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Spring 2021

April 2021 edHEALTH Newsletter

Find out:How to Unlock Additional Savings if You’re a Go-it-Alone Self-Insured Healthcare PurchaserInformation on edHEALTH’s May 26 Thought Leadership Seminar

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Did You Know That All edHEALTH PPO Members Enjoy Access to In-Network Providers?

Did you know that all member school faculty and staff have access to in-network healthcare providers regardless of where they live? Employees enrolled in any of edHEALTH’s PPO options can visit network doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers throughout the United States. This benefit is particularly helpful as higher education institutions modify their work-from-home and residency policies.Increase in Out-of-Area EmployeesThe burst in work-from-home arrangements during the pandemic has changed where and how people work – perhaps permanently. PwC’s March 2021 Pulse Survey found that almost a quarter of employees are considering or planning to move more than 50 miles away from the office; this is on top of the 12% of employees who have already made such a move since the start of the pandemic. Additionally, remote work arrangements allow schools to hire staff from further away...

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How to Unlock Additional Savings if You’re a Go-it-Alone Self-Insured Healthcare Purchaser

Wentworth Institute of Technology VP of Finance and Consultant Share Their AdviceSelf-insurance wasn’t a novel approach for Wentworth Institute of Technology’s employee health insurance program. They self-funded the program over twenty years ago, well before it became common practice. “Wentworth had been self-insured for many years before joining edHEALTH,” said Wentworth’s Vice President of Finance and CFO, Bob Totino. “This arrangement saves the school from paying profits on top of claims to the health insurance administrators."On average, compensation and benefits make up 60% of higher education budgets and fiscal departments are keen to find new solutions for reining in costs. "Wentworth Institute of Technology discovered edHEALTH through our participation in The New England Educators Insurance Association (NEEIA), a group of seven private higher educational institutions that coll...

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Share-it Employee Engagement Communications

edHEALTH provides share-it employee engagement communications to help member school employees navigate and maximize their healthcare benefits. Check out these helpful communication tools:Register for the May 4 "7 Essential Health Habits" Lunch and Learn program: May 4 Lunch and Learn 7 Essential Health Habits.pdf | Online VersionWatch the April 6 "Beyond Nutrition" Webinar - available until May 6 (password - ask your HR department)Watch the March 24 "How to Eat Well" Webinar - available until April 26  (password - ask your HR department) What You Need to Know About Your January 1 Benefit Changes: January 1 2021 Rx Benefit Changes.pdf | Online VersionHow to Save Money on Prescription Drug Costs: How to save money on Rx share-it communication.pdf | Online VersionHealthcare Terms You Need to Know to Understand Your Options: Healthcare Terms - Share-it Communications.pdf | Online version...

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March 2021 Newsletter

Find out:How HR's Role Become More Interesting and Rewarding After Joining edHEALTHWhy it’s a Challenge to Control Rising Healthcare CostsDetails on New Complimentary Lunch and Learn Series for Faculty and StaffHow Football Holds Everyday Lessons for edHEALTHRead the March 2021 digital edition of our newsletterDownload the March 2021 newsletter.pdf

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Passionate About Football - Tracy Hassett Shares Everyday Lessons for edHEALTH

edHEALTH’s President and CEO, Tracy Hassett, has been an avid football fan since she was young. It’s a sport she’s shared with her dad over the years. They watched games on television together when she was a child. As an adult, they share it by phone. Every time the New England Patriots score a touchdown, they call each other. “There’s a lot of aspects about football that I apply to our work at edHEALTH,” said Tracy.Keeping it FunOne of Tracy’s favorite football traditions is the buildup to a game. She equates every Sunday to a holiday. “You listen to interviews with the players all week, figure out the food you want to cook and which team clothes you’re going to wear,” she said. Similarly, she likes to keep it fun at work. Even on Zoom, she knows how to keep it light so that the business of work is a pleasure. “It’s a joy to work on a project with our team, member schools, and busine...

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How Does HR's Role Become More Interesting and Rewarding After Joining edHEALTH?

Time – it often seems like there’s not enough of it to get everything we want to do completed. College and university Human Resources departments are especially stretched thin with pandemic-related responsibilities and crises. One area where they don’t have additional worries and tasks is their edHEALTH employee healthcare program. “The amount of work HR departments do when enrolling in – or once they’ve joined – edHEALTH doesn’t increase,” said Cindy Bartelson, edHEALTH’s Operations Manager. “Instead, it’s just different as we assume administrative and troubleshooting tasks and they take on a more strategic role.”edHEALTH helps employees troubleshoot any issues they may have with a plan administrator, which frees HR staff to take on more interesting work. HR staff can also take part in edHEALTH procurements and wellness initiatives. Each school’s HR team decides their level of involv...

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New Lunch and Learn Series Help Faculty and Staff Improve Their Own Well-being

edHEALTH recently launched a new complimentary Lunch and Learn series hosted by WorkPartners for member school faculty and staff. These one-hour virtual programs help employees take care of their own well-being. This is an especially critical goal now as, although levels of stress and anxiety are improving, risk of depression and attention levels are significantly worse than before COVID. According to the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchasers Coalition mental health index:Risk of depression is 71% higher than before COVID-19.Sustained attention - the level of attention that produces consistent results on a task over time - is 27% worse than before COVID-19.Practical advice for reducing stress was the focus of edHEALTH’s first Lunch and Learn program. Employees who missed this session can view it through April 2. On March 24, employees will learn how to eat well. This program will...

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Why is it a Challenge to Control Rising Healthcare Costs? It's the Prices

The U.S. is spending nearly 20% of its Gross Domestic Product on healthcare services, which crowds out other needed products and services. Most other countries limit spending by imposing tight budget constraints on spending. Why are healthcare cost rising so quickly? “I’ve heard excessive estimates that 20-30% of rising costs are due to waste,” said Stuart Altman, Ph.D., Sol C. Chaikin Professor of National Health Policy at The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. “Those of us in the healthcare policy arena haven’t been able to figure out where all that waste is.” Although representing a higher percentage than other countries, administrative spending only comprises 8% of total healthcare spending.Excessive use of hospital and physician services aren’t to blame for high spending either. Annual hospital and physician visits per capita are in the middle ...

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COVID-19 Vaccine Tools for Employees

Informational Videos to Share with Faculty and StaffThe National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions, to which edHEALTH belongs, has created a COVID-19 immunization video series for employees. Please share these with your employees to help overcome any vaccine concerns:COVID-19 Vaccines: Get the Facts - VideoCOVID-19 Vaccines: Get the Facts with Spanish subtitles - VideoThe History of Vaccines - VideoThe History of Vaccines with Spanish subtitles - VideoTrusting Vaccines  - VideoTrusting Vaccines with Spanish subtitles - Video

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February 2021 edHEALTH Newsletter

Find out:How partnerships and collaboration are helpful strategies during the crisis and beyond – from the “Chronicle of Higher Education”Boston College’s Financial VP’s perspective on why joining a captive is a sound financial strategy for higher education and secondary school institutionsHow to hear Dr. Stuart Altman’s perspective (Sol C. Chaikin Professor of National Health Policy at The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University) and insights about the changing landscape of the healthcare system in Washington and in state capitolsWhy walking is keeping the edHEALTH team sane and healthyRead the February 2021 digital edition of our newsletterDownload the February 2021 Newsletter.pdf

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How Walking Helps Keep the edHEALTH Team Sane and Healthy

Although it’s cold, walking is a safe exercise option during the pandemic so the edHEALTH team is making a point of getting outside. We’re finding it’s good for our minds and bodies. “Walking has kept me sane,” said edHEALTH President, Tracy Hassett. “Between feeling the fresh air and actually seeing people, it’s been liberating.” Executive Assistant Claire O’Sullivan says walking helps clear out the cobwebs, and Operations Manager, Cindy Bartelson, enjoys feeling the sunshine when it’s out. Marketing Communications Strategist, Cindy McGrath, welcomes the opportunity that walking provides to safely catch up with friends in person. “Exercising is a great distraction from the pandemic,” said Nancy McConaghy, Business Development Executive.Three of the five of us like walking in the late afternoon, although Claire prefers early morning when it’s warm out. Weather permitting, she walks at...

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Reluctant to Join a Captive? Take the Jump - it's Worth it says Boston College Financial VP

You may hear the word “captive” and get nervous. What is it and what’s the risk? Not only are captives not scary, they also provide added value to a go-it-alone self-insured healthcare program according to John Burke, Boston College’s Financial Vice President and Treasurer. A captive is an insurance company that is owned and controlled by its members to insure the risks of its member owners. “As a captive owner, you have input in the direction of the captive including plan design, which is critically important during these challenging times,” says John Burke.Boston College implemented a self-insured employee health insurance program in June of 2009. “Making the transition to a self-insured program can be nerve-wracking for any large or small entity,” said John. “However, the benefits of moving to a self-insured program more than outweigh an entity’s concern.” Although the school was h...

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2020 in Review and Looking Ahead

Dear Colleagues,Finally, it’s 2021!What a challenging year 2020 was for the education industry. COVID-19 placed immense financial burdens on educational institutions as student and on-campus housing enrollments declined, costs associated with COVID testing and online learning increased, and other revenue streams dried up. Finance and Human Resources departments were on the frontline in helping to bring costs down. Furloughs, layoffs, early retirement incentives, and benefit cuts were considered or implemented.Pivoting to Support MembersAppreciating the strain our member institutions were under and that schools interested in joining edHEALTH didn’t have the bandwidth to do so, edHEALTH pivoted from a growth to a member support mode. We strove to support members and their faculty and staff financially, strategically, and emotionally – and the collaboration was a balm for all of us.Colla...

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Protect Yourself and Others - Get a Flu Vaccine

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Actuaries’ Advice: Don't Leave Money on the Table

Educational institutions with fully insured health insurance arrangements for their employees are leaving money on the table, according to Steven Keshner, Senior Vice President and Chief Actuary with Spring Consulting Group. Moving from a fully insured to a self-insured model creates the lowest possible margin for health plan administration. “By moving from a fully insured to self-insured arrangement, you retain any profits and gain claims transparency so you can bend the cost curve,” said Steven, who leads edHEALTH’s actuarial consulting team.The pandemic has shined a light on the importance of shifting to self-insured arrangements as insurers report record profits due to dramatic drops in healthcare utilization while self-insured purchasers realize lower healthcare spending. A recent Employee Benefit News article authored by the President of MagnaCare concurs: “Self-insured plan arr...

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Why Vermont? edHEALTH’s Captive Management Leader Explains the Benefits

Inquiring minds want to know: Why is edHEALTH’s stop-loss subsidiary, Educators Health Insurance Exchange, based in Vermont? David White, Vice President for American International Group’s (AIG’s) U.S. Captive Management Services, filled us in. “Vermont was one of the first states in the nation to establish captive-enabling legislation, and as a result, the regulators have deep expertise in the industry,” he said. “Vermont state employees are helpful to the captive industry, offering support, guidance, and a quick turnaround.”Vermont’s responsive and business-friendly philosophy helps promote a captive insurer’s agility. “When a captive wants to make a material change to its business plan, state regulators and captive managers work together to get it done,” said David. New lines of business, changes in investment policy, increased stop-loss limits, and service provider changes all requ...

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Salve Regina Realizes Strong Results and Valuable HR Support

With compensation and benefits comprising 60% of Salve Regina University’s budget, Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer, William Hall is always evaluating ways to keep costs in check while continuing to attract and retain top-notch faculty and staff. In the late 1990s he  moved the health insurance benefits from an insured to a self-insured program where the university takes the responsibility for paying medical claims plus stop-loss to protect against high-cost claims. This approach creates the lowest possible administrative costs and means that the employer isn’t paying profits on top of claims. This was a bold move, especially at the time, as some small colleges and universities worry about the higher risk of a self-insured arrangement.“We were already self-insured and had been pleased with that decision,” said Mr. Hall. “However, healthcare costs were stil...

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How edHEALTH’s Captive Risk Financing Options Work

Under edHEALTH’s captive, member organizations pick their own self-insured retention level based on their risk tolerance, philosophy, financial status, and experience. In addition to the stop-loss coverage schools automatically receive, they can purchase aggregate stop-loss coverage to further protect their risk. Here’s how the risk financing works:If a school picks a Self-Insured Retention (SIR) of $100,000 per claim:The college will pay any single claim up to $100,000.The Educators Health Insurance Exchange captive will pay the next $1-$650,000 for each individual claim from this school.edHEALTH purchases excess protection from a stop-loss insurer. This insurer reimburses edHEALTH for any part of a particular claim that exceeds $750,000.Members work with the actuaries to pick a Self-Insured Retention amount that balances their claims experience with the risk of paying claims and sto...

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The ABCs of Captive Insurance

Twenty-two colleges, universities, and educational institutions own Educators Health, LLC (edHEALTH), a healthcare collaborative formed to address rising healthcare costs that were straining school budgets. By bypassing commercial insurers and pooling resources, edHEALTH leverages the combined schools’ purchasing power, thereby saving on healthcare costs for faculty, staff, and family members. But, did you know that edHEALTH’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Educators Health Insurance Exchange, is a group captive insurer?The captive insurance company’s main purpose is to insure its own risk. By joining colleges and universities together as a single purchaser, the schools gain market leverage. The captive manages its own risk through claims management, innovative programs aimed at loss control, and collaboration with strong business partners.Here are the ABCs on how the Educators Health Excha...

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