Buffalo Business First: features Mike Szymoniak

Mike Szymoniak, an employee benefits consultant, was recently featured in Buffalo Business First. He discussed how the Affordable Care Act will impact small businesses and what benefits they can provide for their employees starting January 1, 2016. Tracey Drury wrote the article. You can view it below or download it here.

Small Business Insurance Companies

The cost of health insurance will drop significantly for employees at Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra when they open their paychecks in the early part of next year.

BPO is one of thousands of businesses across the country that are affected by federal health reform measures. The measure reclassifies small employers to those with less than 100 employees. It is one of a few reform measures that are tied to the Affordable Care Act, which kicks in 2016.

Kevin James, director, finance, stated that the BPO reclassification will allow orchestra directors and musicians to be eligible for insurance products at community-rated rates. Rates based on the company’s claims experience Buffalo Business are not applicable.

He said, “We will realize savings of up to 20% on our health care expenses and that will translate to both the BPO and the employees with cost share on both ends.” “We didn’t notice that we had high claims. But, for some reason, we are one of the lucky ones who can see this much savings as we move over to that community rating.”

Small employers can now buy community-rated coverage through brokers and direct through insurance companies as well as through the Small Business Health Options Program, (SHOP), on the New York State of Health’s online exchange.

Insurers and brokers will be working hard this summer to grab a share of the expanded business. Others will try to retain existing customers by offering new products and services to their existing clients.

To determine which products it will offer employees, the BPO is working closely with brokers from BlueCross BlueShield WNY and First Niagara digital marketing Benefits Management. The company is also changing the end date of its plan year, which was originally set for Aug. 31, to Dec. 31, in order to give employees and the company access to the lower rates earlier.

Brokers stated that they had been trying to inform their clients about these changes, explaining the benefits and keeping them informed on reporting requirements. Reclassification does not apply to only the number of employees, but also shifts that are eligible for insurance coverage from 50 to 100 total FTE.

Buffalo Business First Article: Brian Murphy

Brian Murphy, Partner in the Employee Benefits Division, was featured recently in Buffalo Business First’s “Offering Benefits is Only First Step” article. He discussed how education and employee benefits communication are critical for optimizing healthcare plans.

Brian emphasized the importance of employee benefits communications and education in the employee benefit process. This is because employees need to be able to fully understand the benefits that you offer. Murphy stated that if you don’t provide education about a product, it is a waste of time.

Brian continued to talk about how Lawley’s employee benefits team educates customers through one-on-one meetings. This helps resilient businesses employees find the right benefits.

For example, the exchange offers a three-level dental plan with varying benefits and costs. There are four options available for vision coverage.

Murphy stated, “This is especially important for workforces that have changing demographics and multiple requirements.” “Twenty-years ago, you could have a typical nuclear family: a husband and wife with two children. He said that we don’t see this as often anymore. “The demographics are changing but the benefits packages look exactly the same.”

This proactive thinking was instrumental in the creation of Lawley Marketplace, a private benefits exchange that launched in 2013. It offers a range of options to workers from the 150 participating employers.

Murphy stated that employees initially thought the benefits were unnecessary, but then they discovered statistics showing workers signing up for multiple benefits. Employers might give workers total compensation statements, which show the value of their benefits in monetary terms.

Buffalo Business First Highlighting Bill Lawley

Lawley was named the Insurance Category Company of the Year by Buffalo Business First. This year has been a great one for Lawley. We have expanded our business and added associates to each of our branches in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. And we celebrated our 60th anniversary.

Our team, one of only ten Buffalo-based businesses being honored, includes several clients. We are proud to be recognized and highlighted for the good work we do in the communities we serve.

Bill Lawley Jr. was one of our principals. He discussed why 2015 was such a good year and what we look forward to in 2016. We are government business loan looking forward growing practice groups in automotive, healthcare and nonprofits as well as recruiting more top talent. You can read the whole article here but you need to be a paid subscriber in order to access it.