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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Insurers Expected COVID-19 Workers’ Comp Surge; It Never Came

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

The number of COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims submit to carriers has not been as widespread as insurers and ratings agencies around the country had predicted when the pandemic first started in early 2020. On top of that, a large chunk of COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims filed by workers nationwide have been rejected, with insurers often citing lack of proof that the illness was contracted in the workplace. These two factors have lead to a much lower surge of claim payouts than expected. The insurance industry was bracing for a deluge of workers’ comp claims when the seriousness of the pandemic…
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Employment-Related Lawsuits Explode during Pandemic

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow, so does the number of employment-related lawsuits filed by workers across the country against their employers. The pandemic laid the groundwork for new local, state and federal laws and regulations governing a number of workplace issues like workplace safety, family and medical leave and remote work. And it created new challenges for employers who were forced to close operations, lay off and furlough workers and organize new work arrangements. Most common employment-related lawsuits The surge resulted in a record number of COVID-19-related class-action lawsuits, the majority of them concerning disputes over:…
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Your New Year Insurance Checklist

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

As 2021 gets underway and while you’re making New Year’s resolutions, you should also resolve to review the state of your business’s insurance program and we’ve made that easy with our new year insurance checklist. The best way to do that is to start by reviewing your enterprise’s activities in the past year and how they may affect your insurance policies in the new year. What you find as you go through the following checklist may surprise you. New Year Insurance Checklist Did your operations change last year? Workers’ compensation and commercial general liability (CGL) insurance premiums are based in…
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Law Imposes New COVID-19 Reporting Requirements

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

California employers already have a lot to digest after Cal/OSHA issued sweeping new safety regulations in November that include new COVID-19 reporting requirements, among other changes. Now they face additional requirements starting Jan. 1, 2021, thanks to a new law. AB 685 expands Cal/OSHA’s authority to issue stop-work orders to workplaces it deems a COVID-19 “imminent hazard.” It also requires employers to send notices to a number of parties (state agencies, local authorities, employees, contractors, and more) if they have coronavirus infections in any of their facilities. The law, which comes into effect on January 1, covers a lot of…
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Top 10 Laws and Regulations Affecting Employers in 2021

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

Every year starts with a bevy of new laws and regulations affecting employers and businesses in California, and many of the new rules this time around are an outgrowth of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on workers. Employers in California in the year ahead have a number of changes they have to contend with, some of which were enacted near the end of 2020 as emergency regulations or legislation. The following are the top 10 laws and regulations affecting employers in 2021. 1. COVID-19 workers’ compensation rules AB 1159, which took effect in September, is an expansive law requiring…
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Pandemic Puts Spotlight on Financial Employee Benefits

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

With so many people facing challenging circumstances during the COVID-19 pandemic, employees are now looking to their employers for value-added voluntary benefits and financial employee benefits that protect their and their families’ health and finances, a new study has found. According to the study conducted by Prudential Life Insurance, 40% of U.S workers are planning to buy life insurance to cover unexpected life events and provide financial protection. The good news is that there are a variety of employee benefit plans designed to help safeguard employees’ finances and health during this unprecedented time. Beyond the traditional retirement and health care…
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COVID-19 Workers’ Comp Claims Grow, While Overall Claims Plummet

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

While the number of COVID-19 workers’ comp cases filed in California continues to grow, total workplace injury and illness claims in the state have fallen nearly 20% so far in 2020 compared to 2019. Through September, the state had recorded 47,412 COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims, accounting for 11.1% of all claims reported since the start of the year. During that same period, California workers filed 425,280 workers’ compensation claims, down 19% from the first nine months of 2019. COVID-19 case numbers The first COVID-19 cases among California workers were filed in March. They peaked in July and started to decline…
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Don’t Get Caught without a Business Succession Plan

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

Many business owners may be good at running their companies, but many are failing to address essential long-term planning that is critical to sustaining their businesses. The one area that the majority of business owners often neglect is planning for business continuity and a buy-sell agreement if they die or become disabled, according to the “MassMutual Business Owner Perspectives Study.” While the question of your death or disablement is not one that’s fun to ponder, it makes good sense for business owners to put plans in place in case the worst happens. This is especially important now amid the COVID-19…
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