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 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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Workers Choose Employee Benefits And Perks Over Salary Hikes

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

Great employee benefits and perks packages can help attract top-notch talent, maintain employee morale and improve overall engagement and satisfaction with a company. The coronavirus pandemic has made perks and benefits even more important, particularly in light of so many workers feeling burned out, stressed from working at home or feeling isolated due to closures and shelter-at-home orders. Recently, retailer Staples surveyed 1,549 employees across the U.S. about their preferences for work perks, asking them to rate how various benefits affected their motivation and if they preferred perks over higher salaries ― and which benefits were most important to them when…
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Preparing for Open Enrollment during Pandemic

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

With the coronavirus showing no signs of slowing, health insurance is likely top of mind for your employees. Many of them will be anxious and it’s likely that they will be more engaged and interested in understanding whether their current coverage is sufficient should they be stricken by the virus. Not only that but due to social distancing and with many employees working remotely, employers will need to adjust their open enrollment procedures to make sure they are safe, efficient and a success for both them and their employees. This year in particular, it’s important that you use a multi-pronged…
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How to Handle Group Health Coverage for Laid-off, Furloughed Staff

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

As the COVID-19 pandemic wears on, many employers have had to lay off or furlough staff due to a tremendous drop-off in business. Besides the loss of income they face, these workers will often also lose their employer-sponsored health insurance. With this in mind, many employers have been wondering if they can permit coverage to continue during the time the staff is temporarily laid off or furloughed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. There are some important points to consider when deciding how to handle group health coverage for laid-off or furloughed staff. If you are looking at options for keeping…
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IRS Allows Mid-Year Changes to Health Plans, FSAs

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The IRS has loosened restrictions on employees who want to make election changes to their group health plans and flexible spending accounts (FSAs) in the middle of the policy year. IRS rules are typically stringent and rigid, barring changes from being made to health plans except during open enrollment. Under the new rules, the employer would still have to approve letting staff make changes to their plans if they have more than one option to choose from. The IRS issued the new guidance after employer groups lobbied the agency and Congress to loosen the rules because the COVID-19 pandemic has…
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COVID-19 Changes to Health Plans Must Be Documented, Circulated

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

A number of plan sponsors have made changes to their group health plans in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as covering testing and sometimes treatment without any cost-sharing by the plan enrollee. Any changes that are made must be followed up by amending the plan and communicating the changes to the enrollees. Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), all health plans are required to deliver a Summary Plan Description (SPD) to enrollees to inform them of the full spectrum of coverage and their rights under the plan. Whenever a plan sponsor makes a material modification to the…
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Some Insurers Step Up Group Health Plan Assistance

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

Some health insurers are helping workers who would otherwise lose health insurance maintain employee benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new survey has found. Social distancing and stay-at-home orders have put the hurt on hundreds of thousands of businesses across the country, which has forced them to reduce employees’ hours, furlough them or lay them off. Besides all those employees seeing their pay drastically curtailed or disappear altogether, it also affects their employee benefits, with health coverage topping the list. With so many people concerned they may lose coverage and business owners equally worried about their employees, some insurers are…
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More Employers Expand Mental Health Benefits

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

American workers are more stressed than ever, and an increasing number of people are also struggling with mental health issues. Sadly, the number of people dying from drugs, alcohol and suicide hit record levels in 2019. When someone is battling addiction or has mental health issues, it affects all aspects of their life, including work. Stress can have a significant adverse impact on business. It costs employers an average of $300 billion a year in stress-related health care and missed work, according to a Harris Poll conducted for Purchasing Power. That’s why more employers are stepping up to provide their…
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Employees Satisfied with Plans, but Health Plan Costs a Burden

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

While health insurance premiums aren’t going up as much as they have in past years, both employers and their workers are still struggling with higher health care costs. Whether it’s higher deductibles or out of pocket maximums, health plan costs continue to be a financial burden on American families. According to the “2018 Health and Voluntary Workplace Benefits Survey,” published by the Employee Benefit Research Institute together with Greenwald & Associates, roughly half of all workers experienced an out-of-pocket cost increase in their workplace health insurance plans. That’s roughly the same percentage as in 2017, but lower than the 61%…
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