Woodstone Credit Union on Northwest Financial Associations' Employee Benefit Trust

Increasing healthcare costs have credit unions—especially those with smaller staffs—looking for a lower-cost option to provide their employees with a valuable, comprehensive health plan.

Northwest Financial Associations' Employee Benefit Trust Logo

Challenge

Increasing healthcare costs have credit unions—especially those with smaller staffs—looking for a lower-cost option to provide their employees with a valuable, comprehensive health plan.

Solution

Strategic Link partnered with the Northwest Financial Associations' Employee Benefit Trust to help its member credit unions meet their employee benefit needs. Through the power of aggregation, credit unions partnering with the Trust get the buying power and clout of a large employer with thousands of enrollees, as the Trust provides each employer with all the options and group rates normally available only to larger employers.

The Trust offers a full range of outstanding benefits specifically designed to meet the needs of financial institutions, including medical, prescription drug, dental, vision, employee assistance programs (EAP), life, disability, COBRA administration and voluntary plans. With 30 plan choices, even smaller institutions are able to offer multiple plan options.

The Trust also prides itself on being an extension of each credit union’s human resources staff when it comes to employee communication, unusual or difficult claims issues, compliance questions, benefit packaging and understanding of services offered.

“We are a small group. We have 30 employees, and so by going with the Trust, initially it lowered our premium from what we could get out there on our own. When you have a group, and there’s only 25 people in it, [providers] say, ‘Pick a plan,’ and that’s it. But with the Trust, we had the chance to give our employees an option.”
-
Jane Parker, Human Resource Manager at Woodstone Credit Union in Federal Way, Wash.

Results

Woodstone Credit Union began working with the Trust in October 2004 when it began facing unmanageable costs for employee benefit plans. The Trust provided Woodstone with a 25-percent rate reduction from what it had been paying as an individual group, and it took until 2007 for the steadily rising cost of employee benefit plans to reach through the Trust what Woodstone had been paying independently in 2003.

As time goes on, they are definitely a good resource for ideas for maintaining the costs as we go. We’ve been working with them over the years on containing our costs going forward—not just this year, but what can we put in place, what are our options? So, they’re really consultative in that way. How do we structure this so that it’s a benefit for the employee and it doesn’t kill our bottom line?”
- Jane Parker, Human Resource Manager at Woodstone Credit Union in Federal Way, Wash.

Keys to Making it Work

The first step in finding out if the Trust can improve your employee benefits and help your credit union’s bottom line is to request a free proposal. Contact Donna Losch, program manager, at 253.396.5544 to receive the information request document to prepare a customized proposal for your credit union.

Moving forward, be sure to continue to use the Trust as a resource and a partner. The Trust can help credit unions with issues related to compliance, costs and general information.

“We look at the Trust as a partner. There are a lot of compliance things with healthcare reform, and they provide a lot of information and education to us about how to comply with all of those things. We really do look at them as a partnership, as a resource, so that when we’re offering comprehensive plans that our employees will be happy with, we’re also keeping ourselves in compliance.
- Jane Parker, Human Resource Manager at Woodstone Credit Union in Federal Way, Wash

Lessons Learned

With more than 100 participating employers and more than 5,000 enrollees in Washington and Oregon, the Trust offers substantial savings through aggregation. Founded more than 50 years ago, The Trust continues to grow and enhance the benefits it brings to its participating employers and their employees.


Northwest Financial Associations' Employee Benefit Trust
Donna Losch
253.396.5544
dlosch@bbinswa.com

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