All posts tagged employer mandate

0621The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued sweeping changes to record-keeping and reporting rules. Starting in 2017, employers with as few as 20 employees may be required to electronically report workplace injuries and illnesses on an annual basis, and the information from those reports will be searchable, by employer name, by any member of the public.

Are you a covered employer?

Determine if you are a business with 20 or more employees that is considered “high risk”:

  • The list includes most retailers, care facilities, transportation services, home delivery services, museums and historical sites, and specialty food services.
  • The complete list can be found on the OSHA website

If you are not “high risk,” determine if you have at least 250 employees:

  • Headcount for OSHA means “the number of paid workers, including full time, part time and seasonal, assigned at any time during the last calendar year.”
  • Contract workers, if supervised by the host company, are included when recording injuries and illnesses.
  • Headcount is calculated by site, not as a company total

If you are a covered employer, request UBA’s Compliance Advisor, “OSHA Reporting Changes: Employer Checklist” for a step-by-step guide to reviewing your employee communications, policies, handbooks and incentive programs for compliance. From OSHA posters, to drug and discipline policies, to incentive programs that may deter accident reporting, make sure you are ready for the changes.

Originally published by United Benefit Advisors – Read More

With the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) in full swing, private insurance exchanges are picking up steam among midsize employers (those with 50 or more employees) that desire to offer a competitive benefits package and “a new way to buy insurance.” However, the solutions available to employers in this underserved mid-market are limited to a suite of insurance products and a single enrollment system, and many employers are seeking a broader scope of options to fit their individual needs. 

A recent study by Accenture indicates that by 2018, private exchange enrollments will exceed public exchange enrollments. According to Mathew Augustine, CEO of Hanna Global Solutions, the power behind the United Benefit Advisors (UBA) Benefits Passport® private exchange solution, “this trend will be accentuated by solutions that go beyond an insurance exchange and enrollment system by offering more services that can also be unbundled. In addition to insurance, employers want access to advisory services, eligibility management, accounting and auditing, and employee support packaged comprehensively as a single, seamless, elegant, solution – yet they want the flexibility to choose a la carte solutions.” 

This comprehensive solution now offers a great new way, especially for medium sized businesses, to offer their employees a ‘big company experience’ with their employee benefit program. With UBA Benefits Passport, employers get a complete benefits program management solution, and not just a suite of insurance products bundled into an enrollment system. UBA Benefits Passport also offers employers a choice of insurance carriers. If an employer prefers a carrier that is not one of the national insurance carriers currently offered through the UBA Benefits Passport network, it has the capacity to add a carrier of choice in order to better serve that employer. 

UBA Benefits Passport has realized strong momentum in a very short period of time and added 30 new employer groups in the last six months alone. Richard Kosinski, Partner with Brio Benefit Consulting, Inc., a UBA Partner Firm in New York City, said, “my client was not only extremely satisfied, but ‘thrilled’ with what UBA’s Benefits Passport technology is capable of doing and the level of professionalism UBA’s Benefits Passport team showed during the implementation process. In fact, the advanced technology was one of the primary reasons why the employer selected UBA’s Benefits Passport.” 

This is also a new way for employers to ease into cost-effective HR outsourcing, which was previously too expensive for mid-market employers to consider. Because pricing is different for various combinations of services, employers should seek the help of a trusted UBA Partner advisor to develop a cost-effective, custom solution to support their overall benefits and HR staffing strategy,” said Mathew Augustine. 

According to UBA’s Senior V.P. of Partner Relations, Paul Zumbrook, “Benefits Passport is a perfect answer for the mid-market employer who wants to continue to offer group benefits, and believes it is a critical component of their employment value proposition. We are seeing a huge increase in interest and adoption of this benefits management program because of its flexibility, and we expect this to continue well into 2015 and beyond.” 

Learn more about how UBA Benefits Passport can provide simple solutions for you and your employees.

About United Benefit Advisors
United Benefit Advisors is the nation’s leading independent employee benefits advisory organization with more than 200 offices throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.  As trusted and knowledgeable advisors, UBA Partners collaborate with more than 2,000 fellow professionals to deliver expertise, thought leadership and best-in-class solutions that positively impact employers and make a real difference in the lives of their employees and families.  Employers, advisors and industry-related organizations interested in obtaining powerful results from the shared wisdom of our Partners should visit UBA online at www.UBAbenefits.com.

 

Delivering Participant Materials

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Delivering Participant Materials

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http://www.hr-benefit.com

HR Benefit Advisors, Ltd.

(585) 777-4114
gmink@hr-benefit.com

The Department of Labor (DOL) requires that participant notices and other plan information (“disclosures”) be provided in a way that is reasonably calculated to ensure delivery to all plan participants. The Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) typically follows the DOL’s rules. There are two primary ways to deliver plan information — by paper and electronically.

In most instances the information only needs to be provided to the plan participant, who is then expected to share the information with a covered spouse or children. If the employer is aware that the participant and the dependent spouse or child are living apart, a separate disclosure generally should be provided to the dependent. (College students are considered to be living at home for purposes of this rule.)

Paper Delivery

Paper delivery methods include sending the information through the U.S. mail, via interoffice mail, as an insert to company publications, or by hand. If mailing, the information may be sent first class. Alternatively, the information may be sent second or third class if return/forwarding postage is guaranteed and address correction is requested.

Information may be sent through inter-office mail as long as that system operates effectively. It also may be hand delivered or included as an insert with a paycheck.

Simply placing the information in a common area, like a lunchroom, is not adequate.

Electronic Delivery

Employers may send the following types of information electronically, as long as the electronic distribution requirements described below are met:

  • Summary Plan Descriptions (SPDs) and Summaries of Material Modifications (SMMs)
  • Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC)
  • Summary Annual Report (SAR)
  • COBRA notifications
  • Qualified medical child support order (QMCSO) notices
  • HIPAA certificates of creditable coverage
  • Annual notices (such as Medicare Part D, CHIP, Women’s Health and Cancer Rights, and the governmental plan HIPAA opt-out)
  • Notices regarding a plan’s grandfathered status or a reasonable alternative under a wellness program

The DOL divides potential recipients of electronic disclosures into two groups — those with work-related computer usage, and those who do not use computers as part of their jobs. An employee is considered to have work-related computer usage if:

  • The employee is able to access documents that are sent in electronic format at any location where the employee performs his or her job duties, and
  • The employee is expected to access the employer’s electronic information system as part of his or her key job duties

An employee who uses a computer as part of his or her job does not need to consent to receive disclosures electronically.

Individuals who do not access a computer as part of their work for the employer must specifically consent to receive disclosures electronically. This would include retirees, as well as active employees in many types of jobs. The written consent requirements are fairly complicated. Prior to providing consent, an individual must be given a clear statement that explains:

  • The types of documents to which the consent will apply
  • That the consent can be withdrawn at any time without charge
  • The procedures for withdrawing consent and for updating the address used for receipt of electronically furnished documents
  • The right to request and obtain a paper version of an electronically distributed document, and whether the paper version will be provided at no charge
  • The hardware or software needed to access and retain the documents delivered electronically

The individual must provide an email address for delivery of the documents. The individual must provide consent in a manner that demonstrates his or her ability to access the information in the electronic format that will be used, so many employers require that the consent be provided electronically.

The employer must provide participants with annual notices describing the way in which the participant can opt out of the electronic distribution process. This notice must be furnished in paper form unless the plan has had electronic interaction with the participant since the initial or last annual notice was distributed. If the plan administrator changes its software and hardware requirements, it must provide a new notice and obtain a new consent.

An employer may not simply provide a kiosk for employees who do not use computers as part of their jobs. Likewise, it may not provide thumb drives of documents to employees who do not use computers as part of their jobs unless it obtains the employee’s consent.

An employer is not required to use the same distribution method for all participants, so it may provide disclosures electronically to employees who use computers as part of their jobs and disclosures by paper to participants who do not use computers to perform their jobs.

There are no restrictions on the types of electronic media that may be used. For example, the employer may provide the notice within an email, attach the disclosure to an email, post the disclosure on a company website or in an Employee Benefit Center (EBC), or provide a DVD, CD-ROM, or thumb drive. An employer may not simply post the disclosure to its website, intranet, or EBC, however — it also must send a notice, either electronically or in paper form, that notifies the participant that the disclosure is available, how to access it, and the significance of the disclosure. The participant also must be told that a paper copy is available at no cost, with instructions on how to request a paper copy. For example, the notification might say:

Important Information for All Participants in the ABC Health Plan

ABC Company has posted an updated Summary Plan Description on our intranet in the Company Benefits folder. The Summary Plan Description describes the benefits that are available under the group medical plan. The SPD has been updated to reflect our deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums for 2015. We encourage you to read the SPD at your earliest convenience.

You have the right to receive a paper copy of the SPD at no cost to you. To request a paper copy contact Jane Doe at janed@abc.com or at 555-111-0000. Also feel free to contact Jane if you have questions about your benefits.

The posting notice must be sent each time there is a new posting of information — an annual notification that plan disclosures are located in a particular place is not enough.

An electronic disclosure must include the same information that would be included in a paper version of the disclosure. The employer must use its best efforts to ensure that there is actual receipt of the notice, such as by using the return receipt or notice of undelivered email feature. If a communication is returned, the employer must take steps to find an alternate address and re-send the information. Any confidential participant information must be protected.

Whether provided electronically or in paper, employers should maintain copies of all plan disclosures sent, including the date sent and which individuals or employee groups received the information.

8/15/2014

 

As we approach the month of April, employers should be taking steps to ensure they are prepared to meet PPACA requirements that begin in 2014. For your convenience, we have provided a checklist of upcoming requirements for employers. Read more

Government Issues Final Regulations on Employer Shared Responsibility (“Play or Pay”) Regulations

Categories: Compliance News, Health Care Reform, PPACA Report, Team K Blog
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New changes to regulations are mostly welcoming for employers. Which changes help and hurt? Find out here! Read more
DOL announces that there will not be a penalty imposed on employers that fail to distribute the health insurance exchange notices which are planned to roll out in October 2013. Read more