUB is available to answer any questions you have along the way, and offer educational resources and expert guidance. These offerings empower the groups we work with to tailor their healthcare choices to each client’s unique needs and financial goals.

Did You Know?
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Cory Jorbin, Chief Compliance Officer

8. Medicare open enrollment is coming up, do employers need to provide anything to employees regarding this?

Under the Medicare Part D rules, those who are eligible for Part D need to have “creditable coverage.” If they don’t have this level of coverage, they will pay late enrollment penalties in the form of higher Part D rates when they do enroll in Part D. This means the prescription drug coverage they have is at least as good as they coverage they would have if they enrolled in Medicare. Employers do not need to provide this level of coverage (though many do), however, they need to provide individuals who are eligible for Part D with a notice. This notice will communicate whether the plan’s prescription drug coverage is “creditable” or “non-creditable” and allow Part D-eligible individuals to make informed decisions. The notice needs to be provided annually by October 15th each year.

We are thrilled to invite you to HUB International’s Great Plains Financial Leadership Summit on September 19 in Fargo!

Join us for this three-session event and receive guidance on how developing a mental health strategy can support your company’s financial objectives, the myriad financial and tax benefits of the HSA and how to harness them, and guidance on developing a comprehensive financial wellness strategy for your employees. Three speakers will be featured, including our own Patrick Fay and Fran Scott, all of whom are certified for continuing education credit through SHRM and HRCI.

Please contact Trish at [email protected] If you would like to attend.

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Josiah is an Editor and Photographer at Spotlight Media in Fargo.