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Kristen Russell

Kristen Russell

Kristen founded Fall River Employee Benefits as the culmination of her insurance industry career as an actuary, underwriting executive & consultant. As an Assistant Vice President at Great-West Healthcare (now part of CIGNA), she managed a $1 Billion block of health insurance. She also worked as a Senior Consultant at Reden & Anders, consulting to insurance companies and large employers throughout the country. Ms. Russell received a Bachelor of Science, Business Administration in Actuarial Science, is a member of the American Academy of Actuaries and achieved Fellowship in the Society of Actuaries through a rigorous nine-year series of exams.

Kristen grew up in Iowa but has lived in Colorado since 1993, currently living near our office in the Lower Highlands neighborhood near downtown Denver.  She enjoys bicycling, hiking, traveling and has a special passion for non-profit volunteering. She is married to an incredibly talented photojournalist, has two adult stepdaughters and an adorable Border Collie/Lab mix named Chaco.

Healthcare costs have increased faster than inflation almost every year for at least the last 30 years. Switching carriers, raising out-of-pocket costs, and asking employees to pay more out of their paychecks should be your last resort.

Monday, 09 April 2018 14:44

Paying Hospitals to Keep People Out?

For years, hospitals have made money by admitting (and readmitting) people. But what if it were more profitable to reduce readmissions?
 
Both the Medicare Modernization Act and the Affordable Care Act increased the incentives hospitals have to reduce readmissions. But the state of Maryland is taking it even further and reaping large savings as a result. Their success suggests a path forward for managing employee healthcare costs down in the future.
Wednesday, 20 December 2017 15:04

What Made the Cut in the Final Tax Cut Bill

The Conference Committee in Congress worked last week to meld together the House and Senate versions of their tax cuts bill. Their compromise bill was passed on Tuesday, December 19th, by the House. While the Senate passed it that Wednesday, some last minute changes required Tuesday night by reconciliation rules meant the House had to pass the final bill again on Wednesday, before President Trump signed it into law on Friday, December 22nd. The final product was a little closer to the Senate version of the bill, but included a few last-minute surprises for employers and tax payers alike.
Monday, 08 May 2017 10:58

2018 HSA Limits Announced

In early May, the IRS published inflation-adjusted Health Saving Account (HSA) contribution limits for 2018, along with minimum deductible and maximum-out-of-pocket expenses for the high deductible health plans (HDHP) associated with HSAs. 

As we blogged about last month, the filing deadline for the 1095 reporting required of large employers has been pushed back to March 2nd from January 31st.  There are some general changes to the process, and also changes to the 1095 forms themselves. 

Employers spend approximately 18-20% of their healthcare costs on prescription drugs, and the rapidly increasing cost of specialty drugs is causing this to inch ever up.  To offset these cost hikes, we’re always keeping our eyes on expensive drugs that are coming off patent and facing cost-slashing competitors soon. There are eight blockbuster drugs (those with a billion dollars or more in sales) coming off patent in 2016.  

Wednesday, 13 July 2016 14:32

Fall River Inspiration Scholars Announced

We are so excited to share that we have chosen the winners of our annual Fall River Inspiration Scholarship. Each year, employees of Fall River clients, as well as their children/grandchildren, are eligible to apply. We had an outstanding pool of applicants this year (in both quantity and quality of applications) and have decided to increase the number of scholarships we gave. We are awarding two $1,000 scholarships as well as three $250 book stipends.
Wednesday, 29 June 2016 05:40

Reminder: Key Compliance Deadline in July

The Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) fee is due July 31, 2016 for employers with any type of self-funded plan and/or a Health Reimbursement Arrangement. The fee helps fund unbiased research that evaluates the clinical effectiveness of medical treatments regardless of the profit potential. This fee is also known as the Comparative Effectiveness Research Fee, or CERF. 
 
The amount of the fee depends on your health plan’s effective date. The fee is $2.08 per covered life for employers with February 1 through October 1 effective dates, and $2.17 for employers with November 1, December 1, or January 1 effective dates. 

Guest Article by Kristen Deevy, Strategic Retirement Partners

The long wait it over! The Department of Labor (DOL) has finalized its Conflict of Interest rule. The question is “Did you know you were waiting for it?” As an employer you may not have heard about this new regulation, but your financial advisors have!

The DOL rule will dramatically affect how advisors and their broker dealer or Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) firms interact with employers who sponsor ERISA retirement plans and their plan participants, especially for IRA rollovers. Most of the rule’s provisions will go into effect in April 2017 while others go online in January 2018.

Wednesday, 09 March 2016 04:00

Tackle Your Healthcare Costs

Are you paying more and more for worse benefits? While some aspects of rising healthcare costs are driven by factors outside our control, there are MANY factors within our control, even for smaller employers.  The problem is that the strategies used by most brokers aren’t sustainable.

Learn how employers of all sizes, but especially with at least 20 employees, can manage their health care costs down, by taking an out-of-the box approach in multiple areas:

  • Re-thinking your provider delivery model
  • Focusing on paying for health improvements rather than just paying for sick care
  • Heavily incenting positive health changes without costing you a dime 
  • Harnessing the natural “outrage” in your employees to lower your costs
  • Taking advantage of innovative product and funding designs that help you cash in on the savings achieved by the other methods (check out our Self Funding Feasibility Study to see if this is right for you!)

Much of this work is best done well before the renewal starts, so now may be a great time to get started on this type of strategy work.  Join our webinar on April 7th from 10-11:15 am to jump start your game plan for your upcoming plan year! Register now!

This event is a Webinar only.  The day prior to the Webinar, all registrants will be sent the weblink and dial-in instructions to attend the program.

 

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