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Employers with self-insured health plans are facing new Section 6055 regulations regarding the reporting of minimum essential coverage. The proposed regulation requires self-insured employers to report this information to the IRS on either Form 1095-B or in Part III of Form 1095-C, if the coverage is provided by an applicable large employer.

Section 6055 reporting identifies those individuals who are enrolled in minimum essential coverage. In order to accomplish this, the reporting forms require the inclusion of each individual’s Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). For an individual, this is his or her Social Security number. While employers generally have the SSNs of their employees, they are less likely to have this information for an employee’s spouse or dependents. The proposed regulations include new guidance relating to the solicitation of TINs and the solicitation process employers should follow in order to avoid any penalties for filing without the proper TINs.

As long as “reasonable efforts” are made to secure the TINs of covered individuals, an employer is permitted to report a date of birth when no TIN has been provided. The proposed regulations lay out the following three-point process that should be used in order to meet the “reasonable efforts” guideline.

Reasonable efforts process chartIf individuals are already enrolled in coverage, July 29, 2016, is to be used as the initial solicitation date as long as a TIN was solicited as part of the application for coverage or at any other point before July 29, 2016. The second solicitation is then required within 75 days after July 29, 2016, which would be October 12, 2016.

Dan Bond, Principal at Compliancedashboard said, “Interestingly enough, these proposed regulations do not change the solicitation process for incorrect TINs, and there remains some confusion over what the IRS deems as a trigger for soliciting TINs in the situation that they are incorrect. They included a footnote in these proposed regulations that we presume is referencing the AIR [Affordable Care Act Information Returns] filing system that says just because an error message is received, that error message isn’t a notice for a penalty. Nor does the filer need to start the solicitation process in response to the error message. This statement leaves some question as to what triggers a solicitation need. We are watching to see what the IRS does with this.”

Although this process is part of a proposed rule, the IRS has stated that self-insured employers may rely on the process pending the release of a final rule.

For applicable large employers and self-funded employers of all sizes who have now completed the first round of required IRS reporting under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), request UBA’s ACA Advisor, “IRS Reporting, Now What?” for information on play or pay penalties, when the penalty is triggered, how the penalty will be assessed and documentation employers must have.

Originally posted by www.ubabenefits.com

back to school

As thoughts of changing weather and the impending holidays loom, September (and August, in many states) means back to school for employees with children. Don’t forget about your employees with college-age students, who may be driving them across the country to get set up in dorm rooms and ready to face life on a college campus. Some of your employees may be college students as well, expanding their knowledge base to better their career and serve your organization. Are you ready to support employees with back-to-school obligations?

In addition to your established time off programs (whether an all-encompassing PTO program or vacation time), establishing time or allowing flexible time for employees with school-age children will go far in creating good will in your organization. Any flexibility you offer, such as early start and leave hours or extended lunch periods to attend to school duties, should also be available to your employees who are not parents.

Some states require certain employers to provide unpaid leave to parents and guardians for participation in their student’s educational activities. These laws may be incorporated in a regulatory leave such as school visitation leave or small necessities leave. While many of these statutes allow or even require the use of the employee’s paid leave, it’s important to know the rules for your state for how much time must be accorded under the law and specific usage.

Employees with Young School-Age Children

Do you have plans in place for employees who need to leave early for back-to-school nights, sports, or teacher conferences? What about when a child becomes sick during the school day — can you provide your employees some flexibility to attend to a child who must leave school during the day? Review your policies and the law for your state.

Parents with children just beginning preschool or kindergarten may need a little extra flexibility in those first weeks. If you can provide flexible start times to help ease these employees into what may be a new routine for them and their children, all the better.

Employees with College-Age Children

Employees who are helping their young adult children move into dorm rooms or college apartments are likely already planning that time as part of a vacation or paid time off. However, remember the emotional needs of a parent sending their child off to college. There are strong feelings that can occur at this monumental time in a parent’s life, particularly when sending a first-time college student off, and they may be distracted in those early days or fielding frequent calls during their workday from a nervous student. Offering support in the form of understanding, and flexibility to accept those phone calls (within reason), can go a long way in creating loyalty and good will.

Student Employees

If you have employees who are students, whether in online programs, evening classes, or even day classes that you have agreed to work schedules around, be mindful of their additional requirements to study and produce school work beyond the work required for their job. Student employees may benefit from flex time to prepare for a final or big exam; be mindful of where an employee is in the school year to offer support. Again, when offering support, be alert to how the employee is handling his or her work load and make sure co-workers are not feeling the effects.

What Employers Can Do

Revisit your leave and flexibility policies, and read up on the law in your state for school visitation, parental leave for school activities, or small necessities leave. In many cases, your established policies may not need to change. Be mindful of fairness to your employees who are not parents, and explore ways to be supportive or understanding of those parents who are experiencing parental milestones, such as the first year of any school or a school change. Consider allowing flexibility with work hours as needed to keep parents happy with their work/life balance and satisfied employees in your organization.

originally published by www.thinkhr.com

On June 8, 2016, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed legislation (H.B. 523) making Ohio the 25th state to adopt a workable medical marijuana law. The legislation will allow seriously ill patients to use and purchase medical cannabis that will be cultivated and processed in-state.

With regards to employment, the bill does not:

  • Require an employer to permit or accommodate an employee’s use, possession, or distribution of medical marijuana.
  • Prohibit an employer from taking any adverse employment action an employer may take under current law because of a person’s use, possession, or distribution of medical marijuana.
  • Permit a person to sue an employer for taking an adverse employment action related to medical marijuana.
  • Prohibit an employer from establishing and enforcing a drug-testing policy, drug-free workplace policy, or zero-tolerance drug policy or interfere with federal restrictions on employment, including U.S. Department of Transportation regulations.

In addition, a person who is discharged from employment because of the person’s medical marijuana use will be found to have been discharged for just cause under the Unemployment Compensation Law if the use violated an employer’s drug-free workplace policy, zero-tolerance policy, or other formal program or policy regulating medical marijuana use and will be thus ineligible for unemployment benefits.

The bill also maintains the rebuttable presumption that an employee is ineligible for workers’ compensation if the employee was under the influence of marijuana and being under the influence of marijuana was the proximate cause of the injury, regardless of whether the marijuana use is recommended by a physician.

The law goes into effect September 8, 2016.

Originally published by www.thinkhr.com

0815Sitting down and making a family budget may not be the most fun activity you ever do. However, the effort and thought you put into your budget can help relieve stress and enable you to manage your money more efficiently. Learning to budget for your family of four is the first step toward smart financial management. If you have attempted family budgeting before but have experienced difficulty staying on track, try once more to set your family on the right financial path.

Step 1

List your fixed monthly expenses. Include mortgage or rent payments, electricity, cable, food, phone, insurance, loan payments and transportation costs. If your children are in child care or a private school, add those costs as well. To ensure accuracy, use past bank statements to make a complete list.

Step 2

Look through your past 12 months of expenses. Write down any expenses that are paid annually. Magazine subscriptions, pest control fees, car registration fees, membership dues and school supplies for your children are such expenses. Add these together and divide by 12 to obtain the average monthly cost of these annual fixed expenses. List this result on your monthly budget sheet.

Step 3

Write down your variable monthly expenses on your sheet. List the cost of clothing, entertainment, restaurant meals and other variable expenses for both adults and children. Remember to look over the past year and include expenses that do not occur every month, such as school lab fees, sports or music lessons, and the purchasing of gifts.

Step 4

Compare the total of your monthly expenses to your monthly take-home income. Note whether your expenses are greater or less than your income. Examine each budgeted category and decide if you need to reduce that expense. Involve your children in the discussion if they are old enough.

Step 5

Rewrite your monthly budget with your adjusted figures. Prepare for unexpected expenses by setting up an automatic transfer system with your bank to establish or build a savings account. Budgeting your savings into your monthly budget helps establish the habit of saving money. Encourage your children to save part of any money that they receive.

Step 6

Decide whether you or your partner will be responsible for keeping track of your monthly budget. Allocate whose income covers which expenses if you are a two-income family. Rotate the responsibilities occasionally to ensure that both of you understand where your income is spent and how much you save each month. Commit to open, frequent communication.

Step 7

Set up an envelope system to break any credit card habit you may have. Commit to paying cash for as many expenses as possible. Pay your fixed expenses before calculating how much money you have left for variable expenses. Put the budgeted amount of cash in an envelope designated for each variable category expense, such as entertainment, clothes, restaurant meals, coffee and gifts. Once the money in that envelope is gone, do not make any additional purchases for the month in that category.

pills0805According to UBA’s new Special Report – Trends in Prescription Drug Benefits, 61.8% of plans required employees to pay more when they elect brand-name drugs over an available generic drug (a 5.5% increase from 2014); 37.9% of those plans require the added cost even if the physician notes “dispense as written.” On the other hand, only 1% of plans offer no coverage for brand-name drugs if generics are available and 37.2% offer no added cost coverage. So while most employers aren’t completely penalizing those who choose brand-name drugs, more and more plans are requiring employees to pay higher copays when they elect brand-name drugs. Some plans have a mandated step therapy program that makes sure employees try a lower class alternative before they move to a medication in a higher class (or try a generic or generic equivalent in a particular therapeutic class). Some plans exclude certain drugs altogether. This cost pressure has made employers more aware of drug costs, so many are beginning to educate employees about using benefits cost-effectively. Here’s what our Health Plan Survey data shows about which employers are steering employees to generics:

  • Predictably, the larger the employer, the more generous it is in covering brand name drugs either with no added cost or at least not incurring added cost when the physician notes “dispense as written.” Seventy-seven percent of plans for groups with 1,000+ employees fall in this category while only 51% of small group plans offer this benefit.
  • Plans in the central U.S. and within the construction, agriculture, mining, and transportation industries are making the most aggressive push to generic drugs, with only 46.3% and 53.8%, respectively, providing relief for brand name drugs.

While injectable drugs are often watched as a significant liability when it comes to cost containment, nearly all plans have no separate deductible for these medications. Additional tiers, coinsurance models and mail order benefits are overwhelmingly the way employers are dealing with the highest cost drugs.

In 2015 alone, 38 specialty drugs received FDA approval, and more are in the pipeline. “The latest development among aggressively managed drug plans is to move specialty drugs (oral and injectable) to the major medical portion of the policy, delivering an initial 7- to 15-day supply to confirm the drug’s effectiveness before dispensing a full 30-day supply” says Scott Deru, President of UBA Partner Firm Fringe Benefit Analysts. “Requirements also include frequent patient follow-up to verify adherence to the prescription schedule, any adverse reactions, and to verify that mail order drugs amounting to tens of thousands of dollars are being tracked and received by the patient. Other cost containment strategies include bringing a registered nurse to a patient’s home for infusion therapy to avoid the facility and prescription mark-up costs from inpatient and outpatient facilities.”

Originally published by United Benefit Advisors – Read More

07011ssgOverview

When Madison Maroney (name changed for privacy) moved from Boston to Wisconsin, there was one thing the 40-year-old east-coaster couldn’t leave behind: Her weekly therapy sessions. So now, two years later, in her Midwestern home, she pops open her laptop every week, logs on, and via live-streaming video, talks through her highs and lows with a therapist on the other side of the country.

Sure, she could have found someone new. But she had been seeing her psychotherapist for about two years and the idea of starting over felt counter-productive. “We had an immensely personal relationship, and this made it possible for me to continue that relationship and our work together,” Maroney says.

Therapists are reporting a rise in the number of patients requesting video sessions, says Marlene M. Maheu, Ph.D., executive director of TeleMental Health Institute. Like Maroney, many people continue video sessions with their therapists after a long-distance move—or while traveling for business. However, others just find them more attractive than in-office visits.

“Telemental health breaks down many of the accesses barriers that currently exist between people and the care they need,” Maheu says. More than 80 million Americans live in mental health professional shortage areas, according to the U.S. Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration. Meanwhile, even in urban settings where mental health professionals abound, time and money can be a deterrent for people seeking professional help. Telemental health services—such as online chat and video streaming—squash them all.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

“Video therapy is not all that different from in-person therapy,” Maheu says. “It’s talking.” Together, the patient and practitioner determine the length and frequency of their appointment, and the conversation depends on both on the patient’s needs as well as the mental health expert’s training. Telemental health professionals can be licensed in counseling, therapy, psychology, and psychiatry, and each individual will have a slightly different approach.

Typically, sessions with a trained expert begin with a code designed to determine if the patient has privacy, which can be of concern for patients taking their calls from home, she says. (For example, saying a red car is parked outside might mean that a family member is in earshot, while a green car means that no topic is off limits.) Also, Maroney sets a white-noise machine outside the door where she takes the call to guarantee privacy amid a busy household. After confidentiality is ensured, the time proceeds like any other in-person session.

The benefits are tangible: Research has shown that virtual visits can be effective in dealing with stress, anger management, social anxiety, smoking cessation, pain, depression, and obsessive behavior. And published this year in Psychiatric Services, the first large-scale study of telemental health services found that virtual visits slash mental health patients’ hospitalization time by 25 percent.

WILL IT WORK FOR YOU? POTENTIAL PROBLEMS (AND POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS)

PROBLEM #1: YOUR WIRELESS STINKS

Technical difficulties can complicate sessions. Dropped connections, frozen pictures, and poor resolution are all possibilities that can encroach on appointment time and efficiency. “You have to expect that technology will get in the way from time to time,” says Maroney.

FIX IT: Before you get started with a provider, come up with a plan in case any technical snafus arise, Maheu says. Will you be charged for time lost due to a dropped connection? Who will call the other back? It’s much easier to address these issues ahead of time. Plus, if you aren’t worried about missing out on your session—or your money—any hiccups will cause you far less stress.

PROBLEM #2: YOU CAN’T FIND A TELE-THERAPIST

Any guy in his garage can build a website and take your money, and a great therapist might not be schooled in virtual services. Without proper training, a qualified in-person psychologist might not be able accurately evaluate if web therapy can be effective for you, administer services, or identify non-verbal forms of communication on a little screen, Maheu says.

FIX IT: Start by performing a Google search for telemental health or distance counseling, she suggests. Or, if you have a therapist or counselor with whom you’ve begun in-person work and would like to continue online, ask if he or she is trained in telemental health.

Also, ask for your practitioner’s licensing number and verify it through your state’s board of mental health practitioners, Maheu says. If you are in—or move to—a different state from your provider, make sure he or she is licensed where you are. It’s illegal in many states for a provider to treat a patient who lives in a state in which he or she is not licensed. What’s more, if you have any complaints down the road, your state’s board of mental health practitioners can only help you if the provider is licensed there, she says.

PROBLEM #3: YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE DOESN’T COVER IT

Health insurance is increasingly seeing that covering online therapy sessions can save them money in the long run, and more and more companies are covering virtual care, Maheu says. Currently, state law requires health insurance companies to cover telemental health services in 16 states, she says. While it’s an improvement, it means that health insurers don’t have to cover the services in 34 states.

FIX IT: If your health insurance plan includes mental health benefits, they could extend to services provided online or over the phone, Maheu says. You may need to make a case for why they cannot happen in person. If you live in a mental health professional shortage area, move away from your provider, or are unable to travel due to a medical condition or procedure, you may qualify.

If your health insurer still says your plan does not cover online therapy, don’t despair. That’s where sites such as CopeToday.com, TherapyLiveCare.com, and eCounseling.com come in. They allow patients to schedule a session, or even talk immediately, to a licensed therapist in their state—often for a fraction of the price of an in-office visit without going through insurance.

These sites work with licensed and local mental health experts, most of whom are also in private practice. CopeToday, for instance, is the virtual home to about 250 professionals, according to Tania S. Malik, the company’s CEO. And as each provider sets his or her own schedule, often at diverse hours, people are able to receive care around the clock. After the initial visit, the client and provider are able to set their own schedule for continued sessions.

Still, it’s important to confirm that any provider you work with through such sites are both licensed in your state and obtain your personal and medical information. While staying anonymous can sound appealing to many patients, it’s not safe or fully legal, Maheu says. Mental health professionals are required by law to report any cases of abuse, and need to be able let family members know if a client is a danger to him or herself.

PROBLEM #4: YOUR THERAPIST MIGHT BE BREAKING THE LAW

And while many well-meaning therapists use Skype for online sessions, it’s not compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), a federal law that ensures your personal details stay safe, Maheu says. “On Skype, anyone can listen in without you knowing it.” Apart from that, however, there are very few risks for you as a patient. Mahoney even prefers to use Skype with her therapist, after having one too many technical difficulties on other platforms. Still, if any healthcare provider—therapist included—is reported for a HIPAA violation, fines could range from $100 to $1.5 million.

FIX IT: The TeleMental Health Institute has identified more than 50 HIPAA-compliant video teleconferencing companies. To comply, video platforms must comply with both HIPAA’s Security Rule and Privacy Rule, which include specifications on administrative safeguards, equipment, and disclosure. If you do not see your therapist’s video service on the list, give the office a call and ask for the name of its video platform. You can then go to the platform’s website and look for the words “HIPAA compliant” or “HIPAA compatible,” Maheu suggests. “The fact that a company has met these standards is a selling point, so they openly advertise their compliance,” she says.

Originally published by Livestrong – Read More

How to Identify the Perfect Candidate for a Hybrid Role | Ohio Employee Benefits

Categories: HR, Special Interest, Team K Blog
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Young woman discussing during a job interview at officeHybridized jobs are no longer the exception in the workplace. They’re the norm. Employees are now expected to dabble in different areas, such as communications, IT and sales—all in one role. In fact, a recent study found that roles such as social media strategist and web designer are dying out, in favor of roles that require multiple “hats.”

So how can you find the candidates that will make good hybrid employees? What questions should you ask in the interview? Interviewing for the technical skills needed in a hybrid job is simple and straightforward. The difficult part is understanding how applicants function when they need to use a mix of hard and soft skills.

To understand this, hiring managers should use a behavioral interviewing approach. This approach uses questions designed to elicit responses that get at a candidate’s approach to working, such as dealing with a difficult supervisor or mentoring a new employee. To be effective, behavioral questions should be tied to situations that are real in your company and that any candidate would face on the job.

Here are some areas of behavior to gauge, questions to ask and responses you hope to hear (or hope you don’t hear) when trying to find a good fit for a hybrid position:

Handling conflict: How have you have handled working with another person who challenged your ideas?

  • Good signs: The candidate shares examples of how he made a challenging teammate an ally by bringing him into the project more fully or giving him more challenging parts of the project.
  • Red flags: The candidate explains how he shifted the challenger onto other projects, ignored him or got the project done without him.

Solving problems: How have you dealt with an upset customer or teammate?

  • Good signs: The candidate gives examples of active listening, going the extra mile to fix the issue and following up with customers or teammates to make sure that they were satisfied with the resolution.
  • Red flags: The candidate says she delegated the problem to her boss or another team because she couldn’t see a solution to the problem.

Working with teams: Could you describe a team project you’ve worked on that required working with people from other parts of the company?

  • Good signs: The candidate shares how she included other people’s perspectives, and demonstrates that she understands it is vital to bring together the different skill sets of various team members to succeed.
  • Red flags: Similar to the flags when gauging problem solving skills, a red flag would be if the candidate demonstrates a lack of willingness to work collaboratively.

Leadership: When have you taken the lead on a difficult project?

  • Good signs: The candidate outlines his approach to managing projects, explains the challenge the team faced and how he worked to collaboratively lead the team to a successful outcome. He discusses how members of the team stepped up and describes why the success of the project was important to the company.
  • Red flags: If the candidate takes ownership for the entirety of the project, or if he couldn’t adequately describe a situation where he actively supported his team on a project. He inflates what is actually typical day-to-day work to seem like an important project.

Dealing with adversity: Tell me about a time when you’ve made a mistake, and what you did about it?

  • Good signs: The candidate honestly shares something she didn’t do well and what she learned from it. This illustrates her character, problem-solving abilities and how she manages adversity.
  • Red flags: A canned response where the candidate highlights what she feels to be strengths. Example: “Because I wanted a better product, the team and I went over budget and were criticized for it.”

By using behavioral questions in your interview process, you will be able to find candidates who are versatile, collaborative, intellectually curious and responsible. These are the candidates who will thrive in a hybrid role, giving you a great hire and a stronger workforce.

Originally published by ThinkHR – Read More

0524Many employers have done an excellent job of integrating financial wellness programs with their employees in order for them to improve their overall financial well-being. However, the most significant progress appears to be when employees actually speak with a qualified human being rather than relying on technology to manage investments. The key, according to an article on the website of Employee Benefit News titled, “Technology Alone Not Enough in Financial Wellness,” is the level of employee engagement.

The article stresses that people who interacted with a certified financial planner five or more times during the year had a much better grasp on their finances, an emergency fund, retirement contributions, and cash flow management when compared to people who only used online tools. Were employees who talked to a real person getting better advice? Were employees who were more worried about their money doing more to understand and solve their problems by actually talking to someone? This was not known, but what was discovered was that technology can only do so much.

For example, if you get on a scale, it’s going to give you a number. The scale won’t tell you what to eat, how many calories you’ll need to burn, or what steps you’ll need to take if something unexpected happens. In terms of a person’s financial well-being, technology overload can occur and he or she will get bombarded with information that’s either not understood or unusable.

Once employers figure out that technology alone is not a viable solution to help employees with their finances, they can shift some of their financial wellness and retirement programs to one-on-one guidance with certified financial planners. Furthermore, they can incorporate education and focused presentations, such as workshops on retirement, student loan repayment, tackling credit card debt, etc., into the mix in order to drive up employee engagement.

The takeaway is that there is no single solution to help employees with their monetary planning and problems. It takes a combination of technology, education, and personal face time to ensure that a company’s workforce is making progress toward their financial goals.

Originally published by United Benefit Advisors – Read More

When it comes to the “Cadillac” tax, there’s no escaping death and taxes | Ohio Employee Benefits Advisors

Categories: General News, Special Interest, Taxes, Team K Blog
Comments Off on When it comes to the “Cadillac” tax, there’s no escaping death and taxes | Ohio Employee Benefits Advisors

ubablog0323The 2015 UBA Health Plan Survey data reveals who will not escape the 40% excise tax to take effect in 2020. The “Cadillac” tax, now called the excise tax, was originally set to start in 2018, but legislation passed the end of 2015 delayed the start date by two years.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandated that plans providing coverage that exceeds a threshold value, currently set at annual premiums of $10,200 or more for single coverage or $27,500 for other than single coverage, would be subject to this excise tax of 40%. The thresholds will need to be adjusted for inflation for 2020.

The excise tax was originally intended to be based on ”richer” benefit plans, however, industry experts have been quick to point out that premiums have little to do with the benefit plan design. The age, claims history, geography, and other demographics of group members are more relevant to premium cost.

For example, more remote locations will have higher insurance premium costs due to higher transportation (ambulance, either land or air) claims. Due to their location, 87% of plans in Alaska will be facing the excise tax as of 2020. That state’s current average deductible is more than $1,900, and the current out-of-pocket maximum is just under $4,700. Similarly, 71% of Wyoming employers will also be facing the excise tax, with a current average deductible of $2,125 and a maximum out-of-pocket cost of almost $5,000. Conversely, for New Mexico employers, with a current average deductible of $250, and an average out-of-pocket maximum of less than $1,900, only 33% of their groups will be facing the excise tax.

Health insurance premiums are also directly related to the cost of medical care. Employers with an aging workforce face an uphill battle as there is little they can do to directly affect their premiums without strong nurse coaching and care management programs. The same is true for a group with higher than average claims. Industries that are aging faster than others face steep excise taxes as seen below.

 Industry Plans Subject to
Cadillac Tax in 2020
Current Average
Deductible
 Fitness and Recreational Sports Centers 32% $2,222
 Insurance Agencies and Brokerages 34% $2,000
 Banking/Financial 47% $1,535
 Nonprofits/Civic/Community Organizations/Unions 50% $1,487
 Schools – Elementary/Secondary/Colleges/Universities 52% $1,258
 Offices of Lawyers 56% $1,647
 Government/Police/Fire/Political Subdivisions 59% $1,332
 Cemeteries/Funeral Homes 72% $1,264
 Dry Cleaning/Laundry 82% $1,993
 Bus and Other Motor Vehicle Transit Systems/Other
Urban Transit Systems/Commuter Rail
93%   $900

 

Cemeteries and funeral homes, as well as dry cleaners and laundries, representing mostly small ”Main Street America” companies, will likely drop their coverage, as 72% and 82%, respectively, face the excise tax as of 2020. This gives new meaning to the expressions “there’s no escaping death and taxes” and “getting taken to the cleaners!” Small business employers typically have fewer than 50 employees, so there is no penalty if they drop coverage. Many in these industries will likely add to the rolls of citizens across the country claiming advanced premium tax credits on the insurance Marketplaces, adding to the cost of the ACA for other taxpayers.

Larger companies will also face the dilemma of paying the fines for not offering coverage versus paying premiums and the excise taxes. The table below shows several applicable large employers (ALEs) that would benefit from dropping coverage and paying the per-person fine. The excise taxes on the first example are higher than the employer dropping the coverage and paying the employer shared responsibility per-employee penalty, which is likely to be approximately $3,000 in 2020 (depending on adjustments for inflation).

 State No. of
Employees
 Industry 2020
Single
Premium
2020
Family
Premium
Single
Deductible
Single
Out-of-
Pocket
Maximum
 Wisconsin 85  Civic & Social Organization $18,827 $64,021 $5,000 $6,350
 Alaska 120  Real Estate Credit $16,937 $50,165 $6,350 $6,350
 Ohio 80  Other Individual & Family Services $15,426 $47,821 $4,000 $6,350
 Virginia 200  Trucking $11,047 $36,479 $2,000 $4,500

 

These employers want to retain good workers and provide medical insurance benefits, but at some point may not be able to keep up with the cost of coverage.

The premiums in these examples assume a 6% annual increase and only count the actual premium dollars, not any other account-based benefits offered. At this time, proposed regulations for the excise tax would also include flexible spending account (FSA) contributions by employees, health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) contributions by employers, and health savings account (HSA) contributions by either the employer or the employee. Several of the employers in the examples above offer one or more account-based benefits to help offset the high out-of-pocket maximums on their plans. The account-based plans will be the first benefits cut if the excise tax remains in effect. These citizens will be hurt financially, as the account-based plans may be their only way to help fund those high out-of-pocket costs.

Health insurance is expensive because health care is expensive. Until we can truly tackle rising health care and prescription costs, insurance premiums will continue to rise faster than general inflation. With more and more people taking monthly prescriptions which cost thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars each month, health insurance premiums will continue to be driven upward, and the number of employers facing the excise tax will grow even faster. The cost of healthcare must be addressed first and foremost, with transparency of costs being a key factor, in order to make any strides on leveling out premium increases.

Download the UBA Health Plan Executive Summary for comprehensive findings on health plan costs. To compare your health plan costs against those in your industry, region and size bracket, request a custom benchmark report from your local UBA Partner.

 

Originally published by United Benefit Advisors – Read More

ubablogphoto321If you haven’t noticed, newspapers are shrinking in size. Fewer people, especially the younger demographic of 18- to 40-year-olds, read them and this especially applies to when they’re searching for jobs. Employers who continue to use only the older methods of recruitment – classified ads and job boards – may not attract the most coveted applicants due to them not seeing the posting, or worse, feeling that the company looking to fill the position is old-fashioned and not technologically up to date.

According to an article on the website of Society For Human Resource Management titled, “The Most Sought-After Talent Prefer Mobile Recruitment,” almost 70% of applicants labeled as “high-potentials” were attracted more to companies with mobile recruiting options versus just over 50% of other applicants. Another comparison of high-potentials shows that about 75% use mobile devices when searching for jobs while only 40% of other potential employees do.

Because most people tend to do everything on their tablets or smartphones, it makes sense that searching for a job would just be another addition to that list. The article bears that out, noting that convenience is one of the primary reasons that high-potentials do this. Besides convenience, another benefit noted is that information can be obtained quickly via mobile device and high-potentials can respond faster to job postings.

The article states that everyone, at some point, will use a mobile device when job hunting, but those who are high-potentials take it to the next level. Everything from researching companies, receiving job alerts, filling out job applications, and even taking assessments was more likely to be done by a high-potential candidate on a mobile device. Furthermore, high-potentials were nearly two times as likely to prefer text messages and communication through social media (e.g., LinkedIn).

So, what’s the message to employers? If you want to attract top talent, then you must utilize mobile recruiting. Employers can build such a program by integrating all their job search functions, such as listings, applications, assessment tests, etc. on a mobile platform. They also need to make it simple and streamlined. As the article states, you don’t want a candidate who’s a high-potential to skip through your job recruiting process due to frustration.

Originally published by United Benefit Advisors