Posted on 30 Aug 2010
The Human Capital Practice of Willis Group Holdings, the global insurance broker, announced last week the launch of its Health Care Reform Impact Analysis Calculator, a robust online tool that helps employers of all sizes assess the financial impact of health care reform measures on their businesses over time.
Willis' employee benefits consultants will use the tool when working with clients interested in a broad overview of the costs of health care reform and related timing. For a deeper analysis and more detailed strategic recommendations, Willis is offering a corresponding consulting service that leverages the resources of its National Actuarial Practice to advise clients on benefit program design and cost-mitigation options related to each of the health care reform measures that will take effect over the next seven years.
Willis’ HCR Calculator and actuarial consulting services are part of the broker’s broader strategy to help clients navigate the complexities of health care reform. Other elements include educational programs for insurance buyers (employers), information and decision-support tools for consumers (employees), ongoing education and training for Willis consultants, and lobbying efforts on such matters as wellness program grants and waivers for limited medical plans.
“Willis offers the industry’s most comprehensive approach to helping companies manage their benefits costs in the era of health care reform, the most sweeping set of changes to the benefits landscape in our lifetime,” said Michael Barton, Chairman of the Willis Human Capital Practice.
“From advocating on our clients’ behalf with federal officials, to offering insightful information, analysis, advice and solutions, to helping clients bend the demand curve with innovative employee wellness programs, Willis is taking a holistic view in helping companies navigate the maze of health care reform measures in ways that lead to lower costs and healthier work forces.”
The Willis HCR Calculator offers a variety of features not found in other online calculators, which typically focus on only one aspect of health care reform. This comprehensive tool includes:
* A Regulation Impact Interface, which evaluates the cost of compliance for each new regulation, with incremental cost impacts based on grandfathered status, retiree health population and existing plan design;
* A Cadillac Plan Calculator, to determine the exposure to “Cadillac” medical excise taxes, effective in 2018;
* A Pay or Play Calculator, which determines monthly exposure to “play or pay” penalties, effective 2014, based on hours worked and number of full-time employees;
* A Small Business Tax Credit Calculator, to determine potential tax credits between 2010 and 2013 for employers with fewer than 25 full-time employees.
Each of the cost estimates generated by the Willis HCR Calculator is automatically summarized in an HCR Report Card, a one-page executive overview with major observations and a graphical display of results.
Barton said Willis’ team of actuaries, lawyers, underwriters, accountants and benefit consultants has devoted tens of thousands of hours in the last five months to researching and interpreting the new law, and devising an easy-to-use interface to help clients understand the true costs of health care reform. The company is offering a variety of additional informational resources - online portals, publications, webcasts and in-person seminars - to provide further guidance to clients.
Willis also is conducting a detailed survey of more than 25,000 U.S. companies in conjunction with the American Benefits Council to gauge opinions and determine how employers are reacting to health care reform, Barton said. A valuable benchmarking resource, the results of the survey will be announced later this year.
Focusing on helping employers control costs by lowering demand, Willis broke new ground in 2008 with the launch of “Winning with Willis” (www.winningwithwillis.com), an innovative consumer health and wellness portal designed to help companies lower health care costs by encouraging employees to lead healthier lifestyles. The site features health and wellness information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other sources; the “Willis Rewards” incentive program that encourages exercise and other healthy behaviors by offering employees discounts on their favorite merchandise and services; and access to “The Biggest Loser League,” a social-networking site connected with the hit NBC TV show that provides a support forum for like-minded individuals who want to lose weight.