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Plan Design

The success of your benefit plan depends on thorough planning.  When planning even a seemingly simple benefit plan, there are practical and compliance issues that require consideration.  Our benefit plan design experience can help you make informed decisions on such issues as alternative funding methods, plan effective date, eligibility criteria, cost sharing, expense management, changes in family status, benefit maximization and compliance requirements.

We do not believe in a one-size fits all approach. We offer a tailored approach to designing your plan that includes several steps:

  • Identify and help formulate goals and objectives
  • Evaluate your current plan
  • Present alternatives

Identify and help formulate goals and objectives

Financial Directions knows that every company has different objectives when it comes to their benefits. Benefits are an important tool for recruiting and retaining top talent. We also understand that cost is a critical component for all benefits. We will sit down with you and learn what your company wants to achieve and where you see the company going in the future.  Areas that we will cover with you include:

  • your products, services, customers
  • the demographic make-up of your work force
  • the details of your current benefit plan; what works, what doesn’t
  • benefits expectations from your employees
  • your financial objectives and goals for the short- and long-term
  • your human resources objectives and goals for the short- and long-term
  • your corporate culture
  • your tolerance for risk
  • the role your benefits play in recruiting and retaining talent
  • your administrative and decision-making processes
  • wether alternative funding methods are right for your organization

We will gather all the necessary information to determine what the viable options are for your distinct needs. We have experience handling various situations including:

  • non-US Citizen employee benefits
  • contracted employees eligible for benefits
  • retiree, domestic partner, and COBRA coverage
  • Flexible Spending Accounts
  • self-funded plans
  • multi-state plans
  • safe harbor 401(k)
  • new comparability profit sharing plans

Evaluate your current plan

Once we have gathered all the necessary information about your company and its benefits, we begin the process of plan evaluation. We will conduct a thorough analysis of your current plans including:

  • plan provisions
  • limitations and exclusions
  • funding arrangements
  • claims history
  • plan expenses
  • contribution methodology
  • cost containment features
  • provider networks
  • employee eligibility
  • enrollment and plan participation
  • employee communications
  • plan administration
  • compliance
  • investment options

We will evaluate your current plan against market and industry benchmarks.  Upon request, we can provide benchmarks against selected competitors.

Once our analysis is completed, we will provide you with a documented presentation of the benchmarks that were used in our analysis, our observations about your current plan, and our recommendations for improvements.

If our recommendations for your plan include evaluating alternative carriers for your benefits, we proceed with the next step of our process. 

Present alternatives

Should competitive marketplace analysis be necessary, we will request proposals from a select list of carriers and vendors. Financial Directions has developed strong working relationships with many providers for the various benefits available to your company. We are an independent benefits consultant and have no affiliations with any particular carriers or vendors. This allows us to maintain our commitment to providing you with the best, unbiased options available.

In our request for proposal process, we 

  • Create competition to negotiate with the carriers for the best rates
  • analyze plan options and costs
    • For health and welfare programs, this includes analyzing benefit choices, network costs, claim savings, stop-loss premiums, disease management and wellness programs.
    • For retirement plans, this includes fund availability, flexibility and administration costs.
  • evaluate the benefit of consumer driven health plans.

We evaluate each quote to identify the options that most closely align with your company’s needs. In addition to the actual benefits offered, we consider the following:

  • the richness and comprehensive nature of the proposed benefits
  • cost factors
  • your company’s goals, objectives, and expectations
  • your employees’ expectations
  • administrative requirements
  • plan sponsor and participant support levels
  • provider network availability
  • consumer driven alternatives

Once our analysis is complete, we will present our findings and recommendations for the program that best matches your objectives. Our presentation includes supportive documentation with comprehensive reports summarizing:

  •  existing and alternative plan designs
  • cost and utilization analysis
  • network issues
  • contribution strategies
  • investment strategies
  • detailed analysis of renewal and/or proposal

In addition, we also create an executive summary that can be used for executive presentations to gain approval for implementation.  We have a strong track record for presenting at the executive level so that your firm’s leaders understand the issues and choices they face in the benefits area. 

We pride ourselves in providing comprehensive jargon free information so that our clients can make the right decisions for their company.

Once a plan design decision is made, Financial Directions transitions into the Implementation process.

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Employee Benefit Consulting Services

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