Free. Complimentary. On the house. Yipee! Music to my ears. As a benefits manager, I’m always fond of tacking on a value-added service or program for our workforce. I’ve found a fantastic referral resource for your aging population, or those caring for elder parents — and it won’t cost your company one thin dime.

Many employers are adopting consumer driven health plans. Did you know that some of these plans don’t count as credible coverage for Medicare Part D? If you have a member of your workforce who’s working beyond retirement age and enrolls in a plan that doesn’t meet Medicare’s prescriptions guidelines, they could pay a higher rate for their Medicare plans for the rest of their lives.

Do you employ any disabled veterans with secondary Tri-Care coverage? Did you know that if they continue to work past age 65 and delay their Medicare enrollment, they may lose their Tri-Care benefits? It’s a little-known loophole. Working veterans enrolled in Tri-Care have to elect and pay for Medicare by the time they are age 65, even when they don’t need it. They end up coordinating bills for three health plans — group health first, Medicare second, and Tri-Care last. By missing or simply not reading a letter in the mail, “Tri-Care coverage for Life” can become “Tri-Care coverage for a day.”

Geez Louise, have I got your attention yet? Members of your workforce could lose future coverage or pay penalties. There are even health savings account restrictions for those ages 65 and older, yet another complex law to maneuver. If your company doesn’t offer retiree benefits and you’re not familiar with all these delicate rules, discussing our government health programs can be daunting. Wouldn’t it be nice to refer them to someone who really knows their stuff?

Cambria Smith, president and founder of Transitions RBG, can save the day. Smith started her company several years ago when her grandparents lost their health insurance coverage and they had nowhere to turn for good advice. Her firm, located in the greater Atlanta area, serves as a free resource to the post-65 age market to both employers and the community.

Staffed by social workers and former teachers, the company is licensed nationally and helps to sort through the intricate mazes of Medicare — at the tune of over 90+ carriers available. They also assist  those needing help for aging parents by providing guidance on benefits and facility referrals.  

I happen to be all about transparency. When I asked Smith how her company can provide these services free to employers, she explained that the Medicare supplement plans have commissions built in, set by each state. Enrollers are paid on a salaried basis, not a commission basis, so their advice is truly unbiased.   

Karrie Andes, SPHR, CBP, is the senior benefits manager for PGi and a savvy self-funding health care gal. She’s located in the Kansas City area and can be reached at karrie.andes@pgi.com.

 

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