Business Clients May Like This Health Plan

Some of your business clients may find one of their biggest problems is recruiting and retaining part-time, hourly and seasonal workers. Select Benefits from Safeco Life & Investments might help them slow the revolving door.

The limited-benefit health insurance product allows employers to decide how much health coverage they want to offer based on what they can afford. An unusual option of Select Benefits is that employers can choose hourly plans in which the premiums and benefits are based on the actual number of hours an employee works during a month, says Dan Martinsen, president of Safeco‚s Select Benefits division. Monthly premium plans are available as well. Although cost depends on options, a monthly premium for a middle-of-the-road plan could range from $70 to $130.

Select Benefits can include preventive care, surgery and hospital indemnities, x-rays, lab work and prescription drug benefits. The plan eliminates deductibles and co-pays and can give low-income workers access to preventive health care such as mammograms, well-child care and annual physical exams.

Safeco notes Select Benefits does not replace catastrophic coverage. Annual caps for services vary by plan and by benefit. For example, a plan might pay $55 per doctor visit up to $300 per year, up to $500 per year for accident coverage, up to $1,000 per year for surgery, $1,000 per day up to 30 days per calendar year for ICU benefits and $500 per day up to 30 days per calendar year for in-patient hospital stays.

Martinsen says Safeco doesn‚t market the product as a way for firms to reduce health benefits and cut expenses. Rather, it positions Select Benefits as an affordable way for employers to offer health coverage to a group that traditionally doesn‚t get any.

The market for supplemental health benefits is in the $500 million to $1 billion range, so there‚s a huge upside for Select Benefits, Martinsen says. Safeco introduced the product in 1998, and since then it has grown eightfold, he says. Between 400 and 500 clients, many of which are national fast food franchises and hotels, are enrolled, he adds. Firms must have 50 or more employees to participate.

For more information, call Safeco's sales center at (800) 706-0700 or visit

MSC Introduces Services

Mutual Service Corp. (MSC) has introduced Fee-Friendly Services for broker-dealers and a Transition-to-Independence Financial Analysis Calculator.

MSC‚s Fee-Friendly format emphasizes product choice, open technology and clearing platforms, and specialized transition services. The calculator helps employee-based representatives evaluate whether they want to move to an independent broker-dealer. For more information on these services, call MSC at (800) 749-8900, extension 50.

Tool For Restructuring

FinancialCircuit of Campbell, Calif., has launched a Web-based tool that allows advisors to restructure client liabilities–including finding solutions for mortgage refinancings.

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