Know Your Options: Why Medical Mutual and COSE’s New Health Benefit Option Might Make Sense For Your Business

As a business owner, it’s important to know you have options to help grow your business. That’s why Medical Mutual—a long-time supporter of small businesses across Northeast Ohio—has partnered with the Council of Smaller Enterprises to present a new health benefit option for small business that is centered on the belief that small businesses should be able to provide the same benefits as a large company.

As a business owner, it’s important to know you have options to help grow your business. That’s why Medical Mutual—a long-time supporter of small businesses across Northeast Ohio—has partnered with the Council of Smaller Enterprises to present a new health benefit option for small business that is centered on the belief that small businesses should be able to provide the same benefits as a large company.

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    The COSE Health and Wellness Trust is a multiple employer welfare arrangement (MEWA) designed as a self-funded benefit option for businesses with 50 or fewer employees. Business owners with no employees are also eligible to apply. The COSE MEWA was developed to help small businesses and their employees manage the increasing costs of healthcare benefits.

    The MEWA At A Glance

    Characteristics of the COSE MEWA include:

    • 16 different plan options, including traditional co-pay plans and high-deductible health plans with varying deductibles and co-insurance.
    • By using such factors as medical history, gender, age and location to set rates, the costs of the COSE MEWA could be less expensive for your group than under similar plans offered by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
    • The COSE MEWA is not subject to some of the ACA-mandated benefits and taxes and fees, so these savings are passed along to you.
    • The COSE MEWA maintains stop-loss coverage to provide plan sponsors with additional protection from large financial losses.

    And because Medical Mutual is administering the benefits for participating COSE employers, all benefits and options are tied to the same Customer Care team, local assistance and network of doctors and hospitals that members have accessed for years.

    Learn More at CoseMEWA.com

    Interested in learning more about how the COSE MEWA works and why it may be the right plan for you and your business? Access all the information you need on our education page at www.cosemewa.com where you can view videos, access frequently asked questions, view plans and additional information and help make an informed and easy decision for your business.

    For more information, contact the COSE Benefits Team at Medical Mutual at 440-878-5930. Or email the team at cosebenefits@medmutual.com.

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    Next up: Learn About the COSE Workers’ Comp Program
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  • Learn About the COSE Workers’ Comp Program

    The COSE Workers’ Compensation Program has assisted small to mid-sized businesses with claims and rating needs for the past 20 years. Our workers’ compensation program is one of the resources designed to achieve growth and success for our member clients. Over the last two decades, our program has incorporated a suite of services designed to control cost and increase member client capacity. This includes offering claims management, hearing representation and underwriting support while helping businesses navigate the complexities of Ohio’s workers’ compensation system. We pride ourselves in being the member client’s partner, advisor and advocate in the workers’ compensation arena.

    The COSE Workers’ Compensation Program has assisted small to mid-sized businesses with claims and rating needs for the past 20 years. Our workers’ compensation program is one of the resources designed to achieve growth and success for our member clients. Over the last two decades, our program has incorporated a suite of services designed to control cost and increase member client capacity. This includes offering claims management, hearing representation and underwriting support while helping businesses navigate the complexities of Ohio’s workers’ compensation system. We pride ourselves in being the member client’s partner, advisor and advocate in the workers’ compensation arena.

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    The savings we achieve for our member businesses are just as important as the services we provide. COSE’s state-sponsored group rating plan leverages a strong member base to achieve the highest discounts available in the state of Ohio.  Group rating allows qualified members to achieve workers’ compensation premium discounts as high as 53%. COSE also offers a group retrospective rating plan. Group retrospective rating allows members not otherwise qualified for our standard group plan to achieve performance based rebates on workers’ compensation premiums. Together, these programs save millions of dollars in premium for our member clients every year. 

    This year, COSE partnered with Cleveland-based Minute Men Human Resources to provide the claims management activities that support the program. Our program’s dedicated staff at Minute Men HR has over 100 years of combined experience in the workers’ compensation industry. Together we have built a comprehensive program that incorporates valuable services and exceptional savings for Ohio businesses.

    Learn more about COSE’s worker’s compensation program or contact us at 216-452-0100 or email us at cose@minutemenhr.com 

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    Next up: Lesson Learned: Don’t Do It All Yourself
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  • Lesson Learned: Don’t Do It All Yourself

    The COSE Strategic Planning Course offers small business owners invaluable advice on a range of subjects to help them grow their business. We asked some recent graduates of the program what their takeaways from the course were and during the next several weeks, we’ll be relating to you their insights. Today’s “lesson learned” comes from Maia Ballard of RWJ Wiring, Inc. She talked about the importance of not trying to be a one-person show at your company.

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    Q: If someone were on the fence about enrolling in the COSE Strategic Planning Course, what would you say to encourage them to enroll in the program? 

    Maia Ballard of RWJ Wiring, Inc.

    I would tell them it’s the best money you will ever spend in your life. And the reason why is because a lot of times we, as business owners, have been in business a while but when it comes to the COSE Strategic Planning Course, you realize you know nothing. You don’t know as much as you think you know. I came to this class and was completely overwhelmed, stressed out and pulling my hair out and thinking I can’t make it. After 10 weeks, however, I had a new lease on life. They helped me to revise the way I look at my business.

    For instance, one class focused on the topic that you shouldn’t be doing everything like the books, the accounting, the payroll. But that’s what I was doing. And that was too overwhelming. So, the first thing I did was I knew I had to get a bookkeeper. I had to get someone qualified to take over that responsibility because it was one less hat I had to wear.

    The second thing I learned is that if you don’t have the right people in the right positions in your company to help you grow, then your business is not going to grow efficiently or effectively. I sought to find someone with experience and a master’s degree. You can’t train someone to be that kind of person overnight—especially as a small business person, you don’t have the resources to train them. But if someone comes in the door with that experience, that training and that knowledge, it’s so much easier for them to hit the ground running. That’s something I learned when I came here. I’m still in my 30s, but I’ve been in my business almost 10 years and I had no knowledge this is the way I needed to run my business. I wanted to be the business owner and work in business development, but how can I do that if I’m in the office 80 hours a week? By the time I’m finished doing all that, I’m exhausted.

    Also, the mentors and the speakers they brought in are just unbelievable. If you attended all of those talks separately, you would easily spend more than what the course itself costs. In addition, once you go through the course, you become part of a family for life. It’s just like a sorority or a fraternity. Once you join, you’re there forever. You can always come back and sit in on a class to get more education. It’s amazing.

    Anyone who is on the fence about signing up, I would tell them that you need to invest in yourself. If you want to be successful, you have to invest in yourself and your business and it will be worth it because you will achieve what you want to achieve.

    Learn more about how the COSE Strategic Planning Course can help your business grow.

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    Next up: Lesson Learned: Personality Assessments Help Identify Top New Hires
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  • Lesson Learned: Personality Assessments Help Identify Top New Hires

    A recent graduate of the COSE Strategic Planning Course explains why she is now a believer in adding personality assessments to the hiring process at her business.

    We asked some recent graduates of the COSE Strategic Planning Course about their takeaways from the course. Today’s “lesson learned” comes from Maia Ballard of RWJ Wiring, who talked about how personality tests can help your business focus in on making the right hire.

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    RELATED: Learn how COSE’s Strategic Planning Course can help your business grow

    What’s one thing you learned during the COSE Strategic Planning Course that you plan to implement at your business?

    Maia Ballard, RWJ Wiring

    I think one of the better classes was the one that dealt with doing personality assessments on both yourself and your potential hires. It helps you determine who you are as a person; you think you are this one certain personality and it turns out you have a different personality.

    RELATED: Personality assessments can help you find and retain top talent

    The personality assessment class is just amazing for you as an owner because it also helps you choose the people you want on your team. You can’t have 10 of the same types of people on your team. You have to mix and match. You need achievers, mediators, etc., and you need to have everyone on board to make the business successful. It was an eye-opening class because while I had heard about educational assessments and intellectual assessments, doing a personality assessment had never come to my mind.

    Had I known about this years ago, it definitely would have changed our whole game. It was one of the best classes and if you’re trying to grow your business, it’s worth making that investment to find out about the personality of the person you’re trying to hire. When you’re hiring people, they will lie, they will try to deceive you, but the truth comes out if you have an independent firm evaluate it. Your hands are off of it entirely and you are not emotionally attached at all. That was one of the best classes I took and I’m glad I did. Next year when they have this class, I am going to audit it when it comes back up because you have to continue to learn and invest in yourself and grow.

    Read more on how the COSE Strategic Planning Course can help your business succeed by checking out the other stories in our “Lesson Learned” series:

    Lesson Learned: Have an Exit Strategy

    Lesson Learned: Make the Business Stand On Its Own

    Lesson Learned: Don’t Do It All Yourself

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    Next up: Leverage Staffing to Make Your Small Business Known
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  • Leverage Staffing to Make Your Small Business Known

    COSE members discuss how they're leveraging staffing and marketing to make their businesses known.


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    Next up: Make the Smart Hire: Presented by Pre-Check
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  • Make the Smart Hire: Presented by Pre-Check

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    For small businesses, finding and hiring good employees is an eternal struggle. Steve Millard, executive director of COSE, says at any one time, approximately one-third of the organization’s small business members are hiring. And of that one-third, another third have difficulty filling the open positions they have.

    “Talent is what really drives organizations forward,” Millard says. “That’s why being able to find qualified employees is such an important part of small business growth.”

    Bob Drusendahl understands why these businesses are having such trouble when it comes to hiring. The president and CEO of Pre-Check, a premier provider of comprehensive background and employment screening solutions, says it simply comes down to not having the time. 

    “It’s like Jim Collins says, ‘You have to get the right people in the right seats.’ Frankly, a lot of companies aren’t very good and the reason is they don’t spend a lot of time on hiring. They spend several weeks looking and then they just settle on someone. That’s going to cost them a lot of money on their bottom line because they don’t get the right person for the job.” 

    So, what’s the best way for these small business owners and hiring managers to make the best hire for their respective businesses? It comes down to hiring smart—or, more specifically, Smart Hire.

    What is Smart Hire?

    Smart Hire is a service provided by Pre-Check that adds that extra time small businesses need to make informed hiring decisions.

    “We have our own applicant tracking system to source the job ads that utilizes the same technology that’s in place by Fortune 500 companies,” Drusendahl says. “But we’ve customized it to be optimal for small businesses.”

    Companies that make use of the Smart Hire system are led through a simple process that yield results, Drusendahl says. “The first step is talking to the company to make sure we understand the culture of the company and can match applicants to that culture. We ask qualifying questions about the culture of the company, the skill set the company is looking for, etc. And we seek to find three or more qualified candidates for our clients.”

    Pre-Check’s search process is exhaustive. The company’s team of experienced search professionals will contact schools and others organizations and individuals who might be able to provide insight on candidates.

    The typical Smart Hire contract is for 60 days, though on average qualified candidates are delivered to the hiring company is about 30 days. And, if for some reason a candidate quits within 30 days of being hired, Pre-Check will reengage the search for no additional fee other than costs associated with reposting the job ad.

    Pre-Check also stays hands on with its clients.

    “Once we get the initial program going, we don’t just let it run for 60 days,” he says. “What we do is we come back after a week or 10 days and let the client know the response we’re getting. We also consult with our client on whether any tweaks might need to be made to the ad.”

    All of this can be done on for a price that fits easily into the budget a small business has set for hiring. It’s typical for a hiring company to spend up to 30% on a candidate’s first-year salary when they engage an employment screening solution provider. The cost to use Smart Hire, however, is currently just 8% of the candidate’s first-year salary.

    Proven results for clients

    Stephen J. Kovatch, president of Compliance Technologies, Inc., can attest to the effectiveness of Smart Hire. For a recent hire, he says the company tried an Internet-driven service that promised screened resumes, but Compliance Technologies was actually flooded with what he described as “worthless” applications.

    Compliance Technologies then began working with Smart Hire. Kovatch says he was very impressed with the service he received, which included:

    • An organized job search process
    • Professional and branded job postings
    • Skilled resume reviews and candidate screenings
    • Concise and accurate candidate recommendations
    • Interview-ready candidates
    • Excellent value

    “As a result, I made the best hire in years and actually enjoyed the process,” Kovatch says.

    Andy Lembach, the chief marketing officer for Spooner Risk Control Services, also shares his success story of working with Pre-Check.

    “I wanted to take this opportunity to thank their staff for helping in my recent hiring of a sales professional,” he says. “I had been struggling for months trying to find a qualified candidate to fill a sales position at Spooner. I won't bore you with all the trials and tribulations of those fruitless searches because all of that changed when I reached out to Pre-Select Smart Hire. It was such a relief to have this hiring burden off my desk. All I had to do was answer some easy questions, and before I knew it, really good qualified applicants were sent directly to my email inbox. All I had to do was set it and forget it! My only regret was not enlisting their help sooner!”

    Click here to learn more about Pre-Check and how the Smart Hire system can help your small business solve your hiring challenges. 

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