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Human Resource Professionals: Are Your Employees Thinking or Just Signing up for the Benefits They Had Last Year?

One of the most important decisions your employees make each year is choosing which of the benefit options you offer they are going to enroll in.  These decisions can have a direct impact on their family’s finances.  With the advent of Private Exchanges, High Deductible Health Plans with an HSA or HRA, choice of dental programs, supplemental life insurance and so on, employees have a lot of important decisions to make.   The scary part is that employees spend a remarkably small amount of time researching their options.

A recent study showed that more than 40 percent of employees spent less than 15 minutes researching available benefits during the 2013 open enrollment period. About 25 percent of the people surveyed spent less than five minutes researching benefits.  In comparison, look at the survey results below to see how much time people spent on other purchases:

– 10 hours researching a new vehicle purchase.
– 4 hours shopping for a new computer.
– 5 hours planning vacations.
– 2 hours deciding which television to buy. […]

By |September 18th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Human Resource Professionals: Are Your Employees Thinking or Just Signing up for the Benefits They Had Last Year?

IRS Crushes Pre-Tax Payments to Employees to Buy Health Insurance

Some employers have been contemplating circumventing the requirement of the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate by boosting workers’ pay with tax-free dollars and sending them off to buy insurance on their own, via the federal or state-run exchanges or the private markets. The employer is essentially taking the dollars they spend now on health care, provide it on a tax-free basis to their employees and have them take charge of their own health coverage.  Under IRS Notice 2013-54, these arrangements are referred to as ’employer payment plans.’

‘No dice,’ says the Internal Revenue Service.

The IRS quietly updated a frequently-asked question section on its website last month and clarified that such an arrangement would not satisfy the employer mandate under the Affordable Care Act. What’s more, these plans could stick employers with an excise tax liability of $100 per day per covered employee – a total potential per-head liability of up o $36,500 peer year, (per Section 4). […]

By |June 19th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on IRS Crushes Pre-Tax Payments to Employees to Buy Health Insurance

Wellness Program Did Not Violate ADA a Florida Court Rules

On April 11, 2011, a federal district court in Florida held that an employer’s wellness program did not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because the program fell under the ADA’s safe harbor for bona fide benefit plans.

This Broad Reach Benefits, Inc Legislative Brief summarizes the court’s ruling and provides some information on what it means for employers that offer wellness programs. 

ADA Requirements

The ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on disability. As part of this prohibition, the ADA limits when an employer may obtain medical information from applicants and employees. Once employment begins, as a general rule, an employer may make medical inquiries or require medical examinations only if they are job-related and consistent with business necessity. However, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), an employer may conduct medical examinations and activities that are part of a voluntary wellness program without violating the ADA, as long as medical records are kept confidential. A wellness program is considered voluntary if the employer neither requires employees to participate nor penalizes employees who decline to participate. Informal EEOC guidance suggests that a wellness program may not be considered voluntary if it includes a mandatory health risk assessment (HRA) or a penalty for non-participation.

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By |August 9th, 2011|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Wellness Program Did Not Violate ADA a Florida Court Rules