Strength in Numbers

More than twenty-five years of benefits planning experience allows CBI to offer a menu of products and services from which to create the perfect plan. Each product is analyzed on a competitive basis for value, quality and flexibility.

Nowhere is this truer today than in the health care arena. Custom Benefits is dedicated to harnessing the power of your group to design a plan that combines the economies of scale with the flexibility of individual choice.

Group Health

Nothing less than the well being of your employees and their families is at stake. This benefit area is at the epicenter of more volatility and emotional investment than any other benefit.

So many questions. So many answers! What guides you toward the right company? Do you offer multiple carriers and/or products? How do you structure your contributions? Can Website access reduce your administrative costs? Which carriers have the most effective web sites?

Custom Benefits understands that depth of resource knowledge and the ability to accurately assess your employee needs are keys to creating a plan that fits. We work hard to assure the quality of network and the support your group members receive from the insurance providers selected. Your employees, and your HR professionals, are all well worth it.

Group Dental

Anyone who has ever provided, or received this benefit knows how challenging the details and nuances can be.

As an employer, how do you measure if this is an affordable benefit? Should this benefit be offered on a group or voluntary basis? Which of the dental networks is best for your company or do you implement a dental plan without a network? Can you self fund your dental benefits?

Custom Benefits develops a demographic detail which can inform these decisions. Particularly when grappling with the issue of self-funding, there is no benefit like experience. That way, we can step back together, and make an educated decision which fits your company's needs and those of your employees.

Group Vision

Vision care is fairly unique among benefit offerings. While it can provide a much-appreciated benefit to employees, the cost is rather modest. For workers who perform vision sensitive tasks, or are in the age group where eyesight issues emerge, this benefit can be seen as caring and proactive on the part of an employer.

Custom Benefits will help your company evaluate a vision care benefit with respect to several factors. Can this benefit be offered on a stand-alone basis? Often, yes. Can vision care be bundled within a larger menu of options? Many carriers offer this product with other lines of coverage and will discount their rates accordingly. Which vision network is best for your company? Do you need a network? Custom Benefits has the depth of provider knowledge to wade through the network maze. Do you offer this product on a voluntary or group basis? You can offer your employees a discount plan at a very nominal fee.

Group Life & Accidental Death & Dismemberment

While offerings seem similar, they may require tweaking to fit your employees needs. True, many different insurance companies offer this product. The premiums are affordable. Large increases at renewal are rare. Benefits can be offered on a group (contributory or non contributory) basis or voluntary (100% paid by the employees) basis. How do you choose?

Of significance is that you as an employer can tailor this product to meet the needs of your employees. Custom benefits uses outreach techniques, such as surveys, that allow the desires of the workforce to come forth. That way a benefit can be designed which focuses on providing a sense of security and peace of mind, at an affordable cost.

Short & Long-Term Disability

This is a win win situation for employers and their valuable employees. For employers it protects them from the financial burden of maintaining an employee's compensation during a period of disability. For employees, this benefit is viewed as a very positive sign of concern for their well-being. Group disability is inexpensive enough to be paid at 100% by the employer, and does not increase in cost like medical. In an environment where employees are stretching themselves financially to pay more towards their health coverage, this fact alone provides welcome relief going forward.

Long Term Care Insurance

From the standpoint of cost, nothing is as daunting as the prospect of an extended hospital stay, or the need for extensive rehabilitation. Especially as this may outstrip the coverage provided in typical Group Health plans.

A benefit can now be offered on both an individual and group basis that provides security for employees in such potentially catastrophic situations.

Long term care premiums can be high, based on your age and other risk factors, so most employers will pay a portion of the premium, which will cover a small benefit and the employees can buy up for additional coverage. The advantage of a group benefit is the guaranteed issue amount. Custom Benefits will help you tailor a benefit that allows employees flexibility of choice within the bounds of need.

Employee Assistant Programs

There are a variety of plan components that allow participants to take a direct approach to health care questions. Your employees have access to medical specialists who can help them with situations before they become a problem which may result in lost workdays.

Most insurance companies offer these plans with their group products. The cost varies, and some carriers offer them at no charge with certain products. Custom Benefits can assist your HR department with the job of making your employees aware of such benefits. This would ease the day-to-day burden on HR, while promoting proactive behavior among employees.

Consumer-Driven Health Plans

As health care costs continue to escalate, employer interest in so-called consumer driven health plans is surging. In most cases, a consumer driven health plan is a high-deductible health plan combined with one of the two available tax-advantaged spending accounts to pay for medical care.

What is a Health Savings Account (HSA)?

A health savings account is an individual health spending account that is owned by the employee and may be used for the payment of current and future medical expenses or as retirement income for these expenses. Either the employer or employee – or both – can contribute to these accounts.

Who is eligible to participate in an HSA?

HSA accounts are available to anyone under age 65 who is enrolled in an HDHP, who is not covered by other health insurance and who cannot be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return. Although individuals 65 and older are prohibited from establishing or joining an employer sponsored HSA, they may continue to use funds from their existing HSA after age 65.

Who can contribute to the HSA?

Individuals and/or employers can make pre-tax contributions to an HSA. In December 2006 the President signed the “Tax Care Relief and Health Care Act of 2006”. One provision of this act allows individuals to contribute a maximum annual amount to their HSA. For 2010, the annual HSA contribution limit is $3,050 for individuals and $6,150 for families, employer and employee contributions combined. These amounts are adjusted annually for inflation. Individuals can contribute the full amount regardless of the month they become eligible.

What is the tax treatment of HSA funds?

HSA funds are fully vested and may be carried over from year to year and are portable from employer to employer. Funds are not subject to taxation as the account grows or when used to pay for eligible medical expenses. HSA participants can use accumulated funds to pay for qualified medical expenses during their working career or retirement. Distributions for non-health expenses are subject to income tax and a 20% tax penalty.

What is a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA)?

HRA accounts are conceptually similar to HSA accounts but are completely controlled and funded by the employer. HRA accounts are also used to pay for qualified medical expenses. Unlike an HSA, there is no requirement that these accounts be pre-funded, vested or linked to a HDHP. Typically, the employer does not specifically set money aside for covered individuals, rather he or she reimburses employees for eligible medical expenses from general operating funds. Although not required, HRA accounts are usually accompanied by a high-deductible health plan.

Who is eligible for participation?

HRA accounts are only available through an employer, unlike HSA accounts which are owned by the individual.

Can HRA funds be rolled over from year to year?

At the employer's discretion, money remaining in the account at year’s end can be carried over to the next plan year.

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)

A flexible spending account is a type of cafeteria plan authorized under Section 125 of the Internal Revenue Code. FSA accounts allow employees to pay for qualified benefits on a pre-tax basis. An FSA can stand be free-standing or be incorporated into a more comprehensive cafeteria plan. In 2011 there will be a $2,500 cap on the annual benefit amount.

Section 125 - Premium Only

The government has made tax savings possible for employees who make contributions for group benefits. Employers should encourage all such employees to make these contributions a pretax basis. The key to participation is education. Custom Benefits will help your employees understand how this benefit puts money in their pockets while they enjoy peace of mind.

In addition, Custom Benefits will help you navigate the regulatory environment that governs the oversight of this benefit. (For example, there are certain situations where this benefit is not available, such as for owners and highly compensated employees of S corporations.)

Section 125 - Flexible Spending Accountsi>

The opportunity exists to combat the rising costs of health care, and the associated rise in employee contributions, while enjoying a tax saving. The Flexible Spending Account allows the use of pretax dollars to pay for certain medical, dental and vision expenses. The cost of this benefit is offset by the reduction in employers payroll which reduces the employer payroll taxes.

However, as with all things governmental, complexity abounds. Will your employees appreciate this benefit? Is there a need? Are there areas of governmental oversight which must be honored? Again, education is crucial to participation. Employee Meetings are key to the understanding of this benefit. Custom Benefits will take the measure of the response and help you construct a tax-saving benefit that makes everybody comfortable.

Account Management

HR Administrators Need Benefits, Too

When Custom benefits considers improvements to productivity, your HR
department is included!

In addition, Custom Benefits will help you navigate the regulatory environment that governs the oversight of this benefit. (For example, there are certain situations where this benefit is not available, such as for owners and highly compensated employees
of S corporations.)

Cobra Administration Plans

Cobra administration is a potential nightmare for HR administrators. The laws concerning Cobra administration change annually.

Custom Benefits recommends that employers hire a firm to administer their Cobra benefits. We will help you determine if your group health plan will administer Cobra. We will help you find one of the many firms that will administer this benefit without any annual fees. Usually there are monthly fees ranging from $15 to $100 and most Cobra Administration firms will keep the 2% over the medical premiums that are charged to the Cobra participant.

Benefits Enrollment

Custom Benefits will conduct employee meetings to present the latest package of plans and products. In addition, we can provide guidance as to how this information is made available in a timely manner for employee perusal, whether printed or online. All necessary forms will be made available in this manner as well.

In addition, we can design surveys that ensure you are in touch with the needs and responses of your employees with regard to plan configurations.

Travel Accident Plans

Business travel is no picnic. How do you recognize this fact in the form of a benefit which allows those in your company who must travel a lot to obtain additional life insurance coverage at low cost?

Custom Benefits can help you identify a benefit for your road-weary employees that expresses appreciation for their efforts above and beyond. While such a benefit is largely affordable, incremental group life coverage would become available for employees who do extensive business travel.,/p>

Wellness Plans

If you haven't got your health, what have you got? An old saying that has been freshened by the availability of proactive programs designed to get employees healthy and keep them healthy. The prospects for productivity gains speak for themselves.

There are questions which Custom Benefits can help you answer. How do you evaluate the differences between plans? What are the needs of your employees and can they be addressed under this type of program? Through surveys and interviews, as well as intensive study of experience, the answers will become clear.

Legal Plans

Employees who do not have access to legal advice will appreciate this benefit. Legal assistance in reference to wills, car accidents, traffic violations and divorce are only a few examples.

Custom Benefits will help you to determine how this benefit can promote loyalty and productivity as it helps reduce the toll on your employees in certain stressful situations. These plans are usually voluntary, where the employees pay most or all of the cost.