Author Archives: Shannon McMeel

Health Insurance Renewal Season

Health insurance renewal season is upon us once again. Every year in recent memory there has been an increase of premium which can be scary and frustrating. The Merriam Agency can ease the frustration of determining which health plan will bring the best overall value to your company and your...

Same-Sex Marriages, Domestic Partnerships, and COBRA

June marked the anniversaries of two noteworthy United States Supreme Court decisions concerning same-sex American couples. On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court held in United States v. Windsor that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act—which provided that only opposite-sex individuals could be recognized as married “spouses” for...

New Benefit Services Available

The Merriam Agency now offers Third Party Administrator (TPA) benefit services including Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Reimbursement Arrangements, and Health Savings Accounts. These are IRS regulated plans that allow an employee, or employer, to set aside a certain amount of pre-tax money to pay for insurance premiums, out of pocket...

Benefit Advisors: Educating Employers and Employees

There is a need to help employers and employees understand the changing landscape of benefits and the way in which they are funded. An increase in the offering of consumer-driven health care products has not translated into increased understanding on the part of consumers, thus exposing a greater need for educational tools and assistance from benefits professionals. The role of educating employers and employees lies with the benefits adviser.

Brokers are Best ACA Exchange Resource

in their quest for answers, these people also supplemented their research with other outlets, including brokers and advisers who scored high in customer satisfaction. New data from The Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center, released Monday, found that half of adults who obtained information on marketplaces only used a website. While information on those sites was considered helpful by two-thirds of users, the sites were found to not be as helpful as other information sources.

Attract and Retain Staff without Breaking the Bank

A strong employee benefits package is a powerful tool for attracting and retaining the best workers. In a 2011 Harvard Business review survey of human resource leaders, 60 percent said an attractive benefits package is “very important” in recruiting and retaining quality employees, as opposed to 38 percent who said a high base salary is very important. Benefits play an integral role in employee satisfaction. A recent survey by Met Life found that roughly 49 percent

Health Care Law ‘Wellness’ visit might not be free

As a cost conscious health-care consumer, some caution is called for, on your part, where those seemingly “free” annual checkups or well-child visits are concerned. A young mother recently learned this lesson the hard way and shared her story with us. This mother took her 10-year-old twins to their pediatrician’s office in January for their annual wellness checkups. A few weeks later, when she