In 2015 the self-funded industry evolved like never before. Innovative ideas spread like wildfire, as TPAs, stop-loss carriers, employers and brokers all over the country implemented new techniques to contain costs and secure the best results. Yet, the path to savings hasn’t been an easy one to travel.
All along, The Phia Group has worked with you to resolve thousands of issues – and by far, the most misunderstood, repeated, passion-inspiring issue has been reference-based pricing, balance billing, and the role of a fiduciary when handling such an arrangement.
Thank you for joining The Phia Group’s legal team on December 15th as they discussed reference-based pricing and balance-billing from the ground up and debunked common myths associated with it. This webinar will ended the year with a comprehensive primer on reference-based pricing and balance-billing, the rights of all parties involved, and what you can do to be proactive and successfully administer a reference-based pricing program.
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Benjamin Franklin, Blaise Pascal, and Mark Twain are all credited with having said, “I would have written a shorter letter, if I’d had the time.” Unfortunately, efforts to simplify complex matters often constitute the greatest challenge. This fact of life is certainly proven by the Affordable Care Act and its requirement that health plans provide consumers with a concise document detailing, in plain language, information about plan benefits and coverage. This summary of benefits and coverage document ( or “SBC”) is meant to help consumers better understand the coverage available to them, and allow them to easily compare options by summarizing key features such as the covered benefits, cost-sharing provisions, coverage limitations and exceptions.
The self-funding industry is experiencing great opportunity and growth. In the past two years, millions of lives have transitioned away from the fully-insured health plan model in favor of the self-insured model – and despite the rise of exchanges, many employers are steering away from them for various reasons. These encouraging facts are tempered by the increased burdens facing both new and existing employer sponsors, third party administrators, industry brokers, and even stop-loss carriers and MGUs.
Fiduciary responsibilities have grown, liability shifting is now a common theme in a standard RFI, and lawsuits over claims and appeals decisions are becoming more prevalent.
Thanks for joining The Phia Group’s legal team on November 30th as we explored the numbers behind our industry’s growth and provided real-world discussion on the topic, while we explored real solutions to the issues presented.
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These last few weeks have brought with them a whirlwind of controversy and concern. The Phia Group, LLC is pleased to announce that it will be addressing three of the hottest topics during its monthly webinar. If you have not yet signed up for our FREE webinar, to be held on Thursday, October 30th, 2014, from 1:00 – 2:00 PM EST, then you will most certainly be missing out!
In the classic TPA arrangement, the TPA does not assume fiduciary duties, instead relying on the plan administrator for guidance on claims and appeals that require discretion. Many TPAs are still living in the past – an era where Plan Sponsors embraced fiduciary duties – but now, plans and their brokers exist in a new paradigm, in which a TPA not offering a fiduciary option stands at a substantial disadvantage. As such, business opportunities are lost.
With this in mind, The Phia Group has developed PACE. With a PACE, plan sponsors and TPAs assign the riskiest fiduciary duty (that is, the power to make payment decisions in response to final appeals), to The Phia Group. This authority carries with it the most risk, because it is this final payment directive that will be scrutinized upon external review.
Self-funding veterans and novices alike will benefit from PACE. Groups that are moving from fully-insured or ASO arrangements can use PACE as a valuable tool to aid in the transition; these groups have never before had to be the fiduciary of their plans – and with the PACE, that daunting responsibility can be delegated to a neutral and capable third party.
The PACE not only enables the TPA to obtain new business not previously available to it, but also encourages client “stickiness” and also creates a new profit center for the TPA in the form of an administrative fee paid directly by The Phia Group to the TPA, in exchange for the TPA’s facilitation of the PACE service. In other words, PACE adds unprecedented value to the TPA from both a business and a revenue perspective.
In addition to having a third party expert analyze all appealed claims before they reach an external review, the PACE also ensures that legally mandated independent review organizations (IROs) are in place, and the PACE handles facilitation of external appeals with these IROs. Regardless of whether the PACE upholds or reverses a denial, the PACE’s service continues to apply. From handling external appeals of denied claims to negotiating amounts payable for claims deemed to be covered by the benefit plan, the PACE works to ensure the correct and optimal outcome every time. This includes coordinating efforts with stop-loss, plan sponsors, brokers, and TPAs whenever these partners do not align.
As we know, any entity exercising control over a benefit plan or its assets may be deemed to be a fiduciary; third party administrators, brokers, and any other entity making decisions on behalf of these benefit plans may be dealing with liability for which it simply isn’t prepared. PACE is a way for the employer to be able to focus less on the complexities of its health plan, fiduciary duties, and stop-loss concerns, and more on what matters – its business.
PACE is also a way for the TPA to rest easy knowing that it is not unwittingly assuming fiduciary duties on final appeals.
For years, self-funded plan sponsors and TPAs have asked how they can avoid the risks inherent in self-funding, while still enjoying the benefits of that plan structure. According to our CEO, Adam Russo, “With a PACE in place, we’re taking a giant step in the right direction. It’s a game changer.”