United Benefit Advisors Insight and Analysis Blog

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

Benefit Plan Design: Charging Employees Different Premiums

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Oct 27, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Employers who are designing a health and welfare benefit plan for their employees often wonder about the rules relating to setting premiums for employees. Employers generally have significant flexibility in this part of their plan's design.

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Topics: employee benefit plan design, group benefit plans, health insurance premiums, nondiscrimination

What You Need to Know about Health Flexible Spending Accounts

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Aug 29, 2017 9:30:00 AM

A health flexible spending account (FSA) is a pre-tax account used to pay for out-of-pocket health care costs for a participant as well as a participant's spouse and eligible dependents. Health FSAs are employer-established benefit plans and may be offered with other employer-provided benefits as part of a cafeteria plan. Self-employed individuals are not eligible for FSAs.

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Topics: health flexible spending account, FSA, group benefit plans

ERISA's "Church Plan" Exception

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Aug 3, 2017 9:30:00 AM

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) was signed in 1974. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is the agency responsible for administering and enforcing this law. For many years, most of ERISA's requirements applied to pension plans. However, in recent years that has changed, and group plans (called "welfare benefit plans" by ERISA and the DOL) now must meet a number of requirements. Government and church plans do not need to comply with ERISA.

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Topics: ERISA, church plan, group benefit plans

Strategic Benefits Communication: The Power of Knowing your Audience—Part Two of a Five-Part Series

Posted by: Kevin D. Seeker, GBA    Mar 23, 2017 9:30:00 AM

In my last post, I discussed using employee engagement as a measurement of benefits communication success. We know employees have concerns about their financial well-being, and look to their employers for education about new and existing benefit options. This, of course, can present challenges at open enrollment, as well as year-round communication efforts.

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Topics: benefits communication, group benefit plans, employee benefits advisors, Open Enrollment, employee demographics, Kevin D. Seeker, Sun Life Financial

The Best Ways to Minimize Your Risk When Selecting a Stop Loss Carrier – Part 1

Posted by: Steven Goethel    Mar 16, 2017 9:30:00 AM

The age-old adage, "you get what you pay for," certainly holds true in the stop loss industry. I cannot stress enough how important it is to look at more than just the premium rates on a spreadsheet.

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Topics: stop loss coverage, group benefit plans, employee benefits, coverage gaps, Steven Goethel, UMR, independent employee benefits advisors

2017 Annual Limits Card Back by Popular Demand

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Jan 18, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Many employee benefit limits are automatically adjusted each year for inflation (this is often referred to as an "indexed" limit). UBA offers a quick reference chart showing the 2017 cost of living adjustments for health and Section 125 plans, qualified plans, Social Security/Medicare withholding, compensation amounts and more. This at-a-glance resource is a valuable desk tool for employers and HR practitioners.

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Topics: health care costs, out-of-pocket limits, group benefit plans, employee benefits, employee benefit limits, Danielle Capilla

Ouch! Department of Labor Form 5500’s Time-Intensive and Expensive Reporting Requirements Painful for Small Employers

Posted by: Carol Taylor    Jan 17, 2017 10:49:45 AM

Proposed regulations for revising and greatly expanding the Department of Labor (DOL) Form 5500 reporting are set to take effect in 2019. Currently, the non-retirement plan reporting is limited to those employers that have more than 100 employees enrolled on their benefit plans, or those in a self-funded trust. The filings must be completed on the DOL EFAST2 system within 210 days following the end of the plan year.

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Topics: small business, Form 5500, health plan reporting, group benefit plans, small group employers, Carol Taylor