Businesses, and Their Leaders, Should Keep The Faith

“In the spirit of American tolerance of religious diversity, A&E should reinstate Mr. Robertson and apologize for its religious bigotry,” quote from the Liberty Institute.

I’d like Duck Dynasty to remain on television but I support the Robertson Family in taking the show off television, if Phil, the owner and leader, can’t remain part of it.

The FOX article, “Duck Dynasty: Can’t imagine show going on without Phil” was sent to me by my oldest son, it’s worth a read, our younger generation gets it, maybe us older PC crowd should finally get it too. The video interview is also good, go to the article to watch it.

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Duck Dynasty Show Can’t imagine show without Phil

“In the spirit of American tolerance of religious diversity, A&E should reinstate Mr. Robertson and apologize for its religious bigotry,” quote from the Liberty Institute.

Personally, I stand united with loving each individual as the God given gift they are. This includes loving those who’ve chosen a path different than mine, but they should allow me the right to work and live free to share my faith. If you’ve ever felt like you can’t speak up for your faith, or you’ve been shamed into being silent, you’ve been silenced by the PC crowd. It’s not hate speech to say you don’t believe in some behavior. Why do 1.2-5.6% of our society dictate so much to the remaining 97% of us, see chart below on the numbers.

This is a great article about a company whose existence reflects their faith, I’ve read their books and heard them speak. These are regular Americans, like the rest of us, and I love the message of faith they’ve brought into our home. Business owners, like Phil, have built their companies on the rules God gave us, it’s obvious to many who use those rules to build a business.


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Business leaders have come under attack in the last decade like never before. Perhaps deserved in some regards, but the bullying of leadership that expresses an opinion is unamerican.

Phil Robertson spoke his firmly held beliefs and A&E chose to terminate his show. They ended his livelihood because individuals disagreed with his point of view.

Wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. If you’re not celebrating Christmas, I’m happy to learn more about how you’ll be celebrating the season. But for me and mine, we’re celebrating Christmas and likely to watch Duck Dynasty.

God Bless you and your families,


A short quote from a frustrated customer trying to get into the government website.

A short quote from a frustrated customer trying to get into the government website.

Here’s an email I received today about the Obama care site and my response,

“I’ve been working towards obtaining a new quote for coverages for my family through the Michigan Obamacare website, but haven’t gotten ANYWHERE in spite of spending over 3 hours on it over a series of a few weeks.  When I finally “chatted” with someone they told me the verification system was down, they have no idea when it will be available, that I’m unable to complete an on-line application and suggested I file a paper application.  When I finally found the link to the paper application, it wouldn’t print . . . on any of my printers . .  Don, do you have any suggestions?”

My reply, “Yes, I have a complete list of all policies in an excel file. It’s not an answer but a simple place to start. We can meet to discuss by phone, or in person. George or Andrea will help get the paperwork completed.”

No one expects the government site to be up for months, its hard to say for sure and with 1/1 coming soon we should just act on what we can help you with now, when and if it comes up, you can work with us on what’s online and get our services afterward if you have claim issues.”

Happy to help in anyway I can.

Self funding for many employers is an awful idea

Self funding turns your business into an insurance company. Before making this move you must prepare an analysis without influence from the sales process. Beware of anyone who says you will save money. Call us, put our independence to work.

Self funding has become a popular recommendation.

Self funding is being recommended for groups down to 25 employees – don’t go out of business because you didn’t get a second opinion first.

Self funding is about risk, your company, or client, acts as the insurance company. Know before you recommend or choose self funding if your plan is predisposed to known risks. Risk factors used to predict rates by actuaries and underwriters can be used by our team to predict the suitability for self funding, consider these risk factors before making this recommendation to your client or in the case of an HR or finance executive, to your boss.

Did you know, according to Kaiser/HRET Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Benefits, 2013, the difference between self funding and fully insured is less than 1%?

Our team of underwriters and actuaries were all former insurance insiders and made a living making money for insurance companies, they know group risk and fee dynamics and will provide valuable insight to you.

A second opinion is never a bad idea, you can’t go wrong recommending a trusted second opinion. Everyone involved will sleep better.

BCBSM, like many vendors are offering self funded plans to small employers. The question is, do you want to be an insurance company?
BCBSM Self funded for 25-49 size groups Reform October 2013

Before you decide, call.

A Money discussion everyone can understand.

The key question for you is if your credit card was maxed out at $107,000 would you borrow more? Would a bank give you more?

Congress and our President are arguing over how much more to spend on your credit card.


In the first box below, as of August 31, 2013, the United States (you and me) has borrowed $16,738,650,000. That number is nearly 17 Trillion dollars. You and me owe this amount. Think of this like your own monthly bills. This is what you owe on your credit card for purchases you made in the past.

August 2013
United States Public Debt

What does that mean to you? Let’s make it personal. If you are working and paying taxes you are among 155,486,000 (155 million) people. This is the group who will pay this credit card bill. Simply put, if each person working paid an equal share of the 17 Trillion each working person owes $107,000. This is $107,000 the government already spent and does not count what they are going to spend tomorrow.

Here’s the math, $16,738,650,000 billion in debt / 155,486,000 tax payers = $107,000 per tax payer. So, pay up.

Bureau of Labor Statistics
Number of taxpayers who will pay the debt.

The key question for you is if your credit card was maxed out at $107,000 would you borrow more? Would a bank give you more?

Congress and our President are arguing over how much more to spend on your credit card.

Required announcement for employees, samples and guidance …

Required employer notice explaining an employees ability to go to the marketplace to obtain coverage.

October 1st is a deadline date I would not want you to miss.

As the premier, trusted source, BenStaff has prepared this short announcement for you to announce to employees the required DOL notice for health care reform.

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Health care reform, Obama care, is here and to help you comply the team has prepared this email to help you. You will find three links in this note and a few short helpful tips. The first is our employee announcement template, the second is the DOL model notice and the third is a SAMPLE completed notice.

Click here for the employee announcement template you can send to employees. You will likely revise this to fit your own peculiarities, remember to keep your message simple and don’t include language that promises employees something by mistake. The team has seen announcements others have provided and found information that obscures the plain language intended by the DOL.

When writing to employees about benefits, you likely wouldn’t be surprised to learn, shorter is better because employees likely won’t read all you write. Send us your revisions or your own letter and we’ll give you our thoughts at no charge.

The required DOL notice – PDF is easy to fill-in, most employers can fill this in without any assistance and send it to employees with only minor personalization. The DOL also provides tools and resources you can find at On the second and third pages of the notice there are references to minimum value, actuarial value, and essential benefits. Many insurance companies or issuers of policies have provided employers with these items; minimum value, actuarial value and if essential benefits are included.

But, for some employers who have HRAs or separately administered drug cards or wrap plans their plan may require an actuarial valuation to satisfy the forms accurate completion. This is a written statement made by a member of the American Academy of Actuaries. We have this assistance available if an employer plan needs that help. Our staff is ready to provide the certifications.

The notice intent is to communicate to all employees that the government health care site (to be referred to as the Marketplace) will open 10/1 and to provide employees with basic information about the employer plan. Employees who venture to the Marketplace will need this information.

Review the completed sample; BenStaff_sample_DOL_required_notice_for_10_1.

A WORD OF CAUTION: If the employee cost you enter in box 15 or 16 is more than 9.5% of any employees pay, you should review your plans again. We would recommend you look more closely because an employee whose cost is that high is likely eligible for a subsidy. This may put you into the penalty. It’s true penalties have been delayed to 2015 but the measurement period that will determine the penalties has not. Call us for help, we can provide a few simple recommendations.

The notice we’ve provided here is for employers who have health plans, there is a different notice for employers that don’t.

(as provided in an email alert, September 2013)

Sticker Shock, Even for Boosters of Obamacare

A returning customer reacting to sticker shock said, “WOW, I am a supporter of providing insurance for more people, but this is awful.”

mike rogers congressman
Mike Rogers, before Congress 10/23/2013

I do enjoy watching and listening to first hand commentary. I just received a link to Mr Rogers opening remarks on Health care reform in Washington at the same time a returning customer was slugging through their new 1/1/2014 health care options.

A returning customer reacting to sticker shock said, WOW, I am a supporter of providing insurance for more people, but this is awful.”  This customer found premiums per person doubling for their small business.

The sentiments of the customer are consistent with so many who are having sticker shock along with confusion about the new rules.

Rogers, in his brief remarks mentions the trade-off the government is forcing on 85% of the population who have health care. One trade-off he explains is the, “National cancer intelligence center for the United Kingdom and the Canadian Cancer registry here’s the trade-off they picked by having government run health care. If you get prostate cancer you have a less chance of survivability than you do in the United States. And, that’s the same for skin cancer, breast cancer, bladder cancer…”

There are answers but they’re not republican or democrat. The answers lie in the details underpinning health care and its availability and affordability. The Economist just published an article, “How Science Goes Wrong“ where they outline a lack of rigor in research. Agenda driven research needs to be abolished, both to benefit individuals and lower cost for employers.

BenStaff is an analytic, detail loving firm. Everyone on my team is detail oriented and our work is focused on making the most of the employee benefit dollar spent.


23 Days into the ACA “Obamacare” rollout

Mike Rogers YouTube video, his commentary before congress on the roll-out of the ACA on day 23.

Mike Rogers provides commentary on the roll-out of the ACA. A customer of BenStaff is quoted, they explain how they just received a 100% increase in cost because of reform.