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Oregon health insurer to shutter, advises 15,000 customers to find other plans

If you are currently one of the 15,000 people affected by this news and need assistance finding replacement coverage, please contact our office. We have many plan options available and can help walk you through the complicated enrollment process.

 

Health Republic Insurance, one of two federally created Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans in Oregon, won’t offer plans in 2016 and is winding down operations, it announced today.

The decision comes after the federal government announced if would pay only 12.6 percent of what is owed to insurers under the “risk corridor” program. The decision has a negative financial impact of more than $20 million on Health Republic, CEO Dawn Bonder said, in a statement.

All current Health Republic individual and small group policies “remain in full effect through the end of 2015,” the company announced. The Lake Oswego-based health insurer has nearly 15,000 members, including employees from more than 800 small businesses.

“Since our inception in 2013, Health Republic designed and priced all our plans in reliance upon the risk sharing guarantees of the Affordable Care Act,” Bonder said, in a statement. “This has placed us in a difficult financial position that could jeopardize our members and partners. As a result, we believe the most ethical step is for Health Republic to refrain from entering the market in 2016 and begin an orderly wind down of business.”

Health Republic said it will work with the Oregon Insurance Division to “ensure a smooth transition” and will pay all claims through 2015.

The risk corridor program, which came up far short of the money insurers are owed, also hit Moda Health particularly hard.

One-third of the CO-OPs created under the ACA have failed, including those in Iowa, Nebraska, Kentucky, West Virginia, Louisiana, Nevada, Tennessee, Vermont, New York and Colorado.

There were 23 CO-OPs created in 2011 at a cost of $2.4 billion in order to ensure that consumers had plenty of choices and a direct voice in their insurance plans. Oregon was the only state with two CO-OPs, Health Republic and Oregon’s Health CO-OP.

Even with other CO-OPs around the U.S. starting to fail over the summer, Bonder wasn’t too worried.

“My pro formas had us always using money first two and a half years,” Bonder said in late August. “I scratch my head to figure out why it’s such a shock to folks that CO-OPs aren’t making money.”

And in late September, she said the company was “growing steadily and sustainably.”

http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/blog/health-care-inc/2015/10/oregon-health-insurer-to-shutter-advises-15-000.html?ana=e_ptl_bn_breakingnews&u=q82Wjl1mQIrEiCUMXgmyDw07b212ad&t=1445018101

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Workers’ compensation costs to drop for third-straight year

Salem, OR—In 2016, Oregon workers’ compensation costs will decrease an average 5.3 percent, the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) announced today. This marks the third year in a row – and eighth year in the past decade – that Oregon businesses are seeing an average decrease.

The department approved the average decrease in “pure premium,” which is the portion of the premium employers pay insurers to cover anticipated claims costs for job-related injuries and deaths.

Workers’ compensation pays injured workers for lost wages and medical care for job-related injuries. A four-year decline in average medical care costs and stable wage replacement costs are the key factors continuing to drive down the pure premium.

“Keeping workers’ compensation costs low contributes to a healthy business climate for Oregon employers,” said Patrick Allen, DCBS director. “Oregon is unique in achieving these low costs while also maintaining strong benefits and programs for injured workers.”

The decrease is based on a recommendation from the Florida-based National Council on Compensation Insurance Inc. (NCCI), which analyzes industry trends and prepares rate recommendations for the majority of states. Pure premium reflects only a portion of workers’ compensation costs but is the key factor behind annual cost changes. The decrease is an average, so an individual employer may see a larger decrease, no change, or even an increase depending on the employer’s own industry, claims experience, and payroll. Also, pure premium doesn’t take into account the varying expenses and profit of insurance companies.

The rate decrease is effective Jan. 1, 2016, but employers will see the changes when they renew their policies in 2016.

Oregon’s workers’ compensation premium rates have ranked low nationally for many years. Only seven states and the District of Columbia had average rates lower than Oregon in 2014, according to a biennial study conducted by DCBS. In contrast to changes made in some other states, Oregon has seen no meaningful reduction in worker benefits since at least the early 1990s.

In addition to any change in pure premium, other workers’ compensation costs reviewed annually by the department include:

• An assessment on workers’ compensation premiums to fund the state costs of running workers’ compensation and safety and health programs.

• An assessment on hours worked to fund Oregon’s highly successful return-to-work programs that help injured workers return to work quickly and earn close to their pre-injury wages. This assessment also provides increased benefits over time for workers who are permanently and totally disabled, and gives benefits to families of workers who die from workplace injuries or diseases.

This chart summarizes all the changes: http://www.cbs.state.or.us/external/dir/wc_cost/fi…

Annual Oregon average pure premium rate changes and average changes by industry: http://www.cbs.state.or.us/external/dir/wc_cost/fi…

More information about Oregon workers’ compensation costs can be found at http://www.cbs.state.or.us/external/dir/wc_cost/in…

For more information:
Jake Sunderland, 503-947-7897
Jake.W.Sunderland@oregon.gov

http://www.oregon.gov/newsroom/Pages/NewsDetail.aspx?newsid=796

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Safety and health efforts result in $120 million dividend from SAIF for Oregon employers

Approximately 23 to 27 percent of the premium employers paid in 2014 will come back to them when checks are distributed in October.

When thousands of companies all focus on health and safety, good things happen.

Due to a joint effort between SAIF and its policyholders to make workplaces healthier and reduce on-the-job injuries, more than 47,000 Oregon employers will receive a dividend in October.

SAIF’s Board of Directors announced the $120 million dividend today. It amounts to a return of approximately 23 to 27 percent of premium that eligible customers paid in 2014.

“The most important dividend is the one received by workers who aren’t suffering the pain and anguish of a workplace injury,” said President and CEO Kerry Barnett. “Our employers have earned this by making their workplaces safer and reducing the costs of on-the-job injuries.”

“Our goal is to make Oregon the safest and healthiest place to work, and this is another sign that we’re headed in the right direction,” he said.

The dividend is possible because of SAIF’s overall financial results, including investment returns and favorable trends in claim costs. In recent years, there has been a particular emphasis on overall worker health and wellness, which is closely connected to prevention of workplace injuries.

Approximately 85 percent of the 47,000 employers who will receive dividends are small businesses. SAIF board chair Jenny Ulum said small businesses and their workers will especially appreciate the dividend because they often have less ready access to capital to seed growth or invest in additional safety measures.

This is the sixth year in a row in which SAIF has returned a substantial dividend to its customers.

About SAIF

SAIF Corporation is Oregon’s not-for-profit, state-chartered workers’ compensation insurance company. Since 1914 it has been caring for injured workers and helping to make workplaces safer.

For more information about SAIF, go to the About SAIF page on saif.com.

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Career Opportunity – Commercial Lines Producer

Premier NW Insurance is currently searching for a Producer to add to our successful B2B sales team at our Salem branch office. Premier NW is a locally owned, customer focused organization that provides Producers with the flexibility and support necessary to achieve their financial goals. Our agency has an outstanding reputation for professionalism, integrity and providing top tier advice and solutions to our clients. Our Producers have access to the leading insurance companies in the Northwest.

For those looking at insurance sales as a new career or as a first time career decision – insurance sales is an often misunderstood and under-appreciated profession. The most effective insurance Producers develop a close, personal relationship with their clients and become an important resource to them in the successful operation of their business. Compensation potential is unlimited and is directly related to the efforts and success of the Producer. Insurance Producers have a significant advantage in that insurance is a recession resistant industry.

We currently have opportunities available in our Clackamas and Salem branch offices. Whether you are an experienced Producer or are interested in making a career change, we have the resources and positive agency culture to enable your success.

We are looking for outstanding people with the following traits:
•Outgoing personality with the ability to develop close relationships with clients
•Strong work ethic, self-motivated with effective time management skills
•Ability to work effectively in a team oriented collaborative environment
•Strong community ties
•Ability to quickly learn and understand market dynamics affecting the businesses of our customers
•Ability to assess and analyze customer needs and develop recommendations
•Above average written and oral communication skills
•Capable of working with owners and senior management of businesses
•B2B sales experience
•Ability to build a successful referral network

We are willing to provide in depth sales and insurance product training to the right individual. We have resources available through our insurance company partners and agency mentorship to help ensure your success.

This is an excellent opportunity for sales minded individuals. Our producers enjoy a recurring revenue stream from their clients with strong new business incentives. Base compensation plus commission is provided to assist while building your client base. We offer favorable commission percentages for both new and renewal business and full vesting opportunity to our sales staff.

Premier NW Insurance is not a call center. We are not a captive agency who will place unreachable goals on you each year. We are a growing, family owned agency who cares about our customers and our staff.

If you have an interest in joining a successful locally owned agency with unlimited compensation potential, please contact Mitzi Johnson at mjohnson@premiernw.net.

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Safeco Insurance® honors Premier NW Insurance with membership in the Safeco® Premier Partner Program

Premier NW Insurance has been selected for membership in the Safeco Premier Partner Program, which recognizes the outstanding achievement and partnership of only the best agencies.

Fewer than 10% of independent insurance agencies that sell Safeco personal lines products receive this distinguished honor.

At Premier NW Insurance, we are pleased to be among the top agencies in the country!

As a member in the Safeco Premier Partner Program, Premier NW Insurance will receive access to special resources and programs that will support us in serving our customers even better with expert advice.

We strive to provide our customers with trusted guidance, so this Safeco honor makes us proud.

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Join us at the NW Ag Show

Please join us as we help celebrate the 46th annual NW Ag show, January 27th – 29th, at the Portland Expo Center. Everything for every farmer under one roof! Stop by our booth (D437) for your free Premier NW Insurance baseball cap. This year’s show promises to be memorable with 51 new exhibitors and everything from ag drones to wine tasting! For more information, please visit the NW Ag Show on Facebook at:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Northwest-Agricultural-Show/155005756150.

We hope to see you there!

 

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Holiday Drive for the Oregon Humane Society

Meet Onyx, our sponsor dog! Premier NW Insurance will be accepting donations of food, toys, leashes, etc. to help Onyx and his friends at the Oregon Humane Society. Please feel free to drop off any items you’d like to donate at our Clackamas or Sandy branch offices between now and December 17th. For a complete list of items needed, please visit the Oregon Humane Society website. Onyx thanks you!

http://www.oregonhumane.org/donate/needed_supplies.asp#.VHzMw2l0yM8.

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Are you ready for Open Enrollment?

It’s that time of year again! If you haven’t started thinking about your health insurance…now is the time. Open Enrollment is fast approaching.

If you are interested in receiving a quote for Benefits for yourself or your business, please contact our agency or click on the following links:

Individual Quote: http://premiernw.net/request-a-quote/individual-health-quote/

Group Quote: http://premiernw.net/request-a-quote/group-health/print-group-health-form/

“The Open Enrollment period for 2015 coverage is November 15, 2014 to February 15, 2015.

If you haven’t enrolled in coverage by then, you generally can’t buy Marketplace health coverage for 2015 until the next Open Enrollment period for coverage the following year.

If you’re enrolled in a 2014 Marketplace plan, your benefit year ends December 31, 2014. To continue health coverage in 2015, you can renew your current health plan or choose a new health plan through the Marketplace during the 2015 Open Enrollment period.

If you don’t have health coverage during 2015, you may have to pay a fee. The fee in 2015 is higher than it was in 2014 — 2% of your income or $325 per adult/$162.50 per child, whichever is more.

Enrollment and Coverage Start Dates

During Open Enrollment, if you enroll:

Between the 1st and 15th days of the month, your coverage starts the first day of the next month.
Between the 16th and the last day of the month, your coverage starts the first day of the second following month. So if you enroll on January 16, your coverage starts on March 1.

You may buy Marketplace insurance outside Open Enrollment only if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period due to a qualifying life event such as marriage, birth or adoption of a child, or loss of other health coverage. Learn more about how you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

You can enroll in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) any time. There is no limited enrollment period for these programs. You can apply any time. If you’re qualified, you can enroll immediately.

If you own or operate a small business, you can start offering coverage to your employees at any time.”

Source: HealthCare.gov https://www.healthcare.gov/marketplace-deadlines/2015/