Compliance Checklist for Your Group Plan

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

As open enrollment 2020 is just around the corner, there are a few things that employers with group plans should know so they can work with us to take any necessary actions. As always, new rules are taking effect and some employers’ plans will be more affected than others. In addition, if you’ve made changes to your plans in any way, you should read this to make sure your plan is compliant with relevant laws and regulations. ACA health provider fee When the Affordable Care Act was signed into law it contained provisions to collect a 2.5% “health provider fee”…
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Newsom Signs Sweeping Independent Contractor Bill AB 5

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed legislation into law that will codify a court ruling from last year that set new ground rules for what constitutes an independent contractor, and which expands on that ruling. There’s been a lot written in the media about the legislation, AB 5, and unfortunately much of it misses the point. Some news reports have said it will spell the end of independent contractors in the state and that anyone a company hires to do a temporary job on contract must be treated as an employee, along with all of the obligations that go with…
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HDHPs Can Hamper Employee Health Without an Attached HSA

| posted in Blog

In recent years, employers and self-employed Americans have been migrating to high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) but, if they are not attached to a health savings account (HSA), they can end up costing the plan participant more than they can afford and create health problems for them down the road. HDHPs typically have reduced premiums in exchange for the employee taking on a higher deductible for health care expenditures. The average person enrolled in an HDHP saves 42% in annual premiums, compared to those enrolled in preferred provider organization plans, according to research from BenefitFocus. But in order to afford paying…
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OSHA Not Letting Up on Inspections, Penalties

| posted in Blog

Despite expectations, Fed-OSHA under the Trump administration has not backed off on enforcing workplace safety regulations. In fact, the agency is as aggressive as ever and citations are higher than ever as well, after fines were increased substantially three years ago. Based on the agency’s own statistics, a company that’s inspected has only a 25% chance of not receiving a single citation. In other words, employers should not let up on their safety regimens to not only avoid being cited but also to avoid workplace injuries, which nobody wants. OSHA Updates: Enforcement emphasis still going strong – There are more than…
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DOJ Tells Court to Nullify ACA; What’s Next?

| posted in Blog

After a period of relative stability, the future of the Affordable Care Act has once again been thrown into uncertainty. In a surprise move, the Department of Justice announced that it would not further pursue appeal of a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor, and instead asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to affirm the decision he made in December 2018. O’Connor had ruled that Congress eliminating the penalty for not complying with the law’s individual mandate had in fact made the entire law invalid. But, even though the DOJ won’t be pursuing defense of the…
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Couple 401(k) and Financial Wellness Plans to Help Your Staff

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

The first source of financial advice for nearly 65% of U.S. workers is their 401(k) plan provider, according to a survey by T. Rowe Price. The top three objectives for advice that workers were seeking are: Saving for retirement outside of the workplace retirement plan (74%). Saving to fund health care expenses in retirement (74%). Saving in the workplace retirement plan (71%). The results of the study show how much value employees put on their retirement plans and how active they really are in trying to secure a sound financial future for themselves. With the stresses of rising costs, particularly…
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New Rule Simplifies X-Mod Calculation, Encourages Reporting First Aid Claims

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

A new method for calculating workers’ compensation experience modifications (X-Mods) took effect in California on Jan. 1, 2019. The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California has created a new simplified formula for calculating X-Mods as part of its efforts to add more transparency to the process. The new formula excludes the first $250 of every claim for the X-Mod computation, no matter how large or small the claim is. This also means that if an employer pays, say, $200 for first aid on a minor workplace injury, they are required to report it as a claim. Doing so will…
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Massive Breach Exposed 773 million E-mails, Passwords

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

News of the latest global data breach of some 773 million e-mail address and passwords should prompt individuals and organizations alike to change their passwords – particularly for any accounts that have financial, credit card or other personal information. The scope of this breach cannot be overstated as the list includes log-in credentials from more than 2,000 websites, according to an article on the website Marketwatch, which cited a report by security researcher Troy Hunt. Hunt said that the files were collected from a number of breaches and uploaded to a cloud service called MEGA, and the data was promoted…
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