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Slugline

The Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) recognizes that one of the top concerns of today's mason contractors is the cost of healthcare, along with the cost-shifting that they must perform in order to continue offering health insurance and other important benefits. The MCAA will continue its diligent efforts on Capitol Hill working on the passage of the Association Health Plan legislation; however, until that happens, we recognize that our members need healthcare solutions today.

In April 2005, after many years of researching and talking to countless insurance professionals, the MCAA announced its endorsement of The Compleat Benefits SolutionTM at the Masonry Showcase in Chicago, Ill.

The Compleat Benefits Solution offers so much more than just insurance products to our members; it is a "compleat" solution. Our members will have access not only to the insurance products that they and their employees want and need, they will also have access to important employer services offered through a partnership with HR XCEL that will allow the member and/or their staff to spend more time on other critical areas of the business. Just a few of these employer services are payroll administration, COBRA administration, benefits administration and human resources compliance. And because of the MCAA's endorsement, our smaller member companies will also have access to HR XCEL, where in most cases they would not have had access otherwise.

The benefits experts that are involved with The Compleat Benefits Solution program have shared with me the Kaiser Health Poll Report results that were released in April 2005, which state that personal healthcare costs are more frightening to most Americans than not being able to pay rent or mortgage, losing a job, losing savings in the stock market, or being a victim of a terrorist attack or violent crime. The rising cost of healthcare and health insurance is the focal point among Americans' healthcare worries for nearly half of those surveyed in the Kaiser Health Poll Report, while more than a third worry about losing healthcare coverage as indicated in a random sampling of 1,203 adults polled between March 31, 2005, and April 3, 2005, by the Kaiser Health Poll.

And let's look at the uninsured crisis in America today, with an estimated 45 million uninsured Americans. Researchers say uninsured, working-age adults are far less likely to get any care at all, or care from a "usual source of care," than adults with health insurance. A new study analyzing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that more than 20 million working adults do not have coverage. In 39 states, at least one working adult in every 10 does not have healthcare coverage, while in eight other states, it's one in every five working adults who are uninsured.

"Characteristics of the Uninsured: A View from the States" was released on April 28, 2005, by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) as a prelude to May's "Cover the Uninsured Week," the largest nonpartisan campaign in history to focus attention on the need to secure reliable, affordable healthcare coverage for all Americans. Some of the most influential organizations in the country — including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) — cosponsored the campaign.

The ranks of the uninsured affects our industry as well, with our members not being able to offer medical benefits to all of their employees. The Compleat Benefits Solution helps our members address this concern by offering a limited benefits medical plan. Limited benefits medical plans are one of the fastest-growing insurance products today to help address the concerns of the uninsured workforce. While the limited benefits medical plans are not major medical insurance, they are a great way for the working adult to get access to limited benefits.

And last but not least, let's not forget about the health savings accounts (HSAs) that hit the news in January 2004. According to a May 5th article in the Washington Times, the number of Americans enrolling in health savings accounts has more than doubled in the past six months. And, of course, the MCAA member has access to these HSA high-deductible health plans through The Compleat Benefits Solution.

In closing, the MCAA has endorsed The Compleat Benefits Solution program so that our members can go above and beyond, take control and make a difference in the benefit plans that you offer your employees. And just as you think of the MCAA as your voice for the masonry industry, you can now also look to the MCAA — with the help of our experts — as your benefits think-tank by keeping you informed of the industry's best-case products, practices and services, and most importantly helping you, our members, find answers through The Compleat Benefits Solution.

If you were not able to stop by the MCAA booth at the Showcase to talk with our benefits experts representing The Compleat Benefits Solution, or to attend the Masonry Showcase, please feel free to visit the MCAA's web site (www.masoncontractors.org) and click on the link for The Compleat Benefits Solution, where you will find pertinent information on the program and contact information.






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