Blog

New Rules Aim for Hospital, Insurer Transparency

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

The Trump administration on Nov. 15 announced two rules that would require more transparency in hospital pricing and health insurance out-of-pocket costs for enrollees. The final rule on hospital pricing will require hospitals to publish their standard fees both on-demand and online starting Jan. 1, 2021, as well as the rates they negotiate with insurers. The administration also proposed rules that would require health insurers to provide their enrollees instant, online access to an estimate of their out-of-pocket costs for various services. The latter are just proposed rules and will have to go through a comment period before final rules…
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Changes to Independent Contractor Requirements Take Hold In California

| posted in Blog

This is the second in a three-part series brought to you by CoreMark Insurance Services, Inc to address a few of the major changes facing California employers in 2020. If you missed our first installment, you can read it here. The so-called “gig-economy” has made ever-lasting waves in the California employment landscape, and the full effects of these changes are still yet to be seen.  In September of this year, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 5, also known as AB-5, that codifies the “ABC Test” first seen in the Dynamex Supreme Court case. The new law puts a much…
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The Individual Mandate Returns: Help Employees Avoid Tax Penalties

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This is the first in a three-part series brought to you by CoreMark Insurance Services, Inc to address a few of the major changes facing California employers in 2020. You can read part two here.  A new California state law, SB 78, brings back the health insurance individual mandate, requiring all California residents to have health insurance in 2020 or face tax penalties. You may remember the individual mandate at the federal level as a major part of the Affordable Care Act. The mandate, which stated that most Americans would be required to carry health insurance or face tax penalties,…
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Your Last-Minute Open Enrollment Checklist

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

By now you should be prepared and ready to go for your 2020 employee benefits open enrollment. You should have all your plan documents and have prepared or held presentations for your staff to explain the benefits package and any major changes to the plans that you offer. Employees should be familiar with how to use the enrollment portal and who they should talk to if they have questions. To be on the safe side, there are a few things you should do to make sure you maximize enrollment, that your employees have the correct materials and that you are…
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Your Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

Fall is here and you should use the time to enjoy the cool weather outdoors and take care of housekeeping chores before winter arrives. You should tackle any needed maintenance before the weather gets too cold and, if you live in a cold-weather area, you could use the time to improve the energy efficiency of your home as well as take proactive measures to prevent damage from any winter storms that may pass through. Fall Home Maintenance Checklist To help you along the way, we’ve created a handy checklist for you to follow: Chore 1: Clean gutters and downspouts Once…
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New Overtime Exemption Regs Take Effect Jan. 1, 2020

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

New federal overtime exemption regulations have finally been introduced for non-exempt workers after years of wrangling over the issue. Under the new rule, employers will be required to pay overtime to certain salaried workers who make less than to $684 per week – or $35,568 per year – up from the current threshold of $455, or $23,660 in annual salary. The new regulations are a midway point from Obama administration rules that would have seen the salary cap increased to $47,476, a move that was blocked by a court after protests from the employer community in December 2016. Because the Trump administration…
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How to Keep from Hiring a Serial Workers’ Comp Filer

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

As employers have found in the last few years, hiring has become more difficult as the labor market has tightened amid a strong economy. With slim pickings, many firms are having to settle for workers they may not normally hire – but that can lead to issues like higher turnover and workers’ comp fraud. Some employers even have a hard time finding candidates that don’t have substance abuse issues, while some people are serial workers’ comp filers, malingerers or have prior industrial injuries that can end up affecting your bottom line and X-Mod. Here are some suggestions for helping you…
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New Experience Rating, Physical Audit Levels Set

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

Starting in 2020, California has established a number of new changes to X-Mod calculations, physical audit levels, and dual-wage class thresholds. X-Mod Calculations and Audits The threshold for California employers to be eligible for experience rating (X-Mod) has been reduced by order of the state insurance commissioner. Commissioner Ricardo Lara in September approved the recommendations by the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau to lower thresholds for determining eligibility for experience rating and when a carrier needs to perform a physical audit of an employer’s payroll records. The threshold for physical audits that takes effect for policies incepting on or after…
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Compliance Checklist for Your Group Plan

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

As open enrollment 2020 is just around the corner, there are a few things that employers with group plans should know so they can work with us to take any necessary actions. As always, new rules are taking effect and some employers’ plans will be more affected than others. In addition, if you’ve made changes to your plans in any way, you should read this to make sure your plan is compliant with relevant laws and regulations. ACA health provider fee When the Affordable Care Act was signed into law it contained provisions to collect a 2.5% “health provider fee”…
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Newsom Signs Sweeping Independent Contractor Bill AB 5

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed legislation into law that will codify a court ruling from last year that set new ground rules for what constitutes an independent contractor, and which expands on that ruling. There’s been a lot written in the media about the legislation, AB 5, and unfortunately much of it misses the point. Some news reports have said it will spell the end of independent contractors in the state and that anyone a company hires to do a temporary job on contract must be treated as an employee, along with all of the obligations that go with…
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