Surviving Perfect Storm during Good Times and Bad

In fact, keeping up with the ever-changing rules and regulations, small businesses are oftentimes in the dark, because they cannot afford a full-fledged human resources department.

That’s why Sprincz lends a rock-solid hand in filling this gap by providing employers with an online human resources tool. Employers can log-in and can get expert advise and print regulatory posters and employee manuals. When a personal touch is required, the full-service financial advisory company has a network of retired HR department heads to whom clients can be referred for assistance with specific projects. 

“We saw employers who paid 100 percent of employees’ premiums drop it down to 50 percent,” explained CEO Keith Sprincz of Sprincz & Associates from his office in Littleton Colorado. A few closed their doors. Many pared down their staff to a critical few. “We had a lot of employees call us for help with individual plans,” he added, noting it counterbalanced the work that he lost from employers.

Unfortunately, his clientele, as a whole, were hurt by the slump. But Sprincz was able to make a real difference for them by switching them over to higher deductibles with lower premiums. “I wish everyone would utilize the industry more,” he said. “We really can help them.”

Today, the company provides employers, employees and individuals with life, health, and disability insurance as well as financial, retirement and legacy planning.

“There are few professions that have a greater impact on someone’s life than this one,” Sprincz said. “It’s really rewarding when you deliver a life insurance check or visit someone with cancer in the hospital – and they know they’re covered.” He takes pride in his company’s conservative approach to planning that focuses on building wealth over time.

Working in the financial advisory industry his entire life, in 1978 Sprincz's first job out of college, was with Prudential. Five years later, he launched Sprincz & Associates. Since its incorporation in 1997, the family-run business – his wife Renee and son Nicholas work with him – has never received a complaint, earning it a “Gold Star” rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Sprincz observed the ups and downs of Affordable Care. For example, in 1985, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) was passed by Congress allowing employees to stay on their former employer’s insurance plans, with the caveat that they pay 100 percent of the premiums. “It was the only way someone with a pre-existing condition could remain insured,” Sprincz said. Now with healthcare reform, there are choices.

The ability to comparison shop and choose an individual policy on one's own, Sprincz believes, is one of the biggest positives regarding the Affordable Care ACT (ACA).

Sprincz said that older employees, particularly families are suffering the most. The company has seen the ACA hurt older employees by raising their rates, and cost employers who opted to take the hit rather than pass the additional expense on to their workers.

“Many of my clients in their 60s are paying premiums that were higher than their mortgage payments,” Sprincz argued. It impacted families, by replacing the family rate with an individual rate structure. It’s a drastic change that has parents of college students paying adult rates for their teenage children. He noted that family rates almost doubled because of it. He states one of the factors in the ACA offering “free preventative” services that, like anything else, are never really free. “What’s more,” he added, “we’re losing doctors.”

In Colorado, for example, which has experienced “healthy rate increases,” many doctors react by not accepting health insurance, retiring or becoming “concierge doctors” – requiring patients to pay a fee in order to patronize their practices. Stirring the pot even more, many carriers compressed networks to work with only a handful of doctors, staying within healthcare reform while limiting patients’ choices even more. Truth be told, he thinks legislators didn’t consider the consequences before it became law.

He acknowledged that it’s harder for some workers to qualify for disability. He noted that carrier consolidation is a result of some disability carriers getting out of the business and  making it more difficult to qualify for disability. Hit hardest is the blue-collar market, he said, which is down to just a few carriers. On the flip side, many choices remain within the white-collar market.
However, disaster looms on the Eldercare Front. He envisions a huge number of people who don’t have long-term care insurance, either because they haven’t bought it yet or they simply can’t afford it. With more than 10,000 U.S. citizens turning age 65 every day, he noted that many of them heading into assisted living would go on Medicaid and tax the system. “Almost $28 trillion of the $100 trillion liabilities are Medicaid’s,” Sprincz added. “It’s the perfect storm.”

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