COVID-19 Drives Surge in Employment Practices Claims

| posted in Uncategorized

Employers are being hit with a wave of COVID-19-related employment lawsuits, which is starting to have an effect on employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) rates and coverages. A tally by the law firm of Fisher Phillips found that as of August 2021 there had been 2,950 COVID-19-related employment lawsuits filed in the U.S. Most of the complaints concern remote work arrangements, workplace safety and discrimination. Lawyers predict a new wave building as employers get pushback from some employees about their vaccine policies and continuing safety measures. The most common COVID-19-related complaints are: Remote work and leave issues (28% of total)…
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Accident Insurance Can Save Your Workers from Ruin

| posted in Uncategorized

Even if you are providing your staff with health benefits, they could be left under great financial pressure if one of them has a major accident off the job that leaves them debilitated and unable to work. Millions of working Americans struggle with managing out-of-pocket costs for non-medical and medical expenses after suffering an unexpected event such as an accident. If you are already offering your employees health insurance coverage, you can help fill the gap by also offering voluntary accident insurance, which can pay for: Lost wages, Deductibles and other expenses not covered by insurance, Transportation to and from…
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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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IRS Lets Employers Give Workers a Break on FSA Contributions, Health Plan Rules

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

A number of changes in recent months have given employees extra benefits and flexibility when it comes to utilizing Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). The newly signed American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 raised FSA contribution limits and the COVID relief bill signed in late 2020 gave employees additional flexibility in the use of funds and making election changes. The IRS recently released additional guidance, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, that allows employees to make changes to their health plans outside of the traditional open enrollment period. The COVID relief bill signed into law at…
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