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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IRS Allows Mid-Year Changes to Health Plans, FSAs

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

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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Trends Shaping Health Insurance and Health Care in 2020

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

As a new decade begins, the health insurance industry is on the cusp of making a leap towards improved, higher-tech management of health plan participants. A recent paper by Capgemini, an insurance technology and consulting firm, predicts the following health insurance trends will be taking shape in the industry and how they may affect businesses that are paying for their employees’ coverage. Health Insurance Trends 1. Realigned relationships Insurers are trying to shift risk between themselves and pharmaceutical companies in an effort to reduce drug outlays. The report says insurers are also working more closely with health care providers for early intervention…
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Drug Costs Starting to Drive Group Plan Inflation

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

Under the Affordable Care Act, group health insurance costs have been rising at a much slower rate than they had during the decade preceding its passage. In fact, the rate of annual premium growth in the group market has hovered around 5% – more than half of what it was between 2001 and 2010. Also, health care’s share of the national economy actually fell from 17.4% in 2010 to 17.2% by 2013. However, that trend hasn’t lasted and in 2016 the share was 17.9%. There has been a lot of debate about why rates have been increasing and some pundits…
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Republicans Unveil Two Proposals to Replace/Augment the ACA

| posted in Blog

Republicans in June introduced two sweeping proposals for replacing or augmenting the Affordable Care Act, as they seek to blaze a trail they say will be better for both employers and individual Americans. Rep. Pete Sessions, (R-Texas) and Sen. Bill Cassidy, (R-Louisiana), introduced H.R. 5284, which they call an “alternative” health care bill which will not repeal the ACA, but work alongside it and modify various parts of the system. The so-called “Health Empowerment Liberty Plan” (HELP) includes conditions for helping Americans purchase health insurance, but also keeps in place ACA provisions that bar health insurers from discriminating against people…
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