Employee Benefits Report – September 2017

Could Direct Primary Care Control Your Health Care Benefit Costs?

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Affordable Care Act marketplaces are closing at an alarming rate. Health care benefit costs are soaring. Some Republicans are trying to repeal and replace the current Affordable Care Act and others in Congress just want to make changes before it implodes. Meanwhile, coverage isn’t getting any cheaper, and many Americans are left wondering what options they have for affordable health care coverage. Read on for details.

Opioid Addiction in the Workplace: How to Help Employees

2Opioid addiction is on the rise and is affecting the workplace. The National Safety Council reported that nearly 70 percent of the employers they surveyed said prescription drug abuse has negatively impacted their companies.
Read on for details.

Switching to a High-Deductible Health Plan? Here’s How to Explain the Change

3High-deductible health plans (HDHPs) are gaining in popularity as a way for employers to save money and to give employees more say on how their health care dollars are spent. Read on for details.
 
 

Great Reasons to Offer a 529 Savings Plan

A 529 college savings plan is considered one of the best ways for parents to save for their children’s’ higher education. Similar to a 401(k) savings plan or an Individual Retirement Account, contributions to the state-run plan grow tax free. In many states, participants get a tax deduction or credit for their contributions.
Read on for details.

Employee Benefits Report – August 2017

HRA Changes That Affect Your Employees

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A new law, along with rules governing Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA) affects the type of health care benefits you can offer your employees. Read on for details.
 

Four Questions to Ask Before Purchasing Dental Insurance for your Employees

2If you’re a small employer with 50 or fewer employees, you might be wondering what benefits you need to provide to attract and keep valuable talent. You want to offer attractive benefits on a cost-effective, sustainable basis for yourself, your family and your employees. Health care benefits are expected and often mandatory, but are dental benefits worthwhile?
Read on for details.

Ways to Help Your Employees Have a More Secure Retirement

3Have your employees saved enough for retirement? The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) says an individual could easily spend 30 years or more in retirement, and to retire comfortably could need up to 80 percent of their annual income. Read on for details.
 
 

GOP Proposal to Tax Employer Health Plans – Pros and Cons

Estimates show that almost half of American private sector employers offer health care insurance to their employees. The Kaiser Family Foundation says the percentage ranges from a low of 34 percent in Idaho to a high of 70 percent in the District of Columbia. The practice is popular because the benefits are exempt from federal, state and city taxes and employers can deduct 100 percent of the costs.
Read on for details.

Employee Benefits Report – July 2017

The American Health Care Act: A Bill in Transition

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Wondering how the changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will affect you? You’ll have to be patient. The American Health Care Act (AHCA) bill is still in flux. Possible enhancements or repercussions are only educated guesses at this time. Read on for details.

Voluntary Benefits: The Upside of Giving Employees a Choice

2Many employers rely on a robust benefit package to attract and retain employees. The challenge is determining which benefits will appeal to a diverse employee base.
Read on for details.

It’s the Law: Benefits You Must Provide Employees

3Employers have a lot of options for increasing the appeal of their benefits plans. But there are also certain minimums to comply with — benefits required by law. Read on for details.

Want an Edge Attracting and Keeping Millennials? Consider Offering Pet Insurance

The Nationwide insurance company estimates that 65 percent of Americans own at least one pet. Of those pet owners, the American Pet Products Association estimates 24 percent are millennials.
Read on for details.

Employee Benefits Report – June 2017

How Employers Can Curb a ‘Hidden Workplace Epidemic,’ Save Money and Boost Productivity

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Every day, 60 people die from opioid pain medications in America. That’s 22,000 people every year. Opioids are being overprescribed and they’re now the #1 cause of unintentional death in the United States. Not surprisingly, this “hidden epidemic” is impacting businesses. The National Safety Council has recommendations on what employers need to do. Read on for details.

Bill Would ‘Alter the Legal Landscape’ for Workplace Wellness Programs

2A bill that members of Congress are considering would substantially change federal rules governing workplace wellness programs, lifting limits on the inducements that can be used to persuade workers to provide personal health information, according to a brief by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Read on for details.

Retirement Policy Likely to Change Radically in Near Future

3As President Trump and the new Republican-controlled Congress settle in, experts say U.S. retirement policies are likely to change significantly over the next few years. Read on for details.
 
 

Benefits Paid to Long-Term Care Policyholders Rise 6 Percent

America’s long-term care insurance companies paid $8.65 billion in benefits to 280,000 people in 2016, an increase of 6 percent over the prior year, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.
Read on for details.

Employee Benefits Report – May 2017

Big Data and Technical Advances Are Helping Employers Reduce Health Insurance Costs

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At a time when the annual price tag for health insurance is topping $10,000 per employee, cognitive health systems, telemedicine or telehealth and other medical advances are helping to lower costs. Read on for details.

How to Control Rising Drug Costs

2Spending on prescription drugs in the United States accounted for nearly 17 percent of total healthcare spending — with a price tag of $457 billion in 2015. And that’s only going up, unless serious change occurs.
Read on for details.

Many Americans ‘Not Worried Enough’ About Retirement

3More than half of working age Americans risk facing a lower standard of living during retirement, a new study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College found. Read on for details.
 
 
 

New Long-Term Care Insurance Policies Only Cost Seniors $100-$150 a Month

The cost of long-term care insurance continues to rise. A couple in their 60s purchasing new coverage could expect to pay 6-9 percent more compared to a year ago, according to the annual industry analysis of prices.
Read on for details.

Employee Benefits Report – April 2017

President Trump and House GOP Introduce Obamacare Replacement Plan

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IMPORTANT UPDATE

Republicans Withdraw American Health Care Act

The American Health Care Act of 2017 was withdrawn by Republicans from the House on March 24, 2017 for lack of sufficient votes. However, even though the bill is moot at this point, the underlying issues, problems and possible solutions associated with the bill are still valid and significant, which is why we have left the following article as is and unedited. Read on for details.

Millennials Driving Growth of Health Savings Accounts

2As more employers offer high-deductible health plans amid rising healthcare costs, health savings accounts are becoming increasingly popular in the workplace — especially among millennials.
Read on for details.
 

Employees Overwhelmed by Complex Health Options

3As the healthcare market shifts toward individual responsibility, a survey found many workers are overwhelmed by the complexity of their healthcare options and many have a poor understanding of the benefits of health savings accounts. Read on for details.

Pension Plan Decline Prompts Interest in Annuities

While fewer employers are offering workers defined pension plans, a growing number of companies are taking a renewed interest in providing annuity income options to their employees, the Employee Benefit Research Institute found.
Read on for details.

Employee Benefits Report – March 2017

House Votes to Clear Way for Repeal of Obamacare

association health plansIn a 227-198 vote, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a resolution in January that paves the way for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. President Trump and Republicans, who are working on a replacement plan, say Obamacare was a failure, but House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi argues it diminished the rate of growth in healthcare costs. Read on for details.

How Wellness Programs Improve the Bottom Line

2Workplace wellness programs reduce medical costs, absenteeism and health-related productivity losses, yet many employers find it difficult to measure the success of their programs.
Read on for details.
 

Trends in Workplace Benefits in 2017

3As more employers face increasing health insurance costs, many are looking at their total benefit package to find the best benefits to invest their dollars in. Read on for details.
 
 

Congress Reexamines Repeal of Cadillac Tax

Four members of Congress have reintroduced bipartisan legislation that would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the excise tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health coverage.
Read on for details.

Employee Benefits Report – February 2017

Bosses’ Top Concern is the Employer Mandate

association health plansIt’s one of the top issues for employers this year. As President Donald Trump begins his term, an Aon survey found nearly half of employers view the employer mandate as the top healthcare concern of 2017. Read on for details.

3 Tips to Expand Voluntary Benefits and Save Money

2At a time when employers are trying to solve talent gaps while juggling tight budgets, the popularity of voluntary benefits continues to gain traction—with voluntary benefits’ sales increasing for the fifth straight year, according to LIMRA.
Read on for details.

Government Cracks Down on Parity of Coverage Violators

3Prior to leaving the White House, the Obama administration increased enforcement of laws requiring parity of coverage for mental health and substance abuse benefits. Read on for details.

Balances in Health Savings Accounts Grow by a Third

Balances in Health Savings Accounts grew by more than a third in 2015, according to a new report by the Employee Benefit Research Institute.
Read on for details.

Employee Benefits Report – January 2017

Donald Trump and Obamacare

association health plansBefore his surprise election, President-Elect Donald Trump said he would repeal the Affordable Care Act “on Day One.” However, the health care law championed by Barack Obama could prove more difficult to dismantle than Trump had imagined. Read on for details.

Disability Income Insurance Protects Your Most Valuable Asset

2Most people don’t plan for a debilitating accident or illness during their working years. But three in 10 workers entering the work force today will become disabled before retiring. And only five percent of disabilities are work-related—meaning 95 percent of people with disabilities will not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
Read on for details.

Health Insurance Premiums Soar over Last Decade

3Over the last decade, average annual premiums workers have paid for family healthcare coverage have shot up 78 percent, while employer contributions rose 51 percent, a new report found. Read on for details.
 

IRS Extends Due Date for Health Coverage Forms

On November 18, 2016, the IRS extended the 2017 due date for providing 2016 health coverage information forms to individuals. Insurers, self-insuring employers, other coverage providers, and applicable large employers now have until March 2, 2017 to provide Forms 1095-B or 1095-C to individuals. This is a 30-day extension from the original due date of January 31.
Read on for details.

Employee Benefits Report – December 2016

Tax Reform Proposal Would Undermine Health System

association health plansVarious proposals in Congress would eliminate or cap the employer tax exclusion for health insurance. Now’s the time to make your voice heard! Read on for details.
 
 
 

Why Life Insurance Is a Smart Investment

2It’s considered the cornerstone of sound financial planning.
Despite recent reports about sharp increases in some life insurance premiums, financial experts say life insurance is a vital part of a family’s financial stability and a smart investment.
Read on for details.

Asthma and Allergies: How Companies Can Breathe Easier

3About one in four Americans suffers from asthma today. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America estimates the annual cost of asthma at about $56 billion. Direct costs, such as hospital stays, accounted for nearly $50.1 billion, while indirect costs, such as lost pay, accounted for $5.9 billion. Read on for details.

Sales of Long-Term Care Insurance Policies Rising

Although sales of traditional long-term care insurance have dropped 60 percent over the last decade, half of the insurance companies marketing the policies experienced increases in sales in the first half of 2016 compared to the same time period last year.
Read on for details.

Employee Benefits Report – November 2016

Is Your Health Plan Ready for 2017?

association health plansAffordable Care Act compliance, along with benefits cost management and employee wellness programs, are emerging as the top issues affecting small business health plans. Read on for details.
 
 

Wellness Programs Work…If Employees Participate

2Getting employees to participate is the key to making wellness programs effective. Here are some suggestions. Read on for details.
 
 
 

Consistency Creates Big 401(k) Nest Eggs

3A new study looked at 401(k) account balances of workers from 2010 to 2014. Participants who consistently contributed had balances almost twice the average account balance of other plan participants. Read on for details.
 
 

Voluntary Benefits Help Reduce Financial Stress

Employers are increasingly offering voluntary benefits as a way to improve financial well-being, new research found.
Read on for details.

Employee Benefits Report – October 2016

Why Most Employers Are Eyeing Public Exchanges for Pre-Medicare Retiree Benefits

association health plansA new survey by Willis Towers Watson found more than half of U.S. employers are confident that public health exchanges will be a viable option for their pre-65 retiree coverage within two years. As costs for health plans continue to rise, the survey also found that nearly three-quarters of employers plan to make substantial changes to pre-65 retiree health benefits in the near future. Read on for details.

Employers Offer Increasingly Generous Benefit Packages to Top Earners

2The rich get richer, and the wealthy get far nicer benefit packages too.
A new report by the Pew Charitable Trusts Foundation found employers spend a median of 38 cents of each compensation dollar on benefits, and those earning more receive more generous benefit packages too.
Read on for details.

Average Age of Retirement Now 62—Up From 59

3At a time when people in the United States are working longer hours and taking second jobs to pay the bills and save for retirement, a new Gallup poll found the average age that Americans are retiring was 62 in 2014, up from age 59 in 2010. Read on for details.

Longer Lives Increase Need for Long-Term Care Insurance

A new study by the Urban Institute that found the more affluent live longer reinforces the importance of long-term care insurance planning for middle-income and affluent Americans, says Jesse Slome, director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.
Read on for details.