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Why Group Insurance May Be Best for Your Business, Even If It’s Just You

It’s easier to get than you think.

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RECENTLY, I HEARD a business owner tell a frustrating story about how she was forced to spend a surprisingly large sum of money for the treatment of a health condition. She was angry because her individual health insurance plan, bought through the Marketplace in 2014, had just increased in premium for the fourth time. She expected more from her insurance!

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There has been a growing rift between group and individual insurance since 2015 — most business owners have not been able to keep up on all of the details. I have heard, erroneously, from many business owners that they believe:

  • They couldn’t do group insurance.
  • They would have to pay for all of their employees.
  • Individual insurance would be cheaper.

Not true.

Individual insurance contracts (i.e., Obamacare plans) are no longer the same as group insurance plans. Differences include deductibles, max out-of-pocket financial exposures and pricing. In most cases, individual insurance is less advantageous for the consumer.

Many small business owners are not aware of the increased availability of group insurance.
In 2014, the Affordable Care Act changed many of the regulations affecting small businesses and insurance. States have also been tweaking rules applicable to groups employing between two and 50 people (small groups). In most states, businesses with two or more people are eligible to purchase group insurance. Why is this important? Because, in many states, group insurance may be less expensive per person, have lower financial exposures and have access to larger PPO networks.

How does it work? There is a little known aspect of the Affordable Care Act that makes group insurance very accessible for small businesses. If you have an inception/renewal date of Jan. 1, then the business is not required to contribute to the employees’ premiums. Further, there are no participation requirements (i.e. how many people must participate of the employed population), so the business owner could be the only one participating — a “group” of one. Some states do not allow groups of one. In these states you must have two participants. And note that husband-wife groups are treated differently and may not be eligible.

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If the group insurance plan renews on any other date of the year, then the group is subject to contribution and participation requirements. These requirements are set by the insurance companies and are typically less stringent than most business owners believe. In most cases, the employer is asked to contribute only 25 percent of the cost of individual coverage on the lowest cost plan.
Here is how this plays out in the real world: Most small businesses offer two or three plans for the employees to choose from, one of which will be the “lowest cost.” The employer then calculates 25 percent of what it costs for that single person and the employee is responsible for the remaining premium. How much money are we talking about? Typically an employer is asked to contribute between $75 and $225 per month per person depending on the age of the employee — only for the people who choose to contribute.

As for the participation requirement, it’s typically 70 percent of eligible full-time staff after qualified waivers. A qualified waiver is someone who has an insurance plan from a spouse, the government or an individual plan. Let’s say we have a group of 10 full time employees, four of whom have coverage through their spouse and one who is on Medicare. Here is how we determine the participation requirement:

  • 10 eligible-5 qualified waivers = 5 employees

In this case, to attain 70 percent participation, only four people must participate!

Marcus Newman is vice-president of small business sales with GCG, a full-service financial, employee benefits and risk management firm, as well as a public speaker and educator.

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Gene the Jeweler Explains How to Fire People

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Vegas Must-Haves #8: Long-and-Lean Earrings Are Everywhere

They’ve been popular at awards shows and on international catwalks.

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Heading out to Vegas for Jewelry Week? Here are some of the trends we are predicting you will see and that you might want to bring into your store. Some have been going strong for a few seasons, while others have been evolving for a couple of years. All are popular from the red carpet to the ready-to-wear runways to the jewelry design studios. So, why not try your luck with this trend or the others we will be showing?

From the red carpet to the runways to the design studios, all styles of earrings continue to be strong. One style that we saw at all the big awards shows this past season as well as on the international catwalks was the long and lean look. The earrings can range from sticks of diamonds to streamlined and linear with more movement, traced with enamel and/or popped with colored stones, and can go from mid-length to shoulder-skimming.

Lili Reinhardt in Swarovski earrings at the 2019 Golden Globe Awards Photo: Shutterstock

GiGi Ferranti Gia Deco 14K stick earrings with Zambian emeralds and diamonds. gigiferranti.com. $5,200

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EF Collection 14K gold diamond and enamel Stripe Bar Drop Earrings. efcollection.com. $650

Harwell Godfrey 18K gold articulated black and white diamond stick earrings in yellow gold, harwellgodfrey.com. $2,700.

Effy Pave Classica 14K White Gold Diamond Vertical Earrings, 0.35 TCW effyjewelry.com. $1,095.00

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Vegas Must-Haves #7: Attention-Grabbing Gold Chains That Mix New and Old

They’re being linked and looped together in creative ways.

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Heading out to Vegas for Jewelry Week? Here are some of the trends we are predicting you will see and that you might want to bring into your store. Some have been going strong for a few seasons, while others have been evolving for a couple of years. All are popular from the red carpet to the ready-to-wear runways to the jewelry design studios. So, why not try your luck with this trend or the others we will be showing?

Gold chains are back as a statement and a staple for your customer’s jewelry wardrobe.

I first started noticing the trend to weightier and gutsier chains in 2016, and they are being linked and looped together in creative ways. Many of the modern links take their cue from antique bold gold curb and paperclip watch chains and/or long vintage 70s large rectangular and oval links. Your clients can wear these alone or add charms and medallions. Foundrae is a perfect example of showing different lengths, styles and widths of chains and connector links to add their meaningful pendants. Add different charms or teach customers how to wear the longer versions doubled or creatively as lariats or elongated Y necklaces.

Tod’s Fall/Winter 2019/20 Runway Show

Jemma Wynne 18k gold Toujours emerald necklace with diamonds $15,750 jemmawynne.com

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Sylva & Cie 14K rose gold diamond oval link chain with champagne diamonds approximately .90 TCW sylvaandcie.com. 9,750.00

Foundrae 18K gold mixed oversized clip choker. foundrae.com. $14,995

Brent Neale 18K gold textured chain link necklace. brentneale.com $9,850.

Marla Aaron heavy sterling silver curb chain with baby 14K lock. marlaaron.com $682

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Editor's Note

This Year’s INSTORE Design Awards Winners Followed In a Stellar Tradition

With 25 categories, many designers had the chance to shine.

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EVERY YEAR, I’M consistently impressed by the ingenuity displayed by the jewelry designers who enter the INSTORE Design Awards. Two years ago, Hisano Shepherd of Little H made a splash with her fresh take on pearls, slicing them open and encrusting them with gemstones. Last year, Katey Brunini won three categories with three separate pieces from her intricate and colorful Eating Watermelon In The Black Forest collection, while TAP By Todd Pownell took two other categories with their striking, nature-inspired use of diamonds.

This year, with so many more categories (25, as opposed to eight last year), lots of designers made their mark. Adel Chefridi won two categories and a Retailer’s Choice award with his geometric matte designs. Thorsten placed with three different show-stopping wedding band designs. Manufacturers Gabriel & Co. and UNEEK Fine Jewelry each had multiple winners. The mesmerizing Sultana ring by Annamaria Cammilli Firenze cleaned up across several categories. Then there was our Grand Prize winning piece: the VIVAAN cuff (featured on our cover) with nearly 30 carats of natural fancy color diamonds that won over both our judges and online voters.

When you’re shopping the Las Vegas trade shows, start with the winners of this design competition. If they’re turning heads among our judges and online voters, they’re sure to turn the heads of your clients as well.

Trace Shelton

Editor-in-Chief, INSTORE
trace@smartworkmedia.com

Five Smart Tips You’ll Find in This Issue

  • When displaying men’s jewelry, opt for timeless elements like antique fly-fishing reels, old toy cars or old sports items. (Ask Instore, p. 91)
  • Longer ad copy yields better results, as proven by Google. (Jim Ackerman, p. 90)
  • Always display in odd numbers; it’s more aesthetically pleasing. (Three Things I Know About, p. 94)
  • Ask questions that elicit a “yes” from the woman in order to close the male buyer. (Shane Decker, p. 92)
  • When retirement is in the near future, start maximizing net profit to build the value of your business. (David Brown, p. 94)
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