United Benefit Advisors Insight and Analysis Blog

Beware of Tech Overload

Posted by: Bill Olson    Apr 17, 2018 8:00:00 AM

Technology has certainly made the workplace faster, smarter and more productive. New apps and systems continuously offer new ways to create, manage and collaborate. However, just as with many good things, workers can get too much of office tech. With each digitization of traditional job and team functions comes a cost in diminishing associated skills. Many forward-thinking companies are taking heed of the potential pitfalls of tech overload. Check out some particular hazards culled from across the Web.

Read More

Topics: workplace wellness, workplace culture, small business chronicle, technology

Ribbon Cutting for New UBA Chicago Office

Posted by: Bill Olson    Apr 12, 2018 3:44:26 PM

UBA Chicago Fifteen years ago, visionary UBA co-founders David LoCascio and Chris John gathered with a small group of employee benefits professionals in Rosemont, Illinois. United, they founded UBA Partners, an organization that would significantly enhance everyone’s respective practices by allowing them to retain their local entrepreneurial values, all while receiving the benefits of a larger corporate connection. Today, UBA has grown exclusive partnerships with more than 125 of the nation’s premier independent employee benefit advisory firms.

Read More

Topics: health plan benchmarking, independent employee benefits advisors, group benefit plans

Higher Satisfaction Through Higher Education

Posted by: Bill Olson    Apr 10, 2018 1:57:01 PM

When evaluating employee benefits, essentials such as health and dental plans, vacation time and 401(k) contributions quickly come to mind. Another benefit employers should consider involves subsidizing learning as well as ambitions. Grants and reimbursements toward advanced degrees and continuing education can be a smart investment for both employers and employees.

Read More

Topics: employee benefit plans, recruiting, employee benefit plan design, education assistance

Understanding W-2 Reporting under the ACA

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Dec 21, 2017 9:30:00 AM

The ACA requires employers to report the cost of coverage under an employer-sponsored group health plan. Reporting the cost of health care coverage on Form W-2 does not mean that the coverage is taxable.

Read More

Topics: ACA, Affordable Care Act, employer-sponsored health insurance, W-2 reporting

New Guidance from CMS on Accommodation Revocation Notices under the Contraception Mandate Exemption

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Dec 19, 2017 9:30:00 PM

Two tri-agency (Internal Revenue Service, Employee Benefits Security Administration, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) Interim Final Rules were released and became effective on October 6, 2017, and were published on October 13, 2017, allowing a greater number of employers to opt out of providing contraception to employees at no cost through their employer-sponsored health plan.

Read More

Topics: contraception coverage, religious opposition to contraception, Group health plans

Advance Informational Copies of 2017 Form 5500 Annual Return/Report

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Dec 14, 2017 9:30:00 AM

The U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) released advance informational copies of the 2017 Form 5500 annual return/report and related instructions.

Read More

Topics: benefit plan reporting, group benefit plans, IRS Form 5500, tax reporting

Agencies Provide Relief for Group Plans and Donation Programs Affected by Hurricanes/Wildfires

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Dec 12, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Guidance for Group Health Plans Impacted by Hurricane Maria and California Wildfires

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a news release to recognize that plan participants and beneficiaries may encounter problems due to Hurricane Maria and the California Wildfires. The DOL advises plan fiduciaries to make reasonable accommodations to prevent workers' loss of benefits and to take steps to minimize the possibility of individuals losing benefits because of a failure to comply with pre-established time frames.

Read More

Topics: group benefits, leave-based donation program, hurricane relief

With Below Average Cost, Increasing Enrollment, CDHPs Have Big Impact

Posted by: Bill Olson    Dec 7, 2017 9:30:00 AM

When most experts think of group healthcare plans, Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans largely come to mind—though higher cost, they dominate the market in terms of plan distribution and employee enrollment. But Consumer-Directed Health Plans (CDHPs) have made surprising gains. Despite slight cost increases, CDHP costs are still below average and prevalence and enrollment in these plans continues to grow in most regions—a main reason why it was one of the top 7 survey trends recently announced.

Read More

Topics: health plan benchmarking, CDHPs, UBA Health Plan Survey, group benefit plans, consumer-directed health plan

IRS Updates Guidance on Play-or-Pay Penalty Assessments

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Dec 5, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Beginning in 2015, to comply with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), “large” employers must offer their full-time employees health coverage, or pay one of two employer shared responsibility / play-or-pay penalties. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) determines the penalty each calendar year after employees have filed their federal tax returns.

Read More

Topics: IRS, employer shared responsibility, Affordable Care Act, play or pay requirements

Climate Leave: PTO for when the Wind Blows

Posted by: Bill Olson    Nov 30, 2017 9:30:00 AM

This year, much of the United States had some form of major natural disaster—hurricanes, wildfires, floods, tornados—and millions of people were either directly affected, or had a family member or close friend who was affected. This life-changing disruption often meant that people couldn’t, or weren’t able to, go to work. While many companies were understanding and granted people the time they needed to take care of their issues, only a handful of those businesses kept paying their employees. Even worse, some businesses insisted that their employees report for work or risk termination.

Read More

Topics: absence management, fringe benefits, personal time off, PTO