Business Monday

Rising health insurance costs affecting local companies

TNS

This week’s question to South Florida CEOs who are on the Miami Herald CEO Roundtable: How is the ongoing instability in affordable health provisions affecting your company?

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As insurance premiums continue to increase year after year, the cost of healthcare becomes a more and more significant percentage of our operating budget. We are committed to providing quality health coverage to our team, which simply requires that we be extremely conservative as we forecast for future costs.

Vance Aloupis, CEO, The Children’s Movement of Florida

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Good Hope is a small 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization with a limited budget and a team of 15 part-time and full-time employees who implement various program initiatives. The dynamics of budget constraints impede our ability to subsidize healthcare for staff members. Unfortunately, the “so-called” affordable healthcare provisions have dramatically increased every staff members’ policy premium and deductible, which continues to have a detrimental impact on their household budgets.

Margaret “Peggy” Bass, executive director, Good Hope Equestrian Training Center

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Carrfour pays for a robust benefits package for all employees that includes health, dental, vision, short/long term disability and life insurance. We also match 401(k) contributions. As a not-for-profit, it has been very challenging for us to fully pay for employee benefits without employees having to contribute, but we are committed to caring for our employees. I fear that the increase in health insurance costs is eventually going to make it cost prohibitive for us to continue paying for all employee benefits.

Stephanie Berman-Eisenberg, president, CEO, Carrfour Supportive Housing

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As a small business, we’re laser-focused on our work and it’s a challenge to keep up with the ongoing changes, while continuing to provide valuable benefits to our team and at the same time trying to contain costs.

Michael A. Comras, president, The Comras Company of Florida

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Every year, we undergo an assessment of our current situation and evaluate how we can improve our benefits within GrandVision North America. As of now, we feel confident the affordable health provisions will not have a severe impact on our business.

Jose R. Costa, CEO, For Eyes

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The largest effect to our industry is the concentration of affordable healthcare to a couple of payers. Most insurance providers have left the marketplace and providers are being narrowed out of networks. Therefore this is affecting the patient population we can service.

Alejandro Fernandez, CEO, Gastro Health

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Providing our employees and their families with the best possible coverage and benefits is something we look at very closely, every year. While affordable healthcare continues to be part of the national debate, Suffolk proactively encourages a well-rounded approach to wellness with our employees through the four pillars of health — physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

Jeff Gouveia, president, general manager, SE region, Suffolk

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It creates challenges for planning and budgeting. It does not hamper our operational plans; however, the unpredictability creates anxiety for our staff and that concerns us.

Jerome Hutchinson Jr., managing partner, JHJ Marketing Group

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As is common in the industry right now, healthcare premiums have been increasing every year. As a result, we’ve increased the individual deductible and apply for GAP Insurance to minimize each employee’s out-of-pocket expenses.

Willie Logan, founder, CEO and president, Opa-locka Community Development Corp.

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We have provided health insurance at a minimum cost to our employees for more than 12 years. Today, we cover 85 percent of the individual health plans cost and cover 100 percent of disability insurance cost. Although this instability has made the process stressful, we do need to continuously change providers because renewal costs are always higher compared to competitors.

Raymond Mobayed, owner, 4IT Inc.

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Our firm has experienced double-digit annual premium increases in the medical benefits that we offer our employees. Employees participate in funding a portion of the medical premium costs, although the firm has intentionally chosen to bear a higher proportional share. This approach directly impacts firm profitability. WE partners support this, given the shared belief that providing a good work environment along with a competitive compensation and benefits package will enable longer term retention of good performers, although the firm may experience reduced profitability in the short term. Retaining the long-term employment of strong performers will enhance the ongoing, important services that we provide to our clients and enable, in the long run, sustainable firm growth.

Julie Neitzel, partner, WE Family Offices

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We all know that our healthcare system can and must be improved. However, scrapping all existing laws without a sound plan for a fix that covers most Americans is not a solution; it’s just reckless. In the meantime, many companies and employees are left with uncertainty and confusion, making annual healthcare plan reviews a very challenging process. At The Biltmore, we have long recognized the importance of the health and well-being of our staff. All of our employees are covered through a company plan or have opted out as their choice.

Gene Prescott, president and CEO, Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables

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First and foremost, we’re encouraging our team members to save more in 401(k) and other savings systems. We’re also making it a point to take preventative measures to keep our employees healthy, both at the office and at home. These include everything from offering flu shots to Equinox memberships. We’ve already seen several team members make some incredible life changes, and it’s actually creating a sort of positive snowball effect throughout our offices.

Carlos Rosso, president, The Related Group’s Condominium division

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The biggest issue with health provisions are the annual rates, which continue to go up every single year, making it harder on many of the employees.

Stan Rudman, CMO and owner, Sportailor Inc.

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Any changes to the Affordable Care Act will certainly have an impact on a company of our size. When the ACA was initially passed, we had more than a year to analyze its effects and prepare for its implementation. If and when any legislative action is taken, we will again do our due diligence, adjust accordingly and make it as easy a transition as possible for our employees.

Kim Stone, general manager and EVP, AmericanAirlines Arena

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We offer family health, dental and vision insurance to our employees and pay the majority of the expenses. The cost of this employee benefit has risen higher than the inflation rate over the years. However, we are committed to providing this employee benefit. We are concerned about the impact of the instability in affordable health provisions on the black community and the low- to moderate-income communities we serve. The disparity of health services is another example of economic inequality that needs to be addressed by public policy.

Teri Williams, president, CEO and a director, OneUnited Bank

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The unfortunate politicizing of healthcare policies has created uncertainty for us and our employees and many families that we care for and support. The volatility in costs has us evaluating which plan is best every single year and has an impact on funds that would otherwise be available for other benefits.

Bernard Zyscovich, founder and CEO of Zyscovich Architects

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THE MIAMI HERALD CEO ROUNDTABLE IS A WEEKLY FEATURE THAT APPEARS IN BUSINESS MONDAY OF THE MIAMI HERALD. RECENT QUESTIONS HAVE INCLUDED:

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