Amwins Connect provides insightful articles that cover various topics as resources to brokers and agencies of all sizes within the Group Benefits industry. As a General Agency, Amwins Connect is always working hard to provide product knowledge and relevant health insurance information. This month's recap includes topics ranging from employers facing health care cost increases, employee loyalty being tied to the handling of COVID-19,  the HSS ruling on surprise medical bills, the major shift that brokers are seeing in group benefits, and more.

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Employers Face Health Care Cost Increases

Healthcare costs are expected to grow 8.4% for the average American family from 2020 to 2021, according to the 2021 Milliman Medical Index. From 2019 to 2021, employers will see an 11.6% jump in their portion of employee benefits costs. Employees will see a cumulative 4% increase in their total average costs. 

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Employee Loyalty Tied to Handling of COVID-19

Employee loyalty is strongly tied to how employees believe their companies handled COVID-19, according to Guardian Life’s 10th Annual Workplace Benefits Study. Handling it well includes things like flexibility as well as good employee communications and support. Nearly half of employees who say that their company handled it well want to stay at their company for more than a decade compared to just 28% of those who say their company handled it poorly. The survey also revealed changes in the benefits landscape.


HHS Issues Rule on Surprise Medical Bills

The Biden Administration issued an interim final rule to restrict out-of-pocket costs from surprise billing and balance billing. The regulations will take effect for health care providers and facilities on January 1, 2022. The provisions will take effect for plan, policy, or contract years beginning on or after January 1, 2022 for group health plans, health insurance issuers, and carriers for Federal Employee Health Benefits Programs. 


Brokers See Major Shifts in Employee Benefits

Benefit Brokers see a fundamental change in their clients’ expectations about employee benefits, according to a survey by Sontiq. Employers are balancing the needs of a more remote workplace, which puts more focus on protecting employee privacy. Employers are also focused on keeping employees healthy and productive to a degree not seen before. 


Employee Benefit Brokers Reveal a Year of Disruption

It’s been a year of disruption in employee benefits, according to a BenefitsPro survey of brokerage employees, consultants, agency owners general agents, and other benefits professionals. Check out some other highlights from the past year.


Most Americans Want More Digital Health Data

Eighty-one percent of adults support expanding access to health information for patients and providers, according to a survey by Pew Charitable Trusts. More than two-thirds want their clinicians to share data on advanced care plans or end-of-life preferences, images (such as X-rays), and family medical histories. 

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CMS Proposes Higher Price Transparency Penalties for Hospitals

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposes to increase the penalty for some hospitals that don’t comply with the Hospital Price Transparency Final Rule. There is a wide variation in hospital prices even within the same hospital or the same system, depending on what each insurance plan has negotiated, CMS reports.

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