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.

  • Happier Holidays, the HR Way | CA Benefits Brokers

    November 29, 2018

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    Most peo­ple, accord­ing to a new sur­vey fea­tured in HR Dive, have the great­est sense of belong­ing in their own homes. That may not be sur­pris­ing news, but what is inter­est­ing is that one third of respon­dents felt the great­est sense of belong­ing in their work­place. A sig­nif­i­cant per­cent­age, 40 per­cent, attribute that feel­ing to actions their col­leagues and man­agers take to check in on them, both per­son­al­ly and pro­fes­sion­al­ly. Belong­ing improves employ­ee reten­tion and pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, cer­tain­ly, but it requires acknowl­edge­ment of diver­si­ty and efforts at inclusion.

    This crit­i­cal sense of belong­ing can be deep­ened, or ham­pered, dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son. Beyond sec­u­lar or nation­al hol­i­days like Thanks­giv­ing and New Year’s, the fall and win­ter months are full of faith-based hol­i­days beyond Christ­mas. The Soci­ety for Human Resource Man­age­ment has some tips as well as a list of cel­e­bra­tions for the com­ing months intend­ed to help com­pa­nies cre­ate inclu­sive work­spaces for peo­ple of more faiths and cul­tures. When employ­ees feel val­ued and known, they are more engaged.

    Mutu­al respect is not only good for morale, it’s good for pro­duc­tiv­i­ty. Some tips include shar­ing more about hol­i­days in inter­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tions, cre­at­ing lun­cheons that fea­ture tra­di­tion­al dish­es or are mind­ful of dietary restric­tions or fast­ing prac­tices, or spon­sor­ing a ser­vice or vol­un­teer day.

     

    by Bill Olson
    Orig­i­nal­ly post­ed on UBABenefits.com

     

  • Here it comes…and there goes another chance to cut health care costs

    November 29, 2018

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    Is what’s good for share­hold­ers good for con­sumers?  The Jus­tice Depart­ment appar­ent­ly thinks so as it has approved the merg­er of Aet­na and CVS (actu­al­ly, CVS buy­ing Aet­na, which will have many senior man­age­ment leav­ing)  Crit­ics have weighed in with the expect­ed – high­er drug prices, high­er insur­ance prices, high­er out of pock­et expens­es.  It’s not clear as to how they reached their con­clu­sions, but…the bot­tom line is that it’s all part of a wave of mega merg­ers that, togeth­er, promise to trans­form a piece of the health care puz­zle.  Will be fun.

  • Mariah Shields Wins Non-Profit Award for North Bay Business Journal Leadership

    November 25, 2018

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    Prin­ci­pal at Arrow Ben­e­fits Group, Mari­ah Shields is hon­ored with the North Bay Non­prof­it Lead­er­ship Award. This hon­or is an affir­ma­tion of her com­mit­ment to employ the nation’s top ben­e­fits pro­fes­sion­als via Arrow Ben­e­fits Group. Dur­ing the last six years, Mari­ah has worked in almost every posi­tion avail­able in the com­pa­ny to learn the intri­ca­cies of the busi­ness and build her skill set enough to become a Prin­ci­pal at the firm.

    Read More »

  • 5 Ways to Attract and Retain Employees in a Tight Labor Market

    November 20, 2018

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    With the unem­ploy­ment rate in the North Bay under 3%, it can safe­ly be said that we are in an employee’s mar­ket, and the pain is being felt by com­pa­nies in all indus­tries. One of the most com­mon ques­tions we are asked is, “How do we retain our cur­rent employ­ees and attract the ones we need?” Ben­e­fit con­sult­ing firms can pro­vide solu­tions to address this issue.

    Here is a look at 5 ways that you can keep the employ­ees you have, and attract more in a tight labor market.

    1. Focus and Invest in Your Organization’s Cul­ture: First and fore­most, as an employ­er, you need to focus on your organization’s cul­ture. What is it at present, and what is your vision for it? 78% of the mil­len­ni­als, sur­veyed local­ly, answered that the cor­po­rate cul­ture of an employ­er is more impor­tant than ben­e­fits and com­pen­sa­tion. If an employ­ee does not like where they work, they will leave, and if a prospec­tive employ­ee hears or reads neg­a­tive things about a com­pa­ny, they will not seek employ­ment there.

    2. Pro­fes­sion­al Devel­op­ment: When it comes to retain­ing employ­ees, employ­ers must pro­vide con­tin­u­ous on-the-job devel­op­ment. Accord­ing to Deloitte, 73% of employ­ees who plan to stick with their employ­ers more than 5 years, say that their orga­ni­za­tions dili­gent­ly pro­vide edu­ca­tion and train­ing. This makes per­fect sense on more than one lev­el. After all, employ­ees are an invest­ment in the future, and are the rea­son behind the growth of any com­pa­ny – small or medi­um-sized, and when employ­ers invest in those employ­ees, it makes them feel val­ued and respect­ed rather than expend­able. When your employ­ees are strong and smart, it reflects on your busi­ness as well.

    3. Flex­i­bil­i­ty: Tra­di­tion­al 9‑to‑5 employ­ers are not only com­pet­ing with oth­er tra­di­tion­al employ­ers, but with the “gig econ­o­my” as well. This is where indi­vid­u­als are able to work where and when they want. It is essen­tial for com­mit­ted and healthy employ­ees to have bal­ance between home-life and work-life. When you rec­og­nize that employ­ees have pri­or­i­ties and respon­si­bil­i­ties out­side of work, you allow them to find the per­fect bal­ance that works for not just the employ­ee, but also the com­pa­ny, and sup­port them in being more pro­duc­tive as well as ful­ly present when they are at work. This also reduces sur­prise “sick days,” and cre­ates a more reli­able work­force with less­er stress. Work­ing with your employ­ees to strike a bal­ance that works for every­one is well worth it.

    4. Com­pet­i­tive Com­pen­sa­tion: While cul­ture plays a crit­i­cal role in attract­ing and retain­ing employ­ees, you must be com­pet­i­tive in pay­ments you make to employ­ees. Have you read com­pen­sa­tion stud­ies (quite a few staffing agen­cies have them), do you know how much your com­peti­tors are pay­ing their employ­ees, and are you being real­is­tic about the cost of liv­ing in the area of your busi­ness? It is, after all, an employee’s mar­ket, and it may cost you more in the long run, if you do not pay desired remu­ner­a­tion to deserv­ing employees.

    5. Com­pet­i­tive and Cre­ative Offer­ing of Ben­e­fits: Most employ­ees nowa­days expect med­ical ben­e­fits, also cov­er­ing den­tal and vision care. So how do you dif­fer­en­ti­ate your­self as an employ­er? If you do not think out­side the box, the only way that you can be dif­fer­ent (pos­si­bly) is through plan con­tri­bu­tion and fund­ing strate­gies. Over the years, there have been clients of ben­e­fit con­sult­ing firms that offer ben­e­fits that go beyond what is con­sid­ered tra­di­tion­al. These include gym mem­ber­ships, tick­ets to events, and com­pa­ny-spon­sored lunch­es to name a few.

    If you are look­ing for effec­tive ways to attract and retain employ­ees in your orga­ni­za­tion, you should seek the help of one of the best ben­e­fit con­sult­ing firms in Cal­i­for­nia — Arrow Ben­e­fits Group. For more infor­ma­tion, vis­it arrowbenefitsgroup.com or call today.

  • Tri-Agency Proposed Rule on Health Reimbursement Arrangements | California Benefits Agency

    November 14, 2018

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    The Depart­ment of the Trea­sury (Trea­sury), Depart­ment of Labor (DOL), and Depart­ment of Health and Human Ser­vices (HHS) (col­lec­tive­ly, the Depart­ments) released their pro­posed rule regard­ing health reim­burse­ment arrange­ments (HRAs) and oth­er account-based group health plans. The DOL also issued a news release and fact sheet on the pro­posed rule.

    The pro­posed rule’s goal is to expand the flex­i­bil­i­ty and use of HRAs to pro­vide indi­vid­u­als with addi­tion­al options to obtain qual­i­ty, afford­able health­care. Accord­ing to the Depart­ments, these changes will facil­i­tate a more effi­cient health­care sys­tem by increas­ing employ­ees’ con­sumer choice and pro­mot­ing health­care mar­ket com­pe­ti­tion by adding employ­er options.

    To do so, the pro­posed rules would expand the use of HRAs by:

    • Remov­ing the cur­rent pro­hi­bi­tion against inte­grat­ing an HRA with indi­vid­ual health insur­ance cov­er­age (indi­vid­ual coverage)
    • Expand­ing the def­i­n­i­tion of lim­it­ed except­ed ben­e­fits to rec­og­nize cer­tain HRAs as lim­it­ed except­ed ben­e­fits if cer­tain con­di­tions are met (except­ed ben­e­fit HRA)
    • Pro­vid­ing pre­mi­um tax cred­it (PTC) eli­gi­bil­i­ty rules for peo­ple who are offered an HRA inte­grat­ed with indi­vid­ual coverage
    • Assur­ing HRA and Qual­i­fied Small Employ­er Health Reim­burse­ment Arrange­ment (QSEHRA) plan spon­sors that reim­burse­ment of indi­vid­ual cov­er­age by the HRA or QSEHRA does not become part of an ERISA plan when cer­tain con­di­tions are met
    • Chang­ing indi­vid­ual mar­ket spe­cial enroll­ment peri­ods for indi­vid­u­als who gain access to HRAs inte­grat­ed with indi­vid­ual cov­er­age or who are pro­vid­ed QSEHRAs

    Pub­lic com­ments are due by Decem­ber 28, 2018. If the pro­posed rule is final­ized, it will be effec­tive for plan years begin­ning on or after Jan­u­ary 1, 2020.

     

    by Karen Hsu
    Orig­i­nal­ly post­ed on ubabenefits.com

  • And then there is the cost of Single Payer…estimates are pouring in

    November 11, 2018

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    A long work­ing paper from the Mer­ca­tus Insti­tute esti­mates the following

    • Would increase the fed­er­al bud­get com­mit­ments by $32.6 tril­lion in first 10 years
    • Pro­ject­ed increase in fed­er­al health­care com­mit­ments would be 10.7% of GDP in 2022
    • The GDP per­cent­age would increase to 12.7% in 2031
    • Dou­bling all cur­rent­ly pro­ject­ed fed­er­al indi­vid­ual and cor­po­rate income tax col­lec­tions would be insuf­fi­cient to finance the added fed­er­al costs of the plan

  • Hire Arrow Benefits Group for Your Business Needs

    November 10, 2018

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    When it comes to ben­e­fit bro­kers, there is no firm that can pro­vide the ser­vices that Arrow Ben­e­fits Group can. Their goal is to make sure that you obtain the per­fect solu­tion to man­age the com­plex­i­ties asso­ci­at­ed with ben­e­fits. They pro­vide tai­lored pro­grams to meet your spe­cif­ic needs, and offer expert advice, as well as cus­tomized HR solu­tions. The firm serves local com­pa­nies, but also boasts a wide glob­al reach through­out North Amer­i­ca and the Unit­ed Kingdom.

    Read More »

  • There is a bill…it is designed to save money…and will cost us a fortune

    November 7, 2018

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    The Con­gres­sion­al Bud­get Office has esti­mat­ed that the House bill seek­ing to delay or repeal cer­tain parts of the ACA will cost $51.6 bil­lion over the next decade.  Wait, I thought they were repeal­ing it because it was cost­ing us too much money…

  • Be the Boss You Want to See in the World | California Employee Benefits Advisors

    November 2, 2018

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    An arti­cle in the Har­vard Busi­ness Review sug­gests that the traits that make some­one become a leader aren’t always the ones that make some­one an effec­tive leader. Instead, effi­ca­cy can be traced to eth­i­cal­i­ty. Here are a few tips to be an eth­i­cal leader.


    Humil­i­ty tops charisma
    A lit­tle charis­ma goes a long way. Too much and a leader risks being seen as self-absorbed. Instead, focus on the good of the group, not just sound­ing good.

    Hold steady
    Prov­ing reli­able and depend­able mat­ters. Show­ing that—yes—the boss fol­lows the rules, too, earns the trust and respect of the peo­ple who work for you.

    Don’t be the fun boss
    It’s tempt­ing to want to be well liked. But show­ing respon­si­bil­i­ty and pro­fes­sion­al­ism is bet­ter for the health of the team—and your reputation.

    Don’t for­get to do
    Analy­sis and care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion is always appre­ci­at­ed. But at the top you also have to make the call, and make sure it’s not just about the bot­tom line.

    Keep it up!
    Once you get com­fort­able in your lead­er­ship role, you may get too com­fort­able. Seek feed­back and stay vigilant.

    A com­pa­ny that high­lights what hap­pens when lead­ers aren’t the ones to cham­pi­on ethics is pre­sent­ed in Human Resource Exec­u­tive. Ther­a­nos had a very pub­lic rise and fall, and the author of the arti­cle cites the crit­i­cal role com­pli­ance and ethics met­rics might have played in push­ing for bet­ter account­abil­i­ty. The arti­cle also makes the case for the pow­er­ful role of HR pro­fes­sion­als in help­ing guide more impact­ful ethics conversations.

    One high pro­file case study of a com­pa­ny rec­og­niz­ing that lead­er­ship need­ed to do more is Uber. Here, lead­er­ship real­ized that fast growth was lead­ing to a crum­bling cul­ture. A piece in Yahoo! Sports shows how explo­sive growth can mean less time to mature as a com­pa­ny. Instead of focus­ing of part­ner­ships with cus­tomers and dri­vers, Uber became myopi­cal­ly cus­tomer-and growth-focused. This led to frus­tra­tions for dri­vers and ulti­mate­ly a class-action law­suit. New ini­tia­tives, from tip­ping to phone sup­port to a dri­ver being able to select rid­ers that will get them clos­er to home, have been rolled out in recent months. These changes have been wel­come, but, as the lead­er­ship reflect­ed, could have been more proac­tive­ly imple­ment­ed to everyone’s ben­e­fit. The mind­set of bring­ing peo­ple along will also poten­tial­ly help Uber main­tain bet­ter ties with munic­i­pal­i­ties, which ulti­mate­ly, is good for growth.

    Har­vard Busi­ness Review - Don’t Try to Be the Fun Boss” — and Oth­er Lessons in Eth­i­cal Leadership

    Yahoo! Sports — How Uber is recov­er­ing from a ‘moral break­ing point’

    Human Resource Exec­u­tive An Ethics Lesson

    by Bill Olson

    Orig­i­nal­ly post­ed on ubabenefits.com

  • Alphabet Googles the future…and finds it in health care | CA Benefits Agency

    October 30, 2018

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    And no soon­er do a lot of oth­er major com­pa­nies get involved in a busi­ness they do not under­stand oth­er than they want to con­trol it, Alpha­bet, the sis­ter com­pa­ny of Google, has invest­ed enough to own 10% of Oscar, a tech dar­ling that seeks to dis­rupt the deliv­ery of health care and health insur­ance through tech.  As one con­sul­tant said, “(they) are look­ing to upend tra­di­tion­al modes of busi­ness in the health­care are­na by lever­ag­ing their expe­ri­ence in ana­lyz­ing the vast amounts of data avail­able to them.”  Fur­ther, he stat­ed that “they’re attempt­ing to break the cost curve, not just bend it.  They’re recon­fig­ur­ing the val­ue chain so that the val­ue flows more between the provider and the patient or cus­tomer, which is sim­i­lar to what you get in oth­er indus­tries.”  Which is great, until they real­ize that health care is not like oth­er indus­tries, but it’s always a good idea to try…

  • It’s out of the institution and into the home…the future of health care delivery | CA Benefits Agency

    October 24, 2018

    A num­ber of com­pa­nies are try­ing to upend how health care will be deliv­ered.  CVS wants to buy Aet­na, CIGNA wants to buy Express Scripts, major com­pa­nies are com­bin­ing their efforts.  In the midst of all this, insid­ers such as Bernard Tyson (CEO of Kaiser Per­ma­nente) have said that the bound­aries of health care are chang­ing as orga­ni­za­tions move into new lines of busi­ness.  Health insur­ers are acquir­ing med­ical prac­tices, hos­pi­tals are get­ting into the gener­ic drug busi­ness, and large tech com­pa­nies are look­ing to dis­rupt health care…with more going home for care rather than being put away.

  • 3 Employee Benefits Myths Employers Must Stay Clear of

    October 23, 2018

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    While cre­at­ing an employ­ee ben­e­fit plan, many employ­ers think no one knows their employ­ees bet­ter than them. If this had been the case, many employ­ee ben­e­fit plans would not have been falling apart. While cre­at­ing your employ­ee ben­e­fits plan, you must stay clear of pre­con­ceived notions and con­fir­ma­tion bias. To help you think with a clear mind, we have shared in this post some com­mon employ­ee ben­e­fits myths that often shroud the judg­ment of employ­ers. Let’s have a look.

    1.Employee Ben­e­fits are Usu­al­ly Expensive
    There are busi­ness­es that want to go over­board to flat­ter their employ­ees and do not mind spend­ing a whop­ping amount. On the oth­er hand, you will also come across employ­ers who are offer­ing ben­e­fits with­out dig­ging deep into their pock­ets. As, applic­a­ble to every deci­sion, you must be will­ing to shop around to find an employ­ee ben­e­fits health insur­ance com­pa­ny in Sono­ma Coun­ty that offers a solu­tion with­in your bud­get. Accord­ing to your needs many con­sul­tants can even cus­tomize their package.

    2.Health Insur­ance is enough to Keep Employ­ees Happy
    If you think hav­ing a good insur­ance plan that offers com­pre­hen­sive cov­er­age is enough to make your employ­ees fall in love with your com­pa­ny then think again. Offer­ing noth­ing more than an insur­ance plan to your employ­ees would have suf­ficed ear­li­er, now, it’s no longer enough. Employ­ees today expect their employ­ers to pro­vide more ben­e­fits such as sick leaves, retire­ment plans, and flex­i­ble work hours.

    3. All Ben­e­fits Must have a Cash Value
    Many employ­ers strong­ly believe that every employ­ee ben­e­fit must have a sig­nif­i­cant val­ue. Such employ­ers often frown at the idea of intro­duc­ing non-mon­e­tary ben­e­fits such as offer­ing more auton­o­my to employ­ees, encour­ag­ing them to come up with mean­ing­ful con­tri­bu­tions, and offer­ing telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion options. Though these ben­e­fits do not car­ry a mon­e­tary val­ue, how­ev­er, it can help to boost employ­ee morale and pro­duc­tiv­i­ty; the end out­come that every employ­er seek while design­ing a ben­e­fits plan.

    While design­ing your employ­ee ben­e­fit plan, you need an expert by your side who can help you stay steer clear of these myths. If you are locat­ed in Petaluma or the sur­round­ing area, then con­tact Arrow Ben­e­fits Group at 707–992-3780 to stay away from these myths.

  • 3 Employee Benefits Millennials Love

    October 19, 2018

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    Experts esti­mate that by 2020, mil­len­ni­als will com­prise 35 per­cent of the total work­force. This study is an eye open­er for employ­ers who con­sid­er look­ing down on their mil­len­ni­al employ­ees and ignore their needs. Mil­len­ni­als are often con­sid­ered brash, irre­spon­si­ble, and rebel­lious. The demands of mil­len­ni­al employ­ees are often labeled as absurd and irra­tional. Thanks to the chang­ing work­force dynam­ics, the pre­con­ceived notions is no longer a valid argu­ment to ignore the needs that sev­er­al employ­ers have about their mil­len­ni­al employ­ees. The need of the hour for employ­ers is to build up the bridges with their mil­len­ni­al employees.

    Read More »

  • 3 Employee Benefit Trends to Watch for in 2019

    October 14, 2018

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    With every pass­ing year, fierce com­pe­ti­tion has been grow­ing among dif­fer­ent busi­ness­es in the mar­ket. From here on, the tus­sle will only get fierce among employ­ers to hire and retain the best resources grow­ing in the mar­ket. A fat pay pack­age is no longer enough to retain your employ­ees. To score a point above your rivals, you need to think one step ahead of them and come up with employ­ee ben­e­fits that real­ly mat­ter. At Arrow Ben­e­fits Group, we help you achieve your goal. As a rep­utable employ­ee ben­e­fits ser­vice com­pa­ny in Sono­ma Coun­ty, we con­sid­er com­ing up with cus­tom ben­e­fit plans for our clients, with a per­son­al promise, and more than just a pro­fes­sion­al com­mit­ment. As 2019 approach­es, there are con­cerns you must be aware of in order to stand out from the crowd of recruiters that will help you attract and retain the best tal­ent. To help you stay on top of your game, we offer a list of some ben­e­fits trend that will be game chang­ers in 2019.

    Read More »

  • Short term fix is removed for the long term…at least in California

    October 9, 2018

    Once upon a time, there was a fair­ly robust mar­ket for tem­po­rary health cov­er­age.  Because such poli­cies had cer­tain lim­its that were not allowed under the Afford­able Care Act (notably that they could impose a lim­i­ta­tion for the cov­er­age of pre exist­ing med­ical con­di­tions) that mar­ket dried up.  It was recent­ly res­ur­rect­ed by Pres­i­dent Trump, who said such a pol­i­cy made sense, and even though it would do noth­ing more nor less than what such poli­cies did before, there was a hue and cry about how such poli­cies would hurt the Amer­i­can pub­lic.  Respond­ing to this, the state of Cal­i­for­nia pro­posed and passed a bill that would pro­hib­it such poli­cies from sale.

     

  • New Bill Expands Health Savings Accounts – it’s only out of the house, and now we see…

    October 8, 2018

    The House has expand­ed the poten­tial for HSA, FSA and HRA – an alpha­bet soup of pos­si­bil­i­ties.    Some Democ­rats have argued against expan­sion (as they did against the incep­tion of these pro­grams), claim­ing that they do not help the work­ing class, but a num­ber of them vot­ed for approval of this new bill, which passed 277 to 142.  The changes:

    • Over the counter drugs may now be pur­chased through all three of these plans
    • Men­stru­al care prod­ucts are also now qual­i­fied med­ical expens­es for reimbursement
    • Gym mem­ber­ships and the cost to par­tic­i­pate in cer­tain phys­i­cal exer­cise pro­grams will be treat­ed as qual­i­fied med­ical expens­es to a lim­it of $500 per year sin­gle or $1,000 joint
    • HSA con­tri­bu­tions will be raised to $6,650 sin­gle and $13,300 for families
    • Work­ing seniors par­tic­i­pat­ing in Medicare Part A may now con­tin­ue to con­tribute to HSA
    • Spous­es over age 55 may also make “catch up” con­tri­bu­tions to an HSA
    • Indi­vid­u­als may con­tribute to an HSA even if they are in an FSA
    • At employer’s dis­cre­tion, par­tic­i­pant may roll over unused FSA bal­ance to an HSA (though this would be capped at $2,650 indi­vid­ual and $5,300 for families)
    • Health FSA bal­ances could be car­ried over to the fol­low­ing year (max­i­mum 3 x the annu­al FSA con­tri­bu­tion limit)
    • Health plans can now pro­vide “first dol­lar” cov­er­age up to $250 ($500 for family)
    • A Direct Pri­ma­ry Care ser­vice can be con­sid­ered as a health plan for reimbursement
    • Employ­er may offer free or dis­count­ed med­ical ser­vices with­out vio­lat­ing HSA rules

  • Medicare for All may be Medicare for none given the price tag and the political theater problems

    October 5, 2018

    • Even the House Democ­rats can’t agree, with one large side say­ing this is still a fringe issue
    • “The Amer­i­can peo­ple don’t have an appetite for scrap­ping every­thing and start­ing over”
    • Many Democ­rats who made it a cen­ter­piece of their pri­ma­ry campaign…lost
    • Just 16% of Democ­rats iden­ti­fied sup­port for nation­al health care as a num­ber one issue
    • Even CMS Direc­tor Ver­ma has come out in oppo­si­tion – recent­ly in San Francisco

  • Debt is paying off…student loan assistance may become as popular as 401k plans

    October 3, 2018

    • There are over 70% of col­lege grad­u­ates in debt, with an aver­age amount of $30,000
    • Hun­dreds of com­pa­nies are now offer­ing stu­dent loan assis­tance to their workers
    • Now they are pro­ject­ing increased pop­u­lar­i­ty as more com­pa­nies adopt the program
    • Even bet­ter, the IRS recent­ly decid­ed that one employ­er could offer the stu­dent loan repay­ment ben­e­fit as an ele­ment of their 401k – this is a Pri­vate Let­ter Rul­ing (which means it is spe­cif­ic to the case) but it’s a start…

  • Look Backward to Plan Forward | CA Employee Benefits Agency

    October 3, 2018

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    We have entered Open Enroll­ment sea­son and that means you and every­one in your office are prob­a­bly read­ing through enroll­ment guides and try­ing to deci­pher it all. As you begin your research into which plan to choose or even how much to con­tribute to your Health Sav­ings Account (HSA), con­sid­er eval­u­at­ing how you used your health plan last year. Look­ing back­ward can actu­al­ly help you plan for­ward and make the most of your health care dol­lars for the com­ing year.

    Forbes mag­a­zine gives the advice, “Think of Open Enroll­ment as your time to revis­it your ben­e­fits to make sure you are tak­ing full advan­tage of them.” First, look at how often you used health care ser­vices this year. Did you go to the doc­tor a lot? Did you begin a new pre­scrip­tion drug reg­i­men? What pro­ce­dures did you have done and what are their like­li­hood of need­ing to be done again this year? As you eval­u­ate how you used your dol­lars last year, you can pre­dict how your dol­lars may be spent next year and choose a plan that accom­mo­dates your spending.

    Sec­ond, don’t assume your insur­ance cov­er­age will be the same year after year. Your com­pa­ny may change providers or even what ser­vices they will cov­er with the same provider. You may also have bet­ter cov­er­age on ser­vices and pro­ce­dures that were pre­vi­ous­ly not eli­gi­ble for you. If you have choic­es on which plan to enroll in, make sure you are com­par­ing each plan’s costs for pre­mi­ums, deductibles, copays, and coin­sur­ance for next year. Don’t make the mis­take of choos­ing a plan based on how it was writ­ten in years prior.

    Third, make sure you are tak­ing full advan­tage of your company’s ser­vices. For instance, their pre­ven­ta­tive health ben­e­fits. Do they offer dis­count­ed gym mem­ber­ships? What about weight-loss coun­sel­ing ser­vices or surgery? How fre­quent­ly can you vis­it the den­tist for clean­ings or the optometrist? Make sure you know what is cov­ered and that you are using the ser­vices pro­vid­ed for you. Check to see if your com­pa­ny gives dis­counts on health insur­ance pre­mi­ums for com­plet­ing health sur­veys or well­ness programs—even for wear­ing fit­ness track­ers! Don’t leave mon­ey on the table by not being edu­cat­ed on what is offered.

    Final­ly, look at your company’s pol­i­cy choic­es for life insur­ance. Tak­ing out a per­son­al life insur­ance pol­i­cy can be very cost­ly but ones offered through your office are much more rea­son­able. Why? You reap the cost ben­e­fit of being a part of a group life pol­i­cy. Again, look at how your fam­i­ly is expect­ed to change this year—are you get­ting mar­ried or hav­ing a baby, or even going through a divorce? Con­sid­er chang­ing your life insur­ance cov­er­age to account for these life changes. Forbes says that “peo­ple enter­ing or exit­ing your life is typ­i­cal­ly a good indi­ca­tor that you may want to revis­it your exist­ing benefits.”

    As you make choic­es for your­self and/or your fam­i­ly this Open Enroll­ment sea­son, be sure to look at ALL the options avail­able to you. Do your research. Take the time to under­stand your options—your HR depart­ment may even have a tool avail­able to help you esti­mate the best health care plan for you and your depen­dents. And remem­ber, look­ing back­ward on your past habits and expens­es can be an impor­tant tool to help you plan for­ward for next year.

  • T for Texas is now T for Trouble for the Affordable Care Act

    October 1, 2018

    Texas, act­ing as lead for a 20 state coali­tion, has sued the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment to end the Afford­able Care Act (Oba­macare) say­ing the law is no longer con­sti­tu­tion­al since Con­gress essen­tial­ly gut­ted a key pro­vi­sion – the indi­vid­ual man­date – by say­ing there would no longer be a penal­ty for fail­ure to com­ply. A region­al judge is now con­sid­er­ing whether to let the law stand, block in part or entire­ly or ask for more argu­ments. A deci­sion is expect­ed by year end.

  • Discover the Best Way to Communicate with Your Staff – Alongside a Trusted Sonoma County Employee Benefits Broker

    September 27, 2018

    The data shows that com­mu­ni­ca­tion is crit­i­cal in help­ing your com­pa­ny achieve its employ­ee ben­e­fit goals. As the lead­ing Sono­ma Coun­ty employ­ee ben­e­fits bro­ker, we’re com­mit­ted to help­ing you fine­tune your com­mu­ni­ca­tions and sup­port your employ­ees more effec­tive­ly. In this lat­est post, we’ll present our tips for improv­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions with staff mem­bers. Read More »

  • Healthcare Tax Repeal | CA Employee Benefits Firm

    September 24, 2018

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    Recent­ly, the Pres­i­dent signed a bill repeal­ing the Afford­able Care Act’s Indi­vid­ual Man­date (the tax penal­ty imposed on indi­vid­u­als who are not enrolled in health insur­ance). While some are prais­ing this action, there are oth­ers who are con­cerned with its after­math. So how does this affect you and why should you pay atten­tion to this change? Watch this short video to learn more!

  • Tips for Selecting a Napa County Employee Benefits Health Insurance Broker

    September 22, 2018

    Your employ­ee health insur­ance bro­ker can help you to con­sol­i­date costs and select poli­cies that sup­port your team for the years to come. But it’s impor­tant that you care­ful­ly select your Napa Coun­ty employ­ee ben­e­fits health insur­ance bro­ker based on expert guid­ance. Our team has sig­nif­i­cant expe­ri­ence in this area of the mar­ket­place and in this lat­est post, we’re show­cas­ing our tips for choos­ing a Napa Coun­ty employ­ee ben­e­fits health insur­ance bro­ker. Read More »

  • DOL and IRS Release Additional Information on Association Health Plans | California Benefits Firm

    September 21, 2018

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    On August 20, 2018, the Depart­ment of Labor (DOL) post­ed the Asso­ci­a­tion Health Plans ERISA Com­pli­ance Assis­tance fact sheet.

    On August 20, 2018, the IRS added a new Q&A 18 to its Ques­tions and Answers on Employ­er Shared Respon­si­bil­i­ty Pro­vi­sions Under the Afford­able Care Act. Q&A 18 con­firms that:

    • An employ­er that is not an applic­a­ble large employ­er (ALE) under the employ­er shared respon­si­bil­i­ty pro­vi­sions does not become an ALE due to par­tic­i­pa­tion in an AHP.
    • An employ­er that is an ALE under the employ­er shared respon­si­bil­i­ty pro­vi­sions con­tin­ues to be an ALE sub­ject to the employ­er shared respon­si­bil­i­ty pro­vi­sions regard­less of its par­tic­i­pa­tion in an AHP.
    • The only cir­cum­stance when mul­ti­ple employ­ers are treat­ed as a sin­gle employ­er for deter­min­ing whether the employ­er is an ALE is if the employ­ers have a cer­tain lev­el of com­mon or relat­ed ownership.

    Orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished by www.UBABenefits.com

    By Karen Hsu

     

  • Our Guide to Employee Benefits and Health Insurance in Marin County

    September 18, 2018

    As a small busi­ness own­er, it’s crit­i­cal you pro­vide your employ­ees with com­pre­hen­sive employ­ee ben­e­fits such as health insur­ance options. But many small busi­ness own­ers have a lim­it­ed under­stand­ing of their insur­ance require­ments, and so with­in this lat­est post, we’ll pro­vide our guide to employ­ee ben­e­fits and health insur­ance in Marin Coun­ty. Read More »

  • He’s got it all figured out, but what figures will he be using?

    September 13, 2018

    Bernie Sanders has an idea.  Now he needs a plan.  Though he has sketched out the “Medicare for All” pro­gram to move us toward a Sin­gle Pay­er health sys­tem, the details he has shown so far prompt­ed the Mer­ca­tus Cen­ter at George Mason Uni­ver­si­ty to claim that it would cost $32.6 tril­lion over ten years…and, yes, that would involve high­er tax­es.  And that’s just the ini­tial estimate.

  • The Clear Financial Value of Working with a Sonoma County Employee Benefits Consultant

    September 12, 2018

    Com­pa­nies across the mar­ket­place are now choos­ing to work with a qual­i­fied Sono­ma Coun­ty employ­ee ben­e­fits con­sul­tant to ensure their team has the sup­port they need in select­ing ben­e­fits pack­ages. There is a great finan­cial imper­a­tive in col­lab­o­rat­ing with a con­sul­tant and so with­in this lat­est post, we’ll explore the finan­cial ben­e­fits com­pa­nies achieve in work­ing with their employ­ee ben­e­fits con­sul­tant. Read More »

  • They’re calling him on it…and they’re right…Cities sue Trump for thwarting Obamacare

    August 31, 2018

    If you can’t meet your ene­my head on, you run a flank­ing maneu­ver.  It has long been a giv­en that any attempt to upend Oba­macare would be dif­fi­cult through alter­nate leg­is­la­tion, which has been proven many times.  The option, of course, is to let it die through bureau­crat­ic iner­tia or sim­ply by skirt­ing the pri­ma­ry objec­tives of the law.  Now 12 cities, which include Bal­ti­more, Chica­go, Cincin­nati and Colum­bus are suing the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, claim­ing the Trump admin­is­tra­tion “is uncon­sti­tu­tion­al­ly seek­ing to under­mine Oba­macare by fail­ing to faith­ful­ly exe­cute the health­care law (and that he is) wag­ing a relent­less cam­paign to sab­o­tage and, ulti­mate­ly, to nul­li­fy the law”  All true…and Trump makes no bones about it.  But final­ly folks are push­ing back.

  • Affordable Care Act Individual Mandate Update | CA Benefits Firm

    August 20, 2018

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    Recent­ly, the Pres­i­dent signed a bill repeal­ing the Afford­able Care Act’s Indi­vid­ual Man­date (the tax penal­ty imposed on indi­vid­u­als who are not enrolled in health insur­ance). While some are prais­ing this action, there are oth­ers who are con­cerned with its after­math. So how does this affect you and why should you pay atten­tion to this change?

  • A Guide to How Technology Aids Napa County Employee Benefits Administration Teams

    August 19, 2018

    Tech­nol­o­gy is now a cen­tral focus with­in the employ­ee ben­e­fits admin­is­tra­tion process for Napa Coun­ty com­pa­nies. With­out automa­tion, com­pa­nies often over­spend on their ben­e­fits work and find they have lit­tle left to present employ­ees and to use to tar­get new hires. Our team at Arrow Ben­e­fits Group has great expe­ri­ence in work­ing with the lat­est tech­nol­o­gy and in this lat­est post, we’ll high­light how tech­nol­o­gy aids Napa Coun­ty employ­ee ben­e­fits admin­is­tra­tion teams.

    Manage eligibility

    One of the key ben­e­fits of work­ing with tech­nol­o­gy with­in the employ­ee ben­e­fits admin­is­tra­tion process is that eli­gi­bil­i­ty can be eas­i­ly man­aged. Employ­ees can become eli­gi­ble for spe­cif­ic ben­e­fits over a short peri­od of time, and tech­nol­o­gy can be used to man­age the eli­gi­bil­i­ty and to deter­mine when spe­cif­ic options are unavailable.

    Support compliance

    Com­pli­ance is now a lead­ing issue with­in the employ­ee ben­e­fits mar­ket­place. Spe­cif­ic HIPAA reg­u­la­tions must be care­ful­ly approached to ensure the com­pa­ny remains with­in the con­fines of the law. Tech­nol­o­gy can be used to safe­guard data and fol­low prac­tices that allow for the law to be upheld by the firm.

    Speed-up adaptation

    When the com­pa­ny changes struc­ture or adds a new hire to the team, the employ­ee ben­e­fits process must be con­sid­ered. Work­ing with tech­nol­o­gy can help to auto­mate many of the changes to the sys­tem and ensure that infor­ma­tion is kept up to date while the changes are made. This can also ensure that employ­ees main­tain access to their data around the clock and min­i­mize issues with ben­e­fits not being car­ried over to the new system.

    Streamline communications

    By main­tain­ing an active list of the employ­ees with­in the com­pa­ny and the ben­e­fits offered, employ­ee ben­e­fits admin­is­tra­tion teams across Napa Coun­ty can dis­sem­i­nate infor­ma­tion through­out the client’s com­pa­ny eas­i­ly. This ensures each employ­ee knows their ben­e­fits options and can choose based on the lat­est infor­ma­tion available.

    Our team at Arrow Ben­e­fits Group is here to guide you through the employ­ee ben­e­fits admin­is­tra­tion process. To dis­cov­er more about our com­pa­ny and our expe­ri­ence with­in the insur­ance mar­ket­place, call us today.

  • How Are Your Marin County Employee Benefit Services Impacted During a Merger?

    August 16, 2018

    Dur­ing a merg­er with anoth­er firm, your Marin Coun­ty com­pa­ny must be able to main­tain con­trol over its employ­ee ben­e­fit ser­vices in order to main­tain an effec­tive ben­e­fits pack­age for your employ­ees. Many grow­ing firms strug­gle with­in this process dur­ing their merg­ers. So, with­in this lat­est post, we’ll explore the process and explain how to effec­tive­ly mit­i­gate problems.

    • Don’t change every­thing immediately

    There may be an urge to change the entire approach to the ben­e­fits offered imme­di­ate­ly after the merg­er. But this can cause long-stand­ing issues. Employ­ees will already be ner­vous. Try to not change too much about the exist­ing sys­tem as you con­sid­er the Marin Coun­ty employ­ee ben­e­fit ser­vices options. Speak with your team mem­bers and find out about their con­cerns.

    • Com­mu­ni­cate with new employ­ees about the broker

    Make sure that any new employ­ees join­ing your firm are informed about your employ­ee ben­e­fits bro­ker and the options pro­vid­ed. Ask that they open a new account for their insur­ance with your cur­rent bro­ker as soon as pos­si­ble. This can help to stream­line the adap­ta­tion. How­ev­er, any already sched­uled vaca­tion time and ben­e­fits pay­ments should be matched as close­ly as pos­si­ble to ensure your new employ­ees are welcomed.

    • Present mul­ti­ple cov­er­age options

    Work with your bro­ker to deter­mine the best options to offer your employ­ees after the merg­er. This process should take place over sev­er­al months and should take into con­sid­er­a­tion your cur­rent bud­get as well as the size of your cur­rent work­force. Make sure that employ­ees are updat­ed through­out this process and ask that your employ­ee ben­e­fits ser­vices provider in Marin Coun­ty is avail­able to answer ques­tions and guide employ­ees in mak­ing their choices.

    • Sched­ule meet­ings with all staff members

    Once the tran­si­tion is com­plet­ed and the new staff mem­bers are set­tled in, sched­ule meet­ings with the staff on an indi­vid­ual basis to find out what’s most impor­tant to them from their employ­ee ben­e­fits. Once you have this infor­ma­tion you can work with your bro­ker to hone your pack­ages and ensure tal­ent is retained.

    Arrow Benefits Can Help

    Our expe­ri­enced team at Arrow Ben­e­fits Group is here to guide you in choos­ing ben­e­fits for your team. To learn more about our firm, call us today.

  • Leveraging Generational Factors for Overall Success | CA Employee Benefits Firm

    August 14, 2018

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    Mil­len­ni­als, com­mon­ly but not exclu­sive­ly defined as peo­ple born between 1981 and 1996, occu­py a com­pli­cat­ed space in today’s workplace—predominantly because they’re the youngest gen­er­a­tion in it. While many con­sid­er this group “ambi­tious” and “tech-savvy,” oth­ers under­stand it to be “whiney,” “dis­tract­ed,” or “enti­tled.” As with any stereo­type, this is a flat, un-nuanced ver­sion of a par­tial truth. The most impor­tant thing to remem­ber, says Brad Karsh, CEO and founder of JBTrain­ing Solu­tions, is that each gen­er­a­tion in the workforce—from Boomers to Millennials—has been shaped by their upbringing.

    For exam­ple, says Karsh, many mil­len­ni­als grew up with work­ing par­ents, the priv­i­leges of after-school activ­i­ties and clubs, and con­stant indi­vid­ual men­tor­ing. In a work envi­ron­ment, this trans­lates to a desire to be told what to do, to be mon­i­tored while doing it, and then to receive praise for doing every­thing suc­cess­ful­ly. While not every work envi­ron­ment is able to sup­ply such a struc­ture, for any num­ber of good rea­sons, it’s impor­tant to remem­ber that the desire for it is root­ed in gen­er­a­tional fac­tors, not nec­es­sar­i­ly self­ish­ness or weakness.

    A sol­id com­pro­mise, offers Karsh, is to pro­vide con­crete expla­na­tions from the start, so that mil­len­ni­als always have a struc­ture to return to when they desire it. At the same time, it is best prac­tice to “ween them off struc­ture,” for exam­ple, remind­ing them that a super­vi­sor might not check in every day, and that this isn’t a bad sign. Often, he says, mil­len­ni­als respond well to direct com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Of course, every­one is an indi­vid­ual no mat­ter their gen­er­a­tion, and over time, most new struc­tures can be learned and put to effec­tive use. Oth­er best prac­tices that have proved effec­tive for mil­len­ni­als are future-focused cre­den­tials, real time con­ver­sa­tions, and microlearning.

    Orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished by www.UBABenefits.com

    By Bill Olson

  • Our Sonoma County Benefits Consultants Explain the Value of Messaging

    August 13, 2018

    One area in which many com­pa­nies are falling behind is in the area of com­mu­ni­cat­ing with their staff about the var­i­ous ben­e­fits options avail­able to them. This is a lead­ing issue with­in the ben­e­fits indus­try, where com­pa­nies strug­gle to man­age their ben­e­fits resources and fail to work with staff in pro­vid­ing the best options in the mar­ket­place. In this lat­est post, we’ll explore how Sono­ma Coun­ty ben­e­fits con­sul­tants can help hone staff messaging.

    Targeted messaging

    One area in which ben­e­fits con­sul­tants can help dri­ve your Sono­ma Coun­ty com­pa­ny for­ward is by pro­vid­ing tar­get­ed mes­sag­ing to your staff mem­bers. For exam­ple, when a new pol­i­cy becomes avail­able, the com­pa­ny can send out tar­get­ed mes­sages to your man­age­ment staff inform­ing them of the new pol­i­cy and the val­ue it pro­vides. This helps moti­vate your most skilled pro­fes­sion­als and aligns them more close­ly with the com­pa­ny and its tar­gets mov­ing forward.

    Resolving questions

    Many staff mem­bers have a num­ber of ques­tions about the insur­ance options avail­able to them and the val­ue pro­vid­ed by these options. Work­ing with your Sono­ma Coun­ty ben­e­fits con­sul­tants, you can ensure these ques­tions are answered with pre­ci­sion and that your team achieves a full under­stand­ing of the poli­cies on offer through the com­pa­ny. This can help calm your work­force and keep your brand at its pro­duc­tive best.

    Incentives for new hires

    When a com­pa­ny is com­pet­ing with anoth­er firm for a tal­ent­ed pro­fes­sion­al, they need to be able to offer the best ben­e­fits pack­age to help engage the can­di­date. This is anoth­er area in which the ben­e­fits con­sul­tants can take full con­trol. They can help pro­mote the company’s mes­sag­ing on poli­cies via social media and via recruit­ment web­sites, ensur­ing that tal­ent­ed indi­vid­u­als across the indus­try see the val­ue of the company’s ben­e­fits pack­ages and con­sid­er the brand the next log­i­cal step in their career.

    Our team at Arrow Ben­e­fits Group can help guide you in choos­ing your ben­e­fits options for the com­ing years. To learn more about our ser­vices, call us today.

  • The President is making it harder …if he can’t legislate away the ACA, he can kill it with cuts

    August 13, 2018

    What do you do with a law you don’t like but that no one can seem to over­turn?  Starve it out.

    Pres­i­dent Trump’s admin­is­tra­tion has made a deci­sion to sus­pend Risk Adjust­ment Pay­ments to car­ri­ers, which was orig­i­nal­ly intend­ed to sub­si­dize them if they took dis­pro­por­tion­ate mar­ket risk.  With­out those sub­si­dies, the car­ri­ers will most like­ly pass on their costs to con­sumers – which means high­er premiums.

    And then, in a star­tling rever­sal, the CMS admin­is­tra­tor, Seema Ver­ma changed this pol­i­cy two weeks lat­er.  Who will reverse it next?

    At the same time, the admin­is­tra­tion has cut the bud­get for ACA Nav­i­ga­tors from $36.8 mil­lion to $10 mil­lion.  Grant­ed, agents do this work bet­ter and at no gov­ern­men­tal cost, and most of those who need­ed to be “nav­i­gat­ed” through the ACA sys­tem have done so, but it is still anoth­er exam­ple of the ACA’s “death by a thou­sand cuts”

  • Is it Time to Change Your Sonoma County Benefits Broker?

    August 10, 2018

    The ben­e­fits bro­ker you select will help you deter­mine the ide­al allo­ca­tion of ben­e­fits resources. But many com­pa­nies are now fac­ing bud­get short­falls and con­sid­er­ing how best to improve their ben­e­fits pack­ages. In this lat­est post, our team at Arrow Ben­e­fits Group explores the process of work­ing with a new Sono­ma Coun­ty ben­e­fits bro­ker, and the rea­sons to change brokers.

    Does the benefits broker meet your needs?

    One impor­tant con­sid­er­a­tion when work­ing with a ben­e­fits bro­ker is deter­min­ing whether they can meet your needs over the long-term. Make sure the com­pa­ny is locat­ed close to your busi­ness and can pro­vide expert resources with a large enough staff to guide you for­ward. The com­pa­ny should also work with the lat­est tech­nol­o­gy to help auto­mate some of the admin­is­tra­tive tasks that slow down and lim­it the effi­cien­cy of cur­rent ben­e­fit processes.

    Reasons to change

    Con­sid­er the rea­sons you might wish to switch bro­kers. In many cas­es, the bro­ker sim­ply isn’t meet­ing the needs of the com­pa­ny. For exam­ple, a grow­ing com­pa­ny will require a bro­ker that is savvy when it comes to com­pli­ance. What are the laws in this area and how can your com­pa­ny ensure it meets its oblig­a­tions? Anoth­er rea­son many com­pa­nies are switch­ing their bro­kers is their cur­rent bro­ker is sim­ply cost­ing their firm too much mon­ey con­sid­er­ing the lev­el of ser­vice pro­vid­ed. Do you feel your firm is get­ting the atten­tion it needs? Your bro­ker should com­mu­ni­cate with you reg­u­lar­ly and help you to answer insur­ance-based ques­tions around the clock.

    What to ask brokers

    Make sure you are in a posi­tion to speak with new bro­kers once you’ve decid­ed it’s time for a change. Ask your new poten­tial bro­kers the following:

    • What is your sched­ule for meet­ing with clients?
    • Do you design ben­e­fit packages?
    • Can you help edu­cate our employees?
    • Will you be able to man­age our com­pli­ance issues?
    • What added ser­vice extras do you provide?

    Our team at Arrow Ben­e­fits Group is com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing the high­est return on invest­ment for your ben­e­fits resources. To learn more about the com­pa­ny and the options we offer, please call our expert team today.

  • It Failed in California, but they are pushing it in Washington DC – Transparency

    August 1, 2018

    Sen­a­tor Bill Cas­sidy will soon intro­duce leg­is­la­tion that man­dates price trans­paren­cy in health care “to enable patients to com­pare prices before get­ting pro­ce­dures”  Now, of course, comes the game play­ing, as if some­one can actu­al­ly drill deeply enough into the mys­tery of health care pric­ing to get an actu­al fix on it.  Good luck…

  • Medicare is running out of money…again…latest from the Trustees (just trust us)

    July 31, 2018

    Every year the trustees of the Medicare Hos­pi­tal Insur­ance Trust Fund and Social Secu­ri­ty weigh in with their pro­jec­tions about the long term via­bil­i­ty of Medicare.  Many years ago, it was said that Medicare would run out of mon­ey by now.  The gov­ern­ment respond­ed by lift­ing the lim­it on the con­tri­bu­tions that could or would be made to Medicare.  This year, assum­ing no changes, the fund is expect­ed to be deplet­ed by 2026 and the Social Secu­ri­ty Trust Fund by 2034.  Unless, of course, the mar­ket picks up, lim­its are raised or the per­cent­age of employ­ee income is raised.  Etc.

  • Wearable Technology | California Benefits Firm

    July 30, 2018

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    Don’t lie–we ALL love gad­gets. From the obscure (but hilar­i­ous­ly reviewed on Ama­zon) Hut­zler 571 Banana Slicer to the lat­est iter­a­tion of the Apple empire. Gad­gets and tech­nol­o­gy can make our lives eas­i­er, make process­es faster, and even help us get health­i­er. Busi­ness­es are now using the pop­u­lar­i­ty of wear­able tech­nol­o­gy to encour­age employ­ee well­ness and increase pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and morale.

    Accord­ing to a sur­vey cit­ed on Huff­in­g­ton Post, “82% of wear­able tech­nol­o­gy users in Amer­i­can said it enhanced their lives in one way or anoth­er.” How so? Well, in the instance of health and well­ness, tech wear­ers are much more aware of how much, or how lit­tle, they are mov­ing through­out the day. We know that our seden­tary lifestyles aren’t healthy and can lead to big­ger health risks long term. Obe­si­ty, heart dis­ease, high blood pres­sure, and Type 2 Dia­betes are all side effects of this non-active lifestyle. But, these are all side effects that can be reversed with phys­i­cal­ly get­ting mov­ing. Being aware of the cause of these prob­lems helps us get moti­vat­ed to work towards a solution.

    Fit­bit, Apple Watch, Peb­ble, and Jaw­bone UP all have activ­i­ty track­ing devices.  Many com­pa­nies are offer­ing incen­tives for employ­ees who work on stay­ing fit and healthy by using this wear­able tech­nol­o­gy. For exam­ple, BP Oil gave employ­ees a free Fit­bit in exchange for them track­ing their annu­al steps. Those BP employ­ees who logged 1 mil­lion steps in a year were giv­en low­er insur­ance pre­mi­ums. These ben­e­fits for the employ­ee are mon­e­tary but there are oth­er pros to con­sid­er as well. The data col­lect­ed with wear­able tech­nol­o­gy is very accu­rate and can help the user when she goes to her physi­cian for an ail­ment. The doc­tor can look at this data and it can help con­nect the dots with symp­toms and then assist the provider with a diagnosis.

    So, what are the advan­tages to the com­pa­ny who cre­ates well­ness pro­grams uti­liz­ing wear­able technology?

    • Job seek­ers have said that employ­ee well­ness pro­grams like this are very attrac­tive to them when look­ing for a job.
    • Mil­len­ni­als are already wear­ing these devices and say that employ­ers who invest in their well-being increas­es employ­ee morale.
    • Employ­ee health­care costs are reduced.
    • Improved pro­duc­tiv­i­ty includ­ing few­er dis­rup­tions from sick days.

    The over­all health and fit­ness of the com­pa­ny can be the dri­ving force behind intro­duc­ing wear­able tech­nol­o­gy in a busi­ness but the ben­e­fits are so much more than that. Morale and pro­duc­tiv­i­ty are intan­gi­ble ben­e­fits but very impor­tant ones to con­sid­er. All in all, wear­able tech­nol­o­gy is a great incen­tive for adopt­ing healthy lifestyles and that ben­e­fits everyone—employee AND employer.

     

  • You may need to take a pill for this…Amazon is prescribing further changes

    July 30, 2018

    Not only has Jeff Bezos just been named the rich­est per­son in the his­to­ry of the world.

    Not only has Jeff Bezos com­bined with War­ren Buf­fet and Jamie Dimon to recre­ate health care

    (and their yet to be named com­pa­ny just hired well known writer/physician Atul Gawande to give up his prac­tice and head the operation)

    Now Jeff and Ama­zon have entered the online phar­ma­cy mar­ket by buy­ing start­up Pill Pack

    While there are doubters, and Pill Pack is new, what they are doing makes sense for those who have had to wait in line at a phar­ma­cy, get incor­rect infor­ma­tion, have claim fil­ing prob­lems, etc.

     

    Stay tuned…there are sure to be more acqu­si­tions.  We are still await­ing the day when we can get a check­up while shop­ping at Whole Foods.

  • The mergers continue…the trend continues…as they all want it all

    July 28, 2018

    Now it’s Well­care, which is to pur­chase phar­ma­cy ben­e­fit man­ag­er and health plan oper­a­tor Merid­i­an for $2.5 bil­lion in cash.  It’s a Mid­west­ern play, but a major one nevertheless.

  • Amazon snakes its way into our everyday lives – they have just the prescription

    July 27, 2018

    You’ve just seen their com­mer­cials, and now Ama­zon is buy­ing them.  Ama­zon will be acquir­ing Pill­Pack, an online phar­ma­cy with nation­al reach.  So first they say they are going to get into health care (recent­ly nam­ing well known physi­cian and jour­nal­ist Atul Gawande to head their new com­pa­ny) and now they are acquir­ing the resources to run it.

  • Oral Health = Overall Health | Petaluma Benefits Advisors

    July 26, 2018

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    A healthy smile can lead to a healthier (and longer living) you! Check out how easy it is to have good oral health.

     

  • How Sonoma County Brokers Ensure Effective Benefits Programs

    July 26, 2018

    Work­ing with qual­i­fied Sono­ma Coun­ty ben­e­fits bro­kers can ensure you achieve the ide­al results from your ben­e­fits pro­grams. Our team at Arrow Ben­e­fits Group has sig­nif­i­cant expe­ri­ence in this area of the indus­try, and with­in our lat­est post, we’re high­light­ing the impor­tance of work­ing with qual­i­fied Sono­ma Coun­ty ben­e­fits brokers.

    Learn the latest options

    Your ben­e­fits bro­kers can intro­duce you and your team to new insur­ance prod­ucts when they become avail­able. This can help your busi­ness in two spe­cif­ic ways. First­ly, it ensures that your team is get­ting the cov­er­age they need on an ongo­ing basis. Sec­ond­ly, it ensures that you keep your most tal­ent­ed team mem­bers by con­tin­u­al­ly offer­ing the best ben­e­fits pro­grams available.

    Discuss cost consolidation

    How much will your ben­e­fits pro­grams cost your orga­ni­za­tion in the long-term? Work­ing with qual­i­fied Sono­ma Coun­ty ben­e­fits bro­kers can help ensure that your expen­di­tures are lim­it­ed. The bro­kers can ana­lyze the avail­able options and find out which insur­ance options meet your needs with pre­ci­sion and to ensure that spe­cif­ic cov­er­age needs are met. For exam­ple, if you have med­ical con­di­tions with­in your team that are a con­sid­er­a­tion, your ben­e­fits bro­kers will respond with a pro­gram that assures full coverage.

    Answering employee questions

    Ben­e­fits bro­kers can also respond adept­ly when your employ­ees have ques­tions about their cov­er­age. The advan­tage of work­ing with a bro­ker is that you won’t have to employ a spe­cial­ist with­in your team to han­dle the day-to-day run­ning of the pro­gram. Any ques­tions that your employ­ees have can be answered by a pro­fes­sion­al with full access to the data. The bro­ker will be able to help employ­ees nav­i­gate the claims process and to work with your insur­ance com­pa­nies to ensure their cov­er­age require­ments are resolved quick­ly and pre­cise­ly. It’s a valu­able ele­ment that helps dri­ve har­mo­ny with­in your work­ing team.

    Our experts at Arrow Ben­e­fits Group are here to guide you in choos­ing your Sono­ma Coun­ty ben­e­fits bro­kers. To dis­cov­er more about the val­ue our team can pro­vide to your firm, call us today.

  • Additional Adjustments

    July 24, 2018

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    Employ­ers need to see if their pre­mi­ums are “afford­able” for pur­pos­es of com­pli­ance with the Afford­able Care Act for penal­ties.  Employ­ees need to see the same to deter­mine if they are eli­gi­ble for a sub­sidy with the Exchanges.  New fig­ures for 2019

     

    House­hold Income as                         New Per­cent­age 2019

    Per­cent­age of FPL

     

    Less than 133%                                              2.08%

    133 – 150%                                                     4.15

    150 – 200                                                        6.54

    200 – 250                                                        8.36

    250 – 300                                                        9.86

    300 – 400                                                        9.86

     

    Over­all, then, if an employ­ee pays a per­cent­age of their annu­al income high­er than these amounts, based on their House­hold Income, they have an “unaf­ford­able” plan

  • Tips for Saving on Employee Health Insurance Benefits in Napa County

    July 23, 2018

    One of the lead­ing chal­lenges for grow­ing com­pa­nies is man­ag­ing health insur­ance costs while ensur­ing a return on invest­ment for their employ­ees. Our team at Arrow Ben­e­fits Group has sig­nif­i­cant expe­ri­ence in guid­ing Napa Coun­ty com­pa­nies on their employ­ee health insur­ance ben­e­fits, and with­in our lat­est post, we’ll pro­vide sev­er­al tips for sav­ing mon­ey when choos­ing ben­e­fits options.

    Work with a broker

    A bro­ker can help to guide you in choos­ing the employ­ee health insur­ance ben­e­fits for your Napa Coun­ty busi­ness. Because the indus­try is con­tin­u­al­ly evolv­ing, your team requires the lat­est infor­ma­tion on the avail­able options and their cost. Work­ing with a bro­ker can help to ensure that the infor­ma­tion is at your dis­pos­al around the clock to mit­i­gate the cost of exten­sive cov­er­age and to ensure that cov­er­age lev­els meet with employ­ees’ needs with precision.

    Analyze plans regularly

    One of the rea­sons that com­pa­nies often find they’re over­pay­ing on employ­ee health insur­ance ben­e­fits is their team doesn’t have the time to con­tin­u­al­ly ana­lyze the pro­gram options they’re uti­liz­ing. This can mean that insur­ance pre­mi­ums rise with­out the com­pa­ny lead­er­ship rec­og­niz­ing the change in price. By work­ing with a qual­i­fied spe­cial­ist in the insur­ance indus­try, you can mit­i­gate this issue and ensure that plans are reg­u­lar­ly ana­lyzed to ensure they’re pro­vid­ing the ide­al return on invest­ment. Qual­i­fied bro­kers can work with you and your insur­ance provider to man­age the cost of the pro­gram and to ensure that addi­tion­al costs are tak­en into con­sid­er­a­tion when bud­get­ing for employ­ee health insurance.

    Build tiers within the company

    Health insur­ance tiers should be avail­able to employ­ees in senior posi­tions of the orga­ni­za­tion. By offer­ing man­age­r­i­al posi­tions a high­er lev­el of cov­er­age, and greater pre­ci­sion, you can incen­tivize pro­duc­tiv­i­ty across the com­pa­ny and ensure that tal­ent­ed indi­vid­u­als are rec­og­nized for their work. Tying cov­er­age to com­pa­ny suc­cess in this way can ensure your pro­gram is cost-effi­cient for the long-term.

    Our team at Arrow Ben­e­fits Group can work with you in set­ting up your employ­ee health insur­ance ben­e­fits pro­gram in Napa Coun­ty. To learn more and dis­cuss your pro­gram options with an expert, call us today.

     

  • How Our Employee Benefits Services Enhance Marin County Employee Productivity

    July 20, 2018

    Enhanc­ing employ­ee pro­duc­tiv­i­ty is the goal of the lead­ing com­pa­nies. Mak­ing sure that each indi­vid­ual is reach­ing their poten­tial can help all orga­ni­za­tions progress over the long-term. So, with­in this lat­est post, we’ll explain a lit­tle more about how employ­ee ben­e­fits ser­vices can help enhance employ­ee pro­duc­tiv­i­ty for Marin Coun­ty companies.

    • Gives low­er-ranked employ­ees a goal

    Pro­vid­ing your team with employ­ee ben­e­fit ser­vices and a com­pre­hen­sive ben­e­fits pro­gram gives your low­er ranked team mem­bers a goal to meet with­in their dai­ly work­ing sched­ule. If they meet their tar­gets, they can achieve a high­er lev­el of cov­er­age and greater ben­e­fits. This goal can be achieved by those with tal­ent in the orga­ni­za­tion, and the orga­ni­za­tion will ben­e­fit by hav­ing a dri­ven work­force in which the most effec­tive employ­ees rise to the top effectively.

    • Lim­its need for in-house specialists

    One of the lead­ing rea­sons so many com­pa­nies are now turn­ing to Marin Coun­ty employ­ee ben­e­fits ser­vices as a way to out­source their ben­e­fits pro­gram is to elim­i­nate in-house costs. An in-house spe­cial­ist will require a high salary and their own ben­e­fits to work with the com­pa­ny. Out­sourc­ing to a local spe­cial­ist can ensure the cost of the pro­gram is reduced sig­nif­i­cant­ly as the com­pa­ny doesn’t have to spend mon­ey on employ­ee over­heads and doesn’t have to be con­cerned with the employ­ee not being avail­able. Hir­ing an out­side team ensures that one spe­cial­ist is always avail­able to orga­nize the pro­gram and answer employ­ee questions.

    • Retain tal­ent­ed individuals

    The use of the employ­ee ben­e­fits ser­vices offered by Marin Coun­ty experts will ensure that your most tal­ent­ed indi­vid­u­als are always retained with­in the com­pa­ny. That’s because tal­ent­ed pro­fes­sion­als are look­ing for the com­pa­ny with the best salary and ben­e­fits pack­age. By lim­it­ing the cost of an in-house spe­cial­ist, com­pa­nies can pro­vide high­er salaries to tal­ent­ed staff mem­bers, while ensur­ing staff mem­bers have access to a ben­e­fits pack­age that has been cus­tomized to the indi­vid­ual and for the orga­ni­za­tion. This process con­nects com­pa­nies with dri­ven, tal­ent­ed pro­fes­sion­als ready to work for the com­pa­ny over many years.

    We Can Help

    Our team at Arrow Ben­e­fits Group has expe­ri­ence build­ing dynam­ic employ­ee ben­e­fits ser­vices pro­grams for Marin Coun­ty firms. To explore our ser­vices fur­ther, call us today.

     

  • Leadership, Now with More Humility | CA Benefits Consultants

    July 19, 2018

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    More and more, we are learn­ing that sci­en­tists, mar­keters, pro­gram­mers, and oth­er kinds of knowl­edge work­ers lead office lives very sim­i­lar to famous inno­va­tors like Wat­son, Crick, and Franklin, who dis­cov­ered the struc­ture of DNA. How so? All of these peo­ple live work lives struc­tured around progress in mean­ing­ful work. And when this progress occurs, it boosts emo­tions, per­cep­tions, and productivity.

    This could be an impor­tant key to sup­port­ing your employ­ees at their desks, wher­ev­er those may be. While recog­ni­tion, tan­gi­ble incen­tives, and goals are impor­tant, lead­ing man­agers must also con­sid­er nour­ish­ing progress through atten­tion to inner work life, minor mile­stones, and appro­pri­ate modeling.

    When progress is effec­tive­ly mon­i­tored and encour­aged, it can lead to a self-sus­tain­ing progress loop, which often results in increased suc­cess and pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, espe­cial­ly toward larg­er, group-based goals. In oth­er words, when man­agers sup­port inner work life and rec­og­nize minor progress, it leads to major accomplishments.

    See­ing employ­ees as grow­ing, pos­i­tive indi­vid­u­als with a dri­ve to exper­i­ment and learn, as opposed to mere means to an end goal, can make all the dif­fer­ence in an office, and over the yearsOne way to do this effec­tive­ly is to incor­po­rate humil­i­ty into your lead­er­ship style. This doesn’t imply that you have low self-con­fi­dence or are your­self servile. Rather, it says you pri­or­i­tize the auton­o­my of your office and sup­port your employ­ees to think respon­si­bly for them­selves. Ask them what their dai­ly work lives are like, and how you can help them max­i­mize effec­tive­ness. Cre­ate low-risk oppor­tu­ni­ties for growth, and most impor­tant­ly: fol­low through.

    Read More:
    “Lead­ing through emotions”
    “Lead­ing with emo­tion­al intelligence”

     

    By Bill Olson, VP, Mar­ket­ing & Com­mu­ni­ca­tions at Unit­ed Ben­e­fit Advisors

    Orig­i­nal­ly post­ed on UBABenefits.com

  • Why Hire Sonoma County Employee Benefits Consultants?

    July 18, 2018

    The con­sul­tants you hire for your employ­ee ben­e­fits pro­grams can help safe­guard your orga­ni­za­tion and ensure that your team has access to the ide­al cov­er­age lev­els at the right price. Our experts at Arrow Ben­e­fits Group have sig­nif­i­cant expe­ri­ence in this area of the mar­ket­place, and in this lat­est post, we’ll explore the val­ue of hir­ing Sono­ma Coun­ty employ­ee ben­e­fits consultants.

    Bring cohesion to your coverage strategy

    A lead­ing ben­e­fit of hir­ing Sono­ma Coun­ty employ­ee ben­e­fits con­sul­tants is that it can bring cohe­sion to your cov­er­age strat­e­gy. It can ensure that your strat­e­gy match­es your bud­get and your demands over time. One of the lead­ing chal­lenges com­pa­nies face is opti­miz­ing their cov­er­age lev­els as their teams grow. You must be able to adapt to a grow­ing team and have a cov­er­age pol­i­cy that sup­ports your orga­ni­za­tion over the long-term. Work­ing with Sono­ma Coun­ty ben­e­fits con­sul­tants can help your com­pa­ny ensure the right options are cho­sen at each stage of orga­ni­za­tion­al growth.

    Minimizing confusion

    It can be dif­fi­cult to under­stand all the options avail­able to your com­pa­ny through your ben­e­fits providers. Work­ing with a ben­e­fits con­sul­tant helps ensure that the options are clear, both from a cost per­spec­tive and a ben­e­fits per­spec­tive. The con­sul­tant will high­light the var­i­ous ele­ments of the ben­e­fits pro­gram and how they might impact your com­pa­ny mov­ing for­ward. And this can help you get ahead of any chal­lenges that might arise.

    Working with your team

    The ben­e­fits con­sul­tant will also play a key role in work­ing with your team to help them on how to use the cov­er­age options avail­able to them. For exam­ple, they may have ques­tions about their avail­able cov­er­age left with­in the cal­en­dar year. The con­sul­tant can help to answer their ques­tions and pro­vide clar­i­ty on impor­tant pro­gram options. This reduces the need to hire in-house cov­er­age experts and helps cre­ate a hap­py and pro­duc­tive workforce.

    Our team at Arrow Ben­e­fits Group is here to guide you in choos­ing ben­e­fits options. To speak with our Sono­ma Coun­ty employ­ee ben­e­fits con­sul­tants today, call us directly.

     

  • Reminder: Health Plan PCORI Fees Are Due July 31 | California Benefit Advisors

    July 17, 2018

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    Employ­ers that self-insured any group health plans in 2017, includ­ing health reim­burse­ment arrange­ments (HRAs), are respon­si­ble for deter­min­ing whether the annu­al PCORI fee applies to their plan. If so, use Form 720 to cal­cu­late, report, and pay the fee by July 31, 2018.

    PCORI stands for the Patient-Cen­tered Out­comes Research Insti­tute. Fed­er­al law impos­es a small annu­al fee on most health plans that include med­ical ben­e­fits in order to raise rev­enue to finance the Institute’s work. See our blog for details on which employ­er-spon­sored plans are sub­ject to the PCORI fee, how to cal­cu­late the 2017 amount, com­plete Form 720, and make payment.

     

    By Kath­leen A. Berger

    Orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished by www.ThinkHR.com

  • California Employment Law Update – July 2018 | California Employee Benefits

    July 13, 2018

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    Milpitas Minimum Wage

    The city of Mil­pi­tas updat­ed its offi­cial min­i­mum wage notice to reflect an increase to $13.50 per hour effec­tive July 1, 2018.

    See the poster

    Orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished by www.ThinkHR.com

  • The Evolution of the Marin County Employee Benefits Broker

    July 5, 2018

    To deter­mine the ide­al employ­ee ben­e­fits bro­ker for your Marin Coun­ty busi­ness, it’s impor­tant that you under­stand the role of the bro­ker in the cur­rent mar­ket­place. To under­stand the role, you must know how the role has evolved in recent years. And so with­in this post, we’re high­light­ing the evo­lu­tion of the Marin Coun­ty employ­ee ben­e­fits broker.

    Read More »

  • What Are the Advantages of Utilizing Employee Benefits Administration Services in Sonoma County?

    July 2, 2018

    Your employ­ees require pro­tec­tion for the future through com­pa­ny ben­e­fits. But man­ag­ing these ben­e­fits on a dai­ly basis and com­mu­ni­cat­ing mes­sag­ing regard­ing your ben­e­fits sys­tem with employ­ees can take away from your dai­ly tasks. It’s the rea­son many are now employ­ing pro­fes­sion­al employ­ee ben­e­fits admin­is­tra­tion teams in Sono­ma Coun­ty. Let’s explore some of the ben­e­fits of out­side admin­is­tra­tion services.

    Read More »

  • The Importance of Health Insurance within the Employee Benefits Provided by Your Marin County Company

    June 28, 2018

    The lat­est data shows that, over the Amer­i­cans that have health care cov­er­age, 60% are cov­ered by their employ­er. Our team at Arrow Ben­e­fits Group has great expe­ri­ence in the health insur­ance mar­ket­place, and in this lat­est post, we’ll explain why so many are now review­ing the val­ue of health insur­ance with­in the employ­ee ben­e­fits pro­vid­ed by Marin Coun­ty com­pa­nies.

    Read More »

  • Top 5 Social Media Tips | CA Benefits Firm

    June 27, 2018

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    The world is con­nect­ed nowa­days through our screens. Whether it be email, tex­ting, web­sites, Face­Time, or social media; we all use tech­nol­o­gy to con­nect us to oth­ers. Check out this short video for more!

  • Opioids in America | California Employee Benefits Firm

    June 27, 2018

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    Late­ly, there’s been a big focus on America’s opi­oid addic­tion in the news. Whether it’s news on the abuse of the drug or it’s infor­ma­tion shar­ing on how the drug works, Amer­i­cans are talk­ing about this sub­ject reg­u­lar­ly. We want to help edu­cate you on this hot topic.

  • What Are Employee Benefits Administration Services?

    June 26, 2018

    By under­stand­ing more about the cov­er­age options avail­able to your employ­ees, you can mit­i­gate the cost of insur­ance and sup­port their cov­er­age require­ments for the long-term. Our team at Arrow Ben­e­fits Group has sig­nif­i­cant expe­ri­ence in this area of the mar­ket­place, and in our lat­est post, we explain more about employ­ee ben­e­fits admin­is­tra­tion ser­vices.

    Read More »

  • How to Get the Most Value from Your Sonoma County Employee Benefits Broker

    June 25, 2018

    Max­i­miz­ing the val­ue achieved through their employ­ee ben­e­fits bro­ker can help Sono­ma Coun­ty com­pa­nies con­sol­i­date their insur­ance costs for the years ahead. In the company’s lat­est post, our team at Arrow Ben­e­fits Group explains how you can get the most from your local Sono­ma Coun­ty employ­ee ben­e­fits broker.

    Read More »

  • What Are Employee Benefits Administration Services?

    June 21, 2018

    By under­stand­ing more about the cov­er­age options avail­able to your employ­ees, you can mit­i­gate the cost of insur­ance and sup­port their cov­er­age require­ments for the long-term. Our team at Arrow Ben­e­fits Group has sig­nif­i­cant expe­ri­ence in this area of the mar­ket­place, and in our lat­est post, we explain more about employ­ee ben­e­fits admin­is­tra­tion ser­vices.

    Read More »

  • Does the President have a prescription for what ails drug prices? Depends on the dosage

    June 21, 2018

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    There is no doubt that pre­scrip­tion drug prices are a major dri­ver in the over­all cost of care.

    The ques­tion is what to do about it, and what reper­cus­sions would it have on oth­er parts of the mar­ket and the man­u­fac­tur­ers them­selves?  The Pres­i­dent has made par­tial good on his cam­paign promise, propos­ing a num­ber of solu­tions to the prob­lem, but will they work?  Some already say “no” because he is not using the pur­chas­ing pow­er of Medicare to dri­ve down prices, instead rely­ing on legal­is­tic pre­scrip­tions which will pro­mote trans­paren­cy and then…

    • Val­ue based pur­chas­ing in fed­er­al programs
    • Using Medicare to pay dif­fer­ent amounts for the same drug depend­ing on the illness
    • Pres­sure oth­er coun­tries to raise their prices for pre­scrip­tion drugs (oh, sure)
    • Require drug ads to include the price (but if the car­ri­ers are pay­ing, who cares?)
    • Ban gag claus­es for phar­ma­cists to they can rec­om­mend oth­er, less expen­sive drugs
    • The patent sys­tem will change to reward inno­va­tion and not pro­tect monopolies
    • Change the exist­ing rebate sys­tem (but how, when no one under­stands how it works)

    That’s what it comes to in the analy­sis.  What was said in the long White Paper pro­duced by the Pres­i­dent and his team were the fol­low­ing goals:

     

    • Increas­ing com­pe­ti­tion – Accel­er­at­ing FDA approval of gener­ics, focus on FDA improv­ing effi­cien­cy of gener­ic devel­op­ment, clar­i­fy com­plex gener­ics, clos­ing loop­holes allow­ing brand names to game the sys­tem, mod­ern­ize Medicare Part D, put an infla­tion lim­it on Medicare Part B drugs, increas­ing the integri­ty of the Med­ic­aid rebate program

     

    • Low­er­ing list prices – trans­paren­cy with Medicare, ACA rebate pro­vi­sions, FDA eval­u­a­tion on direct to con­sumer advertising

     

    • Reduce patient out of pock­et spend­ing – end gag claus­es, require Part D providers to show low­er cost alter­na­tives on the Expla­na­tion of Ben­e­fits, eval­u­ate options to alow high cost drugs to be priced dif­fer­ent­ly based on indications

     

     

  • Hospitals cry foul over latest Anthem fare…definitions change and definitely cause harm

    June 15, 2018

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    Anthem has changed their pol­i­cy regard­ing imag­ing per­formed in hos­pi­tals on an out­pa­tient basis and will expand this into four­teen states.  Hos­pi­tals are not hap­py, nor amused and have filed suit.  Anthem stakes its claim on the idea of med­ical neces­si­ty, and hos­pi­tals are say­ing that doc­tors have the right to show neces­si­ty, not car­ri­ers.  And so the bat­tle con­tin­ues as car­ri­ers con­tin­ue to try to dic­tate care but those who are respon­si­ble for care are not respon­si­ble for the pay­ment.  No win­ners here…

    And as if that were not enough, Anthem has also begun push­ing back on patients who vis­it the emer­gency room for ail­ments the car­ri­er deems minor – called the “avoid­able ER pro­gram” (as in avoid­ing pay­ment).  While Anthem has light­ened up on their pro­ce­dures some­what, they are refus­ing to pay some ER vis­its as non emer­gency (after the fact) which is not mak­ing patients and doc­tors par­tic­u­lar­ly hap­py.  Stay tuned.

  • Why Hire an Employee Benefits Administration Expert for Your Napa County Business?

    June 14, 2018

    We know that small busi­ness own­ers have a num­ber of chal­lenges with­in their day-to-day oper­a­tions. They must han­dle employ­ee issues and work with cus­tomers to respond to their unique require­ments. But it’s impor­tant that ele­ments such as employ­ee ben­e­fits are also man­aged effec­tive­ly. This isn’t always a sim­ple process. And so in this post, we’ll look at why so many busi­ness own­ers now hire a ded­i­cat­ed employ­ee ben­e­fits admin­is­tra­tion pro­fes­sion­al for their Napa Coun­ty business.

    Read More »

  • Independents may not be so depending on the interdependence of employment status

    June 11, 2018

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    The Cal­i­for­nia State Supreme Court, in the case of a suit against Dynamex Oper­a­tions West, said sim­ply that “when a work­er has not inde­pen­dent­ly decid­ed to engage in an inde­pen­dent­ly estab­lished busi­ness but instead is sim­ply des­ig­nat­ed an inde­pen­dent con­trac­tor – there is a sub­stan­tial risk that the hir­ing busi­ness is attempt to evade the demands of an applic­a­ble wage order through mis­clas­si­fi­ca­tion.” In short, to be inde­pen­dent they must be, you know, inde­pen­dent.  Busi­ness­es must show that the work­er is free from the con­trol and direc­tion of the employ­er, per­form work that is out­side the hirer’s core busi­ness and cus­tom­ar­i­ly engage in an inde­pen­dent­ly estab­lished trade, occu­pa­tion or business

    On April 30, 2018 the Cal­i­for­nia Supreme Court deter­mined that Cal­i­for­nia employ­ers must always start with the pre­sump­tion that a work­er is a com­mon law employ­ee.  They may clas­si­fy them as inde­pen­dent ONLY IF ALL of these cri­te­ria are being met:

    Work­er is free from con­trol and direc­tion in con­nec­tion with the per­for­mance of the work

    The work­er per­forms work that is out­side the usu­al course of the hir­ing entity’s business

    Work­er cus­tom­ar­i­ly engaged in inde­pen­dent­ly estab­lished trade, occu­pa­tion or business

    This gives com­mon sense to what the Depart­ment of Labor has long used as their “twen­ty ques­tions” to deter­mine the inde­pen­dence of an inde­pen­dent con­trac­tor.  The only ques­tion remain­ing now is that, if the DOL finds an employ­er respon­si­ble for an “employ­ee” who may have pre­vi­ous­ly been mis­clas­si­fied, if all rights and ben­e­fits that apply will be made retroactively

  • The Employee Benefit Services for Napa County Companies

    June 8, 2018

    By learn­ing more about the options avail­able in the Napa Coun­ty mar­ket­place, you can select employ­ee ben­e­fit ser­vices designed to sup­port your com­pa­ny in the long-term. Our experts at Arrow Ben­e­fits have great expe­ri­ence in the mar­ket­place, and in this lat­est post, we’re high­light­ing the employ­ee ben­e­fit ser­vices avail­able to Napa Coun­ty com­pa­nies.

    Read More »

  • Always ask the real price before you pay…prescription drugs need a prescription for action

    June 6, 2018

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    This should be appar­ent, but appar­ent­ly it isn’t.  Some­times pre­scrip­tion drugs, so often dis­pensed as gener­ics, have a low­er price than the copay­ment stat­ed on the ben­e­fit card.  A new study, how­ev­er, shows that con­sumers aren’t ask­ing, thus not only pay­ing a high­er amount than nec­es­sary, but this amount is then “clawed back” by the Phar­ma­cy Ben­e­fit Man­ag­er (no, the phar­ma­cy does not keep the dif­fer­ence, nor does the insur­ance car­ri­er) which acts as a mid­dle­man between the car­ri­er and the con­sumer.  Dur­ing a study peri­od com­pris­ing the first half of 2013, a USC study found that over­pay­ments totaled $135 mil­lion.  A good exam­ple – hydrocodone aceta­minophen (that would nor­mal­ly be called “Vicodin”) was pre­scribed 120,000 times and there was an aver­age over­charge of $6.94.  It is not just gener­ics, more­over.  The brand name drugs of longer stand­ing also often fall under the brand name co pay­ment (Ambi­en was cit­ed as the most egre­gious exam­ple)  So next time, don’t just reach for the card…

  • Opioids in America | CA Benefit Brokers

    June 5, 2018

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    Late­ly, there’s been a big focus on America’s opi­oid addic­tion in the news. Whether it’s news on the abuse of the drug or it’s infor­ma­tion shar­ing on how the drug works, Amer­i­cans are talk­ing about this sub­ject reg­u­lar­ly. We want to help edu­cate you on this hot topic.

    Opi­oids are made from the opi­um pop­py plant.  Opi­um has been around since 3,400 BC and it was first ref­er­enced as being cul­ti­vat­ed in South­west Asia. The drug trav­eled the Silk Road from the Mediter­ranean to Asia to Chi­na. Since then, the drug has gained pop­u­lar­i­ty for pain relief but it also has gained noto­ri­ety as an abused drug. Mor­phine, Codeine, and Hero­in are all derived from the opi­um pop­py and are all high­ly addic­tive drugs that are abused all around the world. As the demand for these drugs has increased, so has the pro­duc­tion.  From 2016 to 2017, the area under opi­um pop­py cul­ti­va­tion in Afghanistan increased by 63 per­cent. In 2016, it killed some 64,000 Amer­i­cans, more than dou­ble the num­ber in 2005.

    We can see that the dan­ger from this drug is grow­ing rapid­ly. What can we do to rec­og­nize poten­tial abuse prob­lems and to get help? Here are some facts about opi­oid addiction:

    • How do they work? Opi­oids attach to pain recep­tors in your brain, spinal cord, and oth­er areas that rec­og­nize pain sig­nals. As they attach to the recep­tors, it reduces the send­ing of pain mes­sages to the brain and there­fore reduces the feel­ings of pain in your body.
    • Short-act­ing opi­ates are typ­i­cal­ly pre­scribed for injuries and only for a few days. They take 15–30 min­utes for pain relief to begin and this relief lasts for 3–4 hours. Long-act­ing opi­ates are pre­scribed for mod­er­ate to severe pain and are used over a long peri­od of time. Relief typ­i­cal­ly lasts for 8–12 hours and can be used along­side a short-act­ing drug for break­through pain.
    • Depen­dence is com­mon with long-term use of an opi­ate. This means that the patient needs to take more of and high­er dos­es of the med­i­cine to get the same pain reliev­ing effect. This does not nec­es­sar­i­ly mean the patient is addict­ed. Addic­tion is the abuse of the drug by tak­ing it in an unpre­scribed way—like crush­ing tablets or using intravenously.
    • Amer­i­cans account for less than 5% of the world’s pop­u­la­tion, but take 80% of the world’s opi­oid About 5% of the peo­ple who take opi­ates become addict­ed to the drug.
    • Help is avail­able through many chan­nels from pri­vate recov­ery cen­ters to insur­ance providers. The Sub­stance Abuse and Men­tal Health Ser­vices Admin­is­tra­tion helpline is 1–800-662-HELP. This line is con­fi­den­tial, free, and avail­able 24-hours a day and 7 days a week. Fam­i­ly and friends may also call this num­ber for resources for help. Addi­tion­al resources can be found at drugabuse.com.

    Make sure you are edu­cat­ed about the dan­gers of opi­oid abuse. But, don’t be dis­cour­aged and think that the abuse is incur­able! There are many resources that can be used to break the addic­tion cycle and can make real change in the lives of its vic­tims. Ask for help and offer help.

     

  • Are retirees given any guarantees? The issue keeps going back and forth

    June 4, 2018

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    The Supreme Court has once again found that retiree ben­e­fits are not vest­ed.  So the employ­er can promise but…     Actu­al­ly, the Court sim­ply clar­i­fied the need for clar­i­ty.  In the absence of spe­cif­ic lan­guage that vests retiree health ben­e­fits, the retirees may no longer assume that silence or ambi­gu­i­ty allows a life­time con­tract.  Instead, the con­tract itself must state the case.  Seems sim­ple, but this has been kick­ing around, even though the Supreme Court said the same thing in 2015.  Now it will show the unions that what they want needs to be nego­ti­at­ed and then put in writ­ing (we will call this the “com­mon sense” doctrine)

  • What to Expect When Hiring Napa County Employee Benefits Consultants

    June 1, 2018

    Bring­ing in Napa Coun­ty employ­ee ben­e­fits con­sul­tants can help to pro­vide your team with bet­ter and more reli­able lev­els of cov­er­age for the years ahead. But it’s impor­tant that you know more about the selec­tion process. Our team at Arrow Ben­e­fits Group has many years’ expe­ri­ence in the insur­ance field, and with­in our lat­est post, we’re high­light­ing what to expect when hir­ing Napa Coun­ty employ­ee ben­e­fits consultants.

    Read More »

  • The new normal – see our White Paper – everyone is buying everyone – can we buy their act?

    May 31, 2018

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    Wal­mart is in pre­lim­i­nary talks to buy and part­ner with Humana

    CIGNA is buy­ing Express Scripts

    CVS bought Aetna

    And the list goes on…

  • Disability Insurance & How to Use it! | California Benefit Consultants

    May 30, 2018

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    No one fore­sees need­ing dis­abil­i­ty ben­e­fits.  But, should a prob­lem arise, the edu­cat­ed and informed employ­ee can plan for the future by pur­chas­ing dis­abil­i­ty insur­ance to help cov­er expens­es when need­ed. Check out this short video for more!

  • What Should My Company Consider When Selecting Benefit Brokers in Napa County?

    May 25, 2018

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    More and more busi­ness­es are turn­ing to ben­e­fit bro­kers in Napa Coun­ty to pro­vide their employ­ee ben­e­fits pro­grams and some­times man­age them as well.  For com­pa­nies, par­tic­u­lar­ly small­er busi­ness­es, this makes a lot of finan­cial sense — the bro­kers have the con­tacts nec­es­sary to wran­gle bet­ter deals on ben­e­fits, as well as the exper­tise to han­dle the increas­ing bureau­crat­ic bur­dens.  In most cas­es, com­pa­nies can afford to offer bet­ter ben­e­fits pro­grams than they could by han­dling every­thing on their own, and that’s crit­i­cal for attract­ing the best employ­ees. Read More »

  • The Surprising Ways a Napa County Benefits Consultant Can Help Your Business

    May 22, 2018

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    Beyond their exper­tise in the insur­ance mar­ket­place, and their under­stand­ing of com­plex cov­er­age needs, your Napa Coun­ty ben­e­fits con­sul­tant can help sup­port your orga­ni­za­tion in var­i­ous oth­er impor­tant busi­ness areas. In this lat­est post, we’ll explore more about the sur­pris­ing ways a Napa Coun­ty ben­e­fits con­sul­tant can help sup­port your busi­ness. Read More »

  • Tips to a Successful Annual Exam | Petaluma Benefit Consultants

    May 18, 2018

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    Have you ever heard the proverb “Knowl­edge is pow­er?” It means that knowl­edge is more pow­er­ful than just phys­i­cal strength and with knowl­edge peo­ple can pro­duce pow­er­ful results. This applies to your annu­al med­ical phys­i­cal as well! The #1 goal of your annu­al exam is to GAIN KNOWLEDGE. Annu­al exams offer you and your doc­tor a base­line for your health as well as being key to detect­ing ear­ly signs of dis­eases and con­di­tions. For more, watch this short video:

     

  • What to Look for in a Napa County Benefits Consultant

    May 15, 2018

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    A Napa Coun­ty ben­e­fits con­sul­tant can help your com­pa­ny to select the right ben­e­fits pack­age for its team mem­bers. This is a crit­i­cal ele­ment in safe­guard­ing your orga­ni­za­tion and retain­ing your most tal­ent­ed staff. But it’s impor­tant to under­stand the process for choos­ing a ben­e­fits con­sul­tant in Napa Coun­ty before you begin. So to help you, we are high­light­ing the qual­i­ties to look for in a con­sul­tant. Read More »

  • Notifying Participants of a Plan Change | California Employee Benefit Firm

    May 15, 2018

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    Curi­ous about when you should noti­fy a par­tic­i­pant about a change to their health care plan?

    The answer is that it depends!

    Noti­fi­ca­tion must hap­pen with­in one of three time frames: 60 days pri­or to the change, no lat­er than 60 days after the change, or with­in 210 days after the end of the plan year.

    For mod­i­fi­ca­tions to the sum­ma­ry plan descrip­tion (SPD) that con­sti­tute a mate­r­i­al reduc­tion in cov­ered ser­vices or ben­e­fits, notice is required with­in 60 days pri­or to or after the adop­tion of the mate­r­i­al reduc­tion in group health plan ser­vices or ben­e­fits. (For exam­ple, a decrease in employ­er con­tri­bu­tion is a mate­r­i­al reduc­tion in cov­ered ser­vices or ben­e­fits. So is a mate­r­i­al mod­i­fi­ca­tion in any plan terms affect­ing the con­tent of the most recent sum­ma­ry of ben­e­fits and cov­er­age (SBC).) While the rule here is flex­i­ble, the def­i­nite best prac­tice is to give advance notice. For col­lec­tive prac­ti­cal pur­pos­es, employ­ees should be told pri­or to the first increased withholding.

    How­ev­er, if the change is part of open enroll­ment, and com­mu­ni­cat­ed dur­ing open enroll­ment, this is con­sid­ered accept­able notice regard­less of whether the SBC, SPD, or both are chang­ing. Essen­tial­ly, open enroll­ment is a safe har­bor for all 60-day pri­or/60-day post notice requirements.

    Final­ly, changes that do not affect the SBC and are not a mate­r­i­al reduc­tion in ben­e­fits must be com­mu­ni­cat­ed and sum­ma­rized with­in 210 days after the end of the plan year.

    By Danielle Capilla

    Orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished by www.UBABenefits.com

     

  • The Questions to Ask When Looking for Napa Benefit Brokers

    May 10, 2018

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    When work­ing with Napa ben­e­fit bro­kers, it’s impor­tant that you find a com­pa­ny that is on your side and ready to help guide you in choos­ing the ide­al cov­er­age options. With­out expe­ri­ence in the process it can be dif­fi­cult to make progress, and so with­in this lat­est post, we’ll look at the ques­tions you must ask in find­ing qual­i­fied Napa ben­e­fit bro­kers. Read More »

  • Top 5 Social Media Tips That Can Benefit Every Agency | CA Benefit Consultants

    May 7, 2018

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    The world is con­nect­ed nowa­days through our screens. Whether it be email, tex­ting, web­sites, Face­Time, or social media; we all use tech­nol­o­gy to con­nect us to oth­ers. Accord­ing to Hub­spot, an online mar­ket­ing and sales soft­ware provider, con­sumers are on social net­works more than ever before. They wrote:

    In our survey of 1,091 global internet users, we’ve found people have dramatically increased content consumption on the three most popular social networks in the last two years: Facebook (+57% increase), Twitter (25% increase), and LinkedIn (21% increase). These networks have notably doubled down on content in the past few years to capture and retain the attention of their users — and it appears the playbook is working.The Future of Content Marketing: How People Are Changing the Way They Read, Interact, and Engage With Content

    So, how do you har­ness this tech to strength­en your con­nec­tiv­i­ty to your audi­ence? Here’s the top 5 tips for using social media that every agency can ben­e­fit from using.

    1. Con­sis­tent Con­tent Posting

    Your fol­low­ers want to know when they can expect new info to be post­ed on your web­site and social media. If you post once a week for 3 weeks and then not post again for anoth­er month, your audi­ence will quit pay­ing atten­tion. Con­sis­ten­cy is the key! Make a point to post at the same gen­er­al time on the same days and you will see more inter­ac­tion from your followers.

    1. Images & Videos

    62% of users thor­ough­ly con­sume the social media post if it includes video as com­pared to only 25% con­sump­tion of tra­di­tion­al long con­tent posts. That’s a HUGE dif­fer­ence! Grab your audience’s atten­tion when they are scrolling through their social media by post­ing pic­tures and videos. They are telling us that they will stop and watch or read more than skim­ming because of the images they see.

    1. Keep Up with Social Media Trends

    Pay atten­tion to what you are most engaged with on social media. Do you like to watch Face­book Live videos? Do you stop and scroll through pic­tures from com­pa­nies when they post what they are doing in the com­mu­ni­ty? Do you pre­fer to chat with a cus­tomer ser­vice rep­re­sen­ta­tive online ver­sus an email? If you are see­ing your pref­er­ences change, there is a good chance your audience’s pref­er­ences are chang­ing. Post pic­tures of your teams serv­ing their com­mu­ni­ty. Use videos to edu­cate your clients on rel­e­vant issues in your field. Social media is con­stant­ly evolv­ing so stay up on trends and use them on your pages!

    1. Face­book is Still King

    Con­sumers are using Face­book for more than just con­nect­ing to their high school friends—they are using it to read con­tent from their favorite busi­ness­es and groups. This means you MUST keep your Face­book page updat­ed and have new con­tent post­ed reg­u­lar­ly. Accord­ing to a new Hub­spot sur­vey, 48% of con­sumers use their Face­book feed to catch up on news, busi­ness, and lifestyle sto­ries. This ties back to Tip #1 and reit­er­ates that con­sis­tent post­ing is the sweet spot for engag­ing customers.

    1. Engage Your Audience

    How are you talk­ing to the peo­ple who use your busi­ness? Are you respond­ing to inquiries on Face­book? When you post pic­tures on LinkedIn are you respond­ing to the peo­ple who are look­ing and com­ment­ing on them? When you engage with your fol­low­ers, they are more like­ly to have a stronger rela­tion­ship with you. Entre­pre­neur Mag­a­zine says, “They are more like­ly to have a bet­ter eval­u­a­tion of the brands, stay loy­al to the brands and rec­om­mend the brands to others.”

    By fol­low­ing these tips, your social media pages can grow into healthy sites and you can be more effec­tive as you engage with your audi­ence.  Start using them today!

     

  • Beware of Tech Overload | Petaluma Employee Benefits

    May 3, 2018

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    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.

    Loss of Inter­per­son­al Skills — Video chats, group chats, IMs, DMs, texts, pings, not to men­tion old-fash­ioned email cer­tain­ly afford a mul­ti­tude of ways to com­mu­ni­cate, even col­lab­o­rate. How­ev­er, there’s no replace­ment for face-to-face inter­ac­tion. Over-reliance on dig­i­tal chan­nels can dimin­ish the oppor­tu­ni­ties and abil­i­ty to col­lab­o­rate in the most free-form man­ner, that being when folks share the same room.

    Inhibits Big Think­ing — Unlim­it­ed infor­ma­tion flow can some­times turn into over­flow. Con­tin­u­ous text alerts, IMs and oth­er pings can inhib­it com­ple­tion of the task at hand. They can also cause mis­takes due to lack of con­cen­tra­tion. While press­ing issues can be quick­ly resolved, con­tin­u­al inter­rup­tions leave lit­tle or no time for work­ing through larg­er projects and long-term planning.

    Impaired Secu­ri­ty — It’s an unfor­tu­nate fact of busi­ness life that the more freely infor­ma­tion flows, even behind fire­walls, the more sus­cep­ti­ble it is to hack­ing, cor­rup­tion and theft. As well-pub­li­cized inci­dents have shown, cor­po­rate infor­ma­tion is not the only data at risk, but also finan­cial and per­son­al data of employ­ees and cus­tomers. It’s vital that when com­pa­nies upgrade their busi­ness tech, their secu­ri­ty tech and pro­to­cols keep pace.

    Time and Main­te­nance Costs — The only sure bet with a new appli­ca­tion or sys­tem is that it will require updates. Also, while out-of-pock­et expens­es can be quan­ti­fied, less-obvi­ous costs of down­time devot­ed to sys­tem main­te­nance and train­ing can pose sig­nif­i­cant drag on pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, and in some cas­es job sat­is­fac­tion. More com­pa­nies are dis­cov­er­ing that not every tech wave is worth catch­ing, espe­cial­ly if it crash­es against strained budgets.

    Encroach­ment on Per­son­al Time — Cer­tain­ly bound­aries of nor­mal work­ing hours have been sig­nif­i­cant­ly extend­ed. While tech has indeed freed work­ers from cubi­cle and office teth­ers, it can also tempt man­agers and team mem­bers to infringe, often unknow­ing­ly, on the per­son­al lives of their reports. Yes, emer­gen­cies may arise. But work­ers repeat­ed­ly besieged with after-hour queries may seek oth­er places to use their devices.

    It May Be Unhealthy — Work is stress­ful enough. While tech­nol­o­gy has cer­tain­ly speed­ed oper­a­tions, it’s con­cur­rent­ly raised everyone’s expec­ta­tions. Some research indi­cates that over-reliance on devices may increase stress lev­els with poten­tial­ly adverse health con­se­quences. For bet­ter health, occa­sion­al­ly put down the phone!

    Find out more:
    Small Busi­ness Chron­i­cle: Pros & Cons of Tech­nol­o­gy in Busi­ness Today
    CIO: Amer­i­cans Suf­fer Tech­nol­o­gy Over­load, But We Want More
    North­east Val­ley News: Tech­nol­o­gy Over­load Caus­ing Health Problems

    By Bill Olson

    Orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished by www.UBABenefits.com

     

  • Former foes are trading blows for cooperation – now want to overhaul health care in the US

    April 20, 2018

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    For­mer act­ing CMS admin­is­tra­tor Andy Slavitt was one of the fiercest defend­ers of the Afford­able Care Act dur­ing the recent debates and attempts by Repub­li­cans to over­turn it.  Now he is lead­ing a new non­par­ti­san group of politi­cians, pol­i­cy mak­ers, exec­u­tives and oth­er pub­lic fig­ures, called Unit­ed States of Care, that will push for pol­i­cy changes based on the idea that despite deep polit­i­cal divi­sions, Amer­i­cans want many of the same things when it comes to their health.  Mike Leav­itt, for­mer HHS Sec­re­tary, will also be part of the new group.

  • Will wellness make you sick? Well, no, but it won’t cure you either, say studies

    April 20, 2018

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    The first prob­lem in prov­ing the val­ue of well­ness pro­grams, of course, is that the data, while con­sid­er­able, is also anec­do­tal.  Fur­ther, the use of well­ness does not nec­es­sar­i­ly cor­re­late to some of the results claimed. Final­ly, though this is one good rea­son to do it any­way, is that you can’t quan­ti­fy the results based on what dis­eases or injuries you would have pre­vent­ed.  A recent study in Health Affairs, which is the lead­ing jour­nal for health care the­o­ry and prac­tice, said care coor­di­na­tion and man­age­ment ini­tia­tives have not been dri­vers of sav­ings in Medicare, and an ear­li­er study shows that even if 90% of con­sumers uti­lized pre­ven­tive ser­vices (much high­er than the cur­rent take­up rate) the total effect on health care spend­ing would be just under 0.2% — a lot of mon­ey over­all, but not much mon­ey as part of the sys­tem.  Cyn­ics also point out that if we let peo­ple live longer, they will con­sume more health care ser­vices.  This is, of course, a good soci­etal thing, but if you want to look pure­ly at how to save mon­ey and how to improve care, there is always con­tention with the “law of unin­tend­ed con­se­quences’  Over­all, the argu­ment should be about improv­ing qual­i­ty and not sav­ing costs. Oh, well.

  • Don’t worry…we’re going to fix it now

    April 20, 2018

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    Well, now the con­cerns are over.  Jamie Dimon JP Mor­gan, Jeff Bezos from Ama­zon and War­ren Buf­fet from Berk­shire Hath­away have all teamed up to solve our nation’s health care prob­lems.  There are no details at this point, of course, but they say they plan to hold down costs by bring­ing “their scale and com­ple­men­tary exper­tise to this long term effort”  They will cre­ate an inde­pen­dent com­pa­ny “free from prof­it mak­ing incen­tives and con­straints” to focus on tech­nol­o­gy solu­tions”  This is great, except for the fact that tech­nol­o­gy is only one part of the prob­lem (but def­i­nite­ly worth fix­ing) and that the scale these com­pa­nies bring will real­ly only ben­e­fit a nar­row slice of con­sumers – their com­pa­nies.  By the way, Steve Case of AOL tried this years ago and failed mis­er­ably, but who remem­bers Steve Case any more?

  • A DOL Audit Can Happen to You | Petaluma Benefit Consultants

    April 19, 2018

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    Sum­ma­ry plan descrip­tions (SPDs) are required for all retire­ment, health, and wel­fare plans sub­ject to the Employ­ee Retire­ment Income Secu­ri­ty Act of 1974 (ERISA). How­ev­er, mis­con­cep­tions about this require­ment are wide­spread. ERISA attor­ney Sta­cy H. Bar­row, part­ner with Marathas Bar­row Weath­er­head Lent LLP, had a chat with ThinkHR about the impor­tance of hav­ing prop­er ERISA doc­u­men­ta­tion and the con­se­quences of fail­ing to do so.

    THR: What types of employ­ers need to have an SPD? 

    SHB: We tell all employ­ers — of any size — who offer plans sub­ject to ERISA that they need to have an SPD. This is the first item in every Depart­ment of Labor (DOL) audit. If you don’t have one and you get audit­ed or a par­tic­i­pant asks for plan doc­u­ments, you will be scram­bling to put doc­u­ments togeth­er and you can’t do them fast enough to avoid an issue. In addi­tion, cafe­te­ria plans can only be adopt­ed prospec­tive­ly, so if you don’t have a writ­ten cafe­te­ria plan in place, you may be jeop­ar­diz­ing the tax qual­i­fied sta­tus of your plan.

    THR: Won’t my bro­ker or car­ri­er take care of these documents?

    SHB: Employ­ers may think that bro­kers or car­ri­ers take care of all required ben­e­fits doc­u­men­ta­tion, but at the end of the day, it’s the employ­er who is respon­si­ble for com­ply­ing with ERISA’s SPD require­ment. Your bro­ker may help you, but they might not be aware of every ben­e­fit you offer or your eli­gi­bil­i­ty guide­lines. The carrier’s doc­u­men­ta­tion often is miss­ing some of the required lan­guage, which is why you use a wrap. You don’t specif­i­cal­ly have to use a wrap to devel­op your SPD, but the car­ri­er doc­u­ment won’t get you there and an wrap is often the best way to com­ply. If the plan doc­u­ments aren’t com­pli­ant, that’s not the carrier’s or broker’s respon­si­bil­i­ty, it’s the employer’s.

    THR: Do I real­ly need to be con­cerned about a DOL audit?

    SHB: Employ­ers can get com­pla­cent about doc­u­men­ta­tion, think­ing that only large employ­ers get audit­ed, or it won’t hap­pen to them. It’s not only the large cor­po­ra­tions that get audit­ed. It can hap­pen to employ­ers of any size or type. It’s impor­tant to make sure you have good ben­e­fits doc­u­men­ta­tion, because if you don’t, and you do get audit­ed, it might cause the DOL to dig deep­er and look for oth­er prob­lems, such as look­ing into your 401(k) plan.

    Plan doc­u­men­ta­tion is a huge part of every DOL audit. I can’t stress strong­ly enough that they will want to see the sum­ma­ry plan descrip­tion and plan doc­u­ments. If you can get good, com­pli­ant doc­u­ments to the DOL, it increas­es the chances of a speedy res­o­lu­tion. If you can pro­vide them quick­ly, it sends a mes­sage that you are ready and in compliance.

    THR: What are the con­se­quences of being out of compliance?

    SHB: Not hav­ing the prop­er doc­u­ments may be an issue if you get audit­ed or there is lit­i­ga­tion over a denied claim. You need to be pre­pared for this pos­si­bil­i­ty. If the DOL audits and impos­es penal­ties, it may not be because the employ­er didn’t have a wrap doc­u­ment, but rather because the doc­u­ment wasn’t updat­ed, wasn’t com­pli­ant, or wasn’t dis­trib­uted to employ­ees. And the DOL may impose penal­ties of up to $152 per day for fail­ure to pro­vide an SPD upon request. Also, fail­ure to inform par­tic­i­pants of plan changes may inval­i­date those changes.

    By Rachel Sobel

    Orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished by WWW.ThinkHR.com

  • Higher Satisfaction Through Higher Education | California Benefit Advisors

    April 18, 2018

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    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.

    Edu­ca­tion­al ben­e­fits are strong­ly linked to work­er sat­is­fac­tion. A sur­vey by the Soci­ety for Human Resource Man­age­ment revealed that near­ly 80 per­cent of respond­ing work­ers who rat­ed their edu­ca­tion ben­e­fits high­ly also rat­ed their employ­ers high­ly. While only 30 per­cent of those rat­ing their high­er edu­ca­tion ben­e­fits as fair or poor con­verse­ly rat­ed their employ­er highly.

    These ben­e­fits are pop­u­lar with busi­ness­es as well. In a sur­vey by the Inter­na­tion­al Foun­da­tion of Employ­ee Ben­e­fit Plans, near­ly five of six respond­ing employ­ers offer some form of edu­ca­tion­al ben­e­fit. Their top rea­sons are to retain cur­rent employ­ees, main­tain or raise employ­ee sat­is­fac­tion, keep skill lev­els cur­rent, attract new tal­ent and boost inno­va­tion and pro­duc­tiv­i­ty. Tax cred­its offer addi­tion­al advan­tages. Qual­i­fy­ing pro­grams offer employ­ers tax cred­its up to $5,250 per employ­ee, per year.

    At the same time, com­pa­nies should offer these ben­e­fits with care as they do pose poten­tial pit­falls. High­er edu­ca­tion assis­tance can be cost­ly, even when not cov­er­ing full costs. Work­ers tak­ing advan­tage can become over­whelmed with the demands of after-hour stud­ies, affect­ing job per­for­mance. Also, employ­ers would be wise to ensure their employ­ees don’t prompt­ly leave and take their new skills elsewhere.

    When well-planned, edu­ca­tion­al ben­e­fits will like­ly prove a good invest­ment. Sev­en­ty-five per­cent of respon­dents to SHRM’s sur­vey con­sid­er their edu­ca­tion­al-assis­tance pro­grams suc­cess­ful. To boost your employ­ee morale, skill lev­els and job-sat­is­fac­tion scores, con­sid­er the ben­e­fit that may deliv­er them all, and more.

    Find out more:
    IFEBP: Why Edu­ca­tion­al Assis­tance Pro­grams Work
    EBRI: Fun­da­men­tals of Employ­ee Ben­e­fit Programs

    By Bill Olsen

    Orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished  by www.UBABenefits.com

  • Non-profits now may have to show a profit on something from which employees profit

    April 11, 2018

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    Under the new Tax Act, and effec­tive Jan­u­ary 1, 2018, non prof­it employ­ers must pay a cor­po­rate tax (defined as 21% under Sec­tion 13703 of amend­ed sec­tion 512(A) of the Tax Code) for the fol­low­ing ben­e­fits made avail­able to employ­ees on a cost free basis:

    • Qual­i­fied trans­porta­tion plan
    • Park­ing facil­i­ties used in con­nec­tion with qual­i­fied parking
    • On premis­es ath­let­ic facilities

  • Disability Insurance and why you need it! | CA Benefit Consultants

    April 9, 2018

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    “Your most valued asset isn’t your house, car, or retirement account. It’s the ability to make a living.”

    No one fore­sees need­ing dis­abil­i­ty ben­e­fits.  But, should a prob­lem arise, the edu­cat­ed and informed employ­ee can plan for the future by pur­chas­ing dis­abil­i­ty insur­ance to help cov­er expens­es when needed.

    When you ask peo­ple what is the num­ber one rea­son dis­abil­i­ty insur­ance is need­ed, most will answer that it is for work­place relat­ed injuries. How­ev­er, the lead­ing caus­es of long-term absences are back injuries, can­cer, and heart dis­ease and most of them are NOT work relat­ed.   In addi­tion, the aver­age dura­tion of absences due to dis­abil­i­ty is 34 months.  So how do you pre­pare for an unplanned absence from work as a result of an injury or ill­ness? Dis­abil­i­ty insur­ance is a great option.

    Dis­abil­i­ty insur­ance is cat­e­go­rized into two main types.

    • Short Term Dis­abil­i­ty cov­ers 40–60% of the employee’s base salary and can last for a few weeks to a few months to a year. There is typ­i­cal­ly a short wait­ing peri­od before ben­e­fits begin after the report of dis­abil­i­ty. This plan is gen­er­al­ly spon­sored by the employer.
    • Long Term Dis­abil­i­ty cov­ers 50–70% of the employee’s base salary and the ben­e­fits end when the dis­abil­i­ty ends or after a pre-set length of time depend­ing on the pol­i­cy. The wait peri­od for ben­e­fits is longer—typically 90 days from onset of dis­abil­i­ty. This plan kicks in after the short-term cov­er­age is exhaust­ed. The indi­vid­ual pur­chas­es this plan to pre­vent a loss of cov­er­age after short-term dis­abil­i­ty ben­e­fits are exhausted.

    While the ben­e­fits of these dis­abil­i­ty plans are not a total replace­ment of salary, they are designed for the employ­ee to main­tain their cur­rent stan­dard of liv­ing while recov­er­ing from the injury or ill­ness. This also allows the indi­vid­ual to pay reg­u­lar expens­es dur­ing this time.

    There are many ways to enroll in a dis­abil­i­ty insur­ance plan. Often times your employ­er will offer long-term and short-term cov­er­age as part of a ben­e­fits pack­age. Sup­ple­men­tal cov­er­age can also be pur­chased.  Talk with your company’s HR depart­ment for more infor­ma­tion on how to enroll in these plans.  Indi­vid­u­als who are inter­est­ed in pur­chas­ing sup­ple­men­tal cov­er­age can also con­tact out­side insur­ance bro­kers or even check with any pro­fes­sion­al orga­ni­za­tions to which they belong (such as the Amer­i­can Med­ical Asso­ci­a­tion for med­ical pro­fes­sion­als) as many times they offer insur­ance cov­er­age to members.

    As you begin plan­ning for your future, make sure you research the types of cov­er­age avail­able and dif­fer­ent avenues through which to pur­chase this cov­er­age. For more infor­ma­tion on dis­abil­i­ty and the work­place, check out:

     

     

     

  • The New Tax Act has some gifts for employers who have employees on leave

    April 3, 2018

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    To encour­age employ­ers to pro­vide eli­gi­ble employ­ees with paid leave under the FMLA, the new tax law pro­vides them with a new busi­ness cred­it equal to 12.5% of the amount of wages paid to “qual­i­fy­ing employ­ees” dur­ing any peri­od in which such employ­ees are on fam­i­ly and med­ical leave as long as the rate of pay­ment under the pro­gram is at least 50% of the employee’s nor­mal wages.

  • Price Shop Healthcare | CA Benefit Advisors

    April 3, 2018

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    As the costs of health care soar, many con­sumers are look­ing for ways to con­trol their med­ical spend­ing. Also, with the rise of enroll­ment in high deductible health plans, con­sumers are pay­ing for more health care out-of-pock­et. From med­ical sav­ings accounts to dis­count plans for pre­scrip­tions, patients are grow­ing increas­ing­ly con­scious of prices for their health­care needs. Price shop­ping pro­ce­dures and providers allows you to com­pare prices so that you are get­ting the best val­ue for your care.

    Why do you need to look beyond your near­by and famil­iar providers and loca­tions for health­care? Here’s a hypo­thet­i­cal exam­ple: Chris is a 45-year old male in good phys­i­cal health. Dur­ing his last check-up he men­tions to his doc­tor that he’s had some recent short­ness of breath and has been more tired as of late. His doc­tor orders an EKG to rule out any prob­lems. If Chris went to his local hos­pi­tal for this pro­ce­dure, it would cost $1150. He instead looks online and shops around to find oth­er providers in his area and finds he can get the same pro­ce­dure for $450 at a near­by imag­ing cen­ter. His poten­tial sav­ings is $700 sim­ply by research­ing locations.

    So where do you start when shop­ping around for your health care?  A good place to begin is by research­ing your health plan online. Insur­ance com­pa­nies will post cost esti­mates based on facil­i­ty, physi­cian, and type of pro­ce­dure. Keep in mind that these are just esti­mates and may vary based on what cov­er­age you are enrolled in. Anoth­er way to shop is by check­ing out web­sites that have com­piled thou­sands of claims infor­ma­tion for var­i­ous pro­ce­dures and loca­tions to give an esti­mate of costs. How­ev­er, deci­pher­ing whether a site is report­ing esti­mates based on the “med­ical stick­er price” of charges or rates for pri­vate insur­ance plans or Medicare is dif­fi­cult.  There are huge dif­fer­ences in prices at dif­fer­ent providers for the exact same pro­ce­dure. This is because con­tracts between insur­ance agen­cies and providers vary based on nego­ti­at­ed amounts. This makes it hard to get con­sis­tent pric­ing information.

    Check out these sites that do a great job com­par­ing apples to apples for providers:

    • Health­care Blue Book
      • What Kel­ly Blue Book is to cars, Health­care Blue Book is to med­ical pricing
    • New Choice Health
      • Reports on pric­ing of med­ical pro­ce­dures, providers, qual­i­ty of facil­i­ties, and cus­tomer feed­back for health­care in all 50 states
    • The Leapfrog Group
      • Pub­lish­es data on hos­pi­tals so patients can com­pare facil­i­ties and costs for treat­ments and procedures

    After com­pil­ing all the infor­ma­tion on prices and pro­ce­dures, you can still call and nego­ti­ate costs with the loca­tion of your care. Fair Health Con­sumer has tips on how to nego­ti­ate with providers and plan for your health­care needs.

    Knowl­edge is POWER and when you spend time research­ing and com­par­ing health­care costs, you are empow­er­ing your­self!  Exer­cis­ing due dili­gence to plan for you and your family’s med­ical needs will save you mon­ey and give you con­fi­dence in your deci­sions for care.

     

     

  • Federal Employment Law Update – March 2018 | California Employee Benefit Brokers

    March 28, 2018

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    FLSA Amendments to Tip Sharing Provisions

    On March 23, 2018, Pres­i­dent Trump signed leg­is­la­tion (H.R. 1625) amend­ing the fed­er­al Fair Labor Stan­dards Act (FLSA) by pro­hibit­ing employ­ers from keep­ing tips received by employ­ees for any pur­pose. This includes pro­hibit­ing man­agers or super­vi­sors from keep­ing any por­tion of employ­ees’ tips, regard­less of whether the employ­er takes a tip cred­it. Employ­ers in vio­la­tion of these pro­tec­tions are liable to the affect­ed employee(s) for the sum of any tip cred­it tak­en, and all tips unlaw­ful­ly kept, in addi­tion to an equal amount as liq­ui­dat­ed dam­ages. Regard­ing will­ful vio­la­tions of the employ­ment of minors pro­vi­sions (at 29 U.S.C. § 216©), any per­son in vio­la­tion of the law will be sub­ject to a civ­il penal­ty of up to $1,100 for each vio­la­tion and will be liable to the affect­ed employee(s) for all tips unlaw­ful­ly kept and an addi­tion­al equal amount as liq­ui­dat­ed damages.

    The law is cur­rent­ly effective.

    Read US H.R. 1625

    Postponement of E‑Verify Temporary Unavailability

    On March 15, 2018, the U.S. Cit­i­zen­ship and Immi­gra­tion Ser­vices (USCIS) announced via fact sheet that E‑Verify and E‑Verify Ser­vices would be tem­porar­i­ly unavail­able from 12 a.m. March 23 to 8 a.m. March 26 East­ern Time for sys­tem enhance­ments. How­ev­er, on March 22 the USCIS released an email stat­ing that the enhance­ments were “still in the works,” and the mod­ern­iza­tion launch was post­poned. Sub­se­quent­ly, E‑Verify will remain avail­able, and all reg­u­lar employ­ment eli­gi­bil­i­ty ver­i­fi­ca­tion time­lines con­tin­ue to apply.

    Read about the planned enhance­ments

    IRS Adjusts 2018 Inflation Amounts for Health Savings Accounts

    On March 5, 2018, the fed­er­al Inter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice (IRS) announced 2018 annu­al lim­its on deduc­tions for indi­vid­u­als cov­ered under a high deductible health plan (HDHP) in Rev. Proc. 2018–18. The deduc­tion lim­it is $3,450 for an indi­vid­ual with self-only cov­er­age and $6,850 for an indi­vid­ual with fam­i­ly coverage.

    Addi­tion­al­ly, for cal­en­dar year 2018, an HDHP is defined as a health plan with an annu­al deductible that is not less than $1,350 for self-only cov­er­age or $2,700 for fam­i­ly cov­er­age, and the annu­al out-of-pock­et expens­es (deductibles, co-pay­ments, and oth­er amounts, exclud­ing pre­mi­ums) do not exceed $6,650 for self-only cov­er­age or $13,300 for fam­i­ly coverage.

    Read Rev. Proc. 2018–18

    EEO‑1 Reporting and Employees Who Regularly Report to Client Sites

    The por­tal for 2017 EEO‑1 report­ing is open and reports must be sub­mit­ted and cer­ti­fied by March 31, 2018 at the latest.

    The fed­er­al Equal Employ­ment Oppor­tu­ni­ty Com­mis­sion (EEOC) has addressed the issue that there may be some con­fu­sion as to how employ­ers are to report employ­ees work­ing at client sites (a work­place the employ­er does not own but where the employ­ee reports for work). Accord­ing to the EEOC’s 2017 EEO‑1 User Guide (see page 132), employ­ers must still sub­mit an EEO‑1 report under the address of the client site for those employ­ees, as opposed to the employer’s own address.

    See How to File an EEO‑1 Report

    IRS Updates Withholding Calculator and Releases New Form W‑4

    On Feb­ru­ary 28, 2018, the fed­er­al Inter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice (IRS) released an updat­ed With­hold­ing Cal­cu­la­tor and a new ver­sion of Form W‑4 fol­low­ing pas­sage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December.

    The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made changes to the tax law, includ­ing increas­ing the stan­dard deduc­tion, remov­ing per­son­al exemp­tions, increas­ing the child tax cred­it, lim­it­ing or dis­con­tin­u­ing cer­tain deduc­tions, and chang­ing the tax rates and brackets.

    If changes to with­hold­ing should be made, the With­hold­ing Cal­cu­la­tor gives employ­ees the infor­ma­tion they need to fill out a new Form W‑4, Employee’s With­hold­ing Allowance Cer­tifi­cate.

    More infor­ma­tion is avail­able at the IRS page, With­hold­ing Cal­cu­la­tor Fre­quent­ly Asked Ques­tions.

    Read the press release

    NLRB Vacates Hy-Brand and Browning-Ferris Joint Employment Standard Reinstated

    On Feb­ru­ary 26, 2018, the Nation­al Labor Rela­tions Board (NLRB) announced that it vacat­ed its Decem­ber 14, 2017 deci­sion in Hy-Brand Indus­tri­al Con­trac­tors regard­ing the joint employ­ment stan­dard. As a result, the Oba­ma-era, employ­ee-friend­ly joint employ­ment stan­dard estab­lished by Brown­ing-Fer­ris Indus­tries was rein­stat­ed. Under the rein­stat­ed Brown­ing-Fer­ris stan­dard, a com­pa­ny can be found to be a joint employ­er based on the poten­tial of its abil­i­ty to exer­cise con­trol over terms and con­di­tions of employ­ment, regard­less of whether the actu­al author­i­ty is exer­cised. This is an “indi­rect con­trol” stan­dard and is con­sid­ered the main fac­tor in deter­min­ing whether a joint employ­er rela­tion­ship exists, and thus lia­bil­i­ty, under the Nation­al Labor Rela­tions Act (NLRA).

    Accord­ing to the NLRB, Hy-Brand was vacat­ed due a deter­mi­na­tion by the board’s des­ig­nat­ed agency ethics offi­cial that mem­ber William Emanuel is, and should have been, dis­qual­i­fied from par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Hy-Brand pro­ceed­ing. In a mem­o­ran­dum issued on Feb­ru­ary 9, 2018, the U.S. Inspec­tor Gen­er­al found that Emmanuel’s for­mer law firm was involved in the orig­i­nal Brown­ing-Fer­ris deci­sion, and sub­se­quent­ly, he should have recused him­self from the Hy-Brand decision.

    Because the Board’s Deci­sion and Order in Hy-Brand has been vacat­ed, the over­rul­ing of the Board’s deci­sion in Brown­ing-Fer­ris Indus­tries, 362 NLRB No. 186 (2015), is of no force or effect.

    Read the press release and order

  • New Guidance on Tipped Wages | Petaluma Benefit Consultants

    March 27, 2018

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    The 2,232-page bud­get spend­ing bill that was signed by Pres­i­dent Trump on March 23, 2018, includ­ed an amend­ment to the Fair Labor Stan­dards Act (FLSA) pro­hibit­ing employ­ers, man­agers, or super­vi­sors from col­lect­ing or retain­ing tips made by employ­ees, regard­less of whether the employ­er takes a tip credit.

    This law essen­tial­ly blocked the U.S. Depart­ment of Labor’s 2017 pro­posed rule which would have allowed tip shar­ing between employ­ees who direct­ly earn them with “back of the house” employ­ees who “[c]ontribute to the over­all cus­tomer expe­ri­ence,” but do not tra­di­tion­al­ly receive direct tips, such as cooks and dishwashers.

    The next step with the DOL’s pro­posed rule could be that the agency pulls it or con­forms the rule­mak­ing to the spend­ing bill. How­ev­er, experts are con­cerned that the bill did not go far enough to pro­vide clear and con­cise def­i­n­i­tions. For exam­ple, in the restau­rant indus­try employ­ees can wear many hats. So what hap­pens when a food serv­er is the shift lead? Is a shift lead a man­ag­er or super­vi­sor because they are grant­ed author­i­ty, be it min­i­mal author­i­ty, over oth­er food servers? Employ­ers will be look­ing to the DOL to pro­vide more specifics.

    For the time being, the FLSA stan­dard con­tin­ues, “[a] valid tip pool may not include employ­ees who do not cus­tom­ar­i­ly and reg­u­lar­ly received tips, such as dish­wash­ers, cooks, chefs, and janitors.”

    Get the basics in our Fed­er­al Employ­ment Law Update or go more in depth into the back­ground and impli­ca­tions of tip­ping reg­u­la­tions on Eater.

    Orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished by www.ThinkHR.com

  • How Do You Know Which Benefit Consulting Firms Will Meet Your Needs?

    March 26, 2018

    More and more busi­ness­es, of all sizes, are dis­cov­er­ing the val­ue of ben­e­fit con­sult­ing firms.  The right ben­e­fits part­ner can be an invest­ment which almost imme­di­ate­ly pays for itself with bet­ter ben­e­fits pack­ages, stream­lined admin­is­tra­tion, and far few­er cost­ly mis­takes or legal com­pli­ance problems.

    The issue is find­ing the right employ­ee ben­e­fits admin­is­tra­tion ser­vice to meet your needs.  With so many ben­e­fit con­sult­ing firms out there, each tar­get­ing dif­fer­ent sec­tors, it’s vital to find one which aligns with your own goals.

    These are some of the fac­tors our team at Arrow Ben­e­fits Group think you should look into when eval­u­at­ing them.

    Five Aspects to Find­ing the Right Ben­e­fits Con­sult­ing Firms for Your Needs

    1 — Expe­ri­ence and track record

    Ben­e­fits con­sult­ing is not a field eas­i­ly entered into, and many would-be con­sul­tants fold quick­ly.  Those who sur­vive will have a long track record of suc­cess and expe­ri­ence work­ing with a wide vari­ety of busi­ness­es.  Ask for case stud­ies or tes­ti­mo­ni­als, so you can eval­u­ate them for yourself.

    2 — Over­all size

    When it comes to insur­ance and relat­ed fields, big­ger usu­al­ly is bet­ter.  Big­ger means bet­ter access to a wider vari­ety of plans and ser­vices, and more oppor­tu­ni­ties to lever­age economies of scale.  Sta­bil­i­ty is par­tic­u­lar­ly impor­tant if you’re look­ing at out­sourc­ing key admin­is­tra­tive process­es.  You need a part­ner you know will be by your side for years to come.

    3 — Personalization 

    Employ­ee ben­e­fits are nev­er a one-size-fits-all propo­si­tion.  The best ben­e­fit con­sult­ing firms will work with you care­ful­ly to under­stand your work­force, their needs, and your over­all long-term goals to cre­ate ful­ly per­son­al­ized plans that meet all your needs.

    4 — Are they nation­al or global?

    If your com­pa­ny oper­ates offices over­seas, find­ing a part­ner who can han­dle your ben­e­fits pack­ages in any com­pa­ny is a must.  There are few who can do this effec­tive­ly!  If you have glob­al ambi­tions, pick a ben­e­fits con­sul­tant with the glob­al exper­tise to match.

    5 — Employ­ee outreach

    Are they capa­ble of work­ing with your employ­ees, cre­at­ing train­ing mate­ri­als, con­duct­ing sem­i­nars, and oth­er­wise help­ing in edu­ca­tion?  These are ser­vices you want since well-edu­cat­ed employ­ees are a cru­cial com­po­nent of a well-opti­mized ben­e­fits admin­is­tra­tion system.

    Choose Arrow Ben­e­fits Group to Stream­line Your Benefits

    As one of the world’s lead­ers in ben­e­fits admin­is­tra­tion, we have the reach and the exper­tise to cut costs and improve qual­i­ty in your employ­ee ben­e­fits admin­is­tra­tion.  Con­tact us today for more details.

     

  • The ACA still makes its way but maybe in the wrong direction

    March 26, 2018

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    Enroll­ment has dropped near­ly 4% in those areas cov­ered by the Fed­er­al Exchange, but remained about the same in states that ran their own (e.g. Cal­i­for­nia).  Mean­while, a“Treasury watch­dog” report­ed that the IRS over­paid the ACA tax cred­its by $3.5 bil­lion in 2017.  The good news is that the total was actu­al­ly $5.8 bil­lion but they were able to get recov­ery on the amounts that can be recov­ered – but the rest seems to be lost. Oops.

  • Learn all about Medical Savings Accounts! | CA Benefit Brokers

    March 23, 2018

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    Take control of your health care expenses and save money in 2018!

     

  • Here’s Where #FOMO Is Doing You a Disservice | Petaluma Benefit Advisors

    March 21, 2018

    Fear of miss­ing out—is more than just a hash­tag. Many Mil­len­ni­als admit that #FOMO dri­ves a lot of their deci­sions on what they wear, what they do, even what they eat and drink. We live in a world of social influence.

    But one area where #FOMO real­ly does you a dis­ser­vice? No one is afraid of miss­ing out on the ben­e­fits of life insur­ance. And why should you? There are so many oth­er things com­pet­ing for your dol­lars. That said, do you know what you’re miss­ing out on by not hav­ing it? Are you mak­ing one or more of these mistakes?

    You think life insur­ance is much more expen­sive than it actu­al­ly is. Three in four Mil­len­ni­als over­es­ti­mate the cost of life insurance—sometimes by a fac­tor of 2, 3, or even more! (2017 Insur­ance Barom­e­ter Study by Life Hap­pens and LIMRA) Imag­ine being able to afford life insur­ance for the cost of that dai­ly lat­te, and for less mon­ey than your avo­ca­do toast habit!

    You think you can’t qual­i­fy for life insur­ance. Noth­ing could be fur­ther from the truth, and yet four in 10 Mil­len­ni­als think this is true, accord­ing to the same study! Younger can­di­dates have an eas­i­er time get­ting life insur­ance because they are gen­er­al­ly healthier.

    You’ll turn to GoFundMe if some­thing goes wrong. In an era where social net­work­ing does all things, it’s nat­ur­al to think that your loved ones can crowd­fund their way to sol­ven­cy after some­thing hap­pens. But life insur­ance ben­e­fits aren’t taxed like GoFundMe pro­ceeds are, and life insur­ance has a defined, imme­di­ate pay­out that GoFundMe does not. Plus, your loved ones don’t need the stress or the stig­ma of hav­ing to ask oth­ers for help.

    You’d rather spend that mon­ey on oth­er things. In fact, one study recent­ly sug­gest­ed that many Mil­len­ni­als are more con­cerned about plan­ning their next night out with a sig­nif­i­cant oth­er than plan­ning for their finan­cial future.  But sen­si­ble steps now will make for a bet­ter future with that sig­nif­i­cant oth­er long past tomor­row night’s date.

    You don’t care because you don’t have peo­ple depend­ing on you for mon­ey. Take a look at your stu­dent loans. Were any of them pri­vate loans? Who is liable for them—in full, often immediately—if some­thing hap­pens to you? There are oth­er debts you may need to con­sid­er as well—anything where you have a co-signer.

    You keep say­ing you’ll get around to buy­ing insur­ance, but don’t. Mil­len­ni­als are get­ting mar­ried, hav­ing fam­i­lies! Young fam­i­lies have enough to wor­ry about with day­care costs and increased med­ical costs, right? Well, imag­ine what your young fam­i­ly would do about those bills if some­thing hap­pened to you. Could your spouse pay the rent or mort­gage with­out your income?

    You tune out when “adult­ing” gets too hard. One recent col­lege grad recent­ly con­fessed to me that he hadn’t elect­ed into any of his employ­ee ben­e­fits at the dream job he got in his field because “my dad takes care of that.” He was shocked to learn what he was miss­ing out on!

    Yes, adult­ing *is* hard, but a sound finan­cial plan that includes retire­ment and insur­ance cov­er­age (health, life, and dis­abil­i­ty insur­ance are all part of that plan) goes a long way to mak­ing sure that you don’t look back on your younger years and think, “Oh, why didn’t I start this soon­er?” Plus, you don’t have to do it alone—that’s what insur­ance agents are for. They will sit down with you at no cost, or oblig­a­tion, to dis­cuss what you need and how to get cov­er­age to fit your bud­get. But then, sign­ing up—that IS on you. Don’t miss out.

    By Helen Mosher

    Orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished by www.LifeHappens.org

  • It ain’t over til it’s over – the mandates may live on in states

    March 20, 2018

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    Insur­ance car­ri­ers are dis­mayed  that the indi­vid­ual man­date is being repealed for the sim­ple rea­son that the abil­i­ty of indi­vid­u­als to opt out of cov­er­age will cause a neg­a­tive spi­ral in health care costs, as the pool of cov­ered peo­ple devolve into those who are more in need of ser­vices.  Some states, how­ev­er, includ­ing Cal­i­for­nia, are fight­ing back and con­sid­er­ing a state man­dat­ed man­date. We shall see.

  • How to Recognize A Superior Napa County Employee Benefits Broker

    March 19, 2018

    The right Napa Coun­ty employ­ee ben­e­fits bro­ker can be an invalu­able part­ner —  sav­ing you mon­ey, pre­vent­ing legal prob­lems, and pro­vid­ing qual­i­ty ser­vice when han­dling your employ­ees’ claims.  How­ev­er, not all employ­ee ben­e­fit ser­vices are equal, and the wrong one could just as eas­i­ly cre­ate far more prob­lems than it solves.

    If it’s time for your com­pa­ny to embrace off-site employ­ee ben­e­fits administration,

    Five Ques­tions to Ask Before Choos­ing a Napa Coun­ty Employ­ee Ben­e­fits Broker

    1 — What are your cer­ti­fi­ca­tions and licensing?

    Always make sure a ben­e­fits bro­ker is ful­ly licensed with all state and indus­try reg­u­la­to­ry bod­ies and cer­ti­fied as com­pe­tent.  Don’t be afraid to fol­low up on those licens­es, either.  All rel­e­vant bod­ies will be hap­py to do a records lookup if you have any doubts about the valid­i­ty of their credentials.

    2 — Have you received any dis­ci­pli­nary actions?

    The occa­sion­al mishap does­n’t indi­cate a bad com­pa­ny — but a coverup cer­tain­ly does.  Take their answer and then ver­i­fy it with the state insur­ance com­mis­sion to see if they’re hon­est about their history.

    3 — What ser­vices can you pro­vide us?

    There are a huge range of employ­ee ben­e­fit con­sul­tants out there.  Some are pure­ly insur­ance bro­kers.  Oth­ers han­dle claims pro­cess­ing.  Some are able to effec­tive­ly take over all aspects of your ben­e­fits admin­is­tra­tion.  In most cas­es, the lat­ter will be your best option — they’ll offer the most cost-sav­ings while tak­ing the most bur­dens off your inter­nal HR team.

    4 — Do you offer com­pli­ance advice and consulting?

    The laws and reg­u­la­tions sur­round­ing employ­ee ben­e­fits — and relat­ed top­ics such as data han­dling — are extreme­ly com­plex, and only becom­ing more com­plex over time.  You want a Napa Coun­ty employ­ee ben­e­fits bro­ker who is deeply famil­iar with chang­ing reg­u­la­tions, and con­stant­ly keep­ing tabs on new reg­u­la­tions that are on the horizon.

    It’s your own best chance of remain­ing in com­pli­ance, with­out spend­ing a lot of mon­ey hir­ing or train­ing experts in-house.

    5 — Do you han­dle open enroll­ment communication?

    Anoth­er area where a ben­e­fits con­sul­tant can poten­tial­ly help is in com­mu­ni­cat­ing with your work­force.  It’s dif­fi­cult for even well-edu­cat­ed work­ers to under­stand all their insur­ance ben­e­fit options.  The right part­ner can han­dle the out­reach and edu­ca­tion, so employ­ees will pick the best options available.

    Arrow Ben­e­fits Group Can Stream­line Your Ben­e­fits Administration

    We can be your one-stop-shop for ben­e­fits admin­is­tra­tion, from train­ing to pro­cess­ing.  Con­tact us to learn more about our ser­vices.

     

  • IRS Releases New Form W‑4 and Updates Withholding Calculator | California Benefit Consultants

    March 16, 2018

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    Our Feb­ru­ary 1, 2018 blog post report­ed on the late Feb­ru­ary release of the Form W‑4 and guid­ance on the income with­hold­ing rules that changed under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. On Feb­ru­ary 28, 2018, the fed­er­al Inter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice (IRS) released the new 2018 Form W‑4 and an updat­ed with­hold­ing cal­cu­la­tor.

    Why a Withholding Calculator?

    The IRS encour­ages the use of the with­hold­ing cal­cu­la­tor for a quick pay­check check­up in light of the changes to the tax law for 2018. Accord­ing to the IRS, employ­ees may be encour­aged to use the cal­cu­la­tor to ensure the cor­rect tax amount is being with­held from their pay­checks. For exam­ple, review­ing with­hold­ing may help pro­tect employ­ees against hav­ing too lit­tle tax with­held and fac­ing an unex­pect­ed tax bill or penal­ty dur­ing next year’s tax sea­son. Alter­na­tive­ly, with the aver­age refund being $2,800, the IRS antic­i­pates that some employ­ees may have less tax with­held up front and instead receive more in their pay­checks. If an employ­ee needs to make changes to his or her with­hold­ing, the cal­cu­la­tor pro­vides the nec­es­sary infor­ma­tion to fill out a new W‑4.

    Next Steps

    Make sure your employ­ees know about the avail­abil­i­ty of the cal­cu­la­tor. Only employ­ees chang­ing their with­hold­ing need to com­plete a new W‑4, and they may use results from the cal­cu­la­tor to com­plete the new form. Encour­age those employ­ees to sub­mit updat­ed W‑4s as soon as pos­si­ble to ensure their with­hold­ings are accurate.

    The IRS also sug­gests that if employ­ees fol­low the calculator’s rec­om­men­da­tions and change their 2018 with­hold­ing, they should recheck their with­hold­ing at the begin­ning of 2019 to pro­tect against hav­ing too lit­tle with­held. This is impor­tant where an employ­ee reduces his or her with­hold­ing some­time dur­ing 2018 because a mid-year with­hold­ing change in 2018 may have a dif­fer­ent full-year impact in 2019.

    Get it All

    More infor­ma­tion is avail­able at the IRS page, With­hold­ing Cal­cu­la­tor Fre­quent­ly Asked Ques­tions.

    Learn more about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

    By Saman­tha Yurman

    Orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished by www.ThinkHR.com

  • California Employment Law Update – March 2018 | CA Benefit Advisors

    March 14, 2018

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    California Supreme Court Rules on Overtime Calculations with Retroactive Application

    On March 5, 2018, the Cal­i­for­nia Supreme Court ruled in Alvara­do v. Dart Con­tain­er Cor­po­ra­tion of Cal­i­for­nia (Alvara­do) that when cal­cu­lat­ing over­time in pay peri­ods when an employ­ee earns a flat rate bonus, employ­ers must divide the total com­pen­sa­tion earned in a pay peri­od by only the non-over­time hours worked. This means, accord­ing to the Alvara­do deci­sion, the cor­rect cal­cu­la­tion of over­time asso­ci­at­ed with a flat sum bonus is the amount of the bonus divid­ed by the reg­u­lar hours worked by the employ­ee, mul­ti­plied by 1.5 (not a 0.5 mul­ti­pli­er, which the employ­er used in the case):

    (Over­time Hours x Reg­u­lar Rate x 1.5) + (Bonus/Regular Hours Worked x Over­time Hours Worked x 1.5) = Total Over­time Com­pen­sa­tion in California

    This deci­sion applies retroac­tive­ly; thus all Cal­i­for­nia employ­ers who pay flat rate bonus­es must ensure imme­di­ate com­pli­ance with these cal­cu­la­tions or risk incur­ring penal­ties and liability.

    Read Alvara­do

    Orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished by www.ThinkHR.com

  • How Employee Benefit Services Save You Money

    March 12, 2018

    For just about any busi­ness, employ­ee ben­e­fits are a huge expense.  In fact, accord­ing to the US Depart­ment of Labor, most busi­ness­es are spend­ing at least 30% of their pay­roll on ben­e­fits — and that’s a num­ber most busi­ness­es want to reduce how­ev­er they can.  Unfor­tu­nate­ly, many look towards cut­ting ben­e­fits, but that’s a poor long-term strat­e­gy.  Reduc­ing ben­e­fits can lead to the loss of expe­ri­enced work­ers, and a shal­low hir­ing pool, cre­at­ing more prob­lems rather than solutions.

    How­ev­er, there is an alter­na­tive: employ­ee ben­e­fit ser­vices.  An off-site spe­cial­ist can stream­line your ben­e­fits sys­tem, sav­ing your com­pa­ny sub­stan­tial mon­ey in the long run and with­out sac­ri­fic­ing the qual­i­ty of your ben­e­fits package.

    Three Ways Off-Site Employ­ee Ben­e­fits Admin­is­tra­tion Improves Your Bot­tom Line

    1 — More options in ben­e­fits packages

    A ded­i­cat­ed employ­ee ben­e­fits bro­ker is going to have access to most or all of the major providers across the coun­try, and that gives them supe­ri­or abil­i­ty to cre­ate cus­tom-made pack­ages.  In some cas­es, it’s even pos­si­ble to improve the over­all qual­i­ty of ben­e­fits, while still low­er­ing costs.  Addi­tion­al­ly, the larg­er bro­kers can also lever­age economies of scale to bring you fur­ther cost sav­ings you could not pos­si­bly achieve as a sin­gle busi­ness entity.

    2 — Bet­ter data for decision-making

    The data for bench­mark­ing almost any ben­e­fits plan is out there, but not every­one knows how to access it — and even few­er can inter­pret the data.  A qual­i­fied employ­ee ben­e­fits con­sul­tant, how­ev­er, is some­one who can.  They can put togeth­er eas­i­ly-under­stood data sets and improve the deci­sion-mak­ing process­es with­in your business.

    3 — Improv­ing reg­u­la­to­ry compliance

    As insur­ance and ben­e­fits reg­u­la­tions become ever more com­pli­cat­ed, it becomes eas­i­er for a busi­ness to unknow­ing­ly fall out of com­pli­ance with the law.  Even a sin­gle vio­la­tion can be a sub­stan­tial finan­cial blow.  In this way, hir­ing out­side experts becomes a form of insur­ance — but one which almost imme­di­ate­ly pays for itself through avoid­ed problems.

    Cut Your Ben­e­fits Costs with Arrow Ben­e­fits Group

    We can stream­line your ben­e­fits pack­ages, pro­cess­ing, and employ­ee out­reach — sav­ing you time and mon­ey.  Con­tact us to learn more.

     

  • Trading it in for next year’s model…the Cadillac tax gets kicked down the road

    March 6, 2018

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    In the swirl sur­round­ing the new Tax Act, there was some good news on the ben­e­fits front.

    The Cadil­lac tax, which was giv­en a lot of time to ger­mi­nate and grow on every­one, was kept in but the dead­line for meet­ing it was pushed back from 2018 to 2020.  As rates con­tin­ue to rise, the specter of this tax, which penal­izes plans that have a val­ue exceed­ing a cer­tain dol­lar thresh­old, nags at employ­ers, par­tic­u­lar­ly those in high cost states like Cal­i­for­nia.  The tax does not vary based on geo­graph­ic fac­tors, so once again the left and right coasts get hit.  What’s puz­zling is that the tax was sup­posed to help pay for the ACA, so why don’t they just get to it?

  • How the Right Employee Benefits Services Consultant Improves Your Bottom Line

    March 5, 2018

    Ben­e­fits pack­ages may be nec­es­sary to attract the best and bright­est to your work­place, but they’re an expen­sive invest­ment for any busi­ness.  The plans them­selves can be a sig­nif­i­cant expen­di­ture, which is then com­pound­ed by the costs of over­sight and admin­is­tra­tion.  On top of that, there are numer­ous legal require­ments which must be met, and fail­ure to do so could mean extreme­ly cost­ly penalties.

    This is exact­ly why employ­ee ben­e­fit ser­vices can also bring big ben­e­fits to your busi­ness.  With Arrow Ben­e­fits Group on your side help­ing you find the best poli­cies for your needs, imple­ment­ing those poli­cies, and over­see­ing the details, you can ulti­mate­ly save time and money.

    Four Clear Gains from Con­tact­ing Employ­ee Ben­e­fit Services

    1 — Receive a cus­tom-built ben­e­fits package

    Ben­e­fit bro­kers have a dis­tinct advan­tage when it comes to cre­at­ing ben­e­fits pack­ages because they can usu­al­ly pick and choose fea­tures from across the entire ben­e­fits indus­try.  Rather than hav­ing to accept one-size-fits-all ben­e­fits pack­ages from sin­gle com­pa­nies, you can have one tai­lored to your exact needs.

    2 — No longer wor­ry­ing about com­pli­ance issues

    The legal tan­gles sur­round­ing insur­ance, HR, employ­ee data, and relat­ed top­ics are already extreme­ly com­pli­cat­ed, and only becom­ing more so over time.  Keep­ing up with reg­u­la­tions has become a full-time job.  A qual­i­ty employ­ee ben­e­fits admin­is­tra­tion ser­vice will be keep­ing up with such mat­ters as part of their own jobs, so you gain from their exper­tise with­out hav­ing to do the legwork.

    3 — Effi­cient han­dling of employ­ee needs

    HR depart­ments have enough on their plate already with­out hav­ing to deal with the details of claims report­ing, han­dling employ­ee com­plaints, and oth­er mat­ters that – real­is­ti­cal­ly — are clos­er in nature to “cus­tomer ser­vice.”  With off-site employ­ee ben­e­fits admin­is­tra­tion, your work­force will have a sin­gle point of con­tact ded­i­cat­ed to han­dling their issues.  They receive more effi­cient claims pro­cess­ing, and your HR team can focus on more imme­di­ate concerns.

    4 — Attract a bet­ter cal­iber of worker

    Most work­ers today are more con­cerned with the qual­i­ty of their ben­e­fits than their base pay.  Being able to adver­tise top-qual­i­ty ben­e­fits and ben­e­fits pro­cess­ing can be a major draw in hir­ing.  If your ben­e­fits pack­age stands out, so too will the qual­i­ty of your hir­ing applicants.

    Arrow Ben­e­fits Group Sim­pli­fies Your Benefits

    As one of North Amer­i­ca’s lead­ing employ­ee ben­e­fit ser­vices, we can stream­line every aspect of your ben­e­fits and pro­cess­ing.  Con­tact us to learn more.

  • 6 Ways to Keep the Flu from Sidelining Your Workplace | CA Employee Benefit Brokers

    March 2, 2018

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    This year’s flu sea­son is a rough one. Although the pre­dom­i­nant strains of this year’s influen­za virus­es were rep­re­sent­ed in the vac­cine, they mutat­ed, which decreased the effec­tive­ness of the immu­niza­tion. The flu then spread wide­ly and quick­ly, and in addi­tion, the symp­toms were severe and dead­ly. The U.S. Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion (CDC) report­ed that the 2017 – 2018 flu sea­son estab­lished new records for the per­cent­age of out­pa­tient vis­its relat­ed to flu symp­toms and num­ber of flu hospitalizations.

    Younger, healthy adults were hit hard­er than is typ­i­cal, which had impacts on the work­place. In fact, Chal­lenger, Gray & Christ­mas, Inc. recent­ly revised its esti­mates on the impact of this flu sea­son on employ­ers, rais­ing the cost of lost pro­duc­tiv­i­ty to over $21 bil­lion, with rough­ly 25 mil­lion work­ers falling ill.

    For­tu­nate­ly, the CDC is report­ing that it looks like this sea­son is start­ing to peak, and while rates of infec­tion are still high in most of the coun­try, they are no longer ris­ing and should start to drop. What can you do as an employ­er to keep your busi­ness run­ning smooth­ly for the rest of this flu sea­son and through­out the next one?

    1. Help sick employ­ees stay home. Con­sid­er that sick employ­ees wor­ried about their pay, unfin­ished projects and dead­lines, or com­pli­ance with the com­pa­ny atten­dance pol­i­cy may feel they need to come to work even if they are sick. Do what you can to be com­pas­sion­ate and encour­age them to stay home so they can get bet­ter as well as pro­tect their co-work­ers from infec­tion. In addi­tion, make sure your sick leave poli­cies are com­pli­ant with all local and state laws, and com­mu­ni­cate them to your employ­ees. Be clear with the expec­ta­tion that sick employ­ees not to report to work. For employ­ees who feel well enough to work but may still be con­ta­gious, encour­age them to work remote­ly if their job duties will allow. Be con­sis­tent in your appli­ca­tion of your atten­dance and remote work rules.
    2. Know the law. Although the flu is gen­er­al­ly not seri­ous enough to require leaves of absence beyond what sick leave or PTO allow for, in a severe sea­son, employ­ees may need addi­tion­al time off. Con­sid­er how the fed­er­al Fam­i­ly and Med­ical Leave Act (FMLA), state leave laws, and the Amer­i­cans with Dis­abil­i­ties Act (ADA) may come into play for employ­ees who have severe cas­es of the flu, com­pli­ca­tions, or fam­i­ly mem­bers who need care.
    3. Be flex­i­ble. Dur­ing acute flu out­breaks, schools or day­care facil­i­ties may close, leav­ing par­ents with­out child­care. Employ­ees may also need to be away from the work­place to pro­vide care to sick chil­dren, part­ners, or par­ents. Exam­ine your poli­cies to see where you can pro­vide flex­i­bil­i­ty. Look for oppor­tu­ni­ties to cross-train employ­ees on each other’s essen­tial duties so their work can con­tin­ue while they are out.
    4. Keep it clean. Direct clean­ing crews to thor­ough­ly dis­in­fect high-touch areas such as door­knobs, kitchen areas, and bath­rooms night­ly. Pro­vide hand san­i­tiz­er in com­mon areas and encour­age fre­quent hand­wash­ing. Keep dis­in­fect­ing wipes handy for staff to clean their per­son­al work areas with.
    5. Lim­it expo­sure. Avoid non-essen­tial in-per­son meet­ings and trav­el that can expose employ­ees to the flu virus. Rely on tech­nol­o­gy such as video con­fer­enc­ing, Slack, Skype, or oth­er plat­forms to bring peo­ple togeth­er vir­tu­al­ly. Con­sid­er stag­ger­ing work shifts if pos­si­ble to lim­it the num­ber of peo­ple in the work­place at one time.
    6. Focus on well­ness. Offer free or low-cost flu shots in the work­place. If your com­pa­ny pro­vides snacks or meals for employ­ees, offer health­i­er options packed with nutrients.

    Get it all

    AGENCY RESOURCES: Get the lat­est week­ly flu stats from the CDC. Learn more about how the FMLA and ADA may be used dur­ing pan­dem­ic flu from the U.S. Depart­ment of Labor.

    By Rachel Sobel

    Orig­i­nal­ly post­ed by www.ThinkHR.com

  • California Employment Law Update – February 2018 | Petaluma Benefit Consultants

    February 28, 2018

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    Employer Response to Immigration Inspection Notice

    In Jan­u­ary 2018, the Cal­i­for­nia Depart­ment of Labor Stan­dards and Enforce­ment (DLSE) released its pre-inspec­tion notice, Notice to Employ­ee Labor Code sec­tion 90.2.

    Effec­tive Jan­u­ary 1, 2018, and except as oth­er­wise required by fed­er­al law, Cal­i­for­nia employ­ers must pro­vide notice to cur­rent employ­ees of any inspec­tion of I‑9 Employ­ment Eli­gi­bil­i­ty Ver­i­fi­ca­tion forms or oth­er employ­ment records con­duct­ed by an immi­gra­tion agency. This notice is com­plet­ed by post­ing the DLSE’s Notice to Employ­ee Labor Code sec­tion 90.2 in the lan­guage the employ­er nor­mal­ly uses to com­mu­ni­cate employ­ment-relat­ed infor­ma­tion to the employ­ee with­in 72 hours of receiv­ing notice of the inspection.

    A copy of the Notice of Inspec­tion of I‑9 Employ­ment Eli­gi­bil­i­ty Ver­i­fi­ca­tion forms, and any accom­pa­ny­ing doc­u­ments, must be post­ed or giv­en to employ­ees with the DLSE notice.

    See the notice

    Orig­i­nal­ly post­ed by www.ThinkHR.com

  • How a San Francisco County Benefits Consultant Can Help Your Business

    February 26, 2018

    In man­ag­ing the require­ments of your employ­ees, you’re like­ly con­sid­er­ing the options in terms of ben­e­fits plans. But it’s impor­tant that experts are brought in ear­ly in this process to help guide you on the avail­able options. A San Fran­cis­co ben­e­fits con­sul­tant can help you make the right choic­es when deter­min­ing ben­e­fits plan for your firm, and our Arrow Ben­e­fits Group team will delve fur­ther into the role of the con­sul­tant and their ser­vices in this blog.

    Keep­ing Up-to-Date with the Options

    One key advan­tage of work­ing with a San Fran­cis­co Coun­ty ben­e­fits con­sul­tant is they can keep you up-to-date on all the options avail­able to your orga­ni­za­tion. They can help you review health ben­e­fits and pack­ages and deter­mine which per­son­al ben­e­fits best suit those with­in your orga­ni­za­tion. Rather than choos­ing a one-size-fits-all plan, their ben­e­fit bro­kers can cus­tomize the ele­ments with­in your ben­e­fits pack­age so that your team gets the most val­ue from your orga­ni­za­tion­al investment.

    Find­ing Plan Administrators 

    A San Fran­cis­co Coun­ty ben­e­fits con­sul­tant can also help you with find­ing plan admin­is­tra­tors. They can guide you in choos­ing an admin­is­tra­tor who can man­age your company’s retire­ment ben­e­fit accounts for exam­ple. Man­ag­ing this type of plan is essen­tial in ensur­ing the ide­al return on retire­ment invest­ments over the com­ing years. Admin­is­tra­tors can work to keep plans mov­ing for­ward and ensure indi­vid­ual accounts meet the return stan­dards required.

    Con­duct­ing Sur­veys with­in the Company

    Anoth­er part of the role car­ried out by employ­ee ben­e­fits con­sul­tants is in con­duct­ing sur­veys with­in the com­pa­ny and find­ing out more infor­ma­tion on employ­ees and their par­tic­u­lar require­ments. They solic­it feed­back on the employee’s needs and find out how sat­is­fied they are with their cur­rent ben­e­fits plans. By doing so, they can help com­pa­nies main­tain a hap­py and pro­duc­tive work­force and ensure that com­pa­nies build on the pro­duc­tiv­i­ty of their staff while retain­ing talent.

    Our team at Arrow Ben­e­fits Group is here to guide you in choos­ing ben­e­fits for your employ­ees. To dis­cov­er more about the indus­try and about the work of our qual­i­fied team, call us today. Our experts are ready to build cus­tomized ben­e­fits plans for your organization.

     

  • The Value of Automation for Employee Benefits Administration in Sonoma

    February 22, 2018

    Automa­tion is now help­ing com­pa­nies con­sol­i­date costs across the coun­try. Where once admin­is­tra­tion tasks would take entire teams hours or more to com­plete, they can now be com­plet­ed more effec­tive­ly in min­utes. To help guide you on the val­ue of automa­tion as a ben­e­fits con­sul­tant, we’re high­light­ing the advan­tages of the lat­est automa­tion tools for Sono­ma com­pa­nies in com­plet­ing employ­ee ben­e­fits admin­is­tra­tion work.

    Sim­pli­fy Compliance

    One clear advan­tage of using the lat­est tools is in sim­pli­fy­ing com­pli­ance with the lat­est reg­u­la­tions. Meet­ing com­pli­ance with the ACA and oth­er HIPAA rules now mean admin­is­tra­tion teams must con­sid­er a full range of ele­ments when enter­ing and man­ag­ing data. Automa­tion tools sim­pli­fy this process and help sup­port teams in meet­ing their objec­tives under the law.

    Improve Deci­sion-Mak­ing

    Anoth­er clear advan­tage of the automa­tion of employ­ee ben­e­fits admin­is­tra­tion in Sono­ma com­pa­nies is that it can improve the deci­sion-mak­ing process. No longer do com­pa­nies require months to make a deci­sion about the type of health­care their employ­ees require. Now soft­ware can com­pare pack­ages direct­ly and drill down on the most impor­tant ele­ments in a short time­frame. Online sav­ings cal­cu­la­tors and side-by-side com­par­isons offered by ben­e­fits admin­is­tra­tion soft­ware help fur­ther sup­port pru­dent deci­sion making.

    Make the Employ­ees’ Jobs Easier

    In any indus­try, soft­ware that makes your employ­ees’ jobs eas­i­er will help improve their job sat­is­fac­tion. This means com­pa­nies can bet­ter retain their most tal­ent­ed team mem­bers and they can also improve their team’s pro­duc­tiv­i­ty over time. It’s a com­mit­ment to team-build­ing that dri­ves orga­ni­za­tion­al success.

    Enhanced Accu­ra­cy

    A lead­ing con­sid­er­a­tion in the admin­is­tra­tion of employ­ee ben­e­fits is data accu­ra­cy for Sono­ma com­pa­nies. It’s incred­i­bly impor­tant that all data relat­ed to health ben­e­fits, retire­ment ben­e­fits, and oth­er ele­ments are high­ly accu­rate. And work­ing with automa­tion can ensure that each fig­ure is accu­rate­ly rep­re­sent­ed in the system.

    Our team here at Arrow Ben­e­fits Group has many decades of expe­ri­ence as a ben­e­fits con­sul­tant employ­ing the lat­est tech­nol­o­gy in sup­port­ing employ­ee ben­e­fits admin­is­tra­tion. If you wish to speak with a spe­cial­ist about your orga­ni­za­tion and its require­ments, call our team today. We have pro­fes­sion­als ready around the clock to answer your ques­tions and guide you in mak­ing decisions.

  • Benefits of an Annual Exam | California Benefit Advisors

    February 22, 2018

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    Have you ever heard the proverb “Knowl­edge is pow­er?” It means that knowl­edge is more pow­er­ful than just phys­i­cal strength and with knowl­edge peo­ple can pro­duce pow­er­ful results. This applies to your annu­al med­ical phys­i­cal as well! The #1 goal of your annu­al exam is to GAIN KNOWLEDGE. Annu­al exams offer you and your doc­tor a base­line for your health as well as being key to detect­ing ear­ly signs of dis­eases and conditions.

     

    The #1 goal of your annu­al exam is to  GAIN KNOWLEDGE

     

    Accord­ing to Mal­com Thalor, MD, “A good gen­er­al exam should include a com­pre­hen­sive med­ical his­to­ry, fam­i­ly his­to­ry, lifestyle review, prob­lem-focused phys­i­cal exam, appro­pri­ate screen­ing and diag­nos­tic tests and vac­ci­na­tions, with time for dis­cus­sion, assess­ment and edu­ca­tion. And a good health care provider will always focus first and fore­most on your health goals.”

    Ear­ly detec­tion of chron­ic dis­eases can save both your per­son­al pock­et­book as well as your life! By sched­ul­ing AND attend­ing your annu­al phys­i­cal, you are able to cut down on med­ical costs of undi­ag­nosed con­di­tions. Catch­ing a dis­ease ear­ly means you are able to attack it ear­ly. If you wait until you are exhibit­ing symp­toms or have been symp­to­matic for a long while, then the dis­ease may be to a stage that is cost­ly to treat. Ear­ly detec­tion gives you a jump start on treat­ments and can reduce your out of pock­et expenses.

    When you are pre­pared to speak with your Pri­ma­ry Care Physi­cian (PCP), you can set the agen­da for your appoint­ment so that you get all your ques­tions answered as well as your PCP’s ques­tions. Here are some tips for a suc­cess­ful annu­al phys­i­cal exam:

    • Bring a list of med­ica­tions you are cur­rent­ly taking—You may even take pic­tures of the bot­tles so they can see the strength and how many.
    • Have a list of any symp­toms you are hav­ing ready to discuss.
    • Bring the results of any rel­e­vant surg­eries, tests, and med­ical procedures
    • Share a list of the names and num­bers of your oth­er doc­tors that you see on a reg­u­lar basis.
    • If you have an implant­ed device (insulin pump, spinal cord stim­u­la­tor, etc) bring the device card with you.
    • Bring a list of ques­tions! Doc­tors want well informed patients leav­ing their office. Here are some sam­ple ques­tions you may want to ask: 
      • What vac­cines do I need?
      • What health screen­ings do I need?
      • What lifestyle changes do I need to make?
      • Am I on the right medications?

    Becom­ing a well-informed patient who fol­lows through on going to their annu­al exam as well as fol­lows the advice giv­en to them from their physi­cian after ask­ing good ques­tions, will not only save your bud­get, but it can save your life!

     

     

     

  • How an Employee Benefits Administration Offers Value in Marin County Offices

    February 16, 2018

    Per­haps the most impor­tant con­sid­er­a­tion when choos­ing a new employ­ee is the val­ue the employ­ee will bring to the team. It’s no dif­fer­ent than when con­sid­er­ing ser­vice providers. And many are now dis­cov­er­ing the unique val­ue that hav­ing on-call employ­ee ben­e­fits admin­is­tra­tion can bring to their Marin Coun­ty offices. In this lat­est post, we’ll explain more.

    Sin­gle Point of Contact

    In some cas­es, com­pa­nies find them­selves deal­ing with a large cor­po­ra­tion when try­ing to hav­ing their ben­e­fits and employ­ee insur­ance ques­tions answered. This can be dif­fi­cult when team mem­bers need answers to ques­tions on short notice. Hav­ing one point of con­tact through a ben­e­fits con­sul­tant can mit­i­gate this prob­lem. Team mem­bers can sim­ply call their employ­ee ben­e­fits admin­is­tra­tor and to get infor­ma­tion quick­ly to make informed choic­es about their ben­e­fits options.

    Sig­nif­i­cant Knowl­edge Regard­ing Benefits

    An employ­ee ben­e­fits admin­is­tra­tor is also like­ly to have great knowl­edge on the ben­e­fits options avail­able to their clients. And this means they can help com­pa­nies select cus­tomized ben­e­fit pack­ages that suit each mem­ber of their staff with pre­ci­sion. When staff mem­bers feel appre­ci­at­ed by hav­ing a cus­tom plan built pre­cise­ly for them, they can then work more pro­duc­tive­ly, help­ing the com­pa­ny suc­ceed in the long-term.

    Ongo­ing Training

    Marin Coun­ty employ­ee ben­e­fits admin­is­tra­tion pro­fes­sion­als receive ongo­ing indus­try train­ing as part of their job. And this means that if there are any changes to the indus­try in terms of new leg­is­la­tion, they can help the orga­ni­za­tion respond to these changes. With new train­ing tak­ing place reg­u­lar­ly, admin­is­tra­tion experts will also be able to imple­ment new tech­nol­o­gy with­in the indus­try, there­by help­ing the com­pa­ny man­age their ben­e­fits pack­ages more effi­cient­ly, and reduc­ing the cost of admin­is­tra­tion significantly.

    When choos­ing an employ­ee ben­e­fits admin­is­tra­tion spe­cial­ist, Marin Coun­ty busi­ness lead­ers must select a ben­e­fits con­sul­tant with expe­ri­ence and exper­tise in all areas of the mar­ket­place. It’s why so many are now turn­ing to our team at Arrow Ben­e­fits Group when they need guid­ance on cov­er­age options. Experts with decades of expe­ri­ence are stand­ing by to answer your ques­tions. Talk to an expert today by call­ing at (707) 992‑3780.

     

     

  • Federal Employment Law Update – February 2018 | Petaluma Benefit Brokers

    February 16, 2018

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    IRS Releases Publication 15 and W‑4 Withholding Guidance for 2018

    On Jan­u­ary 31, 2018, the fed­er­al Inter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice (IRS) released Pub­li­ca­tion 15 — Intro­duc­to­ry Mate­r­i­al, which includes the following:

    • 2018 fed­er­al income tax with­hold­ing tables.
    • Exempt Form W‑4.
    • New infor­ma­tion on: 
      • With­hold­ing allowance.
      • With­hold­ing on sup­ple­men­tal wages.
      • Back­up withholding.
      • Mov­ing expense reimbursement.
      • Social Secu­ri­ty and Medicare tax for 2018.
      • Dis­as­ter tax relief.

    Read Pub­li­ca­tion 15 and fur­ther details here.

    EEOC Penalty Increases for Failure to Post Required Notices

    On Jan­u­ary 18, 2018, the U.S. Equal Employ­ment Oppor­tu­ni­ty Com­mis­sion (EEOC) released a final rule increas­ing the penal­ty amount from $534 to $545 for vio­la­tions of Title VII of the Civ­il Rights Act (Title VII), the Amer­i­cans with Dis­abil­i­ties Act (ADA), and the Genet­ic Infor­ma­tion Nondis­crim­i­na­tion Act (GINA) notice post­ing requirements.

    The final rule is effec­tive Feb­ru­ary 20, 2018.

    Read the rule

    Orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished by www.ThinkHR.com

  • 2018 W‑4 Forms Won’t Be Released Until Late February | CA Employee Benefit Brokers

    February 14, 2018

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    If you’ve been get­ting ques­tions from your employ­ees about com­plet­ing new 2018 W‑4 forms to take advan­tage of the tax reform rules, we’ve final­ly received some answers. You can con­tin­ue to rely on the cur­rent W‑4 forms for now until the new 2018 form is released in late February.

    The Jan­u­ary 29th Inter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice (IRS) Notice 2018–14 pro­vides addi­tion­al guid­ance on the income with­hold­ing rules that were changed under the recent­ly passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The guidance:

    • Extends the effec­tive peri­od of Forms W‑4 fur­nished to claim exemp­tion from with­hold­ing for 2017 until Feb­ru­ary 28, 2018.
    • Per­mits employ­ees to claim exemp­tion from with­hold­ing for 2018 by tem­porar­i­ly using the 2017 Form W‑4. This pro­ce­dure will expire 30 days after the 2018 Form W‑4 is released.
    • States that employ­ees expe­ri­enc­ing a change in sta­tus that caus­es a reduc­tion in the num­ber of with­hold­ing exemp­tions are not required to fur­nish employ­ers with new with­hold­ing cer­tifi­cates until 30 days after the 2018 Form W‑4 is released.
    • Pro­vides that employ­ees who have a reduc­tion in the num­ber of with­hold­ing allowances sole­ly due to changes made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act are not required to fur­nish employ­ers with new with­hold­ing cer­tifi­cates dur­ing 2018. How­ev­er, employ­ees may choose to update their with­hold­ing at any time in response to the act. Employ­ees who choose to update their with­hold­ing may use the 2017 Form W‑4 instead of the 2018 Form W‑4 to report changes in with­hold­ing allowances until 30 days after the 2018 Form W‑4 is released.
    • Con­firms that the option­al with­hold­ing rate on sup­ple­men­tal wage pay­ments is 22 per­cent for 2018 through 2025.
    • Spec­i­fies that, for 2018, with­hold­ing under IRC 3405(a)(4) on peri­od­ic pay­ments when no with­hold­ing cer­tifi­cate is in effect will be based on treat­ing the pay­ee as a mar­ried indi­vid­ual claim­ing three with­hold­ing allowances.

    In addi­tion to the guid­ance, the IRS also released a new Pub­li­ca­tion 15, (Cir­cu­lar E), Employ­er Tax Guide, for 2018. Pub­li­ca­tion 15 includes the 2018 with­hold­ing tables and explains an employer’s tax respon­si­bil­i­ties, such as with­hold­ing, deposit­ing, report­ing, pay­ing, and cor­rect­ing employ­ment taxes.

    ThinkHR will con­tin­ue to fol­low devel­op­ments in this area and report on the avail­abil­i­ty of the new 2018 W‑4 Form and oth­er IRS guid­ance as it becomes available.

    By Rick Montgomery

    Orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished by www.ThinkHR.com

  • Benefits Easy: Intro to Self-Funding | Petaluma Benefit Advisors

    February 9, 2018

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    As the first month of 2018 wraps up, com­pa­nies have already begun the ardu­ous task of sub­mit­ting bud­gets and find­ing ways to cut costs for the new year. One of the most effec­tive ways to com­bat increas­ing health care costs for com­pa­nies is to move to a Self-Fund­ed insur­ance plan. By pay­ing for claims out-of-pock­et instead of pay­ing a pre­mi­um to an insur­ance car­ri­er, com­pa­nies can save around 20% in admin­is­tra­tion costs and state tax­es. That’s quite a cost savings!

    The top­ic of Self-Fund­ing is huge and so we want to break it down into small­er bites for you to digest. This month we want to tack­le a basic intro­duc­tion to Self-Fund­ing and in the com­ing months, we will cov­er the ben­e­fits, risks, and the stop-loss asso­ci­at­ed with this type of plan.

    THE BASICS

    • When the employ­er assumes the finan­cial risk for pro­vid­ing health care ben­e­fits to its employ­ees, this is called Self-Funding.
    • Self-Fund­ed plans allow the employ­er to tai­lor the ben­e­fits plan design to best suit their employ­ees. Employ­ers can look at the demo­graph­ics of their work­force and decide which ben­e­fits would be most uti­lized as well as cut ben­e­fits that are fore­cast­ed to be underutilized.
    • While pre­vi­ous­ly most used by large com­pa­nies, small and mid-sized com­pa­nies, even with as few as 25 employ­ees, are see­ing cost ben­e­fits to mov­ing to Self-Fund­ed insur­ance plans.
    • Com­pa­nies pay no state pre­mi­um tax­es on self-fund­ed expen­di­tures. This sav­ings is around 1.5% — 3.5% depend­ing on in which state the com­pa­ny operates.
    • Since employ­ers are pay­ing for claims, they have access to claims data. While keep­ing with­in HIPAA pri­va­cy guide­lines, the employ­er can iden­ti­fy and reach out to employ­ees with cer­tain at-risk con­di­tions (dia­betes, heart dis­ease, stroke) and offer assis­tance with com­bat­ing these health con­cerns. This also allows greater pop­u­la­tion-wide health inter­ven­tion like weight loss pro­grams and smok­ing ces­sa­tion assistance.
    • Com­pa­nies typ­i­cal­ly hire third-par­ty admin­is­tra­tors (TPA) to help design and admin­is­ter the insur­ance plans. This allows greater con­trol of the plan ben­e­fits and claims pay­ments for the company.

    As you can see, Self-Fund­ing has many facets. It’s impor­tant to gath­er as much infor­ma­tion as you can and weigh the ben­e­fits and risks of mov­ing from a Ful­ly-Fund­ed plan for your com­pa­ny to a Self-Fund­ed one. Doing your research and mak­ing the move to a Self-Fund­ed plan could help you gain greater con­trol over your health­care costs and allow you to design an orig­i­nal plan that best fits your employees.

     

     

  • How the Role of a Napa County Employee Benefits Broker Has Evolved

    February 8, 2018

    Ben­e­fits bro­kers are now tasked with guid­ing com­pa­nies on their poten­tial ben­e­fit options and work­ing with employ­ees to deter­mine the qual­i­ty of the options avail­able. But the role of Napa Coun­ty employ­ee ben­e­fits bro­ker has evolved con­sid­er­ably over time. And in this lat­est post, we’ll look more into how the role has evolved, from decades ago to the cur­rent industry.

    The Role in the Past

    In past decade, the role of a Napa Coun­ty employ­ee ben­e­fits bro­ker looked very dif­fer­ent to how it looks now. The impor­tant ele­ment to note is that there were many more bro­kers in the past, with more options for com­pa­nies to select from. The pri­ma­ry roles of the bro­ker at the time included:

    • Con­sult­ing on issues relat­ed to HIPAA, COBRA and the FSA.
    • Act­ing on insur­ance trans­ac­tions to con­nect com­pa­nies and insurers
    • Han­dling billing issues such as unpaid claims and incor­rect bills
    • Nego­ti­at­ing with the car­ri­ers for their clients and mar­ket­ing work

    The New Envi­ron­ment for the Broker

    The con­sol­i­da­tion of the bro­ker­age mar­ket­place means that the broker’s role with­in the indus­try has changed sig­nif­i­cant­ly, even from just 10-to-15 years ago. Their new role encom­pass­es a range of ele­ments of the trade. Bro­kers are now con­sid­ered to be experts in var­i­ous areas of the insur­ance mar­ket­place. For exam­ple, to become an employ­ee ben­e­fits bro­ker in Napa Coun­ty, you must have a clear under­stand­ing of the following:

    • Com­pli­ance law
    • Insur­ance technology
    • Well­ness data and programs
    • Cost man­age­ment
    • Net­work­ing
    • Pub­lic speaking
    • Employ­ee engagement
    • Client reten­tion
    • Cus­tomer service

    In many ways, the Napa ben­e­fits con­sul­tant of the past has become the busi­ness con­sul­tant. They’re there to help com­pa­nies move for­ward in meet­ing the needs of employ­ees while main­tain­ing a com­mit­ment to the lat­est reg­u­la­tions and their bud­getary require­ments. Our team here at Arrow Ben­e­fits Group has wit­nessed this change in the mar­ket­place as ben­e­fit bro­kers, and we’re now offer­ing an expert-led ser­vice to help you get a full return on invest­ment from your bro­ker. To learn more about our employ­ee ben­e­fits ser­vices, call today.

  • Court Modifies Order Regarding EEOC Wellness Rules | CA Benefit Advisors

    February 2, 2018

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    In August 2017, the Unit­ed States Dis­trict Court for the Dis­trict of Colum­bia held that the U.S. Equal Employ­ment Oppor­tu­ni­ty Com­mis­sion (EEOC) failed to pro­vide a rea­soned expla­na­tion for its deci­sion to adopt 30 per­cent incen­tive lev­els for employ­er-spon­sored well­ness pro­grams under both the Amer­i­cans with Dis­abil­i­ties Act (ADA) rules and Genet­ic Infor­ma­tion Nondis­crim­i­na­tion Act (GINA) rules.

    At that time, the court declined to vacate the EEOC’s rules because of the sig­nif­i­cant dis­rup­tive effect it would have. How­ev­er, the court remand­ed the rules to the EEOC for reconsideration.

    In Sep­tem­ber 2017, the EEOC filed a sta­tus report indi­cat­ing its sched­ule to com­ply with the court order, includ­ing issu­ing a pro­posed rule by August 2018 and a final rule by Octo­ber 2019. It stat­ed that it did not expect to require employ­ers to com­ply with a new rule before 2021.

    In Decem­ber 2017, the court found the EEOC’s process of not gen­er­at­ing applic­a­ble rules until 2021 to be unac­cept­able. Instead, the court deter­mined that one year was ample time for employ­ers to adjust to new EEOC rules. The court vacat­ed the EEOC rules under the ADA and GINA effec­tive Jan­u­ary 1, 2019, and ordered the EEOC to pro­mul­gate any new pro­posed rules by August 31, 2018.

    In Jan­u­ary 2018, the EEOC asked the court to recon­sid­er the por­tion of the court’s order that required the EEOC to pro­mul­gate new pro­posed rules by August 31, 2018. The court vacat­ed that por­tion of its order. The court’s order to vacate the por­tions of the EEOC’s well­ness rules under the ADA and GINA as of Jan­u­ary 1, 2019, remains.

    Cur­rent and Upcom­ing Impact on Employ­er Well­ness Plans

    • Employ­ers are still sub­ject to the EEOC’s well­ness rules, includ­ing the incen­tive lim­its, through 2018.
    • If the EEOC does not pro­mul­gate new rules by the end of 2018, then the EEOC’s incen­tive lim­it rules will not apply to employ­ers’ well­ness pro­grams start­ing on Jan­u­ary 1, 2019. Employ­ers would only be sub­ject to HIPAA’s more lenient incen­tive limits.

    Orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished by www.UBABenefits.com

  • New Tax Breaks for Health Plans | Petaluma Benefits Broker

    January 26, 2018

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    Last week’s dra­ma that shut down the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, then un-shut it three days lat­er, was set­tled when agree­ment was reached on a Con­tin­u­ing Resolution. Includ­ed in the res­o­lu­tion are three tax breaks of par­tic­u­lar inter­est to employ­ers that offer group health cov­er­age to their workers.

    Cadillac Tax: Delayed until 2022

    The Afford­able Care Act (ACA) impos­es a 40 per­cent excise tax on the val­ue of employ­er-pro­vid­ed health cov­er­age exceed­ing cer­tain thresh­olds. This so-called Cadil­lac tax was sched­uled to take effect in 2020 but now is delayed until 2022.

    Efforts to repeal the Cadil­lac tax are expect­ed to con­tin­ue. It orig­i­nal­ly had been sched­uled to take effect in 2018, then was delayed to 2020. This addi­tion­al two-year delay, to 2022, pro­vides fur­ther relief to employ­ers while giv­ing Con­gress time to con­sid­er per­ma­nent action.

    Health Insurance Providers (HIP) Fee: Suspended for 2019

    Start­ing in 2014, the ACA has imposed an annu­al fee on cer­tain health insur­ers that gen­er­al­ly is passed on to their pol­i­cy­hold­ers. It affects insured plans, includ­ing med­ical, den­tal, and vision insur­ance, but does not apply to self-fund­ed plans. Most advi­sors esti­mate the cur­rent fee impacts health insur­ance costs by 3 to 4 percent.

    The HIP fee was sus­pend­ed for 2017, then resumed for 2018. Last week’s res­o­lu­tion will pro­vide anoth­er one-year mora­to­ri­um: the fee is sus­pend­ed for 2019.

    Medical Device Tax: Suspended for 2018 and 2019

    The ACA added a 2.3 per­cent excise tax on the sale of med­ical device prod­ucts, start­ing in 2013. It was sus­pend­ed for 2016 and 2017, then sched­uled to resume for 2018. Ana­lysts cite the tax as one fac­tor in increased health care expens­es that are passed on to health insur­ers and employers.

    The new res­o­lu­tion sus­pends the med­ical device tax retroac­tive­ly for 2018 and 2019.

    ThinkHR con­tin­u­al­ly mon­i­tors leg­isla­tive and reg­u­la­to­ry changes that affect employ­ers and their ben­e­fit offerings.

    Orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished by www.ThinkHR.com

  • California Employment Law Update – January 2018 | CA Benefit Advisors

    January 24, 2018

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    Workplace Discrimination Poster Updated

    In Novem­ber 2017, the Cal­i­for­nia Divi­sion of Labor and Employ­ment updat­ed its work­place dis­crim­i­na­tion poster, Cal­i­for­nia Law Pro­hibits Work­place Dis­crim­i­na­tion and Harass­ment, to include the new super­vi­sor train­ing require­ments to pre­vent sex­u­al harass­ment and a revi­sion date of Novem­ber 2017. All employ­ers must con­spic­u­ous­ly post this doc­u­ment in hir­ing offices, on employ­ee bul­letin boards, in employ­ment agency wait­ing rooms, union halls, and oth­er places employ­ees gath­er. Any employ­er whose work­force at any facil­i­ty or estab­lish­ment con­sists of more than 10 per­cent of non-Eng­lish speak­ing per­sons must also post this notice in the appro­pri­ate lan­guage or languages.

    Down­load the poster

    Oakland Minimum Wage Poster Updated

    The City of Oak­land updat­ed its offi­cial notice for the city’s min­i­mum wage. Begin­ning Jan­u­ary 1, 2018, employ­ees who per­form at least two hours of work per work­week and with­in the geo­graph­ic lim­its of the city must be paid a min­i­mum wage of at least $13.23 per hour.

    Down­load the poster

    Orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished by www.ThinkHR.com

  • Why Offer Employee Health Insurance Benefits to Your Team?

    January 16, 2018

    Health insur­ance can help your employ­ees to remain pro­tect­ed over the com­ing years. It’s a con­sid­er­a­tion that many grow­ing busi­ness own­ers will have to make in the future. Should you offer your employ­ee health insur­ance ben­e­fits? We’ll explain the impor­tance of health insur­ance in this lat­est post.

    The Process is Simple

    One of the main rea­sons many com­pa­nies don’t offer employ­ee health insur­ance ben­e­fits is that lead­ers think the selec­tion process is com­plex. But by work­ing with a ben­e­fits bro­ker, they can learn more about the mar­ket­place, and ensure they sim­ply select the best option avail­able. The process doesn’t have to take a con­sid­er­able amount of time.

    Hap­py Employ­ees are More Productive

    The stud­ies show that hap­pi­er employ­ees pro­vide a bet­ter return for their com­pa­ny. And health insur­ance ben­e­fits are a great way to make an employ­ee hap­py. By offer­ing your team health insur­ance options through an employ­ee ben­e­fits bro­ker, you can show them that you val­ue their input and that they are a key ele­ment with­in your orga­ni­za­tion. This can ensure that your best team lead­ers are retained and moti­vat­ed with­in their job.

    It Can Reduce the Cost for the Employee

    Both the employ­ee and employ­er can save mon­ey when buy­ing group health insur­ance. Indi­vid­ual health insur­ance is pur­chased through after-tax dol­lars, while group insur­ance is offered with pre-tax dol­lars through a busi­ness cost. And this means that all mem­bers of the group save mon­ey on their cov­er­age needs. For busi­ness lead­ers look­ing to the pri­vate insur­ance mar­ket­place, this can be the ide­al way to reduce expenditures.

    Group Insur­ance Presents Wider Access

    Rather than rely­ing on pri­vate insur­ance plans with only selec­tive access, employ­ees can turn to group insur­ance through their com­pa­ny for a wider range of cov­er­age options. Group options often come with access to bet­ter hos­pi­tals and high­er qual­i­ty treat­ment. It’s the type of ser­vice your employ­ees deserve.

    Our team at Arrow Ben­e­fits is here to explain your full range of health insur­ance options as a trust­ed employ­ee ben­e­fits bro­ker. To dis­cov­er more about the indus­try and our ser­vices, call us today.

  • Oral Health = Overall Health | California Benefit Advisors

    January 12, 2018

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    Have you heard the say­ing “the eyes are the win­dow to your soul”? Well, did you know that your mouth is the win­dow into what is going on with the rest of your body? Poor den­tal health con­tributes to major sys­temic health prob­lems. Con­verse­ly, good den­tal hygiene can help improve your over­all health.  As a bonus, main­tain­ing good oral health can even REDUCE your health­care costs!

    Researchers have shown us that there is a close-knit rela­tion­ship between oral health and over­all well­ness. With over 500 types of bac­te­ria in your mouth, it’s no sur­prise that when even one of those types of bac­te­ria enter your blood­stream that a prob­lem can arise in your body. Oral bac­te­ria can con­tribute to:

    1. Endocarditis—This infec­tion of the inner lin­ing of the heart can be caused by bac­te­ria that start­ed in your mouth.
    2. Car­dio­vas­cu­lar Disease—Heart dis­ease as well as clogged arter­ies and even stroke can be traced back to oral bacteria.
    3. Low birth weight—Poor oral health has been linked to pre­ma­ture birth and low birth weight of newborns.

    The health­care costs for the dis­eases and con­di­tions, like the ones list­ed above, can be in the tens of thou­sands of dol­lars. Untreat­ed oral dis­eases can result in the need for cost­ly emer­gency room vis­its, hos­pi­tal stays, and med­ica­tions, not to men­tion loss of work time. The pain and dis­com­fort from infect­ed teeth and gums can lead to poor pro­duc­tiv­i­ty in the work­place, and even loss of income. Chil­dren with poor oral health miss school, are more prone to ill­ness, and may require a par­ent to stay home from work to care for them and take them to cost­ly den­tal appointments.

    So, how do you pre­vent this night­mare of pain, dis­ease, and increased health­care costs? It’s sim­ple! By fol­low­ing through with your rou­tine year­ly den­tal check ups and dai­ly pre­ven­ta­tive care you will give your body a big boost in its gen­er­al health. Check out these tips for a healthy mouth:

    • Main­tain a reg­u­lar brushing/flossing routine—Brush and floss teeth twice dai­ly to remove food and plaque from your teeth, and in between your teeth where bac­te­ria thrive.
    • Use the right toothbrush—When your bris­tles are mashed and bent, you aren’t using the best instru­ment for clean­ing your teeth. Make sure to buy a new tooth­brush every three months. If you have braces, get a tooth­brush that can eas­i­ly clean around the brack­ets on your teeth.
    • Vis­it your dentist—Depending on your health­care plan, vis­it your den­tist for a check-up at least once a year. He/she will be able to look into that win­dow to your body and keep your mouth clear of bac­te­ria. Your den­tist will also be able to alert you to prob­lems they see as a pos­si­ble warn­ing sign to oth­er health issues, like dia­betes, that have a major impact on your over­all health and health­care costs.
    • Eat a healthy diet—Staying away from sug­ary foods and drinks will pre­vent cav­i­ties and tooth decay from the acids pro­duced when bac­te­ria in your mouth comes in con­tact with sug­ar. Starch­es have a sim­i­lar effect. Eat­ing healthy will reduce your out of pock­et costs of fill­ings, hav­ing decayed teeth pulled, and will keep you from the increased health costs of dia­betes, obe­si­ty-relat­ed dis­eases, and oth­er chron­ic conditions.

    There’s truth in the say­ing “take care of your teeth and they will take care of you”.  By instill­ing some of the these tips for a health­i­er mouth, not only will your gums and teeth be thank­ing you, but you may just be adding years to your life.

  • Ask the Experts: Employee Claims to Not Receive Message of Office Closure | CA Benefit Advisor

    January 9, 2018

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    Ques­tion: We are a Cal­i­for­nia employ­er. If we noti­fy a nonex­empt employ­ee of a dis­as­ter-relat­ed clo­sure via voice mail, text, or email, and they show up say­ing they nev­er got the mes­sage, do we still owe them the half-day pay?

    Answer: The answer depends upon how the com­pa­ny man­ages its noti­fi­ca­tion process. If the com­pa­ny has com­mu­ni­cat­ed to all employ­ees the method that will be used for noti­fy­ing employ­ees of work­place clo­sures, rein­forces that pol­i­cy pri­or to or dur­ing weath­er events, and can ver­i­fy that the mes­sage was sent and received by the employ­ee, then the employ­er would not be liable for the show-up pay.

    As a best prac­tice, we rec­om­mend ask­ing employ­ees to respond to the voice­mail, text, or email acknowl­edg­ing that they have received the mes­sage. Oth­er­wise, espe­cial­ly with weath­er emer­gen­cies where pow­er, inter­net, or phone ser­vice may be inter­rupt­ed, the employee’s claims of not get­ting the mes­sage may in fact be true. Con­sult with coun­sel pri­or to deny­ing show-up pay if you can­not prove that the mes­sage was received. Pay­ing the employ­ee a few hours of pay costs far less than respond­ing to a state agency if a wage com­plaint is filed.

    Orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished by www.ThinkHR.com

  • What is a Benefits Consultant?

    January 8, 2018

    By under­stand­ing more about the ben­e­fits options avail­able, com­pa­nies can choose the right plans for their teams. And this is the rea­son many are now turn­ing to ben­e­fits con­sul­tant for guid­ance about the mar­ket options. In this lat­est post, our team explains the role of a ben­e­fits consultant.

    Using Lat­est Data to Explain Options

    One of the biggest advan­tages of work­ing with employ­ee ben­e­fit con­sul­tants is that they can use the lat­est tools to pro­vide a clear under­stand­ing of the lat­est options. They research the mar­ket reg­u­lar­ly to pro­vide clients with a com­pre­hen­sive selec­tion of infor­ma­tion on ben­e­fits pro­grams and new options sup­port­ed by the lead­ing firms.

    Inde­pen­dent from Insurers

    While ben­e­fits con­sul­tants have a full under­stand­ing of the mar­ket­place, they remain inde­pen­dent of insur­ance com­pa­nies to ensure they can pro­vide their clients with the best infor­ma­tion for their unique cov­er­age needs. They take an unbi­ased approach to the process so that cus­tomers have the infor­ma­tion they need to make an effec­tive decision.

    Advise on Oth­er Companies

    Employ­ee ben­e­fit con­sul­tants can also advise their clients on what oth­er com­pa­nies are doing in terms of their ben­e­fits plans. This can ensure that the orga­ni­za­tion remains com­pet­i­tive with­in their indus­try and is able to respond to the needs of their employ­ees when new ben­e­fits options arise with­in the marketplace.

    Analy­sis of the Business

    An impor­tant ele­ment of the work com­plet­ed by ben­e­fits con­sul­tants is their work ana­lyz­ing the client busi­ness to deter­mine their needs. For exam­ple, they work with employ­ees to pro­vide them the infor­ma­tion they need to make an informed deci­sion on their plans. They also work with the com­pa­ny own­ers direct­ly to learn more about their bud­get and their growth plans for the com­ing years. This helps them to devise a bud­get for the ben­e­fits pack­age and ensures that com­pa­nies don’t waste mon­ey on cov­er­age options that are not suit­able for their organization.

    Work­ing with a ben­e­fits con­sul­tant can help save thou­sands of dol­lars for your com­pa­ny in the com­ing years. To learn more about the role of a ben­e­fits con­sul­tant in the cur­rent mar­ket­place, call our team today.

  • New Year, New Penalties | CA Benefit Advisors

    January 5, 2018

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    Department of Labor Publishes Updated Penalties for OSHA Violations

    On Jan­u­ary 2, 2018, the U.S. Depart­ment of Labor (DOL) pub­lished updat­ed, infla­tion-adjust­ed penal­ties for vio­la­tions of var­i­ous laws reg­u­lat­ed by the DOL and its inter­nal com­po­nents or divi­sions, includ­ing the Occu­pa­tion­al Health and Safe­ty Admin­is­tra­tion (OSHA). The DOL is required to adjust the lev­el of civ­il mon­e­tary penal­ties for infla­tion by Jan­u­ary 15 each year pur­suant to the Fed­er­al Civ­il Penal­ties Infla­tion Adjust­ment Act of 1990, as amend­ed by the Fed­er­al Civ­il Penal­ties Infla­tion Adjust­ment Act Improve­ments Act of 2015 (Infla­tion Adjust­ment Act).

    Because of the Infla­tion Adjust­ment Act, rates for OSHA penal­ties have increased three times in the last 17 months (August 1, 2016, Jan­u­ary 13, 2017, and Jan­u­ary 2, 2018). There­fore, for vio­la­tions occur­ring after Novem­ber 2, 2015, the penal­ty amounts incurred by employ­ers will depend on when the penal­ty is assessed, as follows:

    • If the penal­ty was assessed after August 1, 2016 but on or before Jan­u­ary 13, 2017, then the August 1, 2016 penal­ty lev­el applies.
    • If the penal­ty was assessed after Jan­u­ary 13, 2017 but on or before Jan­u­ary 2, 2018, then the Jan­u­ary 13, 2017 penal­ty lev­el applies.
    • If the penal­ty was assessed after Jan­u­ary 2, 2018, then the cur­rent penal­ty lev­el applies.

    The applic­a­ble Jan­u­ary 2, 2018 penal­ty lev­els for vio­la­tions of the Occu­pa­tion­al Safe­ty and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) are as follows:

    • Will­ful vio­la­tions: $9,239 – 129,936 (up from $9,054 – $126,749 after Jan­u­ary 13, 2017 and $8,908 – $124,709 after August 1, 2016)
    • Repeat­ed vio­la­tions: $129,936 (up from $126,749 after Jan­u­ary 13, 2017 and $124,709 after August 1, 2016)
    • Seri­ous vio­la­tions: $12,934 (up from $12,675 after Jan­u­ary 13, 2017 and $12,471 after August 1, 2016)
    • Oth­er-than-seri­ous vio­la­tions: $12,934 (up from $12,675 after Jan­u­ary 13, 2017 and $12,471 after August 1, 2016)
    • Fail­ure to cor­rect vio­la­tions: $12,934 (up from $12,675 after Jan­u­ary 13, 2017 and $12,471 after August 1, 2016)
    • Post­ing require­ment vio­la­tions: $12,934 (up from $12,675 after Jan­u­ary 13, 2017 and $12,471 after August 1, 2016)

    These increas­es apply to states with fed­er­al OSHA pro­grams and states with OSHA-approved state plans. Vio­la­tions occur­ring on or before Novem­ber 2, 2015 are assessed at pre-August 1, 2016 levels.

    Employ­ers are encour­aged to famil­iar­ize them­selves with these increased penal­ties and con­sult coun­sel if they have ques­tions about the penal­ty lev­el applic­a­ble to a poten­tial violation.

    By Nicole Quinn-Gato

    Orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished by www.ThinkHR.com

  • Why Hire Benefit Consulting Firms?

    January 2, 2018

    Ben­e­fit con­sult­ing firms are now being used by com­pa­nies across the coun­try to help pro­vide a guide on ben­e­fits options. But it’s impor­tant to learn more about the val­ue of these orga­ni­za­tions before part­ner­ing with a con­sult­ing firm direct­ly. Our team has knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence in this area of the mar­ket­place, and in this lat­est post, we’re high­light­ing the impor­tance of ben­e­fit con­sult­ing firms.

    Pro­vid­ing Insight on Ben­e­fit Options

    One of the more dif­fi­cult chal­lenges for grow­ing busi­ness­es is hav­ing to choose a ben­e­fits pack­age specif­i­cal­ly for their orga­ni­za­tion. Ben­e­fits con­sult­ing firms have expe­ri­ence work­ing with the insur­ance com­pa­nies on ben­e­fits pack­ages. They can review the lat­est options for their client and help them to pin­point a plan that best suits their orga­ni­za­tion and their employ­ees. They iden­ti­fy the best plans by review­ing the com­pa­ny bud­get and employ­ee require­ments and then mak­ing a selec­tion based on the data available.

    Man­age­ment of Ben­e­fits Technology

    The lat­est tech­nol­o­gy for the admin­is­tra­tion of employ­ee ben­e­fits pack­ages can be com­plex for small busi­ness­es to run on-site. Many turn to con­sult­ing com­pa­nies for the man­age­ment of their plans.  The man­age­ment process can be com­plet­ed by a spe­cial­ist with years of expe­ri­ence in the tech­nol­o­gy, and this means that any errors can be reduced and ques­tions that employ­ees have can be answered. Main­tain­ing full con­trol of HR sys­tems also means that com­pa­nies can respond quick­ly to any changes with­in their team to ensure that their ben­e­fits pack­ages con­tin­u­al­ly pro­vide the best value.

    Stream­lin­ing Plan Harmonization 

    When busi­ness­es grow they often require dif­fer­ent employ­ee ben­e­fits pack­ages. They must grow to meet the demands of employ­ees that have been with the com­pa­ny sev­er­al years. Ben­e­fits con­sult­ing firms can offer a guide on scal­ing plans to the size of the busi­ness. They can help keep costs under con­trol while pro­vid­ing the opti­mal lev­el of cov­er­age to their client’s staff.

    Our team at Arrow Ben­e­fits is here to help you choose the best ben­e­fits plan for your orga­ni­za­tion. To dis­cov­er more about the options avail­able, call us today!

  • 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

    Tags: ,

    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

    Tags: , ,

     

    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

    Tags:

    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

    Tags: ,

    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

    Tags: , ,

    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

    Tags: , ,

    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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