Don’t Forget Remote Workers in Sexual Harassment Prevention Policies

| posted in Newsletter

If you have staff working from home as a result of changes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, you still need to stay on top of your obligations to protect your staff from sexual harassment. Not being physically in the office doesn’t seem to have had an effect on employee sexual harassment as employers paid out more than $65 million in sexual harassment settlements and court awards in 2020, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. While most workplace sexual harassment has historically taken place in person at the workplace, a good portion has migrated online in the form of harassment…
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Health Expenses a Major Source of Mental Health Issues for U.S. Workers

| posted in Newsletter

A new study has found that more than one in four U.S. workers say expensive medical bills are having a major impact on their mental health. Mental health issues have come to the fore during the COVID-19 pandemic, spurring employers to expect their group health plans to do more for their workers in this area. The report on the study by the health care consulting company Centivo urges employers to consider new ways to reduce the medical financial burden some of their employees may be experiencing. Mental health is already on the radar of employers: Large businesses reported that addressing…
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Think Like a Risk Manager to Reduce Your Insurance Costs

| posted in Newsletter

All large corporations and national businesses have someone in charge of risk management, if not a whole department. But hiring a risk specialist or dedicating a number of employees to that kind of work is typically too expensive for most small and mid-sized companies. So, this risk mitigation typically is left to the business owner or the duties are spread among senior managers. Also, insurance companies like policyholders that try to manage their risks, and they reward them by reducing their premiums. You can reduce the cost of your insurance if you start thinking like a risk manager. You can…
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Return to Work Not Just for Workers’ Compensation Claimants

| posted in Uncategorized

More employers are using return-to-work programs for injured workers even if they were not injured on the job, according to a study by Prudential Insurance Co. of America. Many employers have a return-to-work program for their injured employees because it cuts down on workers’ comp claims costs and lets the worker get back to feeling productive. But more employers have also started returning employees to work who have been off duty due to non-job-related ailments. The survey found that 49% of large employers have a return-to-work program for their disability programs, and another 22% of employers plan to add such…
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Emergency Escape Plans Save Employee Lives; Do You Have One?

| posted in Uncategorized

What would your employees do in an emergency? Are they prepared for the unexpected? Do they know what to do? Do they know whom to call for help? Are they qualified to help? If you answered yes to these questions, then great, but if you answered no, then you need to pay special attention. All businesses should have a written emergency plan, and you should provide all of your staff with a copy. It should include: An emergency escape plan, including procedures and escape route assignments. Procedures for employees who remain to operate critical operations before they evacuate. Procedures to…
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Small-Group Market Remains Stable under the ACA

| posted in Newsletter

A new report has concluded that the Affordable Care Act, which took full effect in 2013, did not result in a significant change in the number of employers offering health insurance, although the rate at which small employers offered coverage declined slightly by 2.6 percentage points between 2013 and 2020. The study by the Urban Institute found that the small-group health insurance market remained relatively stable during those seven years, a period marked by employers continuing to shift more of the premium burden to their employees. As of 2020, about half of small employers (companies with fewer than 50 employees)…
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8 Tips to Shorten the Life of Workers’ Comp Claims

| posted in Newsletter

One workers’ compensation claim can send your experience modifier spiraling out of control if the injured employee stays away from work for an extended period of time. The longer they are off work, the more costly the claim becomes since they will continue receiving temporary disability payments. That’s in addition to any medical expenses that are incurred. Long open claims can hurt your future insurance premiums as well, so it’s to your benefit to work with the doctor, the injured worker and the insurance company claims adjuster to get the claim closed as soon as is feasible and safe for…
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Big Changes to Construction Dual Classes in the Works

| posted in Uncategorized

There could be significant changes coming for a number of construction dual-classification codes that could see the threshold for the higher-wage workers jump by as much as $5 per hour. Currently, 16 of the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau’s construction and erection class codes are divided into two separate classifications based on the hourly wage of the employees, and each of these classifications has a different advisory workers’ comp benchmark rate. Insurers use these benchmark rates as guideposts for setting their own rates. Because lower-wage workers in these classes have considerably more workplace injuries and more severe injuries, the pure…
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Cal/OSHA Extends, Changes Temporary COVID Rules

| posted in Blog

CAL/OSHA’s new COVID-19 workplace safety rules took effect Jan. 14. They extend earlier temporary rules until April 20. Under the new rules, employees must get a test in a health care setting or clinic that is sent to a lab, or take a self-administered test in front of a supervisor or a health care representative. Tests that are self-administered and self-read (like those taken at home) are no longer acceptable under the new rules. Employers can still offer self-read, self-administered COVID-19 tests to workers, but those that need to take a test after an exposure must adhere to the new…
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Health Insurance Outlook and Changes for 2022

| posted in Newsletter

As we enter 2022, there are a number of changes on the horizon that plan sponsors need to be aware of as they will affect group health plans as well as employees enrolled in those plans. Some of the changes concern temporary rules that were implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, new rulemaking is likely to be introduced in 2022 that will affect health plans, including non-discrimination rules for wellness plans and new rules governing what must be included on insurance plan ID cards. Here’s a list of what to expect in 2022. HDHP telehealth services — The CARES Act,…
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