MCCC Business EXCELerator Recap: Best Practices: Employee Benefits | November 4, 2016

Posted Date: 
November 4, 2015

Small Business Presentation 

Small Business Co-Chairs:
Clark Kendall, Kendall Capital Management
Neil Simons, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

Guest Speaker: Betty Vassilaros, Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Manager for Maryland Health Benefit Exchange
Topic: Small Business Health Coverage Options 

Neil Simons and Clark Kendall, Chairs of the Small Business Member Exchange Meeting, introduced Ms. Vassilaros. While many people are familiar with individual exchanges, it is Ms. Vassilaros’ job to get the word out about options for small businesses and how the SHOP works.

SHOP is open to Maryland businesses and non-profit organizations with 50 or fewer full-time employees.  The main benefit for qualified companies is the possibility of receiving tax credits for your share of the employee premium costs. The business must pay these costs up front and then get credited.  Businesses also have options by choosing either the Employer Choice of the Employee Choice models. 

SHOP Administrators help connect businesses with authorized brokers who are then able to work with an individual business to determine the right options for that enterprise based on goals for the business. These experts provide market-based services on behalf of the state. 

There are approximately 90,000 employers in the state of Maryland who would be eligible to participate in the SHOP exchange.  Ms. Vassilaros laid out the key benefits including flexibility, simplicity, quality, and customer service.  She also walked through the steps of enrolling in the program which an employer can do at any time. 

For more information, visit

For a copy of the presentation, please email Ilaya Hopkins at

GovConNet Presentation

GovConNet Co-Chairs:
Kwesi Rodgers, Federal National Commercial Credit
Lexy Kessler, Aronson LLC

Guest Speaker: Joseph “Jody” Buyalos, ACBC, Executive Vice President and Employee Benefits, The Insurance Exchange, Inc.
Topic: Insurance Benefits for Government Contractors

In the second half of the presentation, Barbara Ashe introduced GovConNet Council member Jody Buyalos to discuss best practices and strategies around managing employee benefits.    

Mr. Buyalos began by saying that benefits for government contractors impact a company’s ability to comply with contracts and their ability to compete for talent in a crowded marketplace.  It is important to work with advisors who understand this unique space to understand how to structure your company and to know the questions to ask as benefits and regulations and requirements change. He stressed the point that health care coverage expenses are the largest benefit expense for an employer and it is important to get expert advice on how best to manage those costs.

As Mr. Buyalos stated “The tried and true way of doing things in the past is not a go forward strategy.”

As individuals get stiffer penalties for forgoing insurance, participation rates on group health plans will likely go up. This will impact a business’s fringe rates. 

There are penalties if employers do not meet certain minimums. There are also taxes if an employer offers plans that exceed a certain threshold.

Brokers are evolving too to meet the changing needs of employers, including helping them develop wellness programs to contain costs.

As options increase and businesses (especially government contractors) are located in multiple states, communicating to employees in multiple locations becomes very important.

Mr. Buyalos provided two websites for more information: and

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