United Benefit Advisors Insight and Analysis Blog

Cobra Liability in Mergers and Acquisitions

Posted by: Karen Hsu    Aug 9, 2018 3:58:41 PM

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) requires certain group health plans to make continuation coverage available to certain individuals who would otherwise lose group health plan coverage due to a qualifying event. Employers who go through business reorganizations, such as mergers and acquisitions (M&A), will need to know whether COBRA continuation coverage must be offered and whether the group health plan of the seller or buyer must provide COBRA continuation coverage.

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Topics: COBRA, Group health plans, group health insurance

A Real-Time Action Plan for Increased Revenue

Posted by: Bill Olson    Aug 7, 2018 2:42:55 PM

As HR Technologist reported recently, current best-in-class companies know that the rising talent pool is composed of millennials, people of color, and women, and so they are already working in concrete ways to leverage this shifting workforce. One crucial factor is making sure that this work is centered: an integral and shared component of marketing, sales, and operations, as opposed to an outsourced diversity group.

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Topics: diversity, diverse workforce, work performance

Habit-Forming Tech

Posted by: Bill Olson    Aug 2, 2018 12:54:31 PM

With apologies to singer Robert Palmer, you might as well face it, you’re addicted to technology. We all love our various smart devices, and it seems that we can’t live without them, but what is causing this addiction?

An article on CNN’swebsite titled, “How to resist technology addiction” equates digital products like social media websites, video games, and mobile apps to more traditional addictions like food, alcohol, and smoking. In fact, these digital products use a technique more closely associated with gambling in that they are engineered to keep you hooked.

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Topics: technology, Technology Addiction, social media

Solving Problems - While Increasing Employee Satisfaction

Posted by: Bill Olson    Jul 31, 2018 1:12:04 PM

“Design thinking” is a fairly common term. Even if the phrase is new to you, it’s reasonably easy to intuit how it works: design thinking is a process for creative problem solving, utilizing creative tools like empathy and experimentation, often with a strong visual component. The term dates from 1968 and was first used in The Sciences of The Artificial, a text written by Nobel Laureate Herbert Simon.

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Topics: Design Thinking, Problem Solving, employee satisfaction, employee engagement

Question of the Month

Posted by: Karen Hsu    Jul 26, 2018 12:52:33 PM

Q.For a high deductible health plan (HDHP) to qualify for health savings account (HSA) eligibility, what is the minimum amount that an embedded individual deductible can be?

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Topics: High Deductible Health Plans, HSA, health savings account, HDHPs

Everyone Wins When Growth is the Goal

Posted by: Bill Olson    Jul 24, 2018 1:22:06 PM

Its a dilemma. On the one hand, todays buzzing, multifaceted working environments challenge employees more than ever before. On the other, these same working environments are often also overwhelming and stressful. Sometimes it seems like success means mania—but this doesnt have to be the case. More and more frequently, experts urge offices to focus not on performance but on growth.

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Topics: Growth Culture, work environment, teamwork

DOL Issues Final Regulations Regarding Association Health Plans

Posted by: Karen Hsu    Jul 19, 2018 1:22:12 PM

On June 19, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published Frequently Asked Questions About Association Health Plans (AHPs) and issued a final rule that broadens the definition of “employer” and the provisions under which an employer group or association may be treated as an “employer” sponsor of a single multiple-employer employee welfare benefit plan and group health plan under Title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

 

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Topics: association health plans, Department of Labor, DOL

Addressing Mental Health Care at Work

Posted by: Bill Olson    Jul 17, 2018 1:00:23 PM

Nancy Spangler, senior consultant at the Center for Workplace Mental Health of the American Psychiatric Foundation, says that one in five adults has a mental health disorder, and one in 10 has a substance abuse problem. In addition, major depression and its associated conditions cost the U.S. over $210 billion every year. Clearly, mental health is an issue we need to investigate both in our offices and across the country.

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Topics: mental health, substance abuse, work environment

Question of the Month: Penalties for failing to comply with Section 125 requirements

Posted by: Karen Hsu    Jul 12, 2018 12:55:32 PM

Q.What are the penalties for failing to comply with Section 125 requirements, such as failing to follow a cafeteria plan document’s terms?

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Topics: Section 125 plan, cafeteria plan, penalties

How Well do Your Employees Evaluate Risk?

Posted by: Bill Olson    Jul 10, 2018 12:56:07 PM

In a recent column in Human Resource Executive, Carol Harnett reminds us that humans are notoriously poor at evaluating risk. We don’t always focus on the major problem, or weigh compromising factors correctly. Quoting risk-communications consultant Peter Sandman, Harnett suggests that risk should be evaluated using this formula: Risk = Hazard + Outrage.What does that mean? Hazard is the anticipated annual mortality rate, and all other factors fall under outrage. “The public,” says Sandman, “pays too little attention to hazard; the experts pay absolutely no attention to outrage. Not surprisingly, they rank risks differently.” Consequently, experts and the public choose insurance differently too.

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Topics: employee benefits, disability insurance, disability income protection