September 1, 2009 – Newsletter

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

Health Reform

Comparing the Current Bills in Congress

For your information – attached is a link to the Kaiser Family Foundation site for a comparison of the current Health Reform plans in Congress. This comparison has been updated to include the Senate Finance Committee (Baucus) proposal.

As always, please contact our office if you have any questions or concerns regarding health reform in Washington!

Health Reform plans in Congress

What Can I Do to Help?

As Congress considers comprehensive health reform, we urge you to be in contact with your elected officials to convey our strong concerns with an employer “pay or play” mandate. A legal mandate to force employers to provide health insurance to their employees, while well-intentioned, would actually hurt American workers and health insurance coverage by decreasing jobs and economic growth. It would also do little to reach the current uninsured population.

Under the proposed bills, employers will be mandated to provide health benefits to all of their employees, even if they already provide comprehensive coverage. The coverage will have to include specific benefits and there will be limited cost- sharing for employees. Plus, employers will have to contribute specific amounts towards their employee premiums (between 60% and 72.5%, depending on the proposal, and potentially up to 60% of dependent premiums). Employers that don’t offer benefits will have to pay steep penalties, ranging from $750 per full-time employee and $375 per part-time employee, according to the Senate bill, to a two- to eight-percent additional payroll tax, according to the House plan. The Senate bill does exempt employers with less than 25 employees, but the House bill applies to all employers with payrolls of $500,000 or more, which could cause wage stagnation and the loss of millions of jobs.

We need to make sure that the focus of health care reform is where it belongs: on getting medical care spending under control!

Thank you for your continued support!

If you are interested in contacting your Legislators to express your opinions feel free to click on the link below.
Contact your Legislators
More info on what brokers are doing to help…

Client Spotlight

Souvia Tea
Souvia Tea is Arizona’s award winning tea shop with over 140 loose leaf teas and herbals to choose from. Take some home or let Souvia’s knowledgeable staff brew it for you hot our iced to stay or to go. Souvia has two locations in the valley and ships nationwide.

Mention Benefits by Design and get a free pot of tea at either location.
More at www.souvia.com

New Benefits by Design Family Member!
Please help us in welcoming Baby Ellie!
Finally, after a long, hot summer Jennifer gave birth to a healthy 8.7 lb baby girl on July 31st! Jennifer and her husband are thrilled and the baby is doing great. She’ll be joining us back at the office at the end of October.

Non-Profit Showcase

Gabriels Angels
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 introduce Gabriels Angels!

Gabriel’s Angels is the only program in Arizona that delivers healing pet therapy to abused, neglected and at-risk children. Our goals are to instill in children an overall emotional sense of well-being, safety and happiness, and to help them to learn social skills that will prevent them from continuing the cycle of violence as adults. Within the past year, our pet therapy program has grown by over 20%. We currently provide pet therapy services to nearly 100 agencies and serve over 12,000 children each year. Our services are provided free of charge to the agency and its children. Gabriel’s Angels pet therapy services are provided by volunteer pet therapy teams, usually consisting of a dog and its owner. Teams visit each participating agency on a consistent schedule, interacting with the children and staff. Because response to our pet therapy program has been so positive in the communities we serve, we currently have 39 agencies on a waiting list to begin services. In order to meet this need, Gabriel’s Angels seeks to expand our current pet therapy program through recruiting, training and placing additional pet therapy teams. The cost to recruit, train, place and monitor one therapy team for one year is $2,500.

If you are interested in helping please contact Kristine Kassel at our office! 480-831-7700 or kristine@benefitsbydesignaz.com

How Safeway Is Cutting Health-Care Costs
Market-based solutions can reduce the national health-care bill by 40%.
This is an interesting article we would like to share with you! Taken from the Wall Street Journal by Steven A. Burd:

Effective health-care reform must meet two objectives: 1) It must secure coverage for all Americans, and 2) it must dramatically lower the cost of health care. Health- care spending has outpaced the rise in all other consumer spending by nearly a factor of three since 1980, increasing to 18% of GDP in 2009 from 9% of GDP. This disturbing trend will not change regardless of who pays these costs — government or the private sector — unless we can find a way to improve the health of our citizens. Failure to do so will make American companies less competitive in the global marketplace, increase taxes, and undermine our economy.

Please note our new address!
8631 S. Priest Dr. #101
Tempe, AZ 85284

Our phone and fax numbers have not changed.

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