United Benefit Advisors Insight and Analysis Blog

In Focus: Digital Eye Strain and Vision Benefits

Posted by: Geoff Mukhtar    May 26, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Eighty-one percent of employees have elected vision benefits in 2016, up from 78 percent last year, according to Transitions. This increase moved vision into a tie with dental as the second most popular benefit election behind medical.

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Topics: vision benefits, vision care, eye strain, digital eye strain

Same-Sex Marriages and Group Health Benefits

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    May 24, 2016 10:00:00 AM

From 2013 to 2015, a series of Supreme Court cases and government updates have changed the landscape of the way employers must consider same-sex spouses in relation to employee benefits.

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Topics: DOMA, same sex marriage, Defense of Marriage Act, group benefit eligibility

When It Comes to Employees' Financial Wellness, Face Time Matters

Posted by: Geoff Mukhtar    May 19, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Many employers have done an excellent job of integrating financial wellness programs with their employees in order for them to improve their overall financial well-being. However, the most significant progress appears to be when employees actually speak with a qualified human being rather than relying on technology to manage investments. The key, according to an article on the website of Employee Benefit News titled, “Technology Alone Not Enough in Financial Wellness,” is the level of employee engagement.

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Topics: financial wellness, financial education, financial planning

DOL Issues 31st FAQ on ACA Implementation

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    May 17, 2016 10:00:00 AM

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued its 31st FAQ on the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), dedicated to coverage of preventive services, rescissions of coverage, out-of-network emergency services, clinical trial coverage, cost-sharing limitations, the Mental Health Parity Act, and the Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act. Some highlights are provided below.

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Topics: ACA, PPACA, preventive services, Danielle Capilla, Affordable Care Act, rescissions of coverage, out-of-network services, cost-sharing limitations

Don’t Let Terrorism Strike Your Disaster and Business Continuity Plans

Posted by: Bill Olson    May 12, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Corporate disaster plans used to be just weather-related, but in today’s world these plans should include acts of terrorism. The recent bomb explosions in the Brussels, Belgium, airport caused more than just death and destruction. It caused fear, travel delays, and a general feeling of helplessness.

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Topics: disaster preparedness, terrorism, business continuity, employee safety, disaster planning

Employers Ask: What Prevents Me from Reimbursing Individual Health Insurance Policies?

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    May 10, 2016 10:00:00 AM

In serving 36,000 employers and 5 million employees, our UBA Partners get this question frequently: What federal guidance prohibits employers from reimbursing individual health insurance policies?

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Topics: ACA, PPACA, employer payment plans, premium reimbursement, Danielle Capilla, individual health plans

ACA Regulations Roundup (and Free Resources)

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    May 5, 2016 10:00:00 AM

The government was busy recently, issuing the massive Benefit Payment and Parameters rule in addition to numerous other updates. Our recent blog reviews the updates to the Benefit Payment and Parameters rule; for more detailed information as it relates to standardized plans, small employer definition, reinsurance fees, rating areas, guaranteed availability, exemptions, and more, download UBA’s ACA Advisor, “Benefit and Payment Parameters Rule and HIP FAQ”.

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Topics: ACA, PPACA, Danielle Capilla, Affordable Care Act, Benefit Payment and Parameters rule, HIPAA audit

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