As businesses continue to endure repercussions from the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more employers are turning to insurance brokerage firms like Swift Kennedy & Associates for help in solving health insurance issues that have surfaced during this challenging time. “We are trying to help our clients as much as possible during this crisis, because we know that their companies’ survival may be at stake,” said Jerry Calistri, Swift Kennedy’s President and CEO, who is a Certified Healthcare Reform Specialist. For example, since insurance carriers are now adjusting benefits frequently according to evolving circumstances, Swift Kennedy is keeping clients informed via e-mail about the latest developments regarding carrier decisions (such as coverage for COVID-19 tests and treatments), group health insurance requirements, human resources, and other issues.
Since many employees now being laid off are choosing to continue their health insurance, Swift Kennedy also offers companies COBRA administration, which includes providing HIPAA certificates and required letters, as well as billing continuation premiums and employer reporting. Companies using this service rather than in-house COBRA administration usually see substantial savings.
Even while facing the challenges of a pandemic, employers must comply with the government regulations imposed by ERISA and the Affordable Care Act to avoid audits and large penalties. As a result, Swift Kennedy gives compliance guidance and provides clients with the Benefit Notices they must send employees, as well as Wrap Summary Plan Descriptions (SPDs) and Wrap Plan Documents (which wrap around their certificates of insurance and benefit plan booklets) in order to satisfy ERISA and ACA mandates.
Swift Kennedy also offers clients a digital benefit administration platform, Swift Virtual, which allows an employer’s Human Resources staff to conduct virtual open enrollment meetings, process enrollments digitally, and have online access to tax forms, invoices and payroll integration. This system streamlines absence management, enhances benefit communication to employees, and provides access to a comprehensive digital library of HR and benefits information. This digital platform also allows employees to make better informed decisions when selecting benefit packages by providing digital support tools like cost calculators, plan comparison tools, and online benefit summaries, and it gives them access to a virtual benefit support team via phone, webchat or video conference. What’s more, it lets employees access their benefit information remotely around the clock, which millennials and Gen Z employees especially value. “Modernizing their benefits administration by going digital gives companies the added benefit of being able to continue their operations seamlessly during any emergency,” said Calistri.
Swift Kennedy also offers clients day-to-day administration (including claims assistance, billing support, enrollments, and terminations) and provides employers with the opportunity to meet virtually with benefit specialists to review their insurance options. “Our goal is to help employers solve the thorny insurance issues that have arisen during this pandemic so that they can spend more time doing what they do best – running their businesses!” said Calistri.
Swift Kennedy & Associates is an insurance brokerage firm that specializes in group employee benefits, as well as individual and senior insurance products. The firm helps businesses find affordable employee benefit plans, including medical, dental, vision, life, disability, and alternative funding options. This full-service agency offers all health insurance carriers in Pennsylvania and has offices in State College, Williamsport, Scranton, DuBois, and Virginia Beach.
Jerry Calistri is President and Chief Executive Officer of Swift Kennedy & Associates. He has over 20 years of experience in the employee benefits industry, including working at the Pennsylvania Employees Benefit Trust Fund in Harrisburg. A Certified Healthcare Reform Specialist, Calistri is a Senatorial Member and a PAC Board Member of Health Agents for America, as well as a member of the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. In addition, he is an active member and past president of the Mid Penn chapter of the National Association of Health Underwriters. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.