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IRS Allows Mid-Year Changes to Health Plans, FSAs

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

The IRS has loosened restrictions on employees who want to make election changes to their group health plans and flexible spending accounts (FSAs) in the middle of the policy year. IRS rules are typically stringent and rigid, barring changes from being made to health plans except during open enrollment. Under the new rules, the employer would still have to approve letting staff make changes to their plans if they have more than one option to choose from. The IRS issued the new guidance after employer groups lobbied the agency and Congress to loosen the rules because the COVID-19 pandemic has…
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Leasing a Car? Put It in Your Company Name

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

As a business owner or company director wanting to lease a car for yourself, you have the choice of either business contract or personal car leasing, and each option has its own implications, benefits and disadvantages, particularly in terms of insurance. Which policy will cover my car? If you are using your new car mostly for work (think sales calls and visiting job sites), and you bought the car in your name, that mistake can cost you as your business won’t be able to insure it properly. Your personal auto policy will provide coverage for some business use of your…
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COVID-19 Changes to Health Plans Must Be Documented, Circulated

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

A number of plan sponsors have made changes to their group health plans in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as covering testing and sometimes treatment without any cost-sharing by the plan enrollee. Any changes that are made must be followed up by amending the plan and communicating the changes to the enrollees. Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), all health plans are required to deliver a Summary Plan Description (SPD) to enrollees to inform them of the full spectrum of coverage and their rights under the plan. Whenever a plan sponsor makes a material modification to the…
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Focus on Your Health During the COVID-19 Outbreak

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

Now more than ever you should make sure your body has the best fighting chance possible, and that means you should pay especially close attention to what you put into it and focus on your health during the COVID-19 crisis. Your body needs the right fuel to stay healthy, including a well-balanced diet and drinking plenty of fluids. The World Health Organization recommends that you eat a variety of fresh and unprocessed foods every day to get the vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, protein and antioxidants your body needs. Drink enough water. Avoid sugar, fat and salt to significantly lower your…
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FSAs, HSAs Can Now Be Used for Non-Prescription Medications

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

The recently enacted $2 trillion stimulus law aimed at providing financial assistance during the coronavirus outbreak also includes a key change on how health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts can be used. The Coronavirus Aid, Recover and Economic Stabilization Act, or CARES Act for short, reverses an Affordable Care Act rule that barred policyholders from using funds in HSAs and FSAs to pay for over-the-counter medications. Health Savings Accounts, known as HSAs, and Flexible Spending Accounts, known as FSAs, allow people to set aside pre-tax funds for medical costs, medical out-of-pocket and copays, as well as for the cost…
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Protecting Employees During the Pandemic

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

If you are one of the companies that has been deemed an essential employer and are remaining open during stay-at-home orders, you should be doing all you can to protect employees against contracting COVID-19. While some workers are really on the front lines of fighting the disease, like health care workers and emergency services personnel, there are many other people working in factories, grocery stores, warehouse and transportation, among other industries, that are also at risk to varying degrees. The response to this has been varied. Some employers have taken steps to protect their workers. For example, some grocery stores…
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Some Insurers Step Up Group Health Plan Assistance

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

Some health insurers are helping workers who would otherwise lose health insurance maintain employee benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new survey has found. Social distancing and stay-at-home orders have put the hurt on hundreds of thousands of businesses across the country, which has forced them to reduce employees’ hours, furlough them or lay them off. Besides all those employees seeing their pay drastically curtailed or disappear altogether, it also affects their employee benefits, with health coverage topping the list. With so many people concerned they may lose coverage and business owners equally worried about their employees, some insurers are…
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How to Protect Your Business Teleconference Meetings

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

Since face-to-face meetings are out of the question when most non-essential workers are under stay-at-home orders, many companies have opted for the teleconferencing app Zoom. With the recent revelation that Zoom’s teleconferencing system is not always the most secure, it is still one of the least expensive and user-friendly options for holding meetings during the coronavirus outbreak. Zoom has seen its user numbers explode during the pandemic, but that has left it exposed to a number of different types of attacks and other problems like videos being exposed on the web. There are many alternatives to Zoom, but if you…
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How to Support Your Mental Health In Isolation

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

As more and more of us are being told to either self-isolate with our families or self-quarantine under doctor’s orders, we are spending almost all of our time at home, inside. While this may keep you from getting a virus, it can also be tolling on your mental health. We’ve put together a few tips to support your mental health during isolation. Some of us will get cabin fever, especially those who live alone. Thanks to technology though, you can do different things to keep up socially with your friends and family. And there are also many low-tech ways to…
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5 Tips for Successful Telecommuting

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

As the coronavirus spread ramps up and more people are being asked to self-isolate, many employers are scrambling to put systems in place to allow their employees to telecommute. Telecommuting can keep your business on track, but you may need to make some changes to your business operations to ensure successful telecommuting. Many companies are not set up for telecommuting arrangements, and they have legitimate concerns about productivity, communications ― and even the possibility of workers’ comp claims stemming from home hazards that may not be typical in the workplace. But there are steps you can take to make sure…
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