Managing Your Employee Benefits Program

Resources to Help Small Businesses Comply with Seattle’s New Commuter Benefits Ordinance

Another ordinance is on the horizon that could affect small businesses based in Seattle. Starting Jan. 1, 2020, businesses with more than 20 employees will be required under the city’s Commuter Benefits Ordinance to offer their employees the opportunity to make a monthly pre-tax payroll deduction for transit or vanpool expenses.

For Seattle employers not already providing a commuter benefit that meets this new criteria, Business Health Trust has resources available to help its members.

Through its partnership with the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, companies enrolled in Business Health Trust have access to discounts through Chamber partners including Commute Seattle, which can work with you to develop a cost-effective commute program that satisfies regulatory requirements.

More than just a benefits solution, Business Health Trust advocates for small business insurance needs in Washington. We are vigilant about staying on top of changes in the small business health insurance market and advocating for changes that benefit small businesses — nationally, and at the state and local level.

For more information on the Commuter Benefits Ordinance, click the following links:

For more information about the discounts available through Seattle Chamber membership, check out the Member Savings Toolkit or email membership@seattlechamber.com.

For more information or to be connected with Business Health Trust’s resources at Archbright or Commute Seattle, email info@businesshealthtrust.com.

Business Health Trust Introduces Access to Behavioral Telehealth Provider Talkspace

Business Health Trust is taking its virtual care offerings one step further with the addition of Talkspace, a new in-network behavioral telehealth provider for members enrolled in Premera Blue Cross.

This valuable new service, which provides access to professional therapy without the travel or waiting room, launches today with the start of Mental Health Month.

To gain access, Business Health Trust members should register via Premera’s Talkspace page, choose a therapist, then text to set up their first video session.

With more than a million users, Talkspace offers:

  • A comprehensive behavioral health solution including outpatient therapy and psychiatry
  • National network of approximately 4,000 behavioral health providers across all 50 states
  • Live video appointments with in-app scheduling
  • Personalized provider match with a dedicated therapist relationship
  • Text messaging with providers – anytime, anywhere
  • Offered as a core provider in the Premera Blue Cross network with standard network rates
  • Stands out for customer experience
  • Clinically proven outcomes

For more information, go to the Talkspace FAQ page.

Start Cooking the Spring with Help From Our Healthy Living E-News

Check out the April edition of Healthy Living with Business Health Trust, which offers plenty of ideas to help you cook the spring!

The longer days of spring mean fresh, seasonal produce is right around the corner. Keep up-to-date on when your local farmers market is opening so you can plan your next picnic, which Healthy Living wants to help you freshen up with 6 superfoods to pack for a picnic as well as flavorful recipes from Tom Douglas Recipes that are also good for your teeth.

We also wanted to highlight a special offer to attend the upcoming Elevate NW Conference at a discounted price for members of Business Health Trust. This half-day conference and networking event is geared for small businesses and features a speaker you don’t want to miss – Brian Canlis!

Click the link for these tips and more, or subscribe today to have the next edition delivered straight to your inbox!

Kaiser Permanente is Top Performing Health Plan in Washington

2018 eValue8 survey results by the Washington Health Alliance found Kaiser Permanente’s HMO plan the top overall in Washington and top in four categories.

SEATTLE – Kaiser Permanente Washington’s care-and-coverage combined model earned top ranking in the nation for helping members manage acute conditions and helping members manage chronic conditions, according to the 2018 eValue8 survey results. Kaiser Permanente’s Washington state HMO plan was also rated No. 1 in the state for how well the health plan is meeting members’ needs, improving quality, and reducing the cost of care.

Kaiser Permanente underwrites the medical insurance available through the Business Health Trust’s Small-Group Community-Rated Program.

The just-released 2018 eValue8 survey results by the Washington Health Alliance found Kaiser Permanente’s HMO plan the top overall in Washington and top in four specific categories, among the six health plans included in the survey:

  • Members get and stay healthy
  • Members manage acute conditions
  • Members manage chronic conditions
  • Physician and hospital measurement, management, and payment

“At Kaiser Permanente, our dedicated staff consistently strive to provide the best, most effective, and most affordable care,” said Susan Mullaney, regional president of Kaiser Permanente Washington. “We’re proud that the 2018 eValue8 survey shows Kaiser Permanente Washington has the most effective programs in the nation among the 40 health plans surveyed, for members to control chronic and acute conditions.”

The unique care-and-coverage combined model means members have a single integrated network meeting their health care needs. Primary and specialty care, pharmacy, and labs are usually all under one roof to help make care more convenient. Care is driven by value and effectiveness, not fee-for-service, and research and continuous innovation mean patients get excellent care.

“Kaiser Permanente physicians focus solely on doing what’s best for patients’ health so they can get well and stay well,” said Steve Tarnoff, MD, president and CEO of Washington Permanente Medical Group. “This survey confirms that we are meeting the promise of providing excellent, effective care.”

Kaiser Permanente’s popular model is expanding quickly in Washington and the organization is adding four additional medical offices in 2020, in addition to a new facility recently opened in Gig Harbor.

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente, which includes Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington, is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 12.2 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: about.kp.org.

Ways to Save as a Member of Business Health Trust

Business Health Trust was started by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce in 2007 so that small businesses and non-profits could offer their employees the health benefits they need to stay competitive, and provide health insurance for groups that might not otherwise be able to afford coverage.

Since then, Business Health Trust has expanded its reach across the state through association partnerships with:

Membership in any of the above automatically qualifies you for Business Health Trust (at no additional cost), and all the advocacy, resources and savings that go along with it. You can join any Chamber or association, regardless of where your business is located and still qualify for benefits through Business Health Trust.

As the plan sponsor, the Seattle Chamber offers robust cost savings for your business through its Member Savings Toolkit, including:

  • Discounts of 10% to 55% percent on common office expenses including credit card processing fees and office supplies
  • Savings on business services such as human resources, high-speed internet and phone, and email marketing tools
  • Discounts up to 50% on retail ORCA passes for employees
  • Reduced venue rentals at the Seattle Chamber’s Microsoft Events Center

Learn more about other benefits available to members of Business Health Trust on the What We Offer page.

Preventive Care Pays Off

For Business Health Trust partner Delta Dental of Washington, preventive care means having a healthy smile that doesn’t break the bank.

But research by the American Dental Association shows the majority of patients don’t see the dentist due to finances. This is a problem because ignoring mouth and tooth pain can lead to something much more painful (and expensive) over time.

Fortunately, getting proper oral care doesn’t have to break your personal budget. Use these tips to get help make preventive care a regular and affordable part of your oral care routine.

Step 1 – Activate Your free MySmile account. All you need is your Delta Dental ID number.

Step 2 – Learn about your dental plan and get familiar with how it works.

Step 3Find a dentist If you don’t have one already.

Step 4 – Get your teeth cleaned every year. Your insurance covers it!

Step 5 – Use our cost estimator tool to avoid surprises, just in case you do need dental treatment.

For more tips like this, visit Delta Dental of Washington’s oral health blog.

Ready for Spring? Boost Your Immune System Now to Start the Season Strong!

Did you see the February edition of “Healthy Living with Business Health Trust“?

Our monthly newsletter offers small employers in Washington the information and tools they need to design and manage a competitive employee benefits program, help their employees make good use of medical and wellness benefits, and keep up-to-date on policy issues that affect small businesses in the state.

Subscribe today to stay up-to-date with Business Health Trust!

 

Keeping Up with Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave

Source: Archbright

Beginning January 1, 2020, family and medical leave will be available through a state-administered plan to all employees employed by an employer in Washington state. Funded by premiums paid by both employers and employees, family and medical leave insurance benefits will be payable by the Employment Security Department to employees during a period in which they are unable to perform their regular or customary work because of the need for family and medical leave.

Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave (WPFML) is funded by premiums paid by both employers and employees. Premium assessment began on January 1, 2019. The law sets the initial premium rate at 0.4 percent of wages. Medical leave benefits equal 2/3 of the premium rate and family leave benefits equal the remaining 1/3.

  • Employers are responsible for 55 percent of the medical leave premium.
  • Employees are responsible for 45 percent of the medical leave premium and up to 100 percent of the premiums due for the family leave.

Employers may elect to pay all of the premiums or deduct the employee portion of the assessment from employee’s paychecks. The amount of wages subject to a premium assessment is capped at the maximum wages subject to social security tax.

Employers with less than 50 employees working in Washington state are exempt from paying the employer portion of the premium; however, their employees must still pay the employee share.

An eligible employer with an approved “voluntary plan” may “opt out” of the state program provided the employer’s plan allows the employee the same or more generous benefits. Voluntary plans are paid family and medical leave benefits offered by employers directly to their employees, outside of the state plan. Voluntary plan applications must be submitted through the state’s online portal and approved by the state. If approved, voluntary plans can only take effect at the start of a calendar quarter and must stay in effect for one year.

The state is in the rulemaking process of this law, which means it is still developing the scope and content of the rules for the Paid Family and Medical insurance program. Archbright will continue to monitor the rules and update members as information is available.

As an online member of Archbright through Business Health Trust, you have 24/7 access to the HR Toolkit, a collection of hundreds of documents including policies, forms, templates, letters and guidance. This library also includes our comprehensive WPFML KeyNote and FAQ resource to help members like you navigate this complex new law.

You are also invited to attend our upcoming Virtual CoffeeTalk where Erin Jacobson, Staff Counsel, and Joy Sturgis, HR Advisor, will explore WPFML. Join us at this free event as our experts review the legislation and the scope and content of the rules that the State is scheduled to roll out.

When: March 18 | 9 – 10:30 a.m.
Where: Virtual CoffeeTalk – WebEx
Cost: Free

Visit Archbright.com to register today!

Choosing the right plan for you

You have choices when selecting a health plan during open enrollment. That’s a good thing, but it does mean you need to take action to find the right options for you and your family.

Try these 3 strategies to make sure you get the right coverage for you:

  • Call your favorite family doctors. Do they work with the plan you are considering? If not, are you willing to choose a new doctor?
  • Compare the different types of plans. One way to help you compare them is to look for a summary of benefits, which highlight plan differences.
  • Consider prescription coverage. Are your regular medications covered? Can you save on generic versions or by receiving prescriptions by mail?

 Tip: Sleep on it. If possible, allow yourself at least one night to mull over your choices. That way, you’ll be more confident you made the right call.

Premera Blue Cross

BHT Partners with Economic Alliance Snohomish County

Economic Alliance Snohomish County (EASC) has entered into a partnership with Business Health Trust to offer comprehensive, affordable employee benefits to small and mid-sized businesses and non-profits in the state. The Business Health Trust (BHT) program is available to companies with two employees or more. This program can help organizations create a benefits program that attracts talent and keeps your employees healthy and productive – at a budget you can afford.

The BHT program is one of many pivotal partnerships and programs offered through EASC to help support companies of all sizes in Snohomish County to grow and flourish.

Health and Wellness Benefits through Business Health Trust

BHT’s comprehensive offerings give employers a choice of over 20 affordable medical plans from some of the largest and most respected carriers in the state, as well as a wide range of additional employee benefits. BHT members also receive free access to HR resources through an online Archbright membership with the ability to access other services.

Your choices include:

  • Medical (5-199 enrolled employees): Premera Blue Cross
  • Medical (up to 50 employees): Kaiser Permanente
  • Dental: Delta Dental of Washington
  • Vision: VSP Vision Care Inc.
  • Employee Assistance Program: Wellspring EAP
  • Life/AD&D/Voluntary Life/Disability: LifeMap
  • Voluntary Personal Accident: AIG

Business Health Trust makes it easy for companies of any size to offer robust benefits packages to employees, including comprehensive plan administration, consolidated billing, online payment and access to benefits from their phone, PC or tablet for easy enrollment throughout the year.

Business Health Trust is a valued resource for small employers in Washington State providing the information and tools they need to design and manage a competitive employee benefits program, help their employees make good use of medical and wellness benefits and keep up-to-date on policy issues that affect small businesses in the state.

In line with the advocacy efforts of EASC, Business Health Trust also advocates for small business insurance needs in Washington. Business Health Trust was founded so small businesses and non-profits could offer their employees the health benefits they need to stay competitive, providing health insurance for groups whom might not otherwise be able to afford coverage.

For more information

To request a Business Health Trust quote, please contact your insurance producer or broker. If you do not have a broker, contact BHT at (206) 602-3558 or info@businesshealthtrust.com.

About Economic Alliance Snohomish County

Economic Alliance Snohomish County (EASC) is the countywide economic development organization and chamber of commerce in Snohomish County. EASC brings together private-public partners to create a unified voice for Snohomish County. EASC is committed to growing and nurturing a vital regional economy that is globally competitive. This is achieved by expanding partnerships, developing key resources and building the infrastructure systems creating local and regional employment centers. For more information about EASC, visit www.economicalliancesc.org.