While the Trump administration has eased off a number of regulations and enforcement actions during the past two years, Fed-OSHA continues focusing on the safety of temporary workers as much as it did under the Obama presidency.
This puts the onus not only on the agencies that provide the temp workers, but also on the companies that contract with them for the workers.
On December 19, 2018, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued proposed regulations to rescind the requirement that employers and plan sponsors obtain and use a unique health plan identifier (HPID).
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) required HHS to adopt a standard unique health plan identifier, to standardize the electronic transmission of certain health information. The goal of the requirement was to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the healthcare system and to decrease the clerical burden on patients, providers, and health plans.
A company’s retirement plan is often the first place many U.S. workers go for financial advice. According to a study by T. Rowe Price, the top three financial objectives for workers are:
The results of the study show how much value employees put on their retirement plans and how active they really are in trying to secure a sound financial future for themselves. With the stresses of rising costs, particularly health care expenses, many workers are having trouble managing their regular finances as well.
Offering both a 401(k) plan as well as some financial wellness services as part of your voluntary benefits package can go a long way to helping them employees become better stewards of their finances.
More and more employers are being overwhelmed by all of the compliance requirements associated with managing employee benefits.
The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America's "Benefits Balancing Act" study found that 60% of employers are feeling overwhelmed with the increased complexity of managing their benefits programs. One of the main reasons for the additional burden is the Affordable Care Act, with its myriad of compliance and reporting requirements.
The large employer mandate and the documentation and new filing requirements with the IRS are high on the list of compliance issues, as are evolving Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and ERISA requirements.
Employers do all they can to keep their employees' health insurance and health care outlays to a minimum. And while most of the effort is focused on the upfront cost of insurance, copays and deductibles, employers are now trying to help their employees control the very costs they actually have the most control over - and one of those areas is prescription medication.
Helping employees become wise consumers of health services may also reduce overall insurance costs, as well as help employees conserve more of their own funds if they have high copays and deductibles.
The cost of drugs can vary greatly between pharmacies. And while your employees may have low copays for some drugs, if they go to the most expensive option when the insurance is covering the tab, it basically adds to the cost drivers for your insurance plan.
Having a medical condition doesn't automatically disqualify you from buying life insurance. While finding coverage can be more difficult than it is for others, individuals with challenging medical histories and even severe conditions can usually find at least some coverage.
Wearable medical devices such as the Fitbit are making increasing inroads into all aspects of life. Corporate wellness programs are embracing them as a way to encourage activity. In some cases, incentives may be provided to employees who meet certain activity and other health targets.
Insurance companies are also getting more interested in collecting biometric data from customers via wearable medical devices and other forms of monitoring. For example, John Hancock now offers "interactive" life insurance policies, under which customers can submit to optional fitness and activity tracking via wearable devices and smartphones.
Many employee benefits advisors have been recommending that employees with health savings accounts use them as savings vehicles that can be tapped for future medical care; however, studies show that most people are spending the bulk of the funds.
A new study by EBRI found that while more Americans are using Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) to save and pay for medical expenses, few are investing the funds, maxing out contributions, or otherwise using it as a retirement savings tool.
In short, many people are not taking full advantage of these plans. But all is not lost, an HSA education plan can help employees who have HSAs understand how to get the most out of them and also how to use them to prepare for the future when they will at some point need the money for medical procedures.
LMC Insurance and Risk Management (LMC Insurance) announced today the launch of a new health insurance solution that is underwritten by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield for Iowa-based employers with 51-500 eligible employees. The program, referred to as the Employer Coalition, will be available beginning Jan. 1, 2019. It will provide a more predictable insurance pool with features designed to stabilize costs long term, simplify administrative burdens and help employees better understand and utilize their benefits.
“Our goal is to create an innovative, new health insurance offering derived from the results of information shared from employers across the state of Iowa in our Midwest employer benchmarking survey, Share to Compare,” said Richard DeBartolo, Senior Vice President of LMC Insurance. “Today, employers in the fully insured market are asking for more influence in the decisions impacting their health insurance programs. Employers are looking at plans and technology designed to drive better consumerism.”
Health literacy refers to the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions. Health Literacy Month, observed each October, aims to close the gap that exists between the way healthcare is communicated and the ability of most people to understand the information.
According to the National Action to Plan to Improve Health Literacy, nearly 9 out of 10 adults don’t fully understand routine health information. People who have difficulty understanding how to prevent and manage their health are more likely to skip needed medical treatment, go to the emergency room more often, and tend to make mistakes with their medications.
While every effort has been taken in compiling this information to ensure that its contents are totally accurate, neither the publisher nor the author can accept liability for any inaccuracies or change circumstances of any information herein or for the consequences of any reliance placed upon it. This publication is distributed on the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional advice or services. Readers should always seek professional advice before entering into any commitments.
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