Health Insurance Rates Mostly Holding Steady

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, personal and family health insurance rates are staying stable going into 2021. In fact, it’s the third year in a row of premiums barely moving in most areas, while the number of insurers writing policies in the personal market continues to grow. According to the ACAsignups.net website, which tracks enrollment, the average requested premium increase for 2021 is 2.1%, and in 18 states where regulators have approved rate hike requests, the average increase was just 0.4%. Under Affordable Care Act rules, each summer insurers must file proposed rates for the next year with the states they operate…
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California’s COVID-19 Tracking Requirement Challenges Employers

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SB 1159, signed into law in September, requires that when a California employer “knows or reasonably should know” that an employee has tested positive for coronavirus, it must report that positive case to its workers’ compensation carrier within three business days along with other COVID-19 tracking requirements. There is a lot of ground to cover in these reports and the legislation was passed without much publicity, so many employers may not even know about their obligations. And that could cost them: the fine for non-compliance is $10,000 per incident. The law goes further than merely reporting a positive case: The…
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How Will COVID-19 Change Health Insurance

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

With talks of a COVID-19 vaccine on the horizon, many are asking about the long term effects of the pandemic, like how will COVID-19 change health insurance. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted businesses and other organizations in multiple ways. Lost revenue and the overnight change to remote workforces, among other things, have caused significant changes to operations and finances. A new report shows that there will be long-term effects on employee benefit programs as well. Health insurers are forecasting continued cost increases that dwarf general inflation rates, according to the report by Mercer Marsh Benefits. Most expect 2021 medical cost inflation…
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Pandemic Telecommuting and the Wage and Hour Dilemma

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With the coronavirus pandemic forcing so many employees to work remotely, and with mobile technology allowing them to work from anywhere, your employees may be working when they are off the clock. They may feel pressured to do so or maybe they just want to get their work done, but if they are working past normal working hours, it could spell trouble for your organization in the form of wage and hour disputes. The proliferation of smartphones had already led to a rising number of lawsuits by employees claiming they were required to work uncompensated on evenings and weekends when…
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How to Reduce the Risk of Theft, Vandalism at Your Business

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Protecting your business from burglary, robbery, and vandalism is crucial as they can be particularly devastating to small businesses in terms of money, customers, and employee safety. You can see thousands of dollars of merchandise or equipment damaged or stolen, and your employees and customers can be in mortal danger if your facility is robbed. These types of risks to your business are unpredictable, but there are crime prevention steps business owners can take to protect their assets and employees. How To Protect Your Business Burglary prevention Establish and enforce clear policies about employee theft, substance abuse, crime reporting, opening…
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New Law AB 2257 Adds Independent Contractor Exemptions

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A new law has come to the rescue of a number of freelance professions by exempting them from the onerous requirements of AB 5, which required most independent contractors to be classified as employees in California. Governor Gavin Newsom on Sept. 1 signed AB 2257 as an urgency measure, so that it took effect immediately after it passed unanimously in both houses of the state Legislature. If you remember, AB 5 set a new standard for hiring independent contractors, requiring many to be reclassified as employees covered by minimum wage, overtime, workers’ compensation, unemployment and disability insurance. It created a…
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Cal/OSHA Conducts COVID-19 Sweeps, Proposes Huge Fines

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Cal/OSHA COVID-19 inspections and subsequent fines have caught some employers off guard. The agency has been conducting sweeps of employers in California to root out those who are not protecting their workers from COVID-19 exposure. Cal/OSHA has targeted companies in industries that have a heightened risk of exposure to the coronavirus, which resulted in 11 citations being issued. While Cal/OSHA has been inspecting facilities since April for COVID-19-related infractions, the recent sweeps are part of a new targeted and ongoing enforcement effort that California employers should be aware of. Cal/OSHA COVID-19 inspections & fines issued For an example of what’s at…
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Seven Tips for Prepping Your Home for Autumn

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As the temperature starts dropping and harsher weather looms in the coming months, now is the time to get your home ready. Taking steps now to protect your home and belongings can help you enter the new season worry-free, and you might save money in the process. We’ve compiled our top seven tips for prepping your home for Autumn. Prepping Your Home For Fall: Clean your furnace and switch out filters Check your furnace for soot, ignition problems, pilot-light health and the state of other components to make your home ready for fall. You should also clean up dust and…
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Focus on Your Health During the COVID-19 Outbreak

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Now more than ever you should make sure your body has the best fighting chance possible, and that means you should pay especially close attention to what you put into it and focus on your health during the COVID-19 crisis. Your body needs the right fuel to stay healthy, including a well-balanced diet and drinking plenty of fluids. The World Health Organization recommends that you eat a variety of fresh and unprocessed foods every day to get the vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, protein and antioxidants your body needs. Drink enough water. Avoid sugar, fat and salt to significantly lower your…
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FSAs, HSAs Can Now Be Used for Non-Prescription Medications

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The recently enacted $2 trillion stimulus law aimed at providing financial assistance during the coronavirus outbreak also includes a key change on how health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts can be used. The Coronavirus Aid, Recover and Economic Stabilization Act, or CARES Act for short, reverses an Affordable Care Act rule that barred policyholders from using funds in HSAs and FSAs to pay for over-the-counter medications. Health Savings Accounts, known as HSAs, and Flexible Spending Accounts, known as FSAs, allow people to set aside pre-tax funds for medical costs, medical out-of-pocket and copays, as well as for the cost…
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