Big Plans

Programs offer benefits edge for small firms

by Don Rodriguez

shutterstock_282146876While size may make a company nimble when it first launches, that same size can become more of an obstacle when it comes to providing benefits for the team. Following the adage “there’s strength in numbers,” the Arizona Technology Council is offering plans that can make participating member companies as competitive as more established organizations when acquiring talent.

Member technology companies now have access to a program that offers the purchasing power of the Council as well as pricing that reflects the actual cost of healthcare used by your group. Instead of an individual company facing large rate increases even though its claims are low, the cost will be based on that actual medical claims of employees from that company pooled with other technology companies.

At the heart of the plan is EMI Health, founded in 1935 as a nonprofit organization that provides pooled, self-funded programs to specific risk groups. As a mutual company owned by its customers, it can use excess earnings to offer high quality coverage and lower premiums. EMI Health has a ratio of assets over liabilities that is one of the strongest in the industry, and is greater than most large insurance companies.

EMI Health’s relationship with the Arizona Foundation for Medical Care offers access to one of the largest PPO networks in the state. The Arizona Foundation is an independent nonprofit originally established by physician members of the Maricopa County Medical Society. EMI Health also has nationwide PPO network relationships, providing discounts to employees anywhere in the United States. In addition, the dental plans offered by EMI Health give your employees access to over 3,000 participating providers.

EMI Health’s self-funding mechanism also helps to cut overall health benefits costs. Many fees and taxes typically required in fully-insured plans are eliminated. Also helping keep costs down are reduced administrative costs compared to what an individual company would pay. In addition, there also is a wellness program with coaching, biometric screenings and mobile mammograms.

For transparency, group representatives are invited to attend quarterly meetings where claims and information on program use is shared. Renewal changes also are discussed and approved by the member companies.

For member companies interested in offering a retirement plan, there is the Arizona Technology Council 401(k) Multiple Employer Plan. From a government reporting standpoint, it is treated like a single large plan. It includes the advantages and flexibility of a stand-alone plan sponsor but without the expenses, fiduciary liabilities and administrative headaches associated with sponsoring a stand-alone plan.

Virtually all administrative tasks can be offloaded to plan administrator Slavic401k and the Arizona Technology Council. The end result is a retirement plan with competitive investments, outstanding service and someone else doing the legwork.

Other benefits include:

  • No annual audit for participating companies.
  • Cost savings on the investments.
  • Flexible plan features, including safe harbor, Roth and profit sharing.
  • Customizable 401(k) plan design options involving eligibility, matches, vesting schedules and more.
  • Reduced fiduciary responsibilities for participating companies.

These plans are part of the Council’s Business Essentials program. Partner companies participating in the program are active Council members committed to providing high quality products and services with highly reduced prices for other members. For more information, go to www.aztechcouncil.org/business-essentials-program.

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