Author: newbenefitsblog

Step into the future of benefits with the industry leader in non-insured benefit programs. We offer the widest range of non-insured benefits, including telehealth, health advocacy, wellness programs and more.

Looking Ahead: What’s on the Horizon in 2018

When the New Year comes around, everyone sets resolutions… but how many of you have actually stuck to your resolution? Resolutions often don’t work because they’re set at the start of the year, without much consideration for longevity and sustainability. Instead of setting a resolution, I urge you to think about the entire year and a change that would bring about long-lasting improvement.

At New Benefits, we have a clear strategy for the year. As all the major publications have released their benefit trend expectations for 2018 including BenefitsPRO, Employee Benefit Adviser, and HR Dive, we have identified a few of the most talked about trends. This year, employers are focused on:

  • Lowering health care costs
  • Benefit variety to complement demand for growth areas
  • Data security and identity theft

Start with these 4 strategies to tackle top trends so they become long term resolutions.

  1. Telehealth: As the health care cost per employee rises to approximately $14,156, employers should expect a five percent increase in the total cost of providing medical benefits to employees this year.1 Due to this increase, brokers need solutions like telehealth to drive down claims experience and offer other avenues to care for non-emergency medical situations. This year, 96% of employers will offer a telehealth benefit.1

Although many carriers embed telehealth services with major medical, they charge a consultation fee. Bundling a telehealth benefit with $0 consult fee with other products like health advocacy provides a more robust solution that saves employers more money. Without a per visit consult fee, employees utilize the benefit more frequently, driving more value for both the employer and employees.

  1. Benefit Diversity: By identifying the problems that employees struggle with the most, and offering benefits that give them the tools to overcome these obstacles, employers can achieve a positive user experience as well as benefit variety. This can include services like long term care, student loan assistance, personal financial planning, and pet insurance.
  1. Data Security: With more than 15 million victims per year, identity theft continues to be a growing concern, not only to the individual, but also to employers.2 Individuals affected by identity theft are four times more likely to utilize medical benefits and are absent from work five times more than usual.2 There are a variety of identity theft monitoring and resolution services available to help employers sustain productivity in the workplace when a cyberattack happens.

Aside from identity theft services, it is always a great idea to provide employees with tips to protect themselves from identify theft in the workplace. Remind employees to:

  • Use complex passwords
  • Lock devices
  • Question emails from unknown senders
  1. Caregiving Support: The struggle to manage caregiving on top of everyday life is stressful and can cause employees to be absent or not fully present at work. More than one in six full-time employees care for an aging loved one, but lack the resources to properly manage the many aspects of caregiving.3 Our Caregiver Support benefit gives employees access to a healthcare coach so they do not have to face caregiving hardships alone. To complement this benefit, consider offering legal aid, Worklife services or medical equipment savings. The AARP also provides many valuable resources and information for caregivers.

As employees continue to tackle life’s obstacles, it’s important that employers provide them with the best tools to ensure health in the workplace while supporting company efficiency and growth. As benefit trends shift in 2018 and there is a higher demand for new solutions, consider these strategies for your clients.

So, I leave you with one question. Are you prepared for the latest trends in 2018?

Marti Powles COO

–Marti Powles, COO



Copyright © 2018 by New Benefits, Ltd.  All rights reserved.

1 National Business Group on Health Survey

2 ID Sanctuary Premium Employer Infographic: FY18_Employer_Infographic

3 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, 2011.

New Benefits to Exhibit at KAIA 2018

Greg Schlatter, VP of Sales for New Benefits, will attend Kansas Association of Insurance Agents (KAIA) Small Agents Conference in Hutchinson, Kansas, January 23-25. The show is the largest conference of independent agents in the state, bringing together a group of approximately 600 agents for educational sessions, top-notch speakers, and networking.

Greg will discuss non-insured benefit offerings featuring our best-selling products including telemedicine, health advocacy, identity theft protection, caregiving support and more.

Please contact Kendall Mason ( for more information.

‘Tis the Season… for Identity Theft

Holiday shopping is more dangerous than you think.

Shopping has never been easier or more convenient. You can research items online, read reviews, and purchase them with your mobile phone or tablet. Carrying cash is going out of fashion—fast. According to a recent survey by U.S. Bank National Association, an overall 50% of consumers reported carrying cash less than half of the time. 47% also preferred to use digital apps to make payments.1

But with convenience also comes great risk. Last year, 15.4 million consumers were victims of identity theft or fraud, an increase of 16% from 2015.2 That number is expected to increase this year as thieves focus on sensitive digital information. It seems like a new mass-security breach is on the news every week with millions of accounts put at risk… Equifax, Netflix, and Uber have all suffered mass data breaches in the past year. The number of compromised accounts is staggering—and the damage costs add up very fast. Identity theft and fraud cost more than $16 billion for consumers in 2016.3

Fortunately, there are several basic steps you can take to help prevent identity or credit fraud during your holiday shopping. Here are our top 8 tips to stay safe:

  1. Don’t trust every online store. Fake websites are created by people who want to steal your credit card information and personal details. Before you shop online, research sites you haven’t shopped with before. Make sure they are legitimate and trustworthy with your information. If a site doesn’t seem secure, or there are reviews saying the seller can’t be trusted, take your business elsewhere.
  2. Purchase identity theft protection. Identity theft protection provides 24/7 monitoring and identity management services to help minimize the risk of an identity or fraud crisis. To discuss identity theft product options for your clients, contact New Benefits today.
  3. Never toss credit card receipts into a public trash container. We’ve all been in a situation when we don’t want a receipt (and tell the cashier to keep it, sending it straight to a general trash can). But un-shredded credit card receipts can be used to discover your full credit card number and other processing information. Instead, be sure to shred your receipts and throw them away at home.
  4. Carry receipts in your wallet instead of your shopping bag. This one can be tricky, given how busy and rushed we might feel at the register. It’s easier to throw the receipt in the bag, but it also means your credit card information is vulnerable. The receipt could fall out or be thrown away in a public trash bin and be found by thieves later.
  5. If you’re worried, pay with cash. If it doesn’t look like a business will handle your credit card information securely and safely, pay with cash instead. Be sure to carry a certain amount of cash with you just in case.
  6. When paying your bill, watch what waiters, cashiers, and bartenders are doing with your credit or debit card. One technique by fraudsters is to “skim” the credit card number and it use for later purchases. Pay close attention so this does not happen to you.
  7. When filling out applications for loans, credit, mobile phones or other services, find out how the company stores and disposes of your files. Every company has different standards for securing valuable information. Unfortunately, identity or credit thieves can exploit lax security to get your info. It’s especially important when your social security number, banking information, or tax ID is involved. Be careful when providing this information, and avoid it entirely if it’s not a requirement.
  8. Watch out for “skimmers” at public ATMs. Skimmers are devices placed over the card insert slot on ATMs designed to look like part of the machine. In reality, the credit card information is read and stored separately for a thief to retrieve later—or the information is sent directly to the nearby thief through a wireless connection. Inspect the card reader first before taking money from an ATM.

Be vigilant during your gift shopping this winter. The holidays can be stressful enough—don’t let credit or identity fraud add to it!

To protect your clients and their employees from identity theft, contact us today at or 800-800-8304.


1 US Bank: Digital Platforms Printed to Topple Cash

2 Javelin Strategy & Research: Indentity Fraud Hits Record High with 15.4 Million U.S. Victims in 2016, Up 16 Percent According to New Javelin Strategy & Research Study

3 CNBC: Identity theft, fraud cost consumers more than $16 billion

Caregiving Support: The Working Caregiver’s Oxygen Mask

Roughly 60% of the workforce belongs to the sandwich generation. Not based on a proclivity for hoagies, but named for their precarious position wedged between the demands of caring for dependent children and aging parents, these employees are struggling to juggle caregiving demands and careers.

Numerous studies, including some conducted by The MetLife Mature Market Institute (MMI) and the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) have analyzed the impact of family caregiving in the workplace. According to The MetLife Caregiving Cost Study: Productivity Losses to U.S. Business (2006), employee absenteeism, workplace disruptions, and reduced output associated with caregiving costs businesses between $17.1 and $33.6 billion per year.¹

Caregiving employees also report poorer health and more chronic disease than non-caregivers, leading to increased healthcare costs for employers. Research shows increased healthcare costs for caregivers are potentially costing U.S. employers an additional estimated $13.4 billion per year.

The caregiving challenge reminds me of a pre-flight safety speech, specifically the part demonstrating proper oxygen mask protocol. It goes something like this, “In the event of a decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically appear in front of you…. If you are traveling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask first, and then assist the other person.”

Working caregivers are passengers on a turbulent flight. Juggling the full-time demands of work and caregiving can be disruptive, stressful and costly. If employees aren’t given adequate tools to cope with these new demands, employers will ultimately pay a price. Caregiver Support programs are an oxygen mask, providing employees the help they need to stay productive, engaged, and present at work.

As our population ages (the number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to more than double from 46 million today to over 98 million by 2060²), this group of sandwiched employees will grow, contributing to new challenges in the workplace. How do we keep these employees healthy, present and focused amidst these increasing demands? How do we mitigate the impact this burden will have on healthcare costs?

It’s no small feat, but there are tools to help.

Caregiving Support services are becoming an essential employee benefit. Providing tools to reduce employee stress and anxiety, minimize absenteeism, maintain productivity, and decrease turnover, Caregiving Support benefits are a crucial tool for employers as the percentage of family caregivers in the workplace steadily rises.

Many Caregiving Support programs exist, providing dedicated coaches or a secure communication portal. One service, Cariloop, combines both. Coaches provide personal support and decision-making guidance, easing employee stress and providing peace of mind, while Cariloop’s web and mobile platform provides employees a secure place to collaborate with their dedicated healthcare coach, store important documents and communicate with family members and a designated caregiving team. The platform significantly reduces the amount of time required to communicate individually with an entire support network and eliminates time spent mailing or faxing documents back and forth. Employees caring for a family member devote 20 hours per week on average to caregiving³, making time saving tools and support critical. The online communication hub keeps everyone informed, and provides access to medical and legal documents and real-time updates, despite physical distance between loved ones.

Amanda Franklin, VP Vendor Relations–Amanda Franklin, VP Vendor Relations


2: Fact Sheet: Aging in the United States – Population Reference Bureau –


Copyright © 2017 by New Benefits, Ltd.  All rights reserved.


New Benefits Contracts with MDLIVE to Expand Telemedicine Offering

Sunrise, Fla., July 18, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — MDLIVE, a leading virtual medical and behavioral healthcare provider, today announced New Benefits, the largest discount plan organization (DPO) in the country, has added its virtual care services to broaden the telemedicine benefits offered to clients and their members. The collaboration is a response to increasing demand for convenient, quality access to 24/7/365 telemedicine services.

New Benefits’ clients, which include associations, brokerage firms, banks, credit unions and employer groups, among others, can now add MDLIVE’s virtual care services to their benefit packages. MDLIVE allows members to browse doctor profiles, view available appointment times and schedule an appointment with the doctor of their choice at a time most convenient for them.

“The promise of telemedicine and its ability to deliver convenient access to cost-effective care at the moment a person needs it continues to deliver immense value,” said Joel Ray, chief executive officer at New Benefits. “Consumers are beginning to recognize the value and convenience of telemedicine. We’re proud to offer one of the leading telemedicine providers to our clients and their members to improve access to quality care anywhere in the United States.”

“Telemedicine is delivering significant value to the healthcare industry by improving access to affordable care,” Scott Decker, chief executive officer at MDLIVE, said. “We’re proud to partner with an organization that recognizes the potential of virtual care and its ability to provide quality, cost-effective care for millions of individuals across its large client base.”

For more information, visit:


Founded in 2009, MDLIVE is a visionary and pioneer in the digital delivery of high-quality, convenient, cost-efficient virtual care for medical and behavioral health conditions. The company provides consumers, health plans, health systems and self-insured employers with 24/7/365 access to its network of board-certified doctors and licensed therapists via secure online video, and phone through the MDLIVE service and technology platform. Registered users can receive a virtual consultation through the company’s HIPAA and PHI-compliant secure, cloud-based platform from home or on the go. To learn more about how MDLIVE is using telehealth innovations to improve the delivery of healthcare, visit

About New Benefits

New Benefits is the leader in non-insured health, personal security, financial, travel and leisure benefits. We serve associations, insurance companies, banks, credit unions, brokerage/consulting firms, insurance agencies, TPAs and employers. With over 25 years in business and representing over 25 million members, our clients trust New Benefits to deliver exceptional customer service and support, superior products, administration, print services, billing and compliance while promoting integrity and honesty in the marketing of non-insured products and services. To learn more about New Benefits, visit

Sportsmanship in the Workplace

I was recently touched by admirable demonstrations of sportsmanship during this year’s Olympics. New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin stopped during the 5,000m race to help American Abbey D’Agostino after she fell, which impacted her medaling potential (but she won the Pierre de Coubertin medal celebrating sportsmanship).   Earlier this year American tennis player Jack Sock told his opponent Australian Lleyton Hewitt to challenge a call when the umpire called out the ball.  “It was in, if you want to challenge it.  Challenge it!”  And Sock was right, despite the point going to Hewitt, the ball was clearly in bounds.

Hamblin and Sock cared more about the integrity of their sport than just their own win. They saw a bigger picture. It made me think about how employees often think feedback is only about improving their own journey and not a tool to improve the overall company.

After countless interviews and feedback sessions it has become clear employees want an environment where they are given feedback and opportunities to learn and grow.   But apparently that’s only a one way street.  I started asking candidates about the hardest feedback they’ve ever provided their manager and found most didn’t really ever do it.  I get it…  you don’t want to bite the hand that feeds you.

I also learned some employees feel people in management positions should “know better.”  Apparently people in those positions are perfect (a title change on a business card is THAT magical).  So when those managers are failing, you should grab some popcorn and watch their demise.  Because they’re managers, they should “know better.”

As a manager, I gladly take on the responsibility of being held to a higher standard. But at what point are we no longer subject to fault?  Why aren’t we worthy of feedback and opportunities to grow and learn?  Do employees really think it’s better to watch us rise and fall than help us up?

I’ve been fortunate to work with a handful of people who tell it like it is.  They’ve called me out when I’ve made mistakes or could have handled a situation better.  Sometimes they don’t even have to use words; I’ve learned what their faces say.  And I trust them.  Because there isn’t an “us” vs. “them” mentality.  And there have also been times when I’ve clearly made bad decisions, my team watched me make bad decisions, and didn’t tell me.  “Why didn’t you say something?!??!  Why didn’t you stop me?!?!?”

Don’t get me wrong…  I recognize the “ideal” employer/employee arrangement requires the manager acknowledge their personal flaws or the manner they’re perceived which is hard for most, regardless of the position.  But employees can play a significant role in their manager’s success no differently than the manager can for the employee.  Because at the end of day, we’re all on one team.

small dulce

–Dulce Bozeman, EVP

Copyright © 2016 by New Benefits, Ltd.  All rights reserved.

The Many Faces of Identity Theft

If you think the only kind of identity theft is financial fraud, you’re wrong, wrong, wrong. In reality, if you’re going to experience ID theft, financial fraud is typically the least traumatic or expensive to clear up. Compare fraudulent charges on your credit card to fraudulent use of your child’s credit to purchase a home, or fraudulent use of your social security number to get thousands of dollars’ worth of medical treatment. There’s no comparison.


Today I want to share a few different types of identity theft that should be on your radar. Let’s start with medical. Thieves may use your name or health insurance information to get medical care, prescription drugs, or submit claims. If the thief’s health information is mixed with yours, think about how it could affect your insurance records and credit score. It could be very dangerous if a thief gets medical treatment in your name and incorrect health information is stored on your medical record. According to EY Research, the black market value of a medical record has spiked from $50 in 2014 to $700 in 2015 because they are densely rich with personal information. In fact, IBM data shows health care took the top spot in cyberattacks in 2015, with 111 million health records compromised that year.

Next, if you pay taxes, your identity is at risk. Tax fraud occurs when an identity thief uses your Social Security number to file for and collect your tax refund before you do. Then, when you file your legitimate return, IRS records will reject it as a duplicate. Dealing with this type of theft is a nuisance, as the process to prove “you are you” is tedious, time consuming and you have to deal with the Federal Government.

Last but not least, your child’s credit is a prime target for identity thieves because their credit is pristine and scammers can usually get away with the crime until the child turns 18. An estimated 140,000 identity frauds are committed against minors each year, according to FTC identity protection specialist Steve Toporoff. They can open bank accounts, credit cards, personal loans, student loans, car loans, and mortgages; rent an apartment; purchase smartphones, utilities, cable, internet; obtain illegal jobs; and get government benefits.

The first line of defense against these types of identity theft is a proactive monitoring product like ID Sanctuary. To learn more about group sales or for more information visit or call 855-647-6768.

Marti Powles COO–Marti Powles, COO

Copyright © 2016 by New Benefits, Ltd.  All rights reserved.

Engaging Millennials in the Workforce

While reading the latest issue of Benefitspro Magazine, I stumbled upon an intriguing statistic: “More than 1 in 3 American workers today are millennials (adults ages 18 to 34), and they have officially surpassed Generation X to become the largest segment of the American workforce.”[1]

The article goes on to discuss how this group expects to receive information. For millennials, it’s all about instant gratification. They want access at their fingertips – online and on their mobile devices. Millennials want to be connected with everything – just look at the way they “connect” to friends, companies, and brands through social media.

ThinkstockPhotos-472848510There’s a lesson here for the insurance industry:  In order to reach this generation, we need to engage them with technology and, you guessed it, mobile apps. The good news is several employee benefit apps already exist. It’s our job as consultants to make employees aware of these apps and when to use them.

Top Five Benefit Mobile Apps for Millennials

  1. Acute care: Although millennials may feel invincible, they still get sick. Most telehealth providers offer a mobile app to access physicians 24/7. Employees can reach doctors anytime, anywhere – even on weekends and late at night. It’s perfect for millennials who are constantly on the go and don’t want to be held up by a cough, cold, or flu.
  2. Healthcare advice: Many millennials are new to the workforce and don’t understand insurance. Health advocacy mobile apps provide a place to call for questions related to benefits, insurance, doctors, treatments, and more.
  3. Health questions: Everyone has health questions, like how to sleep better or how to treat a bug bite. Millennials turn to Google for answers, but the sources can rarely be trusted. Instead, they could be using an app like eDocAmerica to consult with a medical team via messaging on the app.
  4. Healthcare costs: Since millennials may not have paid for medical services before, a price transparency tool is paramount to show them the vast difference in cost among various providers. Employees will not only save money, but also learn to make educated healthcare decisions.
  5. Food, travel, and events: Millennials are big on experiences. Beyond health benefits, employers can provide discount apps to help employees save on restaurants, concerts, excursions, and travel.

New technologies and solutions are launched so quickly it is often hard to keep up. As an industry, we need to recognize how millennials want to receive information, embrace these changes, and incorporate these technologies into our own businesses. Mobile apps will continue to increase in popularity, and if the insurance industry doesn’t get on board, we’ll be left behind. According to a recent Barclays study, 6 out of 10 employees rate a comprehensive benefit package as a high priority when looking for a new job. So the more you can diversify your offerings and appeal to more audiences, the better.

Brian Latkowski–Brian Latkowski, EVP

Copyright © 2016 by New Benefits, Ltd.  All rights reserved.

[1] Pew Research Center, “Millennials surpass Gen Xers as the largest population in U.S. labor force,” Richard Fry, May 11, 2015

How you DON’T create a company culture

I’m always asked, “Why do you like working here?”  Hands down… the culture.

However, I don’t think you can create a company culture.  You believe in the company.  You believe in the people.  That becomes the culture.

I believe in our CEO.  I believe in his passion and his commitment.  I believe in him as a person.  It’s easy to follow the leader when you believe in the leader.

I approach work very similarly to the way I approach personal relationships.  I’m personally close to and nurture relationships with people with whom I connect, people who have similar interests, people who bring me joy, people who are hard-working, people who like to have fun, people who are drama-free, people who are low-maintenance.

While some may disagree, I think establishing personal relationships with co-workers is incredibly important to a positive work culture.  It just organically produces good work.  This company taught me personal investment.  Through high expectations and incredibly candid (and sometimes incredibly tough) feedback, I grew with every failure.  Over the years I realized my motivation for getting my job done was driven by my personal connection to the company and the people within it, not my job description.  I wanted to make my managers proud.  Because I like them.  Because I care for them.  Because they care for me.  I never intended to stay at New Benefits when I first applied to be the receptionist (which I didn’t get).  16 years and probably a good 10 positions later, they’re my second family.

My work family is comprised of people who exhibit the following traits (to name a few):

  • Teamwork
  • Motivation
  • Consideration
  • Selflessness
  • Happiness
  • Excellence

Those are the people who make up our culture.  Our culture is people.

Don’t get me wrong…  We have plenty of paycheck employees.  And that’s okay.  But those who are emotionally connected, those who are genuinely interested in their professional growth, those who welcome higher expectations…  those are the ones who can inspire the next generation of employees.

And it’s more important than ever because the latest generation of employees are job hoppers.  I actually kinda get it… the days of settling down with one employer are long gone.  Personal connections to a company are no longer necessary.  The number of likes and followers on social media now validates a person’s existence so the need to feel a part of something bigger (and actually real) is unnecessary.  And that’s sad to me.

Thankfully, I didn’t just cash a check.  I got the opportunity to feel the growing pains.  I got to see the excitement of automation and the incredible impact it had on the business.  I got to see the company move the holiday party from our CEO’s office (we all managed to squeeze in there) to an outside venue and being completely stoked about it.  I got an opportunity to watch the underdog work their tail off and be promoted numerous times into the perfect position.

That was just the beginning and there’s plenty more exciting changes to come.  And it’s those people who want to be part of a company, its DNA, that make the culture.  Because they’re not just employees…  they’re family.
small dulce

-Dulce Bozeman, EVP

Copyright © 2016 by New Benefits, Ltd.  All rights reserved.

Breaches and Beyond

Did you know you’re at risk of identity theft when you shop online, go to the doctor, or even sign up for a social network? Every 2 seconds there’s another victim. In other words, it’s not a matter of if, but when your identity will be stolen.

Think about the major data breaches that have plagued society in the past few years. They have exposed millions of consumers’ personal information. Target. The Home Depot. LinkedIn. The IRS. Anthem. The list goes on and on.

And it gets worse. 1 in 5 victims of data breaches experience fraud. Dealing with fraud is a complete nightmare, especially when you’re doing it on your own. It takes an average of 6 months and 200 hours for an employee to restore their identity. Fraud also takes its toll on their employer. When do you think employees will need to make the phone calls to restore their credit? During business hours, of course. Stress: 1, Productivity: 0.

It’s time to inform your clients about the potential productivity loss due to identity theft and introduce a product to help protect their employees. ID Sanctuary Premium warns employees if any suspicious activity is found as they monitor their personal information in a myriad of ways including change of address, court records, credit scores, public records, chat rooms and websites.

And if an employee experiences fraud, one call to ID Sanctuary will connect them with a fraud specialist providing unlimited restoration support.

Visit our website or call us to discuss how to start offering this program to your clients. | 855.647.6768

Marti Powles COOMarti Powles, COO

Copyright © 2016 by New Benefits, Ltd.  All rights reserved.

Sources: “2016 Identity Fraud Report: Fraud Hits an Inflection Point,” Javelin Strategy & Research. Federal Trade Commission. 

Life is unpredictable. Control what you can.

I just turned 64 and for the second time in my life (the first was immediately after 9/11) I fear for the safety and security of my family. Building a bunker and stocking it with rations isn’t an option because I’m an optimistic guy and believe our nation and the world will overcome the madness. However, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared in the event one of the bad guys steals my identity, I’m in the wrong place at the wrong time like what happened recently in Paris or San Bernardino, or I’m stranded on the side of a busy freeway or country road in a motor vehicle with a dead battery, flat tire or needing a tow.

According to Richard Clarke, former National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism for the United States, 80% of Americans have already had their identity compromised. As a result, millions of Americans complain to the Federal Trade Commission each year about their identity being stolen.

Since 2013, millions of taxpayers have lost refunds to identity thieves stealing their personal information and filing tax returns with the IRS before they did. Medical ID theft is becoming more of a target for identity thieves; and what chance do we have when major corporations, banks, insurance companies, the postal service, the federal government, and even the IRS have been successfully hacked by identity thieves and foreign governments?

The answer to this question of course is “no chance” so it seemed like the perfect time for New Benefits to develop a premium identity theft product. Because there are quite a few ID theft products in the marketplace, ours had to be the very best or we could simply continue offering products from other companies. As such, we spent almost two years developing ID Sanctuary Premium and are proud to announce it is immediately available to our Marketers for resale to their customers.

Rather than go through all the benefits of ID Sanctuary Premium in this blog, please go to for a full explanation of our identity theft, global travel assist, and roadside assistance package. It is by far the most complete safety, security and protection product in the marketplace today and is offered exclusively by New Benefits – a 25 year leader in the non-insured benefits industry with an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau.

Unlike most, if not all, identity theft products offered as a voluntary benefit, ID Sanctuary can be co-branded, combined with other products, and is supported with videos, marketing materials and training. Additionally, this premium product can be purchased by brokers at wholesale rates which are typically less than half of what major brands are being sold for today. Therefore, it is not unusual for commissions on ID Sanctuary Premium to be double (around 60%) what they are from identity theft competitors.

Real Life Case: My daughter lives in Chicago with her husband and two month old daughter (our first grandchild). Her wallet was stolen from a purse hanging on the chair behind her back at a busy restaurant. Within 24 hours, the thief tried opening an account with T.J. Maxx but ID Sanctuary sent an email warning someone was attempting to open a credit line in her name and the account was not opened. However, several days later the thief successfully withdrew $5,000 from her savings account because the bank didn’t check for proper identification. The bank eventually replaced the $5,000 but not before a trained representative from ID Sanctuary intervened on my daughter’s behalf saving her from the time and aggravation of fighting with the bank making the mistake in the first place.

The fact is no person, product or company can guarantee your identity won’t be stolen, you won’t be in the wrong place at the wrong time, or stranded on a busy highway or deserted road. However, for a few dollars a month, ID Sanctuary Premium can provide peace of mind to your customers knowing that if something bad happens, there are trained professionals standing by to help. Purchasing ID Sanctuary is like locking the door of your home and setting an alarm – you are much better protected by taking proactive steps to secure your property and wellbeing.

Please contact your account executive or me if you would like more information on how to get started.


Joel Ray, CEO of New Benefits

Joel Ray, CEO

800.800.8304 x 1615

Identity Theft: It’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when it will happen to you!

Brian LatkowskiMy Story

I submitted my 2014 tax return on April 15th of 2015.  I am rarely a “last minute guy” on anything I do, but when the Federal Government comes calling for money, I’ll wait until the last possible minute to mail in my return.  Two weeks later, I received a letter in the mail from the IRS requesting a call.  My first thought was, “Oh my gosh… I’m being audited and I need to call my accountant immediately.” After examining the letter more closely, the IRS was asking me to verify my identity.  I could not believe it, was this really happening to me?  There is no possible way my identity could be stolen; I am the guy that shreds everything!  Calling the IRS is scary. My mind began swimming with questions: Am I actually talking to the IRS? How long is this going to take?  The representative grilled me about my financial life as far as 10 years back to verify my identity. Then they told me someone had filed an erroneous tax return in my name.

The good news is the IRS didn’t pay out my refund to the thief. The IRS caught 19 million suspicious tax returns last year and blocked more than $63 billion in fraudulent refunds. On the other hand, fraudsters still walked away with $5.8 billion in tax refunds the same year.[i] Lesson learned: call the IRS immediately if you receive a notification like I did!

Talk About Stress

The IRS mailed me information on steps to take and entities to contact to resolve the issue. It took me a full two weeks and time away from work to make the calls (none of the offices were open nights or weekends). I waited an additional two months before the IRS confirmed my tax return was filed appropriately and my identity theft incident was put on my record. Beyond the time and effort I spent correcting this issue, the anxiety and stress made it difficult to manage everything else going on at work and at home.

Now that I’m a member of ID Sanctuary Premium, a service that monitors my PII (personally identifiable information) and sends me a monthly report confirming my good name, I have a greater level of comfort. While no company can guarantee my identity won’t be stolen, having this service working behind the scenes greatly helps. They regularly scan databases, internet surveillance and other reports for your PII, alert you if suspicious activity is found, and will walk you step-by-step through the resolution process if needed so you won’t have to do it on your own.

Why Employers Should Pay Attention

Identity theft protection needs to be integrated into client conversations just like telehealth. ID Theft Protection is just as important as medical insurance to keep employees safe. What’s in it for employers? Peace of mind leads to increased productivity, reduced presenteeism, and decreased absenteeism. Employees can strike a better work/life balance when they have someone on their side to help with these time-consuming issues.

A month ago, I received a letter from the IRS with a special PIN. I am not able to file my 2015 taxes without this PIN, which is supposed to help block additional fraudulent filings in my name. However, if you’ve seen the latest news, the IRS was just hacked and millions of these PINs were stolen. Comforting, right? Take it from me—get educated on ID theft and be proactive in monitoring and guarding your identity. It could be the difference between collecting your own refund check this year and letting a scam artist take your money.

–Brian Latkowski, EVP of Sales

Copyright © 2016 by New Benefits, Ltd.  All rights reserved.

[i] ABC News, 2015

A Scary Reality: Identity Thieves Are Focusing on Children

No credit, no reason to worry about identity theft. Right? Not true. In fact, cyberthieves are now directly targeting children because of their clean credit and the likelihood this breach will not be discovered for several years. There are steps every parent should take to protect their children and reduce the risk of becoming a victim.

“One-in-five U.S. households has been notified by a school of a data breach that exposed the students’ information, according to a survey released in October by the National Cyber Security Alliance. Breaches affecting children also can occur in the commercial realm. VTech Holdings Ltd., a Hong Kong-based digital-learning toy maker, said in December that names, genders and birth dates of 6.5 million of its child users were exposed in a data breach. About 2.9 million were U.S. children.

The credit-reporting companies say the onus is on parents to detect thefts of their children’s identities. Parents can protect their children a number of ways, starting with teaching them not to share too much information online, says Ms. Velasquez. ‘If your kids are allowed to have access to the Internet, it leaves them vulnerable the same way it would if you let them play in the park by themselves,’ she says.”

Continue reading The Next Big Target for Identity Thieves: Children published by the Wall Street Journal by Priya Anand here.

Why Did You Put the Banana in the Cage?

small dulceI am fortunate to be involved in almost every new employee’s training at New Benefits. I don’t just train employees who report to me; in fact the majority of employees aren’t my immediate reports. Training is valuable for many reasons beyond teaching employees how to do something. I look at training as Phase Two of the interview. I establish a relationship with them, identify their learning style, and can oftentimes anticipate what type of employee they’re going to be. Employees’ engagement in training is very telling of their journey at the company.

My latest training epiphany stemmed from being a trainee.  I needed to get into the weeds to fully understand what my new hires were going through. I’m acutely aware staff begrudgingly accepted my attendance because my presence doubled the allotted time simply because they knew I would ask why.  And I was going to document the heck out of their answers.  Learning from employees, especially those who have done the job for years, led me to ask the question –

Why did you put the banana in the cage?

In other words: Why did you just do that step? What happens to the banana? Is an animal coming to eat it? Is the banana going to rot in the cage? In other words: Is there a rational explanation for this step? What did that step do for us?

Regrettably, “I don’t know” or “because that’s what I was told to do” was a common response.  My primary focus during training is explaining the “why.”  If they click on a checkbox, I need them to understand why the checkbox exists, what it does, and who it impacts.  Otherwise they’re just putting the banana in the cage.  It’s incredibly important they know how the watch was made, not just that it tells time.  How did we get here?  What led us to make the decisions in place?  Expounding on how we operate as a business helps the new hire understand all perspectives and the flexibility that drives some of our decision-making.

In a recent conversation about a process, I was told sometimes mistakes were made because employees were rushing to get it done within a specified timeframe.  Great!  You got it done on time.  It was done wrong, but yay for getting it done wrong quickly!  Understanding both the “how” and the “why” of a process allows employees to know the end goal. Even though we have timeframes, finishing a process within this timeframe is NOT the end goal. The end goal is completing the process successfully so the next step can happen, then the next step, then the next step.

Getting into the weeds of our processes also reminded me sometimes it’s easier to put the banana in the cage and point to the individual that requested it be placed there, than to take responsibility for your own actions.  If you don’t know why you’re doing something or you’re doing something just because someone else told you to, then it’s time to rethink your role and impact you want to have on the business. dumb and dumber

Discovering why the banana is put in the cage takes longer—it’s not the easiest route. But if you are truly putting the business first, you should scrutinize each task and seek ways to improve it. At the end of the day, you have to care enough to ask the question.  It’s your responsibility. Don’t put the onus on someone else.

–Dulce Bozeman, Executive Vice President

Copyright © 2016 by New Benefits, Ltd.  All rights reserved.




Reflections on our 25 Year Journey

Today, it’s a rare thing for a company to celebrate 25 years in business. As a pioneer in the non-insured benefits industry, New Benefits is proud to accomplish this milestone. As such, this is a good time to take a step back and reflect on how we arrived at this point in our journey. Below are memories and stories from a few of the people who have contributed to our success along the way.

Joel RayJoel Ray, CEO & Founder, 25 years

What is the biggest change you have experienced at New Benefits?

“Going from a single health product (Coast to Coast Vision) in 1990 to providing customers with an array of 35 health and lifestyle related products today. The expression, “the only thing constant is change” really resonates at NB because I never would have dreamed in the beginning that one day we would service millions of members across such a wide spectrum of broker relationships and industries.”

How would you describe New Benefits’ culture?

“In the beginning, our culture was: all hands on deck; do what you need to do to keep the lights on. As in all early cycle companies, many of us wore several hats. A vivid memory was a client calling after we were in business approximately three years and asked why I was answering the phone. While I no longer answer incoming calls in customer service, our culture has never wavered from being a company ‘with all hands on deck.’

Additionally, our culture has always been one of innovation, flexibility, leadership, integrity and passion. I’ve always believed if a company  stops pursuing perfection,  it will become less relevant over time and vanish along with Blockbuster, Polaroid, and Worldcom – just to mention a few.”

What are your favorite or funniest memories?

“For many years at our annual holiday party, Terry and I would sing karaoke. Terry would have the song and act picked out, bring in a boombox, and we would practice for hours.  Most memorable were “I Got You Babe” by Sonny and Cher (I was Cher and Terry was Sonny) and Grease (John Travolta and Olivia Newton John).”

IMGP4482_small square

Terry Ray, President, 20 years

What is the biggest change you have experienced at New Benefits?

“In the 25 years we’ve been in business, I’ve been part of this company for 20 and a client for three years before starting here, and the biggest change is what we learned about ourselves—that we could overcome just about any hurdle. When you’re small, the ups are really high and the lows are really low because you tend to put so many eggs in one basket. We’ve overcome every hurdle and come out stronger on the other side. We’ve learned from every challenge. And we found out when we set our mind to something, there isn’t anything we can’t do.”

How would you describe New Benefits’ culture?

“I’d like to think I’m personally responsible for crafting the culture we have. I’ve always understood the importance of culture because of my seven years at Apple where culture was huge. After coming to New Benefits, I thought we could make this even better than Apple—we can craft our own culture and values. If you don’t have certain inherent values and you don’t look for those values in your candidates for hire, you won’t be able to sustain the culture. I’ve always looked for people who are going to reflect our values… people who have a sparkle. People who look at this as a journey, not a job, and want to make a difference. That’s the glue that holds us together culturally. We do everything in our power to invest in our people so they are constantly prepared to carry the value torch.”

What are your favorite or funniest memories?

“One of my favorite memories was years ago, when we were in the old building, and we got our first big fulfillment order and most of us stayed until the wee hours of the morning stuffing envelopes. That’s a fond memory because most of our employees today will never understand what we went through to make this company what it is. We had to get our hands really dirty! Clean toilets, sweep floors–do whatever it took to launch the business.”

Marti Powles COOMarti Powles, Chief Operating Officer, 21 years

What is the biggest change you have experienced at New Benefits?

“When Mike and I started working at New Benefits, there were four other employees. We now have 85 employees in the company. Additionally, over the years we have moved from the very small office space we occupied in 1993 to our current building which we have remodeled to feel like a home.”

How would you describe New Benefits’ culture?

“Our culture is a friendly, family environment. When guests visit our office they often comment how happy our employees are and want to know our secret. The secret is to hire employees that live our core values on a daily basis and want to be a part of something bigger than themselves.”

What are your favorite or funniest memories?

“Employee events such as Joel Ray Day (Chili Cook-off), Cinco De Mayo, Halloween Costume Contest, Thanksgiving Lunch and Holiday parties are the most memorable to me. We work hard, but always take time to celebrate.”

small dulceDulce Bozeman, Executive Vice President, 16 years

What is the biggest change you have experienced at New Benefits?

“The biggest change I have experienced is the automation of processes and the impact it has had on our growth.  Working smarter and aligning ourselves with individuals who see the bigger picture has played a significant role in our success over the years.”

How would you describe New Benefits’ culture?

“NB’s culture is largely comprised of individuals who consider their jobs an extension of themselves.  Individuals who operate differently but toward the same goal.  Individuals who know how to have fun while getting the work done.  Individuals who develop relationships with other another and, ultimately, people who care about their success and the impact they have on the business.”

What are your favorite or funniest memories?

“There have been so many memorable moments during my tenure with New Benefits but I would say holiday performances at our company party have always been the most entertaining.  Some of the best and worst singers/dancers have surfaced during karaoke and/or choreographed performances.  To think our karaoke was once held in Joel’s office behind his desk in the early 2000’s further illustrates the fun family environment we’ve worked so hard to maintain over the years.”

Mike-Crop-RT small squareMike Vance, VP Print Services, 21 years

What is the biggest change you have experienced at New Benefits?

“The evolution of our membership materials and the print process has been the biggest change I have experienced. We started with a machine which printed plastic cards one at a time by hand insertion. Now we have a fully automated color printer where we can produce 3,000 cards an hour.”

How would you describe New Benefits’ culture?

“Creative, fun, and ever-changing… but the biggest is passion. People here have a passion for the concept and each other—we stay late and get the job done. Joel isn’t a typical CEO. He comes in on weekends and stays late; he has the same passion today as when he started the company.”

RichardBrown_ImageRichard Brown, Programmer & Analyst, 21 years

What is the biggest change you have experienced at New Benefits?

“All change has been positive and moving us forward. Hiring Mike, Marti and Terry was probably the most important change. Joel brought some very smart people into the operation to advance the firm, even though he may not have been able to afford to at the time.”

How would you describe New Benefits’ culture?

“Never stay stagnant.”

This Holiday Season, Don’t Be Surprised by Unwanted ‘Gifts’

ThinkstockPhotos-478407254Cyber criminals are busy hiding malicious advertisements in online shopping sites.


Consumers and online retailers beware. ’Tis the season for a spike in malicious advertisements, or malvertisements.

Cyber criminals have made a fine art out of imperceptibly slipping malicious ads onto popular shopping websites. And they gear up to swarm the Internet with malvertisements during the upcoming holiday shopping season.

Most website publishers generally are not equipped to detect malvertisements that typically come and go, the better to elude antivirus filters.

This seasonal phenomenon continues to pose a major security threat for consumers and retailers alike.

Online shoppers who navigate to the wrong website at the wrong moment can get their computing devices infected—turning over control to these attackers—simply by visiting a webpage carrying a corrupted ad.

Malicious ads basically are online advertisements crafted to deliver spyware, ransomware and other malware on to end-user systems. They usually are rendered as targeted pop-up advertisements or as banner ads on online retail sites, news portals, social media sites and gaming and adult platforms.

Unlike other malware delivery mechanisms, which require the victim to click on a link, open an email attachment, or take some other action, malvertisements often require no user interaction in order to work.

Sometimes, the mere act of visiting a webpage with malicious ads on it is enough to infect a system. In other cases, users can infect their computers when they are lured into clicking on rogue Flash updates, fake Java updates, and fake anti-virus alerts.

Malvertising multiplies

Over the past two years, malvertisements have emerged as a weapon of choice for cyber criminals trying to break into business and consumer systems. In the first half of 2015, the number of malvertisements in the wild increased by a stunning 260 percent over the same period last year, according to security vendor RiskIQ. Between January and June this year, RiskIQ counted 80,000 unique malvertisements compared to the 50,000 samples it observed in the first half of 2014.

Contributing to the surging volume is the increasing automation of the online ad purchase process, according to the vendor. The machine-to-machine ecosystem of the online ad world has created more opportunities for cyber criminals to try and exploit advertising for the purposes of distributing malware.

Kevin Epstein, vice president of operations at email security vendor Proofpoint Inc., said the massive increase in volume is testimony to the effectiveness of malvertising as a malware delivery system. “The average user is not prepared for malvertising,” Epstein says. “It’s the online equivalent of walking into a mall and being pickpocketed.”

Little skill needed to create chaos

The relative ease with which cyber criminals can insert a malicious ad into the online ad chain is one major reason why malvertisements have become such a popular malware distribution method, Epstein said.

Typically, larger websites receive ads through multiple ad brokers and ad networks in a completely automated fashion and do little to filter the material for malware. The malvertisements often are tailored for individual users based on their browsing habits, location, demographics and other factors. By inserting a malicious ad into the online ad distribution and delivery chain and specifying a target demographic for the ad, criminals have a relatively easy way of distributing malware to targeted victims.

The huge volume of ads flowing through these networks makes it very hard to spot ads that are laced with malicious code and harder still to identify the individuals who placed the ads into the system.

Automation makes attack easier

The automated nature of the online ad business also has made it easier for attackers to infiltrate legitimate websites with malicious display ads. In this scenario, attackers might display legitimate, malware-free ads on a target website for several months to establish legitimacy and credibility on the site. They then start lacing their display ads with malware code capable of infecting the systems of those who view the advertisement or merely land on a webpage displaying it.

Often such malicious display ads are placed on trusted, highly trafficked websites. Over the past few months, for instance, the websites of eBay, Forbes, and the UK’s Daily Mirror were all used to serve up malicious display ads to potentially millions of users worldwide. Security experts believe that thousands of other sites are likely similarly infected without the website owners’ knowledge.

“You can say I want my ads to go to only a specific gender within a certain age group and within a certain geographic location,” Epstein said. “If you are one of those targets, when the ad is shown in your browser, instead of just displaying an innocent picture or video, it will also use an exploit kit to find a hole to sneak malware onto your system.”

Businesses also at risk

Malvertisements pose a threat not just to consumers, but also to businesses and the websites that are used to serve up these ads, said Ben Johnson, chief security strategist at security vendor Bit9.

An employee browsing a website containing a malicious ad can easily infect a corporate system or network with spyware, ransomware and other rogue software. For the websites that unknowingly display these ads, the concerns have to do more with brand and reputational damage.

Consumers need to be aware of the threat and take appropriate steps to mitigate risk, Johnson said. Applying proper security patches and keeping systems updated for instance can reduce the risk of malware infections for both consumers and corporations.

Similarly, disabling Flash and Java, especially while shopping online can mitigate the risk of malicious pop-up ads being served up on a system, he said. Instead of having the system automatically open an Adobe PDF document for instance, it is better to configure the browser to execute a plug-in only when a user clicks on it.

Website owners should not assume that ad brokers and others in the online advertising stream are vetting advertisements for malicious code before serving them up to users, Johnson said. Instead, they should consider investing in tools or services that help them review and scan the advertisements that are being delivered to users via their website, he said.

Today’s Healthcare Providers Need a Checkup

When you take the pulse of today’s healthcare providers, you’ll discover they face an onslaught of challenges: stiff competition, shrinking insurance reimbursements, and lack of patient compliance with treatment plans. However, one of their greatest obstacles is the lengthy delay they experience in reimbursements from insurance carriers.  Fortunately, we’ve got the perfect cure: non-insured benefits.

Take two discount programs and call me in the morning

Non-insured benefits can create a new profit center for healthcare providers. In particular, discount programs like dental or vision help providers get paid quickly. With these dynamic solutions, patients must pay the total discounted rate at the time of service. This means providers don’t have to worry about claims being denied or the time it takes to be reimbursed by insurance carriers.

To top it off, non-insured programs often generate patient loyalty for a healthcare provider—particularly when the clinic offers a discount on their own services along with the benefit program offering.

Case in point: We at New Benefits have a highly successful client who sells a benefit program within dentist offices. As part of the package, dental providers offer a discount on their services along with several other benefits. Not only does this keep patients coming back, but the dental office also generates monthly revenue from the membership program.

Another example is a booming Texas-based urgent care center that offers a non-insured package to patients. They add thousands of new members per location each year, which has resulted in a major revenue boost for their organization (to the tune of several million dollars). This organization has also enjoyed an increase in repeat patients and higher utilization of their additional services, such as immunizations and school/sports physicals. To top it off, they use the program to differentiate themselves from other clinics in the area. Because they offer a healthcare discount program that saves their customers a significant amount of money, the urgent care center has gained a serious edge on their competition. In fact, they have become the go-to clinic for their community.

A simple remedy

In today’s tumultuous healthcare climate, many healthcare providers are in need of a fresh solution. Non-insured benefits could be the cure they so desperately need. These programs not only expand the services healthcare providers offer; they also increase provider brand recognition through a private label program. Additionally, non-insured programs offer immediate income for healthcare providers since patients must pay on the spot.

Health providers have been discounting their services to insurance companies for years. This is their opportunity to “sell” this discount directly to patients—and in turn, generate more revenue and boost patient loyalty.

Marti Powles COO–Marti Powles, COO

Copyright © 2015 by New Benefits, Ltd.  All rights reserved.

sick woman needs telemedicine

Modern Times Call for Modern Benefits

We’ve all been here… It’s 10pm on a Saturday and you start to feel sick. Your options are limited: you can wait until Monday morning when your doctor’s office opens, but you know you will have to wait quite a while before being seen. Plus you’ll have to take at least a couple hours off work to see the doc. What about urgent care? The ones near your house aren’t open past 9pm. It seems the only remaining option would be the Emergency Room, even though it’s not an emergency, so there is no way that is happening.  So now what?

Don’t let this situation happen to your clients and their employees. Since the ACA, emergency room visits have increased as well as the wait times in the doctor’s office. 28% of emergency department physicians report a significant increase in emergency patients since the ACA was adopted.[i] And in Boston, patients can wait up to 66 days for an appointment with a family physician.[ii] What’s the solution?

The Telehealth Solution

Telehealth provides employees with 24/7 virtual access to physicians who can typically prescribe medication when needed for those pesky acute illnesses we all face.  They can consult with doctors by phone or video chat, and 70% of typical doctor visits can be handled effectively over the phone.[iii] But it’s not just about the convenience. This benefit diverts employees away from costly emergency room and urgent care visits, saving their employers money in the long run. Telemedicine can result in $300 to $1,000 in claims cost savings from a single use.[iv]  It is these redirection of claims that have the greatest impact on a group’s plan.


Telehealth isn’t the only non-insurance benefit that should be on your radar. Our TelePack is a bundle of products and services—truly a complete solution for brokers wanting to not only reduce healthcare spend, but also encourage employees to be better consumers of healthcare. New Benefits’ TelePack includes Telehealth, Health Advocate Services, eDocAmerica and Health Wealth Connection.


Many times throughout the year consumers may have health-related questions and curiosities that don’t warrant seeing a doctor. How do they research? Google and WebMD. This leads to self-diagnosis and often irrelevant and misleading information. eDocAmerica provides employees email access to a team of medical professionals to answer their questions personally and securely.

Health Advocate Services

Health Advocate comes in when employees want to know more about their health plan, medical treatments, or medical bills. Advocates can locate doctors, coordinate care and even resolve claims. With Health Advocate as a resource, employees spend less time burdening HR with these questions and challenges.

Health Wealth Connection

In one of Marti’s blogs, she mentioned stressed employees rack up 46% higher healthcare costs than their more relaxed co-workers, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Employers have every incentive to help their employees reduce stress and stay healthy. Health Wealth Connection is unique in that it provides resources and information not only on physical and mental health, but also financial wellbeing including tips on saving money, debt consolidation and retirement planning.

Call Us.

Our TelePack is already being offered by Fortune 500 companies, restaurant chains, school systems, and more. In fact, 70% of employers who are presented with these programs purchase them for their employees. Bring this benefit solution to your clients before they ask for it. Contact me today to discuss how I can help you create a program to meet your clients’ needs.

Raygin- small square–Raygin Burris, Director of Business Development

Copyright © 2015 by New Benefits, Ltd.  All rights reserved.

[i] American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), 2015.

[ii] Merritt Hawkins’ 2014 survey

[iii] American Medical Association

[iv] American Medical Association

Battle of the Bulge: 3 Creative Ways to Combat Employee Obesity

Friendship and fitness in the parkAmerica’s obesity epidemic is weighing heavily on our healthcare system, and employers are paying the hefty price. More than half (57%) of American workers now classify themselves as overweight, up from 55% last year[1]. To make matters worse, obesity can lead to costly healthcare issues, from heart disease to diabetes. In fact, obesity now exceeds smoking as the most expensive health threat in America, adding a whopping $190 billion to the national healthcare price tag each year[2].

Unless employers want to foot the bill for these pricey health problems, it’s in their best interest to help employees slim down and get fit. Now is the time for brokers to introduce creative programs for employers to encourage healthy behaviors—and in turn, tighten the belt on healthcare costs.

Here are three unique slim-down solutions for employers:

#1: Biometric Screenings

Biometric screenings are an effective way to discover employee health issues before they become major problems and cost the employer big bucks. Because these screenings often catch health risks early on, employees have time to seek medical attention and change their habits. Perhaps that’s why the percentage of employers offering Biometric screenings have leaped from 29% to 41% this year[3].

#2: Health Challenges

The number of employers offering health or fitness challenges jumped from 52% in 2012 to 59% in 2014[4]. These challenges tap into workers’ competitive spirit and motivate them to get fit. Here at New Benefits, we hold a yearly Slimpossible contest where employees create teams and win cash for the highest percentage of weight loss. Contestants weigh in every Friday. They must pay one dollar if they gain weight or five dollars if they choose to skip the weigh-in. It’s a great team-building exercise and a fun way to make employees more mindful of their eating and exercise habits.

#3: Wellness Programs

According to Optum, 80% of wellness budgets have increased or stayed the same this past year, and it’s no wonder why. Wellness programs help employees stay fit and maintain a healthy lifestyle. At New Benefits, we offer two distinct wellness solutions.

First, there’s Health Wealth Connection, a comprehensive information resource for employees looking to improve both their physical and financial health. Since financial stress can unquestionably lead to poor physical health, employees benefit from having unlimited access to articles and videos from experts like Suze Orman and Deepak Chopra. Secondly, we offer MyEWellness, another creative solution that provides employees with personalized fitness plans, guided assessments and health-related articles and tips.

Of course, these are just a few ways employers can encourage workers to stay healthy, happy and productive. Employers may also consider providing healthy food options at the office. For example, New Benefits provides employees with nutritious breakfast options including fruit, yogurt, oatmeal and granola bars every Friday. This is a cost effective way to get employees thinking about what they eat—not to mention a powerful way to boost morale and productivity.

Marti Powles COO–Marti Powles, COO

Copyright © 2015 by New Benefits, Ltd.  All rights reserved.

[1] According to a survey of 3,105 full-time non-government and not self-employed workers aged 18 and over by the Harris Poll on behalf of between February 11 and March 6, 2015.

[2] According to a 2012 Reuters report.  [3] Source: Optum [4] Source: Optum