December 1, 2009 – Newsletter

Posted on: December 1st, 2009 by admin No Comments

Happy New Year

Benefits by Design Named as Business Excellence Awards Finalist!

We are so very excited to announce that the Tempe Chamber has named us as a Business Excellence Awards Finalist!

The Tempe Chamber is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2010 Business Excellence Awards. These awards promote the advancement of responsible business leadership in the community and publicly recognize local businesses demonstrating a passion for excellence. Through the awards, the Tempe Chamber identifies companies whose practices in business growth, employee development, community involvement and customer service exemplify excellence. This year’s six finalists admirably embody those characteristics and are being recognized for that distinction. The recipient will be announced and honored at the Breakfast for Chamber Champions in February. For more information on the date, location and ticket information, call (480) 967-7891 or visit The 2010 finalists are Benefits by Design, Educational Options, Edward Jones, House of Tricks, Southwest Gas and Veolia Transportation.

Their write up about us stated:

Benefits by Design is a full-service group insurance consulting and brokerage firm founded in 1997 by one person with a vision and has since grown yearly by at least 10%. Today it has expanded to offer cutting- edge, creative solutions to its clients and serve as an extension of the human resources department helping with claims, billing and benefit questions. It is active in several organizations including the National Association of Health Underwriters and National Association of Women Business Owners and sponsors a family through St. Vincent De Paul.

International Travel Medical Insurance

Traveling abroad?

Traveling abroad can be an exciting experience. But what would happen if you or one of your family members became ill or injured while away from home? International travel can quickly turn frightening if you’re not prepared for a medical emergency.

Most travelers assume that they will be covered by their standard plan. The truth is, while traditional plans may offer adequate domestic coverage, they are not designed for international travel. Without realizing it, you may be putting you and your family at risk!

We offer a product called Patriot Travel through International Medical Group. Please call Chris Conran at Benefits by Design for more info! 480-831-7700

Client Spotlight

The Tempe Chamber of Commerce

The Tempe Chamber of Commerce enables business people to accomplish collectively what none of us could or would do individually. We are the collective efforts and energies of 1,000 of your business peers doing those things that must be done to ensure our prosperous future.

Since 1908 the Tempe Chamber has actively worked to build an environment that enhances the economic vitality of our membership. We provide our members with the tools and means to achieve success at every level of their enterprises by creating a strong local economy, promoting the community, providing networking opportunities and business contacts, and representing business interests to government.

We are a powerful voice on behalf of the business community; we speak out on issues such as taxation, health care and workforce development that affect your business.

We also provide educational opportunities for you and your staff, with practical tips that you can immediately put to use. In January, we’re featuring an Empowering Women Leaders series to help you start 2010 right!

The Chamber is your means of joining hands with your fellow business and professional leaders in attacking the persistent problems present in every community while helping each other prosper.

For more information on the Tempe Chamber, go to, e-mail, or call 480-967-7891.

The Senate passed H.R. 3590, as amended, on Dec. 24th. The Reform process will now move to a conference committee with both the House and the Senate beginning in the New Year.

The manager’s amendment consists of more than 300 pages amending the proposed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009. Some of the more concerning components include:

Minimum Loss Ratio Requirements

The minimum loss ratio requirements added to this legislation this past week will significantly and negatively impact coverage choice and affordability. The 80-85% minimum loss ratios required for the individual and group markets in this bill exceed any similar state-level requirements. During the transition time prior to 2014 insurers will have all of the same expenses they have today, plus those associated with preparation for transition to the new systems outlined in the legislation. The limitations outlined in the current managers amendment may limit insurer cost containment practices that impact future premium increases (i.e. fraud prevention) because they reduce operational costs.

Individual Mandate Requirements

Because of the weak penalties in this legislation, healthy individuals may forgo coverage until they are sick and then utilize the guarantee-issue provisions to temporarily obtain coverage and then drop it again. This adverse selection will make coverage more expensive for the responsible Americans who purchase and maintain their insurance, as is done today.

Group Size – Rating Provisions

The manager’s amendment changed this bill to provide no distinction between small and large employer groups who are fully insured. The rating reforms proposed by this measure would apply to all fully insured groups regardless of their size. They may create adverse selection to the fully insured market, as the larger groups (who currently are rated based on experience) may choose to fully insure only do so if they had concerns about their group’s claims experience.

Use of Agents

While this legislation has language that specifically ensures the role of licensed health insurance agents in state exchanges. There is no language detailing that all policies available through the exchanges, including the new multistate plans and the co-op plans would be available for purchase through an agent or broker.


The proposed structure for the state-based exchanges creates layers regulation that will be costly to for states administer. With the current financial situation in Arizona and many other states the additional costs brought on with this proposal are not feasible. In addition, many of the functions proposed for the exchanges and also the Secretary of Health and Human Services are already being ably performed by state insurance commissioners. There is no reason for this duplication of effort.


The manager’s amendment proposes an expansion of the federal Medicaid program to individuals up to 133% of the federal poverty level (FPL). This kind of expansion would be financially devastating to most of our state governments. In addition, this program increase will further exacerbate the public-program cost shift to privately insured Americans.

Health Insurance Fee

The legislation includes a health insurance fee of more than $6 billion in additional taxes each year from health insurance companies. This additional administrative expense will force insurers to raise premiums. Thus not meeting the original goal of legislation to make insurance “affordable” for all Americans. If passed, the current tax provisions will go into effect immediately.

Please keep in mind these are just a few of the items affecting our industry. There are many more including provisions affecting long term care. We will continue to keep you informed as healthcare reform moves forward.

Source: RuthAnn Laswick, VP of Marketing, Black, Gould & Associates

Non-Profit Showcase

St. Vincent De Paul

Benefits by Design is committed to helping our friends in the community. We would like to begin a feature in our newsletter showcasing various non- profit organizations that we are involved with and support. This month we would like to talk about St. Vincent De Paul!

Our office adopted a family through St. Vincent De Paul for this Christmas! They are a local family in need and we are excited about giving back. Everyone at the office participated and in lieu of gifts to one another this year, we all gave a little extra.

If you are interested in helping please contact Kristine Kassel at our office! 480-831-7700 or


Here’s wishing you and yours a happy, healthy and prosperous 2010!

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