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  • October 06, 2021

    Open Enrollment Starts Nov. 1: State Bar's Group Health Plan for Law Firms May Work for Your Firm

    It's good time of year to run a check-up on your health insurance plans. Open Enrollment for the State Bar of Wisconsin Group Health Plan for law firms is Nov. 1 through Dec. 15, 2021. Find out how the State Bar can help you find the best plan for your situation.

    Annette Ashley & Wendy Block

    Oct. 6, 2021 – As a lawyer, you have a lot on your plate representing your clients and practicing law. Let us the benefit specialists at Professional Insurance Programs update review your health insurance plan to see if the group health plan for law firms works better for your firm.

    To get started, here is some basic information about the State Bar of Wisconsin Group Health Plan for law firms, to aid you in your search for a plan that is a good fit for your law firm and your employees – whether they are lawyers or professional staff.

    Does my law firm qualify as a group?

    As a refresher, the group health plan is for law firms with two or more nonfamily employees in Wisconsin that are considered employers under current association health plan law.

    Annette Ashley Annette Ashley, Hamline 1989, is Director of Professionalism & Engagement at the State Bar of Wisconsin, Madison. She can be reached at (608) 250-6133, or by email.

    Wendy Block Wendy Block is Benefits Division senior account manager at Professional Insurance Programs, Milwaukee, and has worked in the health insurance industry for over 22 years.

    Under current federal and state association health plan law, the State Bar’s plan cannot provide coverage to individual attorneys either working as solo practitioners without at least one nonfamily employee, or as individual participants outside their firm’s employee group health plan.

    In other words, this plan is not an option if you are unhappy with the health care plan currently being offered by your law firm or employer.

    How is full-time employment defined?

    In addition to the number of people who must be employed in your law firm to qualify as a group, employees must be full-time.

    For plan purposes, full-time is defined as anyone working 26 or more hours per week. Once you have qualified that you are a “group,” you’re set to check into further plan options and details.

    Is this a ‘one size fits all’ plan?

    Coverage for the State Bar’s Group Health Plan for law firms is provided through WPS. Plan coverage options are available in a range of deductible/coinsurance options that are either copay plans or high deductible health plans (HDHP) that are health savings account (HSA) qualified. These options will help you meet the needs of all your law firm’s employees as well as protect your bottom line.

    You can offer your employees a choice of up to four benefit designs, each with a different combination of deductibles, copays, and coinsurance. As the employer, this allows you to fund the base plan, and your employees can buy up to the higher cost options if they wish.

    What extra benefits come with this coverage?

    In addition to having nine health plans to choose from in creating your law firm plan, all WPS group health plan options include the following benefits:

    • Extraordinary network flexibility. You get to choose from two different network options: Statewide or Select Plus.

    • 100% coverage for in-network preventive care. This includes routine immunizations, medical exams, routine diagnostic services, and much more.

    • Zero copay on select preventive medications for common conditions. For example, high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and many more.

    • Fitness reimbursement ​lets employees earn a cash reward each month for staying active through the exercise rewards program.

    • Discounts at fitness centers nationwide through Active&Fit Direct program, plus more than 4,000 workout videos on demand.

    • Telehealth services from Teladoc. This gives you 24/7 year-round access to certified doctors through the convenience of phone, video, or mobile apps visits.

    • EyeMed Vision Care Discount Program offers 35 percent off the retail price of frames, 15 percent off contact lenses, laser vision correction discounts, and more.

    • Hear in America hearing plans provide a free annual hearing screening, u​p to 70 percent off MSRP, three year repair and loss warranty, and three years of hearing aid batteries.

    • Pulmonary Care Program addresses challenges of those with asthma and COPD.

    • Prescription mail order through Express Scripts provides savings to those on either the copay plans or high deductible health plans.

    For more details on each of these items above, please see the PDF, Large Group Preventive Health Benefits Covered Under Health Care Reform, on the WPS website.

    What’s the timing for changing coverage?

    While it may sound daunting, health care coverage can be changed at any time during the year, without disrupting the deductibles paid on existing plans when a law firm is transitioning from one group health plan to another group health plan. Deductibles do not transfer from an individual health plan to a group health plan. There is a process utilized in the health insurance industry that acknowledges deductibles accumulated, which are taken into consideration during any transition from one group plan to a new group plan with another carrier.

    The most common timeframe for people to consider any health care coverage cost analysis is during open enrollment, which begins Nov. 1, 2021. While open enrollment primarily impacts individual health care coverage, it’s usually the time of the year when those looking to make changes begin thinking about options. But as an employer, law firms can change the health care coverage provided their employees at any time during the year. For coverage effective Jan. 1, paperwork must be submitted no later than Dec. 15.

    How do I get a quote?

    For a quote on the group health plan for law firms, complete the State Bar of Wisconsin Association Group Census Form and return it to the Benefit Specialists at Professional Insurance Programs.

    To answer all your questions on the State Bar’s group health plan for law firms, contact:

    Benefits Specialists
    Professional Insurance Programs (PIP)
    (800) 637-4676

    State Bar of Wisconsin association health plan information

    What other options can I explore?

    If you decide the group health plan for law firms is not the best option for your firm, check out these additional State Bar plans that may help you provide health care more cost-effectively. For more information about the Group Dental Plan through Delta Dental, the EyeMed Vision plan and supplemental Critical Illness and Accident Coverage, contact:

    Bultman Financial Services, Inc.
    (800) 344-7040 or (262) 782-9949

    Where can I find out more information?

    Visit the Professional Insurance Programs website for more information.

    The State Bar has produced two recent webinars that address a variety of topics related to the group health plan for law firms:

    The next opportunity to learn more about the group health plan for law firms is provided in conjunction with the Wisconsin Solo & Small Firm Conference, at noon on Oct. 29. If are attending the conference, join us for “Exploring Your Exclusive State Bar of Wisconsin Group Health Plan Benefits for Law Firms.”

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