The Importance of Health Insurance Transparency in New Positions

Article By: Trevor Pietila
Accounting Specialist

About 10 years ago, I gave my notice to a former employer, and during my exit interview, was given some great advice from the head of HR: “Make sure you don’t just leave for ‘more money,’ be sure you are looking at the total compensation package.” Being 22, I thought I had done enough due diligence: salary, retirement, short-term disability, vacation time. Everything looked great, until about 3 months in… I had to pick my health insurance plan. At this point, I truly understood what my former HR manager meant by “the total compensation package.” I was unfortunately met with a far less comprehensive plan with a higher deductible. At the time, being single with no dependents, it wasn’t really an issue, but looking at the employee+ children, and the family plan pricing, I realized that if my situation had been different, I would have unknowingly taken a pay cut, based on my previous employer’s much more attractive health insurance plan.

Fast forward 8 years, I interviewed for my current job at Insurance Trust; I now have a dependent on my health insurance plan that I cover. Compensation comes up. The salary was important to me; I knew the range. They, fortunately, have employer-paid health insurance (to this day, I am very thankful), but I also wanted to ask about the health insurance rates for covering a dependent. I began my new role with Insurance Trust.  After I was hired, our VP of People Strategy, Elizabeth Ingram said one of the things that stuck out to her about me at the interview as I had asked about the insurance plan and rates upfront, and that wasn’t very common.

I discovered in a recent survey from Bank Rate that apparently 55% of people in the workforce are actively looking for a new job! 55% is a large number; with the pandemic, most employees are citing more flexibility, the ability to work from home, and higher salaries. You can look at a job description, and see qualifications, experience needed, the salary range offered, employer-paid insurance for the employee, 401k matches, etc. But for some prospective employees, the health insurance coverage and pricing is one of the most important parts of the compensation package!

Over the years, I’ve unfortunately seen several people take a higher salary only to realize once they sign up for the health insurance, they actually took a pay cut. I’ve had friends and family members go through multiple interviews at companies only to decline the job because they were finally able to see what health insurance was offered.

Why is it not common practice to ask for insurance rates upfront, or have them displayed to prospective applicants? Especially if you are an employer that helps cover the costs of dependents or family plans! Shout it from the rooftop; it’s a big deal!

If you are someone looking for a job, how much more willing would you be to apply for a position that was just as transparent about health insurance plans/pricing/rates as they were about the salary and expectation of the job?

 

Maine -The Way Life Should Be (and a great consumer information resource too!)

Article By: Bev MacMillan, AAI
Senior Vice President of Insurance & Compliance, Insurance Trust 

I’m a real Mainer and proud of it…born here, love the lifestyle and everything that this beautiful state has to offer!  I’m thankful every day that I live in a state that is unique in so many ways and shines when it comes to a commitment to consumer protection.

Speaking of which, if you’re not already aware of the Maine.gov website (www.maine.gov) and the consumer information available to you, I’d like to take this opportunity to make sure you know that your state has a wealth of information that can help you, the consumer.  Many other states offer similar information on their state websites (i.e. www.nh.gov, www.mass.gov, www.vermont.gov, etc.).

Being a seasoned insurance and compliance professional, I’d like to focus on what resources are available as they relate to the insurance industry but encourage you to explore Maine.gov for other categories of information for which you may be seeking trustworthy guidance.

From the home page of Maine.gov, search “Insurance” in the field located at the middle top of the screen.  This will bring you to a myriad of different types of insurance products and consumer guides to help you better understand the policies you purchase: Personal and Business Auto, Flood, Homeowners, Workers Compensation, Health Insurance, Life, Annuities, and Medicare Supplements to name a few.  In addition, should the need arise, and you have a complaint involving an insurance matter that you are unable to resolve through your carrier or agent, this site can provide you with guidance on navigating how to proceed.

An educated consumer is a happy consumer!  Take advantage of everything our great State of Maine has to offer and be familiar with Maine.gov

3 Ways to Shift Your Mindset & Embrace Change

 

Article By: Sharon Little
Office Manager, Insurance Trust

Change comes in many forms and can be especially difficult if you had your heart set on something that didn’t turn out the way you had hoped. However, if we look back at the changes we’ve experienced in the past, we often find that things worked out okay or often better than what we thought at the time. As the saying goes, “The only thing constant, is change,” so if we must change, we may as well embrace it and make it work for us instead of against us. Sometimes managing our mindset and positivity about change can come from a seemingly unrelated or unlikely place, like changing up your daily routine. The following are 3 tips to consider that have helped me to shift my mindset to embrace change; I hope these may be helpful to you as well.

 

Make a Little Time to Exercise
If possible, schedule a little time during the day for a brief workout, even if it’s 5 minutes. Working out in the morning has helped me to feel more awake and super-charge at the beginning of my workday. There are some great free apps available to help get your blood pumping (such as Daily Workouts Fitness Trainer iOS | Andriod ). You can alternate walking, running, weights and stretching throughout the week to keep your body guessing and use all your muscles.  If your job changed to work from home, you’ve likely found that your step counter is more idle, so doing a little extra and using that prior drive time may just be enough to stave off gaining a little weight, especially through the colder seasons. 

 

Meal Prep & Meditation
If your schedule is busier now than it used to be, you could consider meal prep. Prepping your lunch and dinner meals on Sunday night can help with healthier options for the week to come and free up some of your daily lunch hour for a little meditation. I know it may sound silly, but meditating is a great way to help improve your frame of mind and calmness throughout the day. There are many free meditations of various lengths online (such as Calm and Headspace).  There is no wrong way to meditate, even if thoughts come in… just let them back out and move on without judgment. Did you know that when one person meditates, it changes the vibe of those around them by 20%? I love the idea that meditating can help make life a bit easier for my loved ones, co-workers and even the community. 

 

Eliminate Clutter
If you work at home and look at the same four walls every day you can tend to get pretty frustrated at unfinished projects, piles of household papers and too much stuff.  I’m guilty there and have been doing a lot of cleaning out over the last few months.  Since I’ve cleaned out, I find I have more room to think, focus and enjoy the good things that life holds.  The idea to change was much harder than the actual change in this case.  Try it and see what it can do for you; maybe your space just needs a refresh to feel pleasing to you. 

Easing into change takes many forms, and it turns out that those forms have beneficial outcomes.  Change is good, change is beneficial, and change is necessary to get us to recognize what we have.  Life is good if you take responsibility for it and keep up on your home and body maintenance.  Change helps you be more resilient to new situations in the future. I think it’s worth it to embrace where you are, declutter your home, meditate with your family and go for a walk every day. Embrace what change comes to you and act on what you discover to fuel your future growth and wellbeing. 

 

2021 Auto Market Trends

 

Article by Paul Michaud
Chief Operating Officer, Insurance Trust 

Consumers looking to purchase a new or used vehicle this year may not see the auto rates drop as drastically as the previous year, but rock bottom interest rates will soon be here.  The National average rate for a 60-month term for a new auto loan started 2021 at 4.24% and dropped slightly to 4.18% halfway through the year (Bankrate Data).  Correspondingly, 36-month used vehicle loans began at 4.53% and decreased slightly to 4.49%.  Helping with this low-rate environment is the Federal Reserve, which is making it a point to keep rates consumer-friendly for the remainder of the year and even looking through 2022.  Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst at Bankrate, says, “amid the recovering economy, the Federal Reserve is still going to keep the interest rates low and new car loan rates are currently the lowest since early 2015.”

The problem for car buyers this year is not the interest rates, but the lack of inventory that we are seeing at our dealerships across the country.  The current global chip shortage has tremendously impacted the supply availability of new cars in North America.  North American inventory at the end of May 2021 was roughly 1.5 million vehicles compared to 2.6 million at the end of May 2020 (National Automobile Dealers Association).  This is projected to drop to as low as 1.3 million vehicles by the end of August.  Thus, creating a further problem with high consumer demand for low inventory.

Challenges with new car inventory are only making prices higher for the consumers, therefore placing an even larger emphasis on ancillary protection than ever before.  The estimated average transaction price for a new light vehicle in the United States reached $41,263 in May 2021; this is a steep 5.4% increase from the same time last year and up 1.2% from April 2021 (Kelley Blue Book).

Historically it has always been true that by buying a used car a borrower can save money and depreciation.  Used vehicle prices typically tend to be much more affordable, but with the lack of new vehicles, we have seen this number drastically increased.  At the end of the second quarter of 2021, the average used vehicle price is up to $25,410, from $20,842.00 (JD Power).

What are the next steps for borrowers? With manufacturing and chip shortages caused by COVID-19 related shutdowns, we will continue to see an impact on both new and used car prices.  Consumers willing to be patient and wait out the challenges may be able to acquire better deals on car purchases.  If you are a consumer who is intent on purchasing a vehicle now, plan to expand your monthly budget and pay about 12.7% over the MSRP or sticker price; this is an increase of 3.8% year over year (JD Power).

As one can see, with a challenging rate environment and auto market, it is imperative that financial institutions are maximizing ancillary protection benefits and providing online auto lending platforms as more consumers are buying vehicles across state lines.  Over 90% of consumers are starting their car buying experience online which is up 55% from only a few years ago. This spring, Insurance Trust launched an online auto buying concierge service to help credit unions answer the call for a member online auto buying experience. As the market changes so do consumer habits and spending.

If you would like any more information on the auto market or Insurance Trust solutions for your credit union, please contact Chief Operating Officer, Paul Michaud. pmichaud@insurancetrust.us | 207-333-7093

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Financial Wellness Tips for Medical Expenses

 

 

Article by Amber Hollo
Accounting Manager, Insurance Trust 

Medical expenses can be extensive and aren’t always easily accessible.  Below are several suggestions to help you use your money wisely and still get the care you need.  Please note, that you may be able to get additional savings through programs with your health insurer or prescription company.

Ways to Save on Medical Expenses:

  • Contribute the maximum allowable to your HSA if you have an HSA compatible plan.
    Remember these are pre-tax dollars! More and more items are becoming HSA eligible, including many supplements, OTC medications and supplies.

 

  • Shop lab pricing.
    • I found Ulta Lab to be quite a savings for bloodwork
    • compairmaine.org is a great tool for comparing lab and medical procedure costs in Maine
    • maine.gov/bhr/oeh  provides a list of independent lab locations in Maine. A search returns the provider name, site name, address, and county for each option.

 

  • Apply for Care Credit.
    They offer multiple years of interest-free payments. I’ll give you my personal example – Lasik eye surgery 2 years ago after a discount for having Anthem insurance: $5000.00.  I did not have enough in my HSA to cover the procedure.  So, I opened a Care credit account. I put the entire amount on the card and set up payments for 24 months interest-free. I linked that payment to my HSA.  I was able to pay the whole amount using HSA pre-tax dollars. As a result, I paid just $5000.00.  Say I pay about 20% in taxes. If I had used post-tax dollars from savings/checking, it would really have cost me $6000.00.  If I had used a credit card at 25% interest….it would have cost even more.

 

  • Have a savings account for medical expenses.
    Ideally, this should have enough to cover a yearly out-of-pocket maximum after HSA total contributions. If you are someone who uses all your HSA yearly, having a savings account for the remainder of your yearly out-of-pocket maximum would mean
    no putting medical expenses on your credit card.

 

  • Work with medical practices in establishing payment plans.
    If you call their accounting department, many providers can allow/set up a payment plan with you. It’s not usually something advertised, but many do allow it. I’ve done it myself through Firstlight/Mercy and this allows for interest-free payments, either through personal funds or HSA funds as they become available.

 

  • Submit your reimbursements for wellness screenings.
    If you have voluntary benefits, they often provide an annual benefit for certain wellness screenings.

Obviously, not everyone has the same circumstances, but the point is, put in a little effort and make your dollars, not you, work harder. I hope you find this helpful!

 

Should You Offer a DCFSA (Dependent Care Flexible Savings Account) to your Employees?

 

Article by: Elizabeth Ingram 
Vice President of People Strategy, Insurance Trust 

A DCFSA is an account that allows employees to pay for childcare (under age 13) expenses pretax.  As an employee, although they’ll need to provide invoices or proof of expenses to the DCFSA provider, there are tax savings.  Reimbursements cannot be made until after services have been performed, so if the daycare requires payments at the beginning of the week the employee cannot get reimbursed until the end of that week.  However, it’s a nice way to keep some extra funds in the employee’s pocket throughout the year, but that doesn’t mean it makes fiscal sense for the employer.

Generally, DCFSAs are administered by third parties (your broker can help you with this if you don’t have a relationship yet) which means there is a cost associated with this benefit.  An annual cost is typical, and some third parties have other fees as well.  But there are 2 easy ways to determine whether those fees are worth it.

  • If you aren’t worried about the expense ($500-$1000/year for a small business) and it makes your employees happy, it may pay for itself in happy, productive employees.
  • If you want a hard number comparison, gather your annual costs and take a few minutes to play around in your payroll system.  Payroll systems typically allow you to run what I call dummy paychecks through a paycheck calculator.  Run 2 calculations on each employee enrolled in the DCFSA; one with their current withdrawal and one without a DCFSA withdrawal.  Now, calculate the difference in the employer taxes and multiply it by the number of pay periods per year.  If the savings in employer taxes are more than the cost of your DCFSA administration, it’s saving you money.  Remember this may change from year to year.

Some benefits you offer may benefit the whole team, while others don’t.  But a willingness to consider employee-requested benefits shows you care.

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Consumerism – What does that actually mean?

Article by: Pam Huntington
Employee Benefits Specialist – Insurance Trust 

In relation to healthcare, it’s defined as, “transforming an employer’s health benefit plan into one that puts economic purchasing power—and decision-making—in the hands of participants”*. It’s about supplying the information and decision support tools you need, along with financial incentives, rewards, and other benefits that encourage personal involvement in altering health and healthcare purchasing behaviors.”* It’s safe to say we’re good consumers when we’re shopping for our next vehicle or the items we put in our carts at the grocery store but are we good consumers when it comes to shopping for our medical procedures and prescriptions? We often go to the medical facility recommended by our providers and grab our prescriptions from the most convenient pharmacy, but is this the most cost-effective?  With the increase in health insurance costs and high deductible health plans, now more than ever, we need to shift our mindset around healthcare and begin to take control of how and where we spend our hard-earned dollars.

 

Check your Carrier portals  Register for your carriers’ portals. Not only will you have access to your electronic ID cards, plan, and claim information, but you may also be eligible for additional programs and add-ons. Many carriers offer wellness initiatives with rewards and discounts.

 

Comparing Bills with Explanation of Benefits  It’s important to take the time to compare your provider invoices with the explanation of benefits (EOB) you receive from your insurance carrier.  The EOB will show your financial responsibility, which should match the bill you receive from the provider.  Don’t just pay without completing this key step.  Overpayments can take 60 days or more to be refunded, and if you underpay you may be subject to an unexpected charge down the road.

 

Comparison Tools  Most insurance carriers provide cost comparison tools to help you “shop” diagnostic procedures and lab testing.  Being a savvy consumer can save you a significant amount of money in your out-of-pocket health insurance expenses. See the below examples from Harvard Pilgrim.  Same procedures, but the cost difference can be substantial.  Many of these programs offer additional reward incentives for choosing lower-cost facilities. Taking a few minutes to shop for your next procedure or lab test can save you money and put extra cash back in your wallet.

 

 

Prescription Resources  The convenience of picking up our prescriptions at the same time we grab our groceries seems like a no-brainer, but this might not be the most cost-effective option.  Did you know you can “shop” your prescriptions? GoodRx offers a website and mobile app, specifically designed for this purpose. Simply by entering your prescription and zip code information they’ll show you the cost of your prescription at all pharmacies in your area. PLEASE NOTE if you utilize a coupon through GoodRx this will not count towards the deductible/cost-sharing of your medical plan.  This is something to consider before using one.

 

Another tool is to research your drug manufacturers’ websites. Some manufacturers offer coupons as well as financial support. There is a process to apply for financial support, but it can be a momentous financial relief and provide direct assistance towards the deducible/cost-sharing on your medical plan.  I’ve personally witnessed the benefits of both these options. I recently had a member whose prescription cost was over $1,000/month through their medical plan and with a coupon, the cost was reduced to roughly $100/month.  This is an instance where utilizing a coupon made financial sense.

 

Essentially you’ve purchased your health insurance. It can be a substantial investment when you consider insurance premiums in addition to the deductible and out-of-pocket expenses. Just like a new vehicle, don’t you want to get the most bang for your buck? Knowledge is power. By just taking a little time you can protect and stretch your dollar.

 

As always, your Employee Benefits Team is here to assist and answer your questions.

 

* What Is Consumerism in Healthcare? It’s Lasting Impact On The Industry (nrchealth.com)

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What is a Loan Closet?

Article by: Sarah Nash
Training Director, Insurance Trust 

I love the saying, “you don’t know what you don’t know.”  It has proven to be true in so many areas of my life.

Recently my Dad fell and broke his hip socket.  He had to have extensive surgery with plates and pins to repair his hip socket.  He had a stay in the hospital followed by a stay in a rehabilitation hospital.  I had to learn very fast where to get the equipment he would need when he came home.

His insurance will only pay for one mobility item.  Mobility items are wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, shower chairs, portable commodes, or a toilet seat riser.  In my Dad’s case, his insurance paid for him to have a walker.  Dad’s Physical Therapist asked him if he’d received all the equipment he would need at home.  Previously the Case Worker had told my Dad and us that she’d take care of all that.  It turns out that the Case Worker does not arrange for your mobility items for use at home.  You need to make those arrangements!

The wheelchair, crutches, shower chair, commode, and toilet seat riser were now my mission.  Where to find these items, if I had to buy them all, or if we knew anyone that we could borrow these items from.  In true Murphy’s Law fashion, I had three days to procure all items.

As I started searching, I first looked at Amazon.com.  A basic wheelchair is $110.  A basic walker is $30.  Basic crutches are $25.  A shower chair that sits outside and inside the tub is $55.  A toilet seat riser is $27.  A bedside commode is $33.  So far, we are at $280 for the most basic versions of these items.  That number might not sound like a lot of money to some.  If you are out of work, do not have disability income, or are already on a fixed income, $280 can be an overwhelming amount to spend for these items that you may never use again once you are recovered.

The Physical Therapist gave my Dad a two-page document titled Loan Closets.  Talk about a total game changer?!  I had no idea that these places existed and as I tell others about the Loan Closets, it’s been proven to me that not a whole lot of folks know about these resourceful places.  I will attach the list for reference. First, I’ll tell you a bit about them.

The Loan Closets are places where you borrow (mostly) FOR FREE, (there is one place on my list that charges a small fee), the mobility items you or your loved one needs to recover.  Not all are equal in that some will have only basic items, but others have most all mobility items you may need, even hospital beds.  Some are limited to residents of that town only, but others will lend to anyone from anywhere in Maine.  We used the one in Standish which will loan to anyone whether they are a town resident or not.  They are located at the Kiwanis Club on Route 25.  If you’ve ever been to Kiwanis Beach, you can easily find this place. They have a garage filled with mobility items.  These locations are typically run by wonderful volunteers.  You might have to call and make an appointment to go and get the items you need.  Be sure to bring a tape measure and your notes.

Here is a List of Maine Loan Closets

Now that you know these wonderful places exist, let me share my newfound knowledge about some mobility items.

Wheelchairs

There is not just one type of wheelchair. There is what is called a transfer wheelchair.  This is to be pushed from behind by someone other than the person in the chair.  This type will have no handgrip rail on the wheel of the chair for the occupant to self-propel the chair.  Of course, this is the first one I brought home only to find out I had the wrong kind.  It never dawned on me to look and see if the handgrip rail was there.  I thought all wheelchairs had that on them.  I learned my lesson and had to go back and swap it out for the correct kind of chair.  Did you know that some wheelchair tires take air just like your car tires?  I did not know this.  I also did not know that the air compressor chuck we use for our car tires will not fit on the wheelchair valve stem.  Any guesses how I figured this out?  Let’s just say the hard way, outside in freezing weather. You will need an air compressor chuck that will fit bicycles and other types of similar items.  Other wheelchairs have solid wheels, and no air is required.  Now I know.  Had I known prior, I might have looked for solid wheels, to avoid said air compressor/valve stem issues.

Crutches

Not all crutches are the same size. Be sure to factor the person’s height in when choosing crutches.  They should not fit tight up to your armpit.  There should be space between your armpit and the cushion on the crutch.

Toilet Seat Risers

Toilet seat risers are not all equal. The one I brought home for my Dad sat on the toilet seat and had no handles.  He did say it was like sitting on cold concrete.  Luckily, he could get by without that item.  They also make toilet risers with handles that sit over the actual toilet almost like a chair.  Make sure you measure your area where your toilet is positioned in your bathroom to be sure it will even fit in the spot.  This goes along with the adage, “measure twice, cut once”, or if you are me, measure twice, and measure a third time to be safe.

Walkers

Walkers have hard wheels and make A LOT of noise on tile floors. You can upgrade the wheels to some softer, more quiet wheels should you have downstairs neighbors.  Tennis balls are put on the rear stationary walker legs to help them slide on the floor.  Carpeting, area rugs, and throw rugs will not be your friends during this time.

Shower Chairs

Shower chairs also proved to have more than one model. There are chairs that sit inside the tub.  Some have a back and armrests.  Some do not.  There are “double-wide” chairs so that one side sits in the tub and the other side sits outside the tub.  One can sit on the seat outside the tub and shimmy over to the other half that is inside the tub.  This is safer for some than stepping over the side of the tub to get to the chair inside the tub.

Vehicles

The last bit of helpful information has nothing to do with the Loan Closets, but it was another thing I had never considered. If you were injured and suffered a mobility issue would you be able to get in and out of your current vehicle?  My Dad drives a Toyota Tundra and my Step-Mom drives a Jeep Wrangler.  Dad’s injury prevents him from getting up/in both of those vehicles due to their height off the ground.

Hopefully this information is helpful and informative to anyone who suffers an injury or is left caring for someone with a mobility issue.  As I was researching how to get the Loan Closet list from New England Rehabilitation Hospital in Portland Maine, my phone call was directed to Maine Medical Center.  The nice woman who answered was named Martha.  When I told her what I was trying to find, she had never heard of this “list” and asked if I could fax it to her.  She gets many calls asking where folks can get mobility items.  The only place she knew to refer them was to Black Bear Medical.  I looked on their website and it doesn’t list prices, so I cannot speak for the cost to purchase any items from them. (Black Bear Medical is for purchasing items, and the cost is often offset by insurance.) Please note the information on the attached list is subject to change and accurate as of March 2021.

Please note that most of these Loan Closets will accept donations of mobility items you may have and not need.  They do ask that you make an appointment to drop off any donated items rather than leaving it unattended.

See A List of Maine Loan Closets

What is a MEWA?

Article by: Elizabeth Ingram 
Vice President of People Strategy, Insurance Trust 

MEWA is an acronym for Multiple Employer Welfare Association.  It’s a group of employers with some sort of commonality that joins together, primarily for the purpose of offering employee benefits.

Here in Maine, many Credit Unions and Credit Union Service Organizations (CUSOs) are part of a MEWA named the Maine Credit Union League Insurance Trust (MCULIT) that offers medical insurance.  However, a MEWA can offer other benefits (dental, vision, etc. as well).  The idea is that working together can provide cost savings or better benefits for employers and their employees.

MEWAs have to be approved by the state Bureau of Insurance (BOI) since they operate a bit like insurance companies.  However, a MEWA generally works with an insurance company to either run the health insurance plan completely (a fully-funded plan) or provide a network of providers, negotiate discounts, and provide stop-loss insurance (a self-funded plan).  MCULIT is a self-funded plan which works with Anthem.

If you are a Maine Credit Union or CUSO who isn’t already part of our MEWA, MCULIT, and you’re interested in learning more, please reach out to our Employee Benefits Specialist, Pam Huntington at phuntington@insurancetrust.us or 207-641-5410.

What You Need to Know About Early Retirement Executive Compensation Packages and Health Insurance Coverage

Article by: Kim Daigle
President/CEO – Insurance Trust 

Does your credit union currently offer an early retirement executive compensation package that includes health insurance coverage?  

You need to be aware that just because you were offered an early retirement package by your credit union’s Board of Directors does not mean that it is necessarily compliant with the organization’s current or future health insurance companies’ provision for retired employees.

Over the last 3 years, I’ve discovered that many credit unions’ executive compensation plans do not align with the insurance companies’ policies. To qualify for your employers’ health insurance coverage, you must be working the minimum number of hours to remain on the active group plan.  This will vary but minimum hours are dictated by each carrier and your plan documents and must be consistent for all employees.

If you plan to retire before age 65 and have an executive compensation package from your Board of Directors that includes health insurance coverage, you NEED to ask the following questions:

  1. Does your current or future health insurance company offer retiree coverage for those retiring under age 65?
    • Just because your employer keeps you on the active group plan doesn’t mean you are eligible for coverage. If your credit union keeps you on the active group plan and your current or future health insurance does not allow retired employees under age 65 on the active group health insurance plan, you’re not eligible for coverage.
    • If your health insurance carrier does allow under age 65 retirees to stay on the active group health insurance plan, make sure you get this in writing from your health insurance carrier including the parameters in which they allow an under age 65 retiree to be on the current plan.
  2. If your health insurance plan does not allow you to be on the active group health insurance plan under 65, here are the options you have:
    • If your credit union is large enough to be COBRA eligible (20+ FTE or in a MEWA), this would allow for coverage for 18 months from your retirement and end date on the active plan.
    • If COBRA will expire prior to turning age 65, you can then enroll in an individual marketplace health insurance plan through healthcare.gov until you become eligible to enroll in Medicare. These plans are offered on the “exchange” but can be quite costly since it based off your current age.
    • If your credit union is not large enough to be COBRA eligible, you can enroll in the individual marketplace health insurance through healthcare.gov.
    • Your employer CAN contribute to the cost of your COBRA coverage AND/OR your individual marketplace health plan coverage.

Insurance Trust uniquely understands credit unions and Employee Benefits. Please utilize our agency as a resource to help make sure your executive compensation package is compliant.

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