Three Things You Can Do to Lower Your Health Care Costs

L.A. Area Chamber on July 1, 2014 at 12:00:00 am in Health Care Waiting Room 
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In last week’s blog post, we shared an overview of cost drivers in the health care system. This week, we would like to share three strategies to consider to begin driving down health care costs for small employers.

Providing health coverage has numerous benefits for you as a small business owner. It can help you attract and retain good employees. But even more important, it can help you maintain a healthy workforce, which is critical to the future success of your business.

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L.A. County to Invest $24 Million in Youth Employment

Gary Toebben on June 24, 2014 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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Last week, Supervisor Don Knabe announced L.A. County’s $24 million commitment to LA Youth Jobs “Earn & Learn” summer youth employment. This investment will enable 12,000 young adults ages 14-21 to develop work readiness skills and gain exposure to careers while earning wages. Each youth will earn about $1,100 and also receive special training in financial literacy.

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Why Are Health Care Costs So High?

L.A. Area Chamber on June 18, 2014 at 12:00:00 am in Health Care Waiting Room 
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Health care premiums have generally increased year after year due to complex factors. As a business owner, you can still take action to lighten health care costs now for your employees. With payment reform and delivery system reform, small businesses are beginning to see a way to bring down costs. We will discuss these strategies more in the next couple of blog posts.

The average annual premium for single coverage in an employer-sponsored health plan in 2011 was $5,429 ($15,073 for family coverage). That represents an 8 percent increase for single coverage and a 9 percent increase for family coverage from 2010 (inflation based on the Consumer Price Index was only 3.2 percent in 2011).

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Kings Make Our City Proud and Set an Example

Gary Toebben on June 17, 2014 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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The teamwork, hard work and humility of the players, coaches, management and ownership of the Los Angeles Kings makes me extraordinarily proud of our 2014 Stanley Cup Champions. I've watched sporting events all my life, but I can't remember a championship team at the professional level that so completely embodies the values that I grew up with as a farm kid in Nebraska.  

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Small Business, Big Impact

Gary Toebben on June 10, 2014 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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Throughout our nation's history, small businesses — with fewer than 500 employees as defined by the federal government — have been the engine of our economy. Today, America's 28 million small businesses represent the creativity and innovation that drives our economic growth.

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Promote Wellness Plans

Tina Hossain on June 4, 2014 at 12:00:00 am in Health Care Waiting Room 
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By adopting wellness programs, you become proactive in making your workforce healthier, which may reduce your insurance costs. The goal of wellness programs is to make and keep employees healthier by promoting proper nutrition, exercise, weight loss, stress management and smoking cessation. According to the Wellness Council of America, more than 80 percent of U.S. businesses with more than 50 employees have some sort of wellness program. But small businesses can also benefit from them.

The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce promoted wellness plans and programs to its business members through a November 2013 “Health Happens Here: In the Workplace” conference targeted at increasing education and implementation of such practices. We continue to support efforts to improve employee health, control health care costs, and even increase children's health through comprehensive employee wellness programing.

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Time to Put San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in the Rear View Mirror

Gary Toebben on June 3, 2014 at 9:30:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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Next Saturday, June 7 will mark the one-year anniversary of Southern California Edison’s (SCE) decision to permanently shut down the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS). 

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$2.1 Billion from D.C. A Team Effort

Gary Toebben on May 27, 2014 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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I’ve made more than 100 trips to Washington D.C. during my 39 years serving chambers of commerce in four states, but last Wednesday’s trip to D.C. was the most rewarding. Its purpose was the signing by Metro and federal transportation officials of a $1.25 billion Capital Investment Grant and an $856 million Transportation Infrastructure Finance & Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan for phase one of the Purple Line Extension to West Los Angeles County.  

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Navigating the Health Insurance Marketplace

E. Jones, ACA Implementation Specialist on May 21, 2014 at 12:00:00 am in Health Care Waiting Room 
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The “individual mandate” provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. health care reform or “ACA”) began in January 2014, meaning that most U.S. citizens and legal residents need to have health insurance coverage or face a penalty by the end of each tax season. This is just one of many provisions and programs that kicked off in the new year, but will have a significant impact on individuals who do not currently have health coverage. Many people are still confused as to what they will need to do to find coverage, what type of coverage is available, and whether they qualify for federal financial assistance which can help make purchasing insurance more affordable.

Even if you don’t provide coverage as a business owner, you may find yourself in the position of needing to assist your employees with navigating the new health insurance marketplace. If you employ 50 or fewer full time employees, you now have an option to purchase coverage through the new health insurance marketplace, known as “Covered California,” in addition to being able to purchase from health insurance plans directly. Knowing the basics can help you and your employees be prepared and confident in navigating the new health insurance marketplace and selecting the right health plan specific to your needs and budget.

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STEM Education is Key to Our Economic Future

Gary Toebben on May 20, 2014 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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The next big breakthrough in medicine, the Internet, manufacturing, green energy and construction will all have one thing in common: they will all be discovered or designed by a person educated in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math). America's ability to compete globally will depend on innovations related to STEM and the economic opportunities for the young people in our classrooms today will depend on their education in subjects related to STEM.

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