United Benefit Advisors Insight and Analysis Blog

Extension of Maximum COBRA Coverage Period

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Jul 13, 2017 9:30:00 AM

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) requires employers to offer covered employees who lose their health benefits due to a qualifying event to continue group health benefits for a limited time at the employee’s own cost. The length of the COBRA coverage period depends on the qualifying event and is usually 18 or 36 months. However, the COBRA coverage period may be extended under the following five circumstances:

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Topics: COBRA, COBRA continuation coverage, qualifying event, coverage period

How to Be a Magnetic Organization

Posted by: Joan Morehead, SHRM-SCP    Jul 11, 2017 9:30:00 AM

When we hear something’s magnetic, it’s likely the first thought that comes to mind is attraction. By definition, a magnetic force is the attraction or repulsion that arises between electrically charged particles because of their motion. What perfect framing for an organization – the desire to attract (or repel) people to help advance your organization. With this framing comes the assumption that there’s motion, which is, hopefully, a result of intentional action.

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Topics: talent retention, organizational management, motivation

Strategic Benefits Communication: Leverage Technology, But Keep It Personal – Part Four of a Five-Part Series

Posted by: Kevin D. Seeker, GBA    Jul 7, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Many employers have invested in benefits administration systems to streamline their processes and connectivity with payroll systems as well as external vendors. From an efficiency and reporting perspective, this works wonderfully. However, when it comes to leveraging that technology for open enrollment and benefits communication, there can be gaps that limit effectiveness.

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Topics: benefits communication, employee benefits technology, benefits enrollment, enrollment technology

Top Misconceptions about Long Term Care Insurance

Posted by: Christine McCullugh    Jul 6, 2017 9:30:00 AM

In conversations with HR professionals and benefit brokers, we find that the topic of long-term care insurance (LTCi) is often covered in less than two minutes during renewal meetings. When I ask why the topic of conversation is so short, they tell me, “Employees just aren’t asking about it, so they must not be interested.”

If employees aren’t asking about LTCi, does it mean they aren’t interested? They just may be unaware of the value of LTCi and that it can be offered by their employer with concessions not available in the open market. Here are the top seven reasons why LTCi should be a bigger part of the employee benefits conversation.

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Topics: voluntary benefits, LTCi, long-term care insurance

DOL Asks for MHPAEA Related Comments; Clarifies Eating Disorder Benefit Requirements

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Jun 28, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Earlier this month, the Department of Labor (DOL) provided an informational FAQ relating to the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) and the 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act). This is the DOL's 38th FAQ on implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions and related regulations. The DOL is requesting comments on a draft model form for participants to use to request information regarding nonquantitative treatment limitations, and confirms that benefits for eating disorders must comply with the MHPAEA. Comments are due by September 13, 2017.

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Topics: ACA, Affordable Care Act, Mental Health Parity and Addiction Act, mental health, 21st Century Cures Act

What Employers Need to Know about the Senate Proposed Healthcare Bill

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Jun 26, 2017 9:30:00 AM

On June 22, 2017, the United States Senate released a "Discussion Draft" of the "Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017" (BCRA), which would substitute the House's House Resolution 1628, a reconciliation bill aimed at "repealing and replacing" the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The House bill was titled the "American Health Care Act of 2017" (AHCA). Employers with group health plans should continue to monitor the progress in Washington, D.C., and should not stop adhering to any provisions of the ACA in the interim, or begin planning to comply with provisions in either the BCRA or the AHCA.

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Topics: ACA, health care reform, Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, American Health Care Act of 2017

A Country Polarized? Make Sure Your Office Isn’t

Posted by: Geoff Mukhtar    Jun 22, 2017 5:13:25 PM

One of the latest things trending right now in business is the importance of office culture. When everyone in the office is working well together, productivity rises and efficiency increases. Naturally, the opposite is true when employees do not work well together and the corporate culture suffers. So, what are these barriers and what can you do to avoid them?

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Topics: office productivity, corporate culture, teamwork

What Qualifying Events Trigger COBRA?

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Jun 20, 2017 11:25:55 AM

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) requires employers to offer covered employees who lose their health benefits due to a qualifying event to continue group health benefits for a limited time at the employee’s own cost. Per regulation, qualifying events are specific events that cause or trigger an individual to lose health coverage. The type of qualifying event determines who the qualified beneficiaries are and the maximum length of time a plan must offer continuation coverage. A group health plan may provide longer periods of continuation coverage beyond the maximum 18 or 36 months required by law.

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Topics: change in status event, COBRA continuation coverage, health care coverage

Small Employers Lead the Way in Funding HSAs

Posted by: Bill Olson    Jun 15, 2017 9:30:00 AM

The average employer contribution to an HSA is $474 for a single employee (down 3.5 percent from 2015 and 17.6 percent from five years ago) and $801 for a family (down 9.2 percent from last year and 13.7 percent from five years ago). There was a 26 percent increase in the number of individuals enrolled in HSAs, likely due to the increase in CDHP enrollment (which often have HSAs tied to them). Since 2013, there has been a 97.7 percent increase in enrollment, showing significant employer and employee interest in these plans over time.

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Topics: health plan benchmarking, employee benefits, health savings accounts, UBA Health Plan Survey, HSAs

What Happens to Coverage When Employees Reduce Their Hours?

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Jun 13, 2017 9:30:00 AM

The Section 125 cafeteria plan regulations and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) require employers to take certain actions when an employee reduces hours.

Consider this scenario: An employer has an employee who is reducing hours below 30 hours per week. The employee is performing the same job and duties. The employee was determined to be full-time during the most recent measurement period. The employee is currently in a stability period.

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Topics: ACA, cafeteria plan, Affordable Care Act, Section 125 plan, reduction in hours