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Bid Title: Employee Benefits Broker & Consultant Services
Category: City of Brevard Bids and RFPs
Status: Closed

Description:
            Request for Proposals
Title: Employee Benefits Broker & Consultant Services
Issue Date: February 20, 2017
Due Date/Time: Friday, March 31, 2017 by 3:00 PM

Purpose of Request for Proposal

The purpose of this Request for Proposal (RFP) is to solicit offers from qualified brokers to assist the City of Brevard with strategically planning, designing and negotiating the best coverage and cost for employee benefit programs that include but not limited to; group medical, dental, vision, health savings accounts, ACA compliance, and potentially supplemental and voluntary insurance products.

The City has approximately
95 full-time employees, 23 retirees, and approximately 210 plan participants. The City of Brevard is constantly competing to recruit and retain the best employees possible. Our leadership is looking to ensure we have financially competitive and affordable benefit programs to offer our employees.

Currently the City of Brevard offers it employees, dependents and qualified retirees a self-insured group High Deductible Health Plan which includes prescription benefits and a dental plan. Additional benefits include employer paid life insurance, accidental death & dismemberment, short term disability, health savings account, and a variety of other voluntary benefits and wellness programs.

 This is a request for offers, not a request to contract.

Details of Proposal Submission
Sealed Proposals, subject to the conditions made a part hereof, will be accepted until 3:00 PM on Friday, March 31, 2017 for furnishing services described herein. Late proposals will not be considered for award.

A
tentative timeline is provided below:

February 20, 2017 Distribution of RFP
March 3, 2017 Addenda Requests and General Clarifications and Questions Due
March 10, 2017 Responses to Addenda Requests and Questions
March 31, 2017 Proposals delivered by 3:00 pm
April 25 -April 28, 2017 Finalist Interviews
May 16, 2017 Selection and Notification

IMPORTANT NOTE: Indicate firm name and the words “Broker Request” on the front of each sealed proposal envelope or package.

Proposals may be mailed, sent by private carrier or delivered in person during normal business hours, 8:30am -  5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Three (3) copies of the proposal must be received from each bidder (1 original, 2 copies). Electronically submitted (email/fax) proposals will not be accepted.

Proposals will be submitted in two sections. Section One will be comprised of experience and qualifications. The City will evaluate Section One as outlined in the “Criteria for Evaluation” of this RFP. The top firms from Section One will have their Section Two opened and evaluated. Section Two will be comprised of the costs and should be in a separate clearly marked sealed envelope.

Firms should have no contact with elected or appointed officials during this selection process. Any such contact will subject the firm to immediate disqualification. Direct all inquiries concerning this RFP to:
                                        KELLEY CRAIG
                                        CITY OF BREVARD
                                        95 WEST MAIN STREET
                                        BREVARD, NC 28712
                                        828-885-5608
                                        Email:

Note: Questions concerning the RFP requirements must be submitted in writing (by mail or e-mail) to the above mailing or email address. No phone calls please.

Questions must be submitted no later than 3:00 pm on Friday, March 3, 2017. All questions submitted in writing will be answered in the form of an addendum to this Request for Proposals.

Note: The City of Brevard reserves the right to amend these requirements, reject any and all proposals, and is not bound to the lowest bidder. The right is reserved to accept the response that the City determines to be in the best interest of the City and its employees. Proposals must be submitted in accordance with the requirements of the RFP. Failure to include any required information may cause rejection of the proposal.

Finalist Presentations

During the evaluation process, the City of Brevard may, at its discretion, request any one or all
consulting/brokerage firms to make oral presentations for the purpose of clarification or to amplify the materials presented in any part of the proposal. However, brokers are cautioned that the City of Brevard is not required to request clarification; therefore, all proposals should be complete and reflect the most favorable terms available from the broker/consultant. Not all bidders may be asked to make such oral presentations.

Contract Period

Any contract resulting from this proposal shall be effective DATE for the benefits plan year beginning DATE with the option of the City to continue services under the same terms and conditions set forth herein for an additional 2 plan years.

Background

The City currently provides a comprehensive Benefits Program for its employees including the following plans with employer contributions:

       *Medical Insurance
      *Dental Insurance
       *Retiree Medical Insurance
       *Retiree Dental Insurance
       *Life Insurance
       *
Short-term Disability
       *Defined Benefit Retirement Plan (NCLGERS)
       *401K Plan
       * Health Savings Account

        and optional benefits with no employer contributions:
       
       *Accident Insurance
       *Optional Life Insurance
       *Cancer/Critical Illness/ and other similar products

       *Vision Plan
       *401k Plan
       *457 Plan

The City’s fiscal year for this contract begins July 1. The City’s health plan year is July 1 to June 30. Employees participate in an annual open enrollment process no later than May 15th; prior to July 1 benefit renewal.

Scope of Work
The City of Brevard requires a North Carolina licensed Broker who is independent and is not affiliated with any insurance company, third party administrative agency (TPA) or provider network. The brokerage firm must have experience (no less than 5 years) in providing brokerage services in the public sector and for employers with self-insured plans and at least 75 employees.
 

City of Brevard requires the following services:

 

    *Provide information on employee benefit issues, trends and proposed or new legislation. 
      Assist the City in identifying and evaluating existing and emerging health insurance related 
      liabilities and issues. Recommend alternative benefit designs or delivery systems as   
      dictated by emerging plan costs or benefit practices.

    *Assist with reviewing and reaffirming or changing the goals and objectives of the benefit 
      design.
    
    *
Audit consequent contracts for accuracy of coverage, terms, and conditions
.

    *Provide ACA compliance consulting and reporting services.

    *Assist with annual benefits renewals, including negotiation of changes in contracts 
      including stop/loss.

 

    *Issue a written report of anticipated insurance and renewal terms, analysis of market 
       conditions and recommendations for renewal not less than 90 days prior to renewal.
       Analysis shall address program design, broadest available coverage terms, pricing, optimal
       stop loss levels, and insurer stability, security and services available. Report must clearly
       delineate any changes in coverage from that of prior years and/or as may be inconsistent 
       with the City’s current coverage document.

    *
Provide annual reviews of selected employee benefit package for quality of benefits 
      provided, cost effectiveness, competitiveness and plan administration.

    *When employee benefits are marketed, prepare bid specifications, identify appropriate
      markets,
analyze proposals submitted, make recommendations and assist in negotiation of
      contracts. If employee benefits are not marketed, assist with annual benefits renewals,
      including negotiation of changes in contracts.

    *Monitor ongoing contracts, including provider plan administration, provider compliance 
       with contract, and incurred claims.

    *Monitor and provide information on employee benefit and issues, trends proposed or new 
      legislation, and changes in tax laws specific to employee benefits.

    *Advise and assist in establishment, review, and maintenance of appropriate contribution    
      amounts for various coverage classes (retiree coverage, employee coverage, family
      coverage, spousal coverage, dependent coverage, etc.)
    
    *Provide monthly reports on the financial and claims experience, condition, and progress of
      plans.

    *Be available to meet with the City Human Resources staff and City management as needed.
      Participate when requested in communications and actions with the insurance and
      healthcare reimbursement carriers; and with boards or other independent bodies.

    *Assist in the design of employee benefits communications. Participate in Benefit Fairs and
      annual enrollment process.

    *Provide a key contact person to be available to answer questions and resolve issues that 
      arise during the year regarding employee benefits, contract administration, and service
      provisions. 

    *Assist in the evaluation of current Employee Wellness Program.

    *Provide consultation and guidance with respect to governmental mandates such as FMLA,
      COBRA, HIPAA, ADA, ACA, USERRA, etc. 


    *Perform other related consultation services as needed or requested.

Vendor Proposal Requirements

The proposal response must clearly demonstrate the required qualifications, expertise, competence and capability of the vendor. Please provide a concise description of your firm’s ability to provide the services required in the Scope of this document. Costs incurred by firms responding to this RFP are solely their responsibility.

Vendors are required to prepare their proposals in accordance with the instructions outlined in this part and elsewhere in this RFP. In order to be eligible for consideration, the submitted proposal must include all of the following:

Section One Envelope:
    1. Cover letter stating intentions of the proposal
    2. Table of Contents
    3. Complete answers of all questions listed under Vendor Proposal Requirements
    4. A sample service agreement that includes a comprehensive listing of all services available
        as a result of the proposal
    5. A sample copy of your HIPAA Business Associate Agreement

Section Two Envelope:
    6. Cost and Fee Proposal including full disclosure of all fees and verification that all services 
         provided therein are included in the final proposal cost.
    7. Fully disclose all commissions, bonuses, or similar financial benefits earned from third 
        parties as a direct or indirect result of the proposed agreement.

Additionally, please include the answers to the following questions (address by number) in Section One submission:

     1. Describe your organizational structure (i.e. publicly held corporation, partnership, etc.). 
        how long has your organization been providing brokerage services?
     2. Confirm that you are a licensed broker in North Carolina and provide documentation.
        Confirm that you serve as a broker, independently, and are not affiliated with any 
       insurance company, third party administrative agency or provider network.
     3. Briefly describe your company’s organization, philosophy, management, and a brief
         company history. Describe your contractual relationships, if any, with organizations 
         necessary to your proposal’s implementation (i.e. actuarial, data information services).
     4. Provide the amount of professional liability or errors and omissions insurance currently 
         carried by your company. Indicate if you have had any claims filed against you for errors
         and omissions in the last five years and provide a short description of such claims.
     5. How many clients does your organization presently have? Typically, how many clients
        does each account manager handle?
     6. What is your target client size? What is your median client size?
     7. How many public sector clients do you manage? How many self-insured clients?
     8. What is your average response time to questions posed from your clients? How do you 
         handle follow-up to outstanding items? What is your preferred method of 
         communicating with your clients (i.e. voicemail, e-mail, or fax)?
     9. Please describe the organizational structure of the account managers who would
         provide services to the City. Include a brief professional history for each individual and
         how they are qualified to provide services to the City.
    10. Briefly describe the level of service and support provided by your account managers on 
           a day-to-day basis. 
    11. What steps does your organization take to ensure that each account manager is
           educated on current market trends and legislative developments including ACA
           requirements and year end reporting? How is this information communicated to your
           clients?
    12. Describe how you propose to build an understanding of the direction and priorities of
           the City of Brevard and how you would utilize this information to anticipate our needs
           in relation to benefits and plan development and in turn develop a strategic benefit
           plan.
    13. Describe your organization’s involvement in the annual renewal process. Include
           information regarding process timeframes, providing plan recommendations,
           negotiation of rates and vendor selection including TPA. Include how your company’s
           experience and expertise would benefit the City.
    14. Describe the process of how your organization would assist the City in selecting a new
           insurance vendor. Include how your company’s experience and expertise would benefit
           the City.
    15. What is your process for providing plan recommendations to your clients?
    16. Describe how your firm ensures that vendors, third-party administrators and other
           service providers meet the HIPAA privacy and security requirements and how your 
           firm assists clients in meeting the applicable requirements.
    17. What benefit plan design and cost benchmarks would you propose to use to provide
           market perspective on the City of Brevard’s benefit programs?
    18. Describe how your organization strives to streamline benefit administration for your
           clients. Include any services you provide for automation of the benefit process (i.e. 
           electronic capabilities – internet enrollment, web site for the City of Brevard 
           employees to view their benefits, outsourcing options). Attach any associated costs for 
           these services on a separate fee schedule.
    19. Detail how you develop a benefit communication strategy with your clients. Include
          what tools or resources you have available to assist your clients in effectively
          communicating not only the specific plan details but also the value of the benefits 
          offered? 
    20. Describe how you work with clients in developing effective wellness strategies and 
           programs that are integrated with the health benefit plan. Indicate if your firm has 
           staff dedicated to working with clients on Wellness incentives. 
    21. The City prefers a Broker who can help show employees what we provide for them in 
           the area of benefits, so they can better appreciate those benefits offered to them. 
           What communication and/or enrollment services make your company's proposal 
           uniquely attractive in this regard? 
    22. Describe the communication pieces your company provides to assist in the enrollment 
           process. Specifically, we are interested in providing each employee a benefits 
           statement, an election form indicating employee deduction, benefits booklet, 
           customized benefits website, educational videos. 
    23. Indicate any experience that your firm has with assisting in the management and 
           compliance with health savings accounts. 
    24. What training resources does your organization provide to assist your clients in 
           educating and training their benefit staff? 
    25. Please specify any services that would fall outside the scope (i.e. require outsourcing) 
           of you proposed service plan, but would be available to the City for an additional fee. 
           Are there services that fall outside of the scope of the proposed service plan for which 
           the cost would be paid by vendors or other parties-in-interest? 
    26. Please provide a project plan including deliverables for the first year. 
    27. Describe your firm’s policy on accepting contingent commissions, or any other
           sources of income, revenue consideration, compensation or overrides, in connection 
           with services provided to your clients. Describe your firm’s disclosure policy. 
    28. What makes your organization unique from other organizations that may 
           submit proposals for the City’s consideration? 
    29. Provide any additional information regarding your organization or services that you 
           feel would be beneficial in helping the City to select a benefits broker. 
    30. Please include a list of at least four (4) references for whom similar work has     
           been performed during the past three (3) years to include the Client Name, Address,     
           Contact Person and Title, Contact Phone Number and/or Email.

Criteria for Evaluation

All proposals will be evaluated according to, but not necessarily limited to, the following: 

    * The proposal’s Plan of Services as required in Scope of Work and Vendor Proposal 
       Requirements. 

    *Extent and success of previous work provided to organizations similar in nature and size 
      to those required herein. 

    *References provided verifying the required experience and level of service needed by the 
      City. 

     *The proposal itself as an example of the potential vendor’s work. 

    *Qualifications/experience of key personnel to be assigned to the project. 

    *All required forms completed and returned as part of the proposal package.

Compensation (Section Two)

Please clearly outline your compensation associated with the required services on a separate
compensation addendum. Specify for healthcare product versus other benefit options.

Oral Presentations:

During the evaluation process, the City may, at its discretion, request any one or all Bidders to make oral presentations for the purpose of clarification or to amplify the materials presented in any part of the proposal. However, Bidders are cautioned that the City is not required to request clarification; therefore, all proposals should be complete and reflect the most favorable terms available from the broker. Not all Bidders may be asked to make such oral presentations.

The City may select more than one finalist based on the responses to this RFP. The finalists will be offered the opportunity to make a presentation to the selection committee, made up of key
stakeholders, end-users, and representatives from HR, Finance, and City Administration.

Final Selection

A recommendation will be made to the City Manager at the earliest possible time.

The contract will be awarded to the Bidder that is determined by the City to best meet the City's objectives determined by the evaluation criteria stated in this proposal.

The right is reserved to accept the response that the City of Brevard determines to be in the best interest of the City and its employees. The City of Brevard reserves the right to reject any and or all proposal

Proposals Subject to Public Records Laws

All proposals, data, materials and documentation originated, prepared and submitted to the City pursuant to this RFP shall belong exclusively to the City and may become available to the public in accordance with the North Carolina Public Records Act as provided in N.C.G.S. §132-1 et. seq. City will make reasonable attempts to maintain, in accordance with the Public Records Laws and the Act, the confidentiality of any trade secrets or confidential information that meets the requirements of N.C.G.S. §132-1.2 of the Public Records Laws if such Bidders properly and conspicuously identify the particular data or other materials which are confidential information in accordance with the Public Records Laws.

Negotiation and Execution of Contract

    A.     A successful Bidder under this RFP shall negotiate and execute a contract containing 
            such terms and conditions as shall be satisfactory to the City. The terms of such contract 
            is subject to discussion and agreement but is anticipated to include the following:
        
            1)     A scope of services similar to that set forth in this Request for Proposals 
                    unless modified upon agreement by the City.

            2)     A provision which allows the City of Brevard the right to terminate services at 
                    any time upon thirty (30) days’ notice. 
 
            3)     To the extent allowed under law or not prohibited by insurance contract, a credit 
                    of the fee payable in the event that services are terminated and/or deleted. 
 
            4)     Insurance coverage satisfactory to City Administration. 
 
            5)     A provision that requires all services performed under the contract to conform to 
                    prevailing professional or provider standards and to the requirements of the 
                    contract. Upon written notice of any defect from the City, the broker will be 
                    expected to correct or re-perform any defective or nonconforming services at no 
                    cost to the City of Brevard. If the broker fails or refuses to correct or re-perform, 
                    the City shall be entitled to any remedy that may be provided for under the 
                    contract, and in any event, that may be authorized by law. 
 
            6)     A provision requiring the Broker to defend, indemnify and hold harmless the 
                    City with regard to any negligent acts or omissions or malfeasance with regard to 
                    the services performed or to be performed. 
 
            7)     A provision providing that the Broker shall not be deemed an agent of the City for 
                    any purpose whatsoever. 
 
            8)    Such other terms and conditions that may be required pursuant to Federal or 
                    State law, Regulation and/or by the City Attorney. 
 
The occurrence of negotiations with any Bidder conveys no right or status on such potential Bidder. By submitting a proposal, each Bidder acknowledges and agrees that the City may negotiate with one or more Bidders, under such circumstances, at such times, and in such a manner, as it determines to be in the best interest of the City.

Governing Law

This Procurement and any Contract resulting from this RFP shall be governed by and constructed in accordance with the laws of the State of North Carolina. Any and all claims or disputes arising under or in connection with this RFP or the Contract shall be exclusively governed by the laws of the State of North Carolina, and venue shall be exclusively within Transylvania County, North Carolina. 
 
Indemnity and Insurance

Brokers will indemnify and hold harmless the City, its officers, agents, and employees from and
against all loss, cost, damages, expense and liability caused by accident or other occurrence
resulting in bodily injury, including death and disease to any person, or damage or destruction to property, real or personal, or loss, expenses or damages caused by failure of the Broker to
adequately perform its work herein, arising directly or indirectly from operations, products, or services rendered or purchased under the contract.

Transfer, Assignment, or Subcontract

The covenants and agreements contained within the selected proposal are specifically binding and the City will not allow the selected proposal to be transferred, assigned or subcontracted to any other party or parties without the express written consent from the City.

Certification of Independent Price Determination
 
By submission of this Proposal, the Bidder certifies and, in the case of a joint Proposal, each party thereto certifies as to its own organization, that in connection with this Procurement: 
    A.     The price in this Proposal has been arrived at independently, without consultation, 
            communication, or agreement for the purpose of restricting competition as to any 
            matter relating to such prices with any other Bidder or with any competitor; 

    B.     Unless otherwise required by law, the prices which have been quoted in this Proposal 
            have not and will not be knowingly disclosed by the Bidder prior to the Proposal 
            opening, directly or indirectly, to any other Bidder or to any competition; and 

    C.     No attempt has been made or will be made by the Bidder to induce any other person or 
            firm to submit or not to submit a Proposal for the purpose of restricting competition. 
 
E-Verify Compliance

By submission of this Proposal, the Bidder certifies that it and any subcontractors comply with the requirements of Article 2 of Chapter 64 of the North Carolina General Statutes.

Equal Opportunity Employer


The City of Brevard is an equal opportunity employer.

Note: The right is reserved to accept the response that the City determines to be in the best interest of the City and its employees. The City of Brevard reserves the right to reject any and or all proposals.

                                                                    EXECUTION OF PROPOSAL
DATE: ______________

The Bidder certifies the following by placing an "X" in all blank spaces:

____   That this proposal was signed by an authorized representative of the firm.

____   That the Bidder has determined the cost and availability of all 
            materials and supplies associated with performing the services outlined 
            herein.

____    That all labor costs associated with this project have been determined, 
             including all direct and indirect costs.

_____  That the Bidder agrees to the conditions as set forth in this 
             Request for Proposal with no exceptions.


Therefore, in compliance with the foregoing Request for Proposal, and subject to all terms and
conditions thereof, the undersigned offers and agrees, if this proposal is accepted within (150) days from the date of the opening, to furnish the services for the prices quoted within the timeframe required.
NAME (BIDDER)____________________________  ADDRESS ____________________________
CITY, ST. & ZIP _____________________________  PHONE ___________ FAX ______________ 
BY _______________________________________ TITLE _______________________________
      (Signature)

_________________________________________        ________________________________
Type or Printed Name                                                           Federal Identification Number

THIS PAGE MUST BE COMPLETED AND SUBMITTED AS A PART OF YOUR PROPOSAL.


 






    

    






 

 


 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 






 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Publication Date/Time:
2/20/2017 12:00 AM
Closing Date/Time:
3/31/2017 3:00 PM
Submittal Information:
Sealed Proposals, subject to the conditions made a part hereof, will be accepted until 3:00 PM on Fr
Miscellaneous:
Responses to Addenda Requests and Questions

Regarding the RFP For Benefits Broker/Consultant Services
Issued on February 20, 2017

1) Is there a Fee Schedule Preference from the City? Some fees are set as monthly per employee per month fees and some are set as flat annual fees. These are done in lieu of the commission that would normally be included in those products. Which would the City prefer?

The City of Brevard does not have a preferred Fee Schedule.


2) There are also a few benefit program questions about the current structure which came to our attention upon review of the formal questions:
a. Is the current high deductible plan option the only medical plan option for the
City or is it paired with another “copay” option?

The only medical plan option offered by the City of Brevard
is a High Deductible Health Plan.

b. Is the City currently contributing dollars to employee and/or family coverage
into this Health Savings Account mentioned in request?

Yes, the City of Brevard contributes to employee Health Savings
Accounts on an annual basis.

c. Who is the current Third Party Administrator for the City? Does this vendor
also manage a self-funded dental program for the City?

The current Third Party Administrator is CWI Benefits and they are
also currently managing our Dental Program.

d. With regard to retiree programs, does the City offer to just those under age
65 or those over age 65 as well? If so for those over 65, are they included in
the group medical plan or on a current Medicare Supplement program?

Is this a closed program? Will there be future retirees?

Employees who retire with the City under the North Carolina Local
Government Employee’s Retirement system may currently elect to stay on
the group health policy until they are Medicare eligible; however the retirees
must pay the full cost of the coverage.

e. Is there a current online enrollment tool used by the City? There is a line item
for an enrollment form for the group to distribute in the request, so it is
important to know if there is a system that consolidates that information
currently. If so, what system is currently in use? There are several systems that
can be used to work with multiple TPAs. If it is one of these systems, then that
may aide in timelines requested

There is not currently a system that consolidates information or
enrollment. Employees currently complete paper enrollment forms
and then Human Resources staff do entry into the City’s payroll
system along entering enrollment information into the TPAs system
and handling all enrollment pieces separately.


f. There is also a listing for 457 and 401(k) plan services, which ECM can provide.
However, there are questions that seem to be geared for these services. Are
there any services that the City would request be provided for these programs.


The City currently offers both 401(k) plan and 457 plan options
for employees. These were included as there may be an interest
in taking a look at all of our voluntary benefit options to ensure
we are providing a robust and complete package to our
employees.



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