Yearly Archives: 2018

  • Arrow Benefits Group Joins Hands with MORE Health to Provide Access to Some of the Best Minds

    December 28, 2018

    Petaluma, California, December 21, 2018: Arrow Benefits Group has joined hands with MORE Health to provide a unique opportunity to the clients of Arrow Benefits Group. Clients enrolled in Arrow Group medical plans will now have access to expert second opinion when taking an important decision regarding a serious illness. MORE Health will connect the client’s physicians to one of their physician specialists. Together, both the experts will develop a comprehensive treatment plan that ticks all the right boxes for the person.

    The collaboration is expected to achieve operational synergies that will help serve clients better. The partnership will help hundreds of patients suffering from critical illnesses. Employees of client firms will have access to renowned medical experts, which will help them make informed decisions, and save time.

    MORE Health does more than just offering a second opinion. The physician specialists of the provider collaborate with the doctor of the client to decide the most effective treatment plan for the person. This helps the client ensure that they are receiving the best possible medical attention, and do not have to sort through different treating strategies.

    When hiring physician specialists, MORE Health considers various parameters such as the institutional associations of the experts, their experience, expertise, research, ability to establish a comprehensive diagnosis, and attitude towards patients. MORE Health claims to be a customer centric company and guarantees service delivery within five business days after receiving the medical records of the patient.

    Arrow Benefits Group is an expert benefits administrator. The North Bay-based provider is a partner firm of United Benefit Advisors, one of the most renowned and largest benefits consulting and brokerage firms in the U.S. The provider caters to clients from different industries. The clientele of the company includes both local firms and MNCs. The provider serves these global firms through 200 plus UBA offices scattered around the UK and North America.

    Arrow Benefits Group is the third largest benefits consultant San Francisco County. Over the years, the provider has designed custom benefits plans for a number of client firms. The focus of these plans is to help employees’ control costs and promote an overall sense of financial well-being.

  • 3 Proven Ways to Select an Employee Benefit Broker

    December 25, 2018

    Creating and monitoring an employee benefits program takes some doing. The person or the team at the helm of affairs must understand both how different benefit plans work, and the benefits that really matter. Additionally, the person should be at the top of their game and must update their knowledge base at regular intervals. Clearly, this is an expert job. To help their clients focus on other business KRAs, several employee benefits broker in San Francisco County design and monitor their employee benefits programs. An effective employee benefits program can help a business stand out from the crowd and help them retain their employees. To ensure their benefits plan is tailored to meet their unique needs, businesses need to hire the right benefits broker who has years of experienced and a proven track record of delivering sustainable results. To help, we impart a few tips to choose the right broker for your business. Take a look.

    1. Enquire the range of services they offer

    Look for a broker who offers a range of services. Instead of opting for a provider who has experience of managing just basic health insurance, look for a broker who has proven expertise of managing different types of coverage such as dental, disability, long term care, vision, and life.

    2. Ask whether they can help with open enrollment communications

    Designing and executing an open enrollment process can overwhelm your already burdened HR team. To ensure your team members are able to focus on other KRAs, look for a provider who can help with open enrollment communications. Before hiring a provider, ask them to suggest a communication plan, and how they propose to implement it.

    3. Make sure they are aware of compliance regulations

    Make sure your broker understands ACA regulations like the back of their hand. The provider must also be aware of other important federal and state regulations. Steer clear of brokers who avoid your questions or don’t have any satisfactory answers.

    Follow these tips when choosing your employee benefits broker in San Francisco County. At Arrow Benefits Group, we understand diverse business requirements. We cater to businesses from different industries. To talk to our experts, call at 707-992-3780.A lternatively, if you want us to call you and answer your questions, fill out our contact form.

  • 10 Nighttime Habits That Will Transform Your Tomorrows | California Insurancy Agency

    December 18, 2018

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    A highly productive person probably doesn’t bolt out of bed in a panic after a short night’s sleep or hit the snooze button several times — they more likely have nighttime habits the evening before which help set them up for success the next day. As a yoga instructor, I know the importance of both sleep and peace of mind. So if you’re looking to wake up well-rested, bright-eyed and actually excited about your day, here are 10 nighttime rituals to help you on your way!

     

    1. Unplug to Recharge

    Even your beloved smartphones can’t go nonstop without being recharged, and your mind is no different. At least 30 minutes before going to bed, turn off all your devices to allow your mind time to relax and unwind. You may notice the inevitable side effect of feeling more present to enjoy the final moments of your day.

    2. “Un-wined”

    Put down that glass of vino! “Rose all day” on weekends if you want to, but if you want to wake up alert, focused and productive, avoid alcohol before bed. It can lead to frequent sleep interruptions in the later half of the night as blood sugar levels spike. And those disruptions to your REM sleep can cause next-day drowsiness. Try some herbal tea to wind down instead!

    3. Stretch It Out

    Take some time to give your muscles and joints a little love! They work hard for you all day and deserve a little TLC each night. Try a few overhead stretches, heart openers and hamstring lengtheners. And don’t forget to open the hips! Preventing physical tension in the body helps keep mental tension at bay as well.

    4. Prepare for Tomorrow

    Take some time the night before to choose and lay out your wardrobe for the next day. Pack your bag or briefcase too, and don’t forget a healthy lunch! Being prepared the night before makes mornings less hectic and gives you time to consciously ease into your day.

    5. List Your “Big Three”

    Take just a few quick moments to write out the three main things you want to accomplish tomorrow. Make sure they are achievable tasks that help you elevate your productivity. Think “practice patience” rather than “meet and marry Brad Pitt.” This will give you a sense of accomplishment and help you feel successful the next day.

    6. Set Aside “You Time”

    Budget at least 20 minutes of intentional decompression time before bed. Whether it’s a candlelit shower or reading a feel-good book, give yourself some personal time to celebrate a successful day!

    7. Have a Pajama Party

    Put on those PJs! Experts say that a conscious transition into “bedtime” mode actually helps your body and mind begin to prepare for sleep. Choose something loose-fitting, cool and comfy for optimal relaxation.

    8. Practice Gratitude

    Avoid the habitual trap of replaying negative events or encounters from your day over and over again at night. When you’re tired, your brain tends to find things to worry about simply based on your conditioning. Reprogram your mind by taking five minutes to meditate on things you’re thankful for. You’ll find yourself going to sleep feeling content and abundant, which makes for better dreams.

    9. Forgive and Forget

    Keep a journal by your bed and take a few minutes each night to pour into it anything from your day that you want to get out of your brain. This can be a fantastic mental release as you practice forgiving those who have challenged you during the day. It’s also essential to your well-being that you forgive yourself for any mistakes or mishaps so you can start fresh the next day feeling great about yourself. Get it all out into your diary pages and go to sleep free from swirling negative thoughts.

    10. Stick to Your Bedtime

    Set an earlier, non-negotiable bedtime for optimal sleep. Getting a full night’s rest (seven to nine hours is the optimal range) gives your body time to replenish. It can help regulate your hormones, recharge your body on a cellular level and refresh your mind as well. A good night’s sleep is one of the best and most scientifically proven ways to enhance our mood, energy and productivity.

    by Elise Joan
    Originally posted on LiveStrong.com

  • 4 Amazing Ways to Enhance Employee Engagement During Open Enrollment

    December 18, 2018

    Are your employees giving a cold shoulder to your open enrollment process? If yes, before meeting and facing them, you must take a good look at your process. Your open enrollment process need not be lengthy and boring. To engage your employees, you need to come up with fresh ideas. Creating a fun open enrollment process can be difficult, however, it’s not impossible by any stretch of imagination. To help you care for your employees better, we’ve compiled a list of some tips that you can follow to make your open enrollment process engaging. Take a look.

    1. Get as much help as you can

    Two (or more) heads are better than one. While some people in your business may have a better knowledge of employee benefits, and different types of open enrollment processes, it does not mean other teams aren’t capable of contributing. Collaboration holds the key to designing a campaign that ticks all the right boxes. To ensure their voices are heard, motivate your employees to put their thinking caps on, and come up with ideas to make the process more interactive.

    2. Know what your employees expect

    To get a better understanding of what your employees expect from your open enrollment process, talk to them regularly. Ask them to point out their major concerns, and how they expect the process to address these issues. If your employees do not know much about the benefits your business offers, conduct training sessions. Learn about the type of actionable information they seek when making decisions.

    3. Come up with a fun theme

    Your open enrollment process does not have to be boring. To ensure participating in the process is a fun experience for your employees, come up with fun themes revolving around games and music. Dare to think out of the box to come up with fun ways of educating your employees. You can, for instance, think of ways to incorporate important messages within especially designed products revolving around superhero themes.

    4. Use multiple media

    While some of your employees may prefer getting messages related to the open enrollment campaign delivered directly to their mailboxes, others may expect you to add a personal touch by mailing printed material to their home. To meet the expectations of your employees, use multiple media.

    You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out ways to make your open enrollment process more engaging. If you think a major change is necessary, consider getting an employee benefits administration expert in Marin Countyby your side. If you are in California, our team at Arrow Benefits Group would be happy to help. To learn more about us, call at 707-992-3780. Alternatively, to book an appointment, fill out our contact form.

  • Ask the Experts: FMLA Leave and Attendance Incentives | CA Employee Benefits

    December 13, 2018

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    Question: We give year-end bonuses based on attendance, and employees with a certain number of absences are disqualified. If an employee took FMLA leave, can we count those absences against them and withhold the attendance bonus?

    Answer: Yes, if you apply the rubric used to qualify employees for the bonus consistently across all “equivalent leave status” reasons for absence. For example, if you count days off for vacation, paid time off, jury duty, or military leave as absences for the purpose of determining who receives the bonus, you can also count days taken under Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave.

    The same answer applies to bonuses earned for other goals that may be impacted by FMLA leave, such as sales targets or total numbers of hours worked.

    If a bonus or raise is not tied to a specific condition, but rather is a cost of living or annual increase provided by all employees, an employee may not be disqualified on the basis of having taken FMLA leave.

     

    Originally posted on ThinkHR.com

  • Workplace Wellness | California Benefits Partners

    December 11, 2018

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    Picture this: You are sitting at your desk at 3pm and you realize you haven’t gotten up from your chair all day. You look around and see that you’ve been snacking instead of eating a lunch. You have read the same sentence 4 times and still can’t figure out what it means. Your back hurts, your eyes feel dry, and you feel kind of blah. You, my friend, are a victim of the sedentary lifestyle in America. How can we combat this lack of energy and inattentiveness in our workplace? By adopting healthy workplace initiatives, you will reap the benefits of a more engaged workforce and a healthier environment.

    What’s the problem?

    • The average worker sits 5 hours at a desk every day
    • Add in couch time, sitting to eat meals, commute, and sleeping, and it could mean that the average adult is only active for 3 hours in a 24-hour period
    • Prolonged sitting is directly related to higher risk of heart disease, weight gain, and diabetes
    • Poor posture can lead to chronic health issues such as arthritis and bursitis
    • Staring at computer screens for long amounts of time lead to higher instances of headaches and migraines

    What’s the solution?

    • Healthy snack options in vending machines—SnackNation and Nature Box have healthy snack delivery services for offices of all kinds and sizes.
    • Fitness challenges—Encourage different office-wide challenges to promote a more active lifestyle.
    • Standing desks—Companies such as Varidesk make standing desks or sit/stand desks that lower and raise so that you vary your position during the day
      • Reduces back pain
      • Burns more calories during the day
      • Increases energy
      • Some insurance companies will cover all or portion of the cost if they deem it “medically necessary.”
    • Practice gratitude—keep a daily log of things to be thankful for that day
      • Shown to ease depression, curb appetite, and enhance sleep
      • Spirit of gratefulness leads to more sustainable happiness because it’s not based on immediate gratification, it’s more of a state of mind
    • Get moving during the day—if your office doesn’t have sit/stand desks, schedule time to move each day
      • Stretch time/desk yoga
      • Computer programs to remind you to move such as “Move” for iOS and “Big Stretch Reminder” for Windows
    • Extra happiness in the office—
      • Add a plant
      • Aromatherapy
      • Host a cooking class to encourage healthy meal plans
      • Pet-friendly office days

    By showing your employees that you care about their physical and mental health you are showing that you care about them as people and not just employees. This results in higher motivated staff who are healthier. The Harvard Business Review even says that “employers who invested in health and wellness initiatives saw $6 in healthcare savings for every $1 invested.” You cannot always measure ROI on personnel investment but it looks like for workplace wellness, you can! Now get moving and get your office moving!

  • 3 Employee benefits Trends That Will Revamp the Benefits Landscape in 2019

    December 10, 2018

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    The rapidly changing business landscape has forced businesses to change the way they look at their employees. Today, thanks to a tectonic shift in the way businesses think, employees, more than just workers, are considered stakeholders. For many businesses, addressing the needs and concerns of their employees is an important KRA that they can’t afford to overlook. To ensure employee satisfaction, many businesses have employee benefits programs in place. You just cannot set up your benefits program and forget it. Employee needs and aspirations keep on changing. To ensure your benefits program is relevant, you need to revisit it regularly, and introduce changes according to the latest benefits trends. As you get ready to revisit your benefits program for the coming year, we bring to you a few trends that are set to change the rules of the game in 2019. Take a look.

    1. Personalized benefits plans are in

    In 2019, more businesses will provide their employees the liberty to customize their benefits plan. Employers will provide more autonomy to their employees to opt for plans that meet their personal needs. Many businesses are also adding more muscle to their voluntary benefits options. In the coming years, more companies will offer benefits such as pet insurance, legal services, and accident coverage at discounted rates to their employees. Many organizations have gone a step ahead and are offering emergency childcare services.

    2. More businesses will come up with plans to promote wellness in the workplace

    To help their employees cope with work-related stress, many businesses are taking steps to promote a more employee-friendly work environment. Many companies are training their managers in mental health first aid. Employee health will continue to be a major concern in 2019, and more employers are expected to come up with flexible work schedules to help their employees maintain work-life balance.

    3. Unlimited vacation to make way for increased time off

    Many businesses are finding out that going on unlimited leaves is no longer a motivation for their employees. Thanks to peer pressure and busy schedules, many executives are unable to avail these benefits. To keep their employees motivated throughout 2019, several businesses will replace unlimited PTOs with other benefits such as maternity and paternity leaves, bereavement, and sick leaves.

    These are some benefits trends you need to consider when revamping your employee benefits program for the coming year. If you want to stay on top of developments in the benefits industry or want an expert by your side to revamp your benefits program, Arrow Benefits Group would be happy to help. As an expert benefits consulting firm, we specialize in designing custom benefits packages for clients from different industries. To talk to our experts, call at 707-992-3780.If you want us to call you, fill out our contact form.

  • IRS Extends Deadline for Employers to Furnish Forms 1095-C and 1095-B | CA Employee Benefits

    December 5, 2018

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    On November 29, 2018, the IRS released Notice 2018-94 to extend the due date for employers to furnish 2018 Form 1095-C or 1095-B under the Affordable Care Act’s employer reporting requirement. Employers will have an extra month to prepare and distribute the 2018 form to individuals. The due dates for filing forms with the IRS are not extended.

    Background

    Applicable large employers (ALEs), who generally are entities that employed 50 or more full-time and full-time-equivalent employees in 2017, are required to report information about the health coverage they offered or did not offer to certain employees in 2018. To meet this reporting requirement, the ALE will furnish Form 1095-C to the employee or former employee and file copies, along with transmittal Form 1094-C, with the IRS.

    Employers, regardless of size, that sponsored a self-funded (self-insured) health plan providing minimum essential coverage in 2018 are required to report coverage information about enrollees. To meet this reporting requirement, the employer will furnish Form 1095-B to the primary enrollee and file copies, along with transmittal Form 1094-B, with the IRS. Self-funded employers who also are ALEs may use Forms 1095-C and 1094-C in lieu of Forms 1095-B and 1094-B.

    Extended Due Dates

    Specifically, Notice 2018-94 extends the following due dates:

    • The deadline for furnishing 2018 Form 1095-C, or Form 1095-B, if applicable, to employees and individuals is March 4, 2019 (extended from January 31, 2019).
    • The deadline for filing copies of the 2018 Forms 1095-C, along with transmittal Form 1094-C (or copies of Forms 1095-B with transmittal Form 1094-B), if applicable, remains unchanged:
      • If filing by paper, February 28, 2019.
      • If filing electronically, April 1, 2019.

    The extended due date applies automatically so employers do not need to make individual requests for the extension.

    More Information

    Notice 2018-94 also extends transitional good-faith relief from certain penalties to the 2018 employer reporting requirements.

    Lastly, the IRS encourages employers, insurers, and other reporting entities to furnish forms to individuals and file reports with the IRS as soon as they are ready.

    by Kathleen Berger
    Originally posted on ThinkHR.com

  • Trump Executive Order – HRA integration and the end of the individual mandate

    December 5, 2018

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    Executive Order 13813 takes a new approach to employer interaction with individual policy reimbursement.  This is another shot at the Affordable Care Act and following regulations, some of which, like the allowance for individual plan reimbursement, had been tax policy for over 50 years.  Now the allowance is back, albeit with a set of complex restrictions

    1. Permits Health Reimbursement Accounts to be integrated with individual plans
      • Employees who case to be covered by the policy must forfeit the HRA
      • Employer can divide employees into separate classes for HRA or group plan
      • These classes include full time, part time, seasonal, CBA covered, under age 26
      • Pre Tax contributions allowed but not for subsidized exchange premium
      • HRA must be offered on the same terms to all members in a particular class
      • Verification and substantiation of the individual plan must be providedThe individual plan must provide medical and not just associated health benefits
      • No class of employees may be offered both an HRA integrating with both group and individual coverage
    2. Employees have the ability to opt out of the HRA to keep eligibility on the Exchange
    3. HRA for health related items not related to individual plans is limited to $1,800
    4. ACA would continue to treat the HRA as an employer sponsored plan

  • Why Should You Hire Arrow Benefits Group?

    November 30, 2018

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    Contrary to common understanding, a benefits broker and consultant are not the same. A benefits broker is typically an individual or company who takes the onus to look-over each of their client’s unique situations, and thereafter investigate and research the market to acquire the required coverage for each of its customers. These brokers can help your business get the benefits that are quintessential for proper employee compensation and satisfaction, which can be the key to the overall growth of your company.

    When you need to hire the services of benefit brokers in San Francisco County, there is one name that stands out – Arrow Benefits Group. The greatest asset of any company is its employees. Savvy organizations recognize this and invest in benefits that fire up the potential and productivity of their team. It sounds logical to link benefits to the goals of a company, but this step is, more often than not, overlooked. Arrow Benefits Group works with you to connect benefits to business strategies, so that you obtain measurable results.

    About Arrow Benefits Group

    Arrow Benefits Group is one of the largest and expanding benefits consulting and brokerage firms in the United States.  We not only provide personalized services to local companies, but also have global reach via more than 200 UBA office locations. We strive to provide assistance in resolving problems with claims or the administration of benefits, and to help your firm stay compliant with regulations. We also provide assistance in choosing various forms of insurance and educate your employees about their options during open enrollment.

    Benefits of Hiring Arrow Benefits Group Personalized Solutions

    Arrow benefits group brokers are a one-stop shop that can manage the complexities of employee benefits, provide personalized HR solutions and customized programs.

    They serve local companies with expert advice on employee associated benefits and solutions. Their recommendations are based on solid research. The experienced professionals research the markets and analyze the results. Their goal is to help the clients meet financial goals.

    Get an Innovative Approach to Ensure that Your Company Prospers and Your Team Thrives

    If you need the services of the top benefit brokers in San Francisco, look no further than the award-winning Arrow Benefits Group. You can schedule a benefits review with one of the architects at our firm today. To find out more, visit us at arrowbenefitsgroup.com or give us a call today.

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