Employee Benefit Guidance & Compliance Solutions

Human Resources

Insurance Companies to Cover at Home COVID Tests – 8 Key Questions Answered

Posted by on January 17, 2022 in Human Resources

At home COVID tests just became more accessible and affordable. On Jan 10th the Biden Administration released a directive that health insurers and group health plans cover the cost of FDA-authorized or approved over the counter at-home COVID-19 tests purchased on or after Jan 15th. The goal is to remove financial barriers and expand access to COVID-19 testing for million of people. As with any new initiatives or directives, information evolves quickly and often creates questions and confusion. Here are some of the key questions and answers for employers and employees: Who is eligible?Anyone with private, employer sponsored, or student health commercial insurance is eligible for reimbursement. What is covered?Up to eight (8) OTC COVID-19 diagnostic antigen rapid home tests per 30-day period for each person covered under your plan. Each test is counted separately so a kit that includes two tests you are covered for up to four...

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Importance of Mental Health & Employee Assistance Programs (EAP’s)

Posted by on October 19, 2021 in Human Resources

It is hard to think of a time in recent history when there have been more things to “stress” about. The COVID impact has been significant, between sickness and loss of loved ones, loss of jobs or furlough’s, work and school from home, and other ramifications too long to list, these have been unprecedented times. If there are to be any lasting positives it may be the bright spotlight that has shone on the importance of mental health. As the world slowly begins to return to a “new normal” it begs the question “what support can be provided to counsel and guide people through the immediate and lasting effects on general and mental health”? One such support method has been the expansion in availability and scope of Employee Assistance Programs Although the modern EAP has been around since the early 1970’s they were further researched by the Employee Assistance...

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Healthcare Renewal is a Great Time for a 360 Degree Review

Posted by on September 30, 2021 in Human Resources

January is a big month for healthcare renewal and a good time to start reviewing your broker relationship. A strong broker / client relationship should be collaborative, a true partnership. Before you meet with your current broker it is wise to do a full 360 degree review your current relationship. Asking your key stakeholder for feedback can be a very valuable tool in showing you care and place employee wellbeing high on your priority list. Here are some key questions for the three main stakeholders to consider or give feedback on: Employers Is our broker earning the fees we are paying them? Do I have unnecessary “add on” costs? How often do I hear from them? How creative are they in providing options and alternatives to control cost without unnecessary disruption for our employees? How responsive are they to our issues and concerns? Do they protect us with compliance...

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Getting Ready for Winter – Developing Your Inclement Weather Policy

Posted by on November 26, 2019 in Human Resources

Getting Ready for Winter- Developing Your Inclement Weather Policy By Maggie Johnson     Winter will soon be here with all of the snowstorms, blizzards, and freezing weather that come with the season. Keeping a business running effectively during harsh weather can be challenging, but having an inclement weather policy can provide guidelines to employees about when they are expected to report to work and how they will be paid when stormy weather hits. Here are some things to consider when creating your inclement weather policy: Notifying Employees These days, we often receive accurate, advance weather reports. This allows us to plan if there is a predicted storm. Even though we are informed by various news media, it is advisable for employers to have an established notification system for employees to know whether the company will close or if there will be a delayed opening. One way to advise...

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Caution of Offering Health Coverage to Non-Employees

Posted by on November 4, 2019 in Human Resources

Is offering health coverage to Non-Employees risky? A frequent Compliance Corner question asks whether employers can include independent contractors in their health plans or other benefits.   When dealing with contractors or temporary employees, many think they are not eligible for their health plans or other benefits such as COBRA or FFCRA. The answer to this question is more complicated than one might think. So, is offering health coverage to non-employees risky? The Scoop Most benefit experts advise against including independent contractors or other non-employees such as 1099 employees, non-employee directors, or leased employees on employer’s benefit plans. Here are three (3) reasons why this may be inadvisable: Treating an independent contractor as an employee may undermine an employer’s assertion that the individual is not an employee. The DOL and the IRS, as well as their state counterparts, have aggressive programs to uncover worker misclassification. By offering a non-employee employee...

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Planning for Open Enrollment

Posted by on October 1, 2019 in Human Resources

Planning for Open Enrollment By Maggie Johnson     As we go into the fall, most companies will begin the process for Open Enrollment. Open Enrollment for many employers will be held in November and sometimes into December of 2019 for the 2020 plan year. To ensure your Open Enrollment goes smoothly, here are some suggested tips. Employee’s Share of Premium Most employees share the cost of the premium for health insurance coverage with their employer. For 2020, it is predicted by the Mercer National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans that the total health benefits costs per employee will increase by 3.9%. According to AON Consultancy’s 2020 Global Medical Trend Rates Report, healthcare benefit cost is expected to rise by 6.5% in the US. However, whether a health insurance plan is self-insured or fully-insured, the company’s claims experience is normally reflected in that company’s healthcare premium rates, and may...

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