By: Sheryl Sowell | Category: Financial Services | Issue: July 2012
Jim Millaway and Mike Ziegenhorn of The Holmes Organisation.
The Holmes Organisation recently announced the launch of a private exchange technology system that provides employers and employees the ability to participate in one of the fastest-growing trends in health insurance – defined contribution health plans. Like the 401k transition of years ago, this trend will continue as group insurance plans become less and less viable due to cost and regulations.
According to Mike “Zig” Ziegenhorn of The Holmes Organisation, a defined contribution health plan is an important alternative to traditional group health plans for those who can no longer qualify for or afford them, and they are growing rapidly in popularity. Rather than paying a portion or all of a premium, under a defined contribution health plan, an employer can offer no contribution at all or if preferred, set aside a fixed dollar amount each month for employees to use to pay for their choice of individual health insurance or other medical costs such as doctor visits, dental insurance, and prescription drugs, often on a pre-tax basis.
This approach allows even the smallest of businesses to offer their employees quality health-related benefits, while maximizing the IRS-approved benefits of tax savings for both the employer and employees. James Millaway of The Holmes Organisation explains that these plans are an excellent alternative for restaurants, small family-owned businesses, staffing companies, and those who do part time or contract work. “The problem we see from an insurance perspective is that many people are without access to employer provided insurance,” said Millaway. “This plan is not one size fits all, but there are so many people who can receive long-term benefits from it.”
Employees participating in a defined contribution program through their employer are directed to The Holmes Organisation private exchange website, where they can compare and select a policy from among a variety of individual health plans being offered by health insurers in the Tulsa and northeast Oklahoma area.Visit the private exchange website and compare your plan options at exchange.theholmesorg.com.
Zig wants to let area businesses know that the private exchange is a tool that provides employees with more choice and makes it possible to more effectively provide services to large numbers of individuals and their families rather than employer groups. Employees can choose to be connected to live experts, licensed in all 50 states, who can provide them the best options for their family regardless of pre-existing conditions or budget. “We reach out to everyone who visits the website,” said Millaway. “The site is user friendly, but we’re here to help people understand all of their options.”
Experts will look for the right plan in four different markets:
1. Personal health plans– all the major carriers, medically underwritten
2. Short-term medical plans– fewer UW requirements, lower cost
3. State & federal risk pools– must qualify, guaranteed issue
4. Limited benefit plans–low-cost options, guaranteed issue
The Private Exchange is not limited to just health insurance solutions, although that is the greatest concern for most employers and employees. “We have experts available in life insurance, long-term care insurance, Medicare supplements, voluntary benefits (accident, critical illness, hospital indemnity), and even property and casualty insurance,” said Zig.
Forward thinking employers have already begun adopting The Holmes Organisation’s solution to their benefits challenges. Early adopters to this model are finding it to be the perfect solution, especially if they had given up on offering their employees any type of benefits. “Now you can offer access to individually-owned, selected benefits at little or no cost to you the employer. In fact, many are seeing savings and no financial obligations,” added Zig.
More information about defined contribution plans and The Holmes Organisation services can be found at www.theholmesorg.com. Please contact Zig, James Millaway, or any of the other brokers at The Holmes Organisation for more information at (918) 359-6000.
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Sheryl Sowell was born and raised in Tulsa, OK. She graduated from Will Rogers High School and received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Northeastern State University in 2007. She has worked for Value News as editor, writer and advertising copywriter since 2008. She enjoys meeting and interviewing people for Value News articles, learning about their backgrounds, and helping to promote their businesses and local events. In her free time, she enjoys reading, trying new recipes and crafts from Pinterest, attending concerts and sporting events, and spending time with family and friends. Sheryl lives in Tulsa with her fiancé Paul, their daughter Scarlett, and their two dogs, Gunner and Boo.