PRnewswire | May 16, 2023
Data released today from Gravie, one of the fastest growing employer health benefits companies in the United States, shows that its flagship Comfort® health plan is successfully reducing costs while also driving higher engagement with services that help keep people healthy. Launched in 2020, Comfort offers its members zero copays and zero deductibles on 85% of the most common healthcare services– including office visits, specialist appointments, labs and imaging, generic prescriptions, mental health services and more.
For calendar year 2022, employers averaged a 15% reduction in premiums compared to their prior carrier renewal. The savings also extended to employees with the Comfort plan, who spent 20% less on claims than their colleagues on a traditional copay or HSA plan, and 61% less in out-of-pocket expenses.
At the same time as they experienced savings, employees took advantage of the 100% coverage Comfort offers on the most common healthcare services, using their benefits more frequently than those on a traditional plan that charges copays and deductibles for the same services. Comfort members had higher engagement with the following services: primary care, specialty care, imaging, mental health visits, urgent care and pharmacy. Meanwhile, claims for Comfort members averaged $160 per month less than claims for employees on a traditional copay or HSA plan.
"The 2022 data on Comfort's performance demonstrates that the plan is not too good to be true—which is typically the first response we hear in the market when we're talking about this plan," said Marek Ciolko, Gravie co-founder and co-CEO. "We built Comfort with the belief that a benefits-rich health plan doesn't need to cost more money, as long as you're eliminating barriers to members accessing the kinds of benefits they need and want to use. We're thrilled that our employer clients and members are experiencing Comfort the way we intended."
Comfort is a level-funded health plan, which mitigates financial risk for employers and may even result in a refund of premiums if, at the end of the plan year, premiums outpace claims. Level-funding has typically been out of reach for small and midsize employers.
While most individuals and employers are spending more than ever on healthcare these days, the latest Comfort performance data shows the potential cost savings of eliminating copays and deductibles on the most common healthcare services. For example, Comfort members are averaging five free medical visits per year compared to the industry average of 2.8 free visits per year.
This plan performance news comes at a time when Gravie continues its steady growth trajectory, including securing an additional $179M in funding led by General Atlantic earlier this year. The company also recently unveiled new branding, with the tagline, "More benefits. Fewer asterisks.™" and launched a new website demonstrating how Gravie is having a meaningful impact on the healthcare of its members.
Gravie has been and continues to be at the forefront of driving change and improving the healthcare industry by creating innovative employer-sponsored health benefit solutions that put consumers first. Comfort®, Gravie's flagship product, is the nation's first-of-its-kind health plan that provides first-dollar, 100% coverage on most common healthcare services, at a cost comparable to traditional group health plans.
SMALL BUSINESS ADVICE
Globenewswire | April 05, 2023
Ken Holloway is the new owner of Minuteman Press in Myrtle Beach. He purchased the franchise from retiring owners Anne and Kevin Myers, who had owned the shop since 2013. Minuteman Press in Myrtle Beach is located at 501 Plaza, 1772 US-501, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577.
Ken says, “I love Myrtle Beach and have been coming here since 1985. My wife Anna and I bought our second home here eight years ago, and we moved to Myrtle Beach full-time in March of 2022.”
On the purchase of the business, Ken shares, “Printing and marketing is everywhere in Myrtle Beach – on cars, signs, menus, billboards, flyers, coupon books, apparel, and more. In Myrtle Beach, we are unique in the sense that most businesses need to market to appeal to local residents as well as the high number of tourists that visit us each year. Tourists are only here for a short time so capturing their attention with marketing and advertising is critical.”
He adds, “We are excited to be expanding the business. We have added two additional graphic designers and have purchased new equipment. We have the ability to put your logo or message on just about anything.”
Before joining the Minuteman Press franchise family, Ken was already a successful small business owner in the automotive industry. He says, “I currently own four automotive and two big truck franchises throughout the Carolinas. Our home base is in Columbia and our son will be taking over those businesses so I can focus on Minuteman Press in Myrtle Beach, which I am really excited about.”
Ken concludes, “I have been a small business owner selling to other small businesses for many years. The established client base of small businesses up and down the Grand Strand and the ability to call on new businesses in a growing and thriving community is what drew interest in Minuteman Press Myrtle Beach. I also love that I’ll be able to get even more involved in the local community.”
About Minuteman Press
Minuteman Press International is the number one rated business marketing and printing franchise that offers world class training and unparalleled ongoing local support. Started in 1973 by Roy Titus and his son Bob, Minuteman Press began franchising in 1975 and has grown to nearly 1,000 business service franchise locations worldwide including the U.S., Australia, Canada, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. Minuteman Press is ranked #1 in category by Entrepreneur 26 times and 15 years in a row, including 2018. Independent franchisee satisfaction firm Franchise Business Review has also named Minuteman Press International to its 2018 Top Franchises, Top Franchise Leaders, Top Franchises for Women, and Top Franchises for Veterans lists thanks to positive reviews from our owners.
Globenewswire | April 13, 2023
The U.S. Small Business Administration has finalized two rules to address persistent gaps in access to capital impacting small business owners in underserved communities as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s effort to grow the economy from the middle out and bottom-up, not top-down. The final rules grant permanence to SBA’s program for nonprofit mission lenders, remove outdated limits on non-depository lender participation, increase opportunities for employee ownership, and modernize the credit criteria and underwriting standards to further incentivize a wider distribution network and small-dollar loans.
Small businesses are the engine of the economy. That’s why, since day one, President Biden’s Investing in America agenda has laid the groundwork and paved the way for historic economic progress – over 12 million jobs created and a small business boom of 10.5 million new business applications. At the same time, decades-long challenges for small business owners, particularly those in underserved communities, persist. In 2022, two out of three business owners who sought credit did not receive what they needed. The number of lenders that originated SBA’s 7(a) loans under $50,000 and $150,000 decreased by over 40% and 25%, respectively, for the past five to seven years.
“Modernizing and expanding SBA’s lending programs will open new opportunities to our highly entrepreneurial, yet underserved communities that have far too long been denied access to the funding they need to create jobs and grow our economy,” said U.S. Small Business Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “Equity has been a top priority of the Biden-Harris Administration since day one as our economy needs all of our great ideas and talented entrepreneurs. These rule changes demonstrate that commitment by providing government-guaranteed lenders with all the tools they need to close the gaps that still exist for small businesses who need capital.”
“It's imperative that entrepreneurs from underserved communities have access to stable and affordable capital to grow and expand their businesses,” said Patrick Kelley, Associate Administrator for the SBA's Office of Capital Access. "With these new rules, the SBA is taking steps to invest in credit-worthy entrepreneurs and mission-oriented lenders, which will build on the Biden-Harris Administration’s progress to date.”
"These reforms, brought forth by the Biden-Harris Administration, will effectively address capital gaps and bolster underserved markets, ultimately leading to increased capital access for Black and Brown entrepreneurs and promoting inclusive economic growth,” wrote the leaders of the African American Alliance of CDFIs, the National Association of Latino Community Asset Builders, the National Urban League, the Native CDFI Network, Oweesta Corporation, and Prosperity Now. “These efforts are critical for communities hardest hit during the pandemic and are the right strategies to create possibilities for small businesses to grow, for jobs to be created, and to promote equitable wealth creation.”
Expanding Economic Growth Opportunities
President Biden’s economic agenda has focused on helping small businesses start up and grow. To seize these opportunities, entrepreneurs need capital options that enable them to start and scale businesses; yet too many entrepreneurs cannot obtain affordable loans, including rural small businesses affected by over 1,600 banking deserts in America, minority-owned businesses that are persistently less likely to receive credit, and very small businesses seeking small-dollar loans. SBA’s final rules, when enacted, will help these new entrepreneurs grow their businesses by:
Addressing capital access market gaps in underserved communities: SBA is modernizing the lending criteria and conditions for SBA’s business loan programs and reducing red tape for SBA lenders, which will expand the number of credit-worthy business owners who can access SBA loans, particularly among underserved communities like women, minority, veteran, and rural entrepreneurs. SBA is doing this by updating lending criteria for its 7(a) and 504 loan programs, including by:
• Allowing lenders to make SBA loan decisions based on their existing credit policies for similarly-sized non-SBA loans;
• Providing additional flexibility for loans under $150,000 to reduce the cost and complexity of small-dollar lending;
• Streamlining paperwork required of lenders, enabling them to spend more time with applicants and make loans more efficiently;
• Simplifying and clarifying affiliation standards to ease the burden on small business owners and lenders, and make clear who qualifies for an SBA loan.
Expanding the number of participating SBA lenders: SBA will expand the number of lenders who can offer SBA-guaranteed loans, providing small businesses with more options for meeting their capital needs. The rule will expand the number of Small Business Lending Company (SBLC) licenses, which promote responsible small business lending through non-depository lenders backed by SBA loan guarantees and have been a part of SBA lending for decades. The number of SBLC licenses has been capped at 14 for 40 years, limiting potential lending options for small businesses. SBA will also address capital access gaps by granting permanence to SBA’s program for nonprofit, mission-oriented lenders by creating a new Community Advantage SBLC license. Community Advantage lenders have lacked long-term certainty about their participation in SBA programs due to the pilot status of the program. Even with these limitations, the Community Advantage Pilot Program has demonstrated success with higher rates of lending to Black, Hispanic, women, and veteran-owned businesses.
SBA’s rule will:
• Lift the moratorium on new regular SBLCs and allow for additional licensees, enabling them to make loans to small-dollar borrowers with government guarantees, reducing risks and broadening opportunities;
• Provide certainty through permanence of Community Advantage, encouraging current and new nonprofit lenders to invest in and expand SBA lending operations;
• Utilize modern technology to make lender oversight and borrower protection stronger and less resource-intensive than was possible when the SBLC moratorium was put in place.
These rules build upon a previous announcement on the Community Advantage Pilot Program that increased the maximum loan size from $250,000 to $350,000, lifted the four-year lender moratorium, enabled the SBA to expand the lender network, and allowed lenders to offer lines of credit, interest-only periods, and other loan modifications that meet the needs of small business borrowers.
A reference to this rule is available in the Federal Register at the following links:
About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow, expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations.