United Benefit Advisors Insight and Analysis Blog

As Dragnet's Joe Friday Would Say, "Just the Facts, Ma'am." Get the Facts on COBRA Coverage – Who, When and How Long?

Posted by: Jennifer Kupper    May 3, 2016 10:00:00 AM

As we mentioned in the first edition of this mini-series on the Federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA), “marketplaces” or “exchanges” created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) did not make COBRA obsolete. Rather, COBRA is still going strong. And while the general rule of COBRA is not necessarily that difficult to understand, the timeframes, notice requirements, intricacies, and the ways in which COBRA interacts with other laws presents employers with potentially extremely expensive outcomes.

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Topics: COBRA, Jennifer Kupper, iaCONSULTING, covered employee, benefit eligibility, qualifying event

Moving from Employee Wellness to Employee Well-Being

Posted by: Lisa Weston    Apr 28, 2016 10:00:00 AM

The terms “wellness” and “well-being” are often used interchangeably; however, they mean very different things when applied to workplace health promotion. Traditionally speaking, employee “wellness” programs have primarily focused on just physical health. Whereas employee “well-being” programs emphasize emotional, mental, social, and financial health in addition to physical health.

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Topics: wellness, health care costs, employee wellness, wellness programs, employee health, well-being

Taxation of Identity Protection Services

Posted by: Josie Martinez    Apr 26, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Identity theft protectionAccording to the IRS, identity theft has been the number one consumer complaint to the Federal Trade Commission for 15 consecutive years. The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that 17.6 million people were victims of identity theft in 2014. Organizations at every level are trying to protect employee and customer personal information from computer hacking that can disclose sensitive information to identity thieves. As a protective measure, some businesses are providing identity theft protection services in the hopes of preventing and mitigating damage from a data breach. Some insurance carriers are now also offering identity protection services to their customers at no additional cost. Questions were posed to the IRS concerning the taxability of identity protection services provided at no cost to customers, employees, or other individuals whose personal information may have been compromised in a data breach.

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Topics: benefits taxation, identity theft, identity protection

What the DOL Wants During an Audit

Posted by: Bill Olson    Apr 21, 2016 10:00:00 AM

UBA Department of Labor Audit white paperNo two Department of Labor (DOL) audits are the same, yet there are typical questions asked and documents requested. See our recent blog on the Seven Common Mistakes That Could Trigger a DOL Audit. If you are audited, it’s recommended that questions received be sorted and color-coded based on what the question references (for example, third-party administrator, client answered, etc.). In addition, keep a log of each request and the document(s) provided in response to that request. A separate file folder for each request will help organize that task. Luckily, the DOL seems to be very receptive to an organization’s preparedness. It certainly makes the auditor’s job easier when a company has everything already in place and doesn’t require time to gather it all.

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Topics: Department of Labor, health plan compliance, Don't Roll the Dice on Department of Labor Audits, compliance documents, DOL audit

Seven Common Mistakes That Could Trigger a DOL Audit

Posted by: Bill Olson    Apr 19, 2016 10:00:00 AM

UBA Department of Labor Audit white paperNot many things incite more fear than receiving a notice that you’re about to have an audit, especially from the Department of Labor (DOL). The DOL is a cabinet-level department of the U.S. federal government responsible for occupational safety, wage and hour standards, unemployment insurance benefits, re-employment services, and some economic statistics. It is headed by the U.S. Secretary of Labor.

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Topics: Department of Labor, Don't Roll the Dice on Department of Labor Audits, DOL audit, UBA white paper

Don't Neglect Written Policies and Procedures

Posted by: Elizabeth Kay    Apr 14, 2016 10:00:00 AM

UBA Department of Labor Audits white paperI have worked with my fair share of companies, both large and small, from companies that are just starting out to those that have been well established for 30 or more years. It has been my experience that most companies, no matter how long they have been in business, don’t establish written policies and procedures until they have more than 30 employees.

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Topics: employee benefits, Department of Labor, Don't Roll the Dice on Department of Labor Audits, HR policies and procedures, human resources policy

Group Healthcare Premiums by State: How does your plan stack up?

Posted by: Bill Olson    Apr 11, 2016 12:00:00 PM

We recently highlighted the top five best and worst states for group health plan costs. See below for your state's average monthly premiums and read our breaking news release with the cost findings by industry.

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Topics: health plan benchmarking, group health insurance, health plan cost trends, UBA Health Plan Survey, group healthcare premiums

Top Five Best and Worst States for Group Health Plans

Posted by: Matt Weimer    Apr 8, 2016 12:00:00 PM

Top 5Health insurance premium renewal rates increased an average of 6.2 percent for all plans in 2015, up from the previous year’s 5.6 percent increase, according to UBA’s Health Plan Survey. Small businesses with fewer than 25 employees, which account for five million U.S. employers, were hit the hardest—see our breaking news with the details.

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Topics: health plan benchmarking, group health insurance, Group health plans, health plan cost trends, UBA Health Plan Survey, health insurance cost

Weeding Out Low Performers

Posted by: Bill Olson    Apr 5, 2016 3:34:43 PM

Every workplace has its fair share of slackers and goof-offs, but it’s what an employer does with those employees that solidifies its corporate culture as one of high or low performance.

Employers that ignore low-performing employees risk more than just productivity.

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Topics: employee engagement, Society for Human Resource Management, productivity

IRS Reporting Tip: Check the Right Boxes on Your Cover Sheet

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Mar 31, 2016 12:00:00 PM

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), individuals are required to have health insurance while applicable large employers (ALEs) are required to offer health benefits to their full-time employees.

In order for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to verify that (1) individuals have the required minimum essential coverage, (2) individuals who request premium tax credits are entitled to them, and (3) ALEs are meeting their shared responsibility (play or pay) obligations, employers with 50 or more full-time or full-time equivalent employees and insurers will be required to report on the health coverage they offer.

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Topics: ACA, PPACA, PPACA reporting, applicable large employers, IRS Form 1094-C