DOL Issues Final Rules for Association Health Plans

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

The Department of Labor in June issued its final rules for expanding employers’ access to association plans, a move that could result in some increases in premiums for other plans, including Affordable Care Act-compliant small group health plans. The rule in its essence allows more small businesses and self-employed workers to band together to buy insurance. The final rule is part of the Trump administration’s plan to encourage competition in the health insurance markets and lower the cost of coverage. It does that by broadening the definition of an employer under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) to allow…
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Employers Rethink HDHPs as More People Struggle with Medical Bills

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

As the number of employers offering high-deductible health plans continues growing, the spotlight recently has highlighted an inconvenient truth: some employees are going broke and filing bankruptcy because they cannot afford all of the out-of-pocket expenses and deductibles they must pay in these plans – just like the bad old days in the 1990s and 2000s. Besides being in plans with high deductibles, many employees are also paying more for coverage as employers have shifted more and more of the premium burden to their staff. Making matters worse, studies are showing that many people with HDHPs are forgoing necessary treatment…
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Commissioner Approves 10.3% Benchmark Rate Cut

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

THANKS TO the reforms enacted in 2014, California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones has ordered a 10.3% average mid-year decrease to the state’s benchmark workers’ comp rates. The new benchmark rate, which insurers use as a guidepost to price their policies, will take effect on July 1. The benchmark is essentially the base rates that cover expected costs of claims and claims-adjusting expenses across all worker class codes. Insurers can price their policies as they wish, so there is no guarantee that any particular employers will see rate cuts. When pricing your policy, your insurer will take into account your claims…
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Managing Your Corporate Vehicle Exposure

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

Automobiles are one of the most significant exposures to loss a company can face. To ensure that you effectively manage your company’s vehicle liability and risk exposure you need to have an effective risk management strategy. Without one, the consequences to your company’s bottom line can be severe. With one, you can reduce your total cost of risk and protect your finances. This article looks at the various types of exposure your company may face, how to mitigate risk and how to implement a strong corporate vehicle policy.   Company-owned Autos An essential part of your risk management strategy is…
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Tips on Hiring Teens for Summer Employment

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

You may be considering taking on some extra workers for the summer months, and often many employers will gravitate towards hiring teenagers looking for temporary work. If you are planning on hiring any workers under the age of 18, you should familiarize yourself with federal and any state laws on child labor restrictions. The Fair Labor Standards Act contains rules for employing minors, including that they are entitled to the prevailing minimum wage and overtime. But it also includes provisions for when minors can work and what kind of work they can do. The FLSA’s child labor restrictions are heavily…
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IRS Issues 30,000 ACA Penalty Notices

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

The IRS has been sending penalty notices to more than 30,000 businesses nationwide, advising them that they may be out of compliance with the Affordable Care Act employer mandate. The tax agency said those employers are on the hook for a total of roughly $4.3 billion in fines. While the individual mandate has been repealed starting in 2019, the employer mandate is intact and the IRS is pursuing penalties aggressively. Under the ACA, companies with more than 50 full-time employees are required to extend health insurance to their workers. Failure to do so can result in penalties as high as…
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California High Court Upends Independent Contractor Test

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

The California Supreme Court has handed down a decision that rewrites the state’s independent contractor law by adopting a more stringent test for determining whether or not someone is an employee for wage order cases. The new test is similar to Massachusetts independent contractor law, which is considered the strictest in the country. The new law will affect any California business that uses independent contractors and it makes it more difficult to classify someone as an independent contractor. In its decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. vs. Superior Court, the court rejected a test that’s been used for more than…
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Keep Injured Workers in the Loop to Reduce Claims Costs

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

One perennial topic in workplace safety is how to get injured workers back on the job as quickly as possible, and when it is safe to do so. The key, experts say, is to help the injured employee better engage in the workers’ comp system, so they have a better understanding of the claims process and what they can expect from it. Employers that have the best success actually advocate for the injured worker, instead of just giving them the standard booklets on what to expect and then leave them until they are healed up enough to go back to…
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How Employers Can Fight the High Cost of Diabetes

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

Diabetes is a devastating illness – and not just for those with the disease. Employers are also shouldering massive and increasing direct and indirect costs due to diabetes. Diabetes afflicts more than 11% of the adult population, including about 6.3% of full-time workers and 9.1% of part-time workers. Adults with diabetes incur more than $8,480 in direct treatment costs, on average. Those who are insured spend even more. A 2016 report from the Health Care Cost Institute estimated that insured workers with diabetes spend more than $16,000 on health care costs per year. Those without diabetes, on average, generate about…
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