Don’t Forget a Cell Phone Policy for Driving Staff

| posted in Newsletter

The amount of deadly and injury accidents attributed to distracted driving continues to increase despite laws in virtually every state banning people from texting and engaging on their smartphones while driving, as well as from talking without a hands-free device or system. Don’t forget that occupational health and safety laws also apply when employees are driving as part of their job, and as a result, the risks should be effectively managed and addressed in your Injury and Illness Prevention Plan. But one area that you may have overlooked is the use of mobile phones while driving. A substantial body of…
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Group Plan Affordability Level Set for 2022

| posted in Newsletter

The IRS has announced the new affordability requirement test percentage that group health plans must comply with to conform to the Affordable Care Act. Starting in 2022, the cost of self-only group plans offered to workers by employers that are required to comply with the ACA, must not exceed 9.61% of each employee’s household income. Under the ACA, “applicable large employers (ALEs)” — that is, those with 50 or more full-time employees (FTEs) — are required to provide health insurance that covers 10 essential benefits and that must be considered “affordable,” meaning that the employee’s share of premiums may not…
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Prepare Your Business for Delays in Postal Service

| posted in Newsletter

You may not think of postal delays as a cost of doing business or a risk to your operations, but slower mail can pose a number of issues for timely correspondence and package deliveries. The U.S. is facing the specter of longer delivery times for first class mail, and the longer the mail has to travel the longer it will take to get there. That’s thanks to changes that were implemented by the United States Postal Service starting Oct. 1. You should prepare for these changes and expect delays in mail and parcel delivery, as well as in sending your…
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Play It Safe with a Vehicle Fleet Safety Program

| posted in Newsletter

A work-related vehicle accident will cost an employer an average of at least $16,500, according to OSHA. If injuries are involved, that figure can quadruple. If there’s a fatality, you could be looking at costs exceeding half a million dollars. Not to mention the suffering and broken lives that kind of event leaves in its wake. To ensure your employees are safe at all times, and are also protecting the public, you need to have in place: A proper maintenance program for company vehicles, and A safe driving program. Your employees play a key role in the success of both programs….
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COBRA Subsidies Ending; Employers Must Send Out Notices

| posted in Newsletter

The 100% COBRA health insurance subsidies for workers who lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic are about to expire on Sept. 30, and that means employers who have former staff receiving those subsidies must notify them of their expiration. If you have former employees who are still on COBRA benefits and receiving the subsidy that was required by the American Rescue Plan Act, you will need to send them a timely notice that the 100% subsidy will end at the end of September and that they will have to start paying premiums if they wish to continue coverage after…
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What You Need to Know About New Health Plan Transparency Rules

| posted in Newsletter

Regulations are slated to take effect over the next few years that will greatly increase the transparency requirements for group health plans. The regulations issued under the Trump administration will require health insurers in the individual and group health markets to disclose cost-sharing information upon request, make cost-sharing information available on their websites and disclose negotiated rates with in-network providers. The rules are designed to help health plan enrollees choose the plan that is best for them and their family, as well as to give them a full picture of what they can expect to pay for services as part…
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Rules Allowing Mid-Year Health Plan, FSA Changes Will Sunset

| posted in Newsletter

A temporary rule that allowed covered employees to make mid-year election changes to their health plans and revisit how much they set aside into their flexible spending accounts (FSAs) will sunset at the end of the year. The rules gave employers the option to allow their employees to make changes to their health plans, including choosing a new offering, but it did not require that they allow them to make these changes. The more relaxed rules were the result of provisions in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, which was signed into law in December 2020 by President Trump, and subsequent…
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EEOC Issues New Guidance on Vaccinating Employees

| posted in Newsletter

As more Americans get inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine, employers are wondering where they stand legally on requiring workers to get vaccinated, asking them whether they have been vaccinated and providing incentives for employees to get inoculated. On May 28, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission updated its COVID-19 vaccination guidance to help employers navigate this risk-fraught territory. The following are the highlights: Employers may require vaccinations The EEOC restated its earlier guidance that employers can require staff who enter their worksites to be vaccinated, as long as they can provide reasonable accommodations for workers with disabilities or who hold sincere religious beliefs…
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Workers’ Comp COVID-19 Payroll Reporting Rules Sunsetting

| posted in Newsletter

The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau has announced that two temporary payroll reporting rules to reflect changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic stay-at-home orders will sunset. The move comes after Gov. Gavin Newsom’s June 9 executive order which revoked the statewide stay-at-home order that had been in place since March 19, 2020. You may recall that after the stay-at-home order took effect, the Rating Bureau issued new rules for classifying staff who were suddenly working remotely, as well as payroll reporting for staff who were at home but not working. The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) rules that are set…
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Group Health Plans Must Cover COVID-19 Testing for Asymptomatic People

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced in late February that private group health plans cannot deny coverage or impose cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing, regardless of whether or not the patient is experiencing symptoms or has been exposed to someone with the disease. The CMS said it had issued the new guidance to make it easier for people to get tested with no out-of-pocket costs if they are planning to visit family members or take a flight, for example. Up until now, some health plans have not covered testing if a person is not experiencing symptoms or has not…
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