DOL’s Final Rule on Disability Claim Procedures

A gavel rests on its sounding block with a several law books and a justice scale out of focus in the background.  A cool blue cast dominates the scene.

I’ve been keeping my eye on movement here for well over a year and after some delay, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued final regulations amending the existing claim procedures for ERISA-governed plans providing disability benefits. The DOL is looking to provide needed protections for American workers, and any disability claims filed on or after April… [Read More]

ACA Penalties for Failure to Provide or Have Coverage Are Still Around

finance business calculation with calculator and pen on chart

There is a lot of confusion out there concerning ACA penalties. The 2018 tax act did not eliminate any employer penalties for not offering health insurance coverage. The only change was reducing the individual coverage penalty to zero – however, this change does not go into effect until 1/1/2019. Applicable large employers (ALEs) with more… [Read More]

This Flu Season’s Outbreak Is No Laughing Matter

Cropped shot of a sick businesswoman blowing her nose in the boardroom

I’ve had more clients than usual reach out to me for communications related to this year’s flu season and flu prevention tips. Why, you ask? Because this year’s influenza outbreak is widespread with hospitalizations occurring in 49 of 50 states. And it’s no longer just dangerous for children and those age 65+… Now employees age… [Read More]

Small Group Savior? Another Look at QSEHRAs

Magnifying glass looking at health care newspaper headline, on cash

Small employers are often looking for ways to break out of the community rated market and lower their health insurance costs, as I’ve witnessed firsthand and written about over the years. In more recent posts we’ve discussed reference-based pricing, PEOs and self-funding as methods small employers can use to potentially gain access to more favorable plan designs and rates. There’s… [Read More]

Do Your Commuter Benefits Cut the Mustard?

One person completely stationary among the swarm of people buzzing about the train station during rush hour.

I was a little nervous to see what changes would come in the wake of the recent tax law overhaul (a.k.a. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act) signed in late December of 2017. It ends up there are some notable changes to the tax treatment of transportation benefits being offered by employers for the year 2018…. [Read More]

Introduce Voluntary Benefits Outside of Open Enrollment

Sign up - 3d render illustration of text on black chalkboard in a room.

Here we are again… Open enrollment madness for core benefit programs is in the rearview mirror and human resources teams can focus on planning for next year. It pleases me to see voluntary benefits gaining more traction with employers of all sizes, but I’ve noticed that most employers’ initial thought is to introduce new voluntary offerings… [Read More]

Wellness Incentive Rules – and the Saga Continues…

Close-up hand businessman give the small gift box

Yep, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is back to the drawing board, reworking and finalizing new wellness regulations for 2019. We know that all wellness programs must be deemed “voluntary” for employees to participate in; but employees can be penalized thousands of dollars for not doing a screening or answering personal health questions through… [Read More]

Is Disaster Brewing in New York’s Small Group Market?

Businessman with umbrella standing in the rain

The United Hospital Fund (UHF) just issued a comprehensive study of patterns in the New York State small group market and they don’t look good. From 2007 to 2016 enrollment shrank by 600,000 members, to 1.1 million. Rates were 35% higher than the national average. This, despite New York being one of the very few states to increase… [Read More]

Paid Family Leave – Helping or Hurting Employers?

Upset little boy holding a drawing of a house, with his parents sitting angry on a couch in the blurry background

HR teams across the country are dreading the compliance challenges associated with paid leave benefits as they become effective in certain areas across the nation. As we’ve mentioned before, there is limited national job protection for workers needing family leave. In fact, the U.S., with no mandate for paid leave, is in last place among… [Read More]