Swift Kennedy’s Jerry Calistri Earns Self-Funding Specialist Certification

Jerry Calistri, President and CEO of the insurance brokerage firm Swift Kennedy & Associates, has been designated as a Certified Self-Funding Specialist by the Health Care Administrators Association.

To earn this certification, Calistri completed comprehensive courses about alternative funding and Third-Party Administration, which highlighted the advantages of using self-funded health care plans, such as level-funded policies.

Calistri is a Senatorial Member and PAC Board Member of Health Agents for America, a member of the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, and a member the National Association of Health Underwriters. In addition, he is a Certified Healthcare Reform Specialist.

He has over 30 years of experience in the employee benefits industry, including working at the Pennsylvania Employees Benefit Trust Fund in Harrisburg and at Geisinger Health Plan as Regional Sales and Operations Manager for the Western Region.

Swift Kennedy on How to Retain Employees with Affordable Health Plans

With inflation rates at a 40-year high, most business owners are trying to cut costs in every way possible.  But even though group health insurance rates have increased dramatically over the last year, employers realize they must continue to offer high quality benefits in order to retain workers in this tight labor market.

So, how can employers walk the tightrope between cutting their health insurance costs and satisfying employee expectations? 

Jerry Calistri, President and CEO of the insurance brokerage firm Swift Kennedy & Associates, suggests that business owners consult with an insurance brokerage firm to help solve this quandary.

“When it comes to group health plans, striking the right balance between quality and affordability is what good brokers do best,” said Calistri, whose brokerage firm specializes in group employee benefits in the mid-Atlantic region. 

To help companies strike that balance, Swift Kennedy offers clients multiple-year strategies that can include both traditional benefit plans and alternative options, such as level-funded plans. 

The agency also provides clients with data analyses, as well as Benchmarking reports showing what similar companies offer their employees.  In addition, the firm works with many different carriers in order to negotiate highly competitive quotes for clients.

Employee Incentives 

Since motivated employees usually seek the best medical care available at the lowest price, Swift Kennedy provides clients with educational seminars to inform workers about their benefits and promote employee engagement.

Many of the benefit plans that Swift Kennedy offers clients also feature services that incentivize employees to participate more fully in their healthcare decisions, while keeping their costs down.

For example, some policies include wellness programs featuring professional coaching, on-site assessments, and other services designed to encourage exercising and other healthy activities, since healthy lifestyle choices can reduce an employee’s medical costs.

More and more plans now also include telemedicine, which allows employees to have online medical appointments instead of in-person doctor visits for certain medical conditions.  These popular programs are convenient for workers and highly cost-effective for employers.   

In addition, some policies offer prescription benefit management programs, which incentivize employees to select less expensive generic and mail order drugs instead of brand name ones. 

“Getting high quality health insurance at a reasonable cost is especially important during this time of inflation and record high employee turnover,” said Calistri.  “That’s why Swift Kennedy works hard to provide employers with insurance strategies and solutions that not only help them retain workers, but also help boost their bottom lines!”

Swift Kennedy Helps Employers Stay Compliant

As if high inflation and Covid issues were not enough to deal with, local business owners must now also grapple with a slew of new federal government regulations.

“Whether we’re talking about OSHA, DOL, or other regulations, employers are struggling to stay compliant in order to avoid time-consuming audits and high penalties,” said Jerry Calistri, President and CEO of the insurance brokerage firm Swift Kennedy & Associates.

Compliance Guidance

That is why Swift Kennedy offers business owners access to virtual tools to help answer the pressing compliance questions they often have when faced with new regulations.

These tools inform employers when laws change and advise them about compliance with the revised rules. The resources also enable them to stay ahead of legislative deadlines and access timely information about the latest industry trends.

Benefit Notices

Swift Kennedy not only provides business owners with compliance guidance, but also generates many government-mandated benefit notices to help them avoid violating ERISA, ACA, HIPAA, and other laws. These documents include Wrap Summary Plan Descriptions (SPDs) and Wrap Plan Documents, which wrap around the companies’ certificates of insurance and benefit plan booklets.

The agency also provides clients with detailed information about the distribution requirements of these notices. These requirements are important, because when employers who are plan administrators fail to maintain and distribute certain documents like SPDs to plan participants within a set timeframe, their companies may be faced with audits and/or stiff penalties.

ACA Monitoring and Reporting

Many large businesses also need help complying with the Affordable Care Act’s tax regulations, such as its employer shared responsibility provisions. Swift Kennedy offers these clients strategic planning, as well as the digital tools needed for plan implementation, monitoring of hourly activity, and generation of monthly reports in order to prepare for annual IRS reporting and audits.

COBRA Administration

For businesses with employees who choose to continue their company health insurance coverage after leaving employment, Swift Kennedy offers COBRA administration, which includes providing HIPAA certificates and required letters, as well as employer reporting. Companies using this service rather than in-house COBRA administration usually see substantial savings.

So, what is the best way for business owners to ensure that their companies comply with the tangled web of federal government regulations?

“I advise employers to meet with an experienced insurance broker, who can help them analyze their benefit plans for compliance and set up a roadmap to prevent any violations in the future,” said Calistri, who is a Certified Healthcare Reform Specialist.