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Employee Benefits Compliance: A Business’s Checklist

Today’s environment requires keeping abreast of state and federal employee benefits regulations and maintaining compliance. This can be quite time-consuming and, if not done properly, can result in a lawsuit for your business. Legislation such as HIPAA, COBRA, USERRA, the Medicare Modernization Act and the Affordable Care Act have many HR departments working tirelessly to secure the management of these plans.  Affordable Care Act  The ACA defined who was an applicable large employer (ALE) as those with at least 50 full-time employees. Any qualified ALE must provide coverage that meets the ACA’s affordability standard for all full-time employees. This standard requires an employee’s contributions to the plan to not exceed a designated percentage of the employee’s household income for the taxable year. The ACA’s out-of-pocket maximum applies to all non-grandfathered group health plans, including self-insured health plans and insured plans. Non-grandfathered health plans must cover certain preventive health services without imposing cost-sharing requirements for services. Health plans have to adjust their first-dollar coverage of preventive care services based on the latest preventive care recommendations. Non-grandfathered group health plans and issuers that require designation of a participating primary care provider must permit each participant, beneficiary, and enrollee to designate any available participating primary care provider (including a pediatrician for children). COBRA  The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) applies to employers with 20 or more employees that sponsor group health plans. Plan administrators must provide an initial COBRA notice to new participants and certain dependents within 90 days after plan coverage begins. You may incorporate the initial COBRA notice into your plan. HIPAA  A group health plan must provide each eligible employee with a notice of his or her special enrollment rights under HIPAA. You must provide the notice at, or prior to, the time of enrollment.  The HIPAA Privacy Rule requires covered entities to provide a Notice of Privacy Practices to each individual who is the subject of protected health information. Health plans must send these Privacy Notices at certain times, such as new enrollees at the time of enrollment and at least once every three years, health plans must either redistribute the Privacy Notice or notify participants the Privacy Notice is available and explain how to obtain a copy. Group health plans that offer a health-contingent wellness program must furnish a HIPAA wellness program notice.  CHIPRA  Group health plans…
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Businesses with Benefits: Do You Know the Group Health Insurance Laws?

Group health insurance refers to a single policy typically issued to a business with employees, covering all eligible employees and sometimes their dependents. The rules are quite different for group coverage versus individual coverage, mostly because the insurer’s risk is calculated differently. With groups such as businesses, insurers determine a premium price based on risk factors balanced over the entire group, using general information on members of the group, such as age or gender. Health insurance is one of the most important benefits an employer can provide to attract and retain employees. Many candidates look at healthcare insurance as in deciding to accept an offer. Keep in mind, healthy employees makes for a healthy business. Where health insurance differs from other group benefits is that there are certain laws governing its implementation in the workplace. Do you know what’s legally required of your business? What’s Required? While there is no law requiring small business owners to provide health insurance, the Affordable Care Act has guidelines that business owners should be aware of. If you choose to offer coverage, there are regulations you will have to follow. Large companies (with 50 employees or more) may face penalties if they do not offer coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Some employers who offer coverage pay the full premium, while others require employees to pay a portion. When considering what portion of the premium to pay, employers should be aware that the Affordable Care Act offers small businesses tax credits to help offset the cost. Small businesses (with 2-50 full-time employees) are guaranteed group coverage should they choose to purchase it, regardless of the employees’ health status. Owners are generally counted as employees, so sole proprietorships with one employee usually fall into this category, as do partnerships without any employees. Typically, if an employer offers group health coverage to any full-time employees, the employer must offer coverage to all full-time employees. This applies to part-time employed as well. How Coverage Applies Coverage applies regardless of the medical condition of the employees. In other words, any eligible employee can’t be denied coverage based on previous medical problems, known as pre-existing conditions. Any dependents (spouses and children) of eligible employees are generally eligible for coverage under a group plan. Dependents cannot enroll for coverage unless the employee has enrolled. Under the Affordable Care Act, group…
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Employee Perks: Which Ones Work?

It should come as no surprise to learn that all employees desire some sort of perks from their jobs. From competitive salaries and vacation time to catered lunches and game rooms, there is no shortage of new perks that have been implemented nationwide. However, which ones reel in the qualified candidates and make them stay, and which ones aren’t as beneficial as you thought? In addition to protecting your business with a NY EPLI policy, consider the following perks. Remote work and flexible hours. “Empowering our employees with the ability to manage their own schedule and work remotely has been a huge advantage for us. By allowing them to self-manage, they feel more invested in getting the work done as efficiently as possible, something we weren’t achieving by making sure they were in their chairs by 9 a.m. For us, it’s about the work getting done on time, not about where or when it’s completed,” explains Kim Kaupe of ZinePak to Small Business Trends. Education. What better way to encourage your employees to learn new job-related skills and perfect their craft than by paying for their education? Encourage your employees to continue learning and invest in their knowledge, it will only help you in the long run. Annual trip. Exploring a new city once a year is a great bonding experience with your team. Not only will this provide a way for colleagues to get to know each other and build rapport, it will serve as a “thank you” for another year of hard work. 401k. A game room and a stocked fridge might be general perks for every day breaks, but a retirement plan can give your employees the peace of mind they need. Especially after the 2008 economic downturn, more and more employees are craving stability and financial responsibility from their employers. Plus, it will boost your company’s reputation, increase retention, and give you more bang for your buck. About AJ Benet Inc. Insurance Agency At AJ Benet Inc. Insurance Agency, we make sure that your New York Business Insurance policy includes more than the simple general liability and product liability. Our policies extend in cases where you underlying limits are exhausted. Our team of experts are willing to go the extra mile and not only protect your business but understand it. For more information, call us today at (914) 381-2040.

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What Benefits Matter the Most to Potential Employees?

When it comes to hiring new employees, you want to ensure that the best candidates choose your offer of employment over someone else’s. In order to do that you want to make sure you have the best NY Employee Benefits Package to offer potential employees. Understanding which benefits potential employees are looking for from a prospective employer can help you. In today’s society, benefits are almost more important to potential employees than the pay rate. Benefit packages generally include benefits like: health care, vacation time, pay raises, employee benefit, performance benefits, and retirement plans. The importance of each type of benefit varies between offered income, career level, gender, currently employed vs. un-employed prospects, as well as those with families vs. those without. Importance of benefits by: Income- Potential employees that are offered a lower income, tend to place a higher value on healthcare benefits. Coming in second is vacation time. Gender-Healthcare is placed in the number one position for benefits wanted by both males and females, however women generally rank vacation as their number two, while men place performance bonuses in that position. Employed vs. Un-Employed- While healthcare is ranked as most important in both categories, unemployed potential candidates are willing to take a more significant cut in salary to obtain healthcare benefits than currently employed potential candidates who are more likely to look at the pay raise benefit. Career Level- While all career levels generally agree on the ranking of each benefit type, entry level employees tend to place more concern on the health care benefits while mid level employees place greater importance on vacation time and top level managers and executives hold greater value in performance bonuses. Families- Candidates with families will place greater importance on benefits such as healthcare and childcare than candidates without families that tend to gravitate towards higher pay raise benefits. Knowing a little bit about your potential employees can help you to determine which employee benefits to offer them to work for you. At A.J. Benet Inc. We know that there are many things to consider when offering employee benefits to potential candidates. Call us today for information on how we can help you. 888.639.4560

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How to Improve Employee Engagement

Everyone knows that employees are at the heart of truly successful business. However, they can often be overlooked and keeping employees engaged can be a tough task. According to a Gallup poll only 30% of employed residents in the United States are engaged. True engagement can make a world of difference in the workplace when it comes to factors like productivity, customer ratings, profitability, and stabilizing turn-over rate. Taking care of your employees relies heavily on the right New York Employee Benefits Program. In addition to the right benefits program though, how can a business effectively get employees to engage? And where do you start? While everyone want to have a job or career they are passionate about, it’s up to those at the top to cultivate a place of success, trust, honesty, safety, and zeal in the workplace that will translate into real results, not only for the business but for those actively engaged employees. Putting the right type of managers in place can be crucial to your employees’ passion, successful and engagement. A successful manager realizes that their own success or failure hinges on the employees or team he oversees. Great managers look to empower their employees, not themselves, and can recognize the value in each individual, putting them in a position to succeed or motivating them in the best way that is conducive to both their job and their personality. However, managing employees is just one component of fostering greater employee engagement. When a business can not only provide a good work environment but also elevate employees’ quality of life through a comprehensive benefits package–then they are more like to be passionately engaged in their work, as well as create more productivity, leading profitability. Incentives within the job motivate employees, and the right benefits package also generates employees’ confidence that their company cares and values their contribution. From health insurance benefits including comprehensive coverage, voluntary benefits, wellness programs, and even small but meaningful incentives along the way create dynamic employee engagement—raising and sustaining a workplace filled with passion and positive results. Your business does not have to become a massive tech conglomerate to foster an environment of engagement. Set realistic engagement goals within your business and listen to employees’ voices and concerns. If you are looking to for ways to improve employee engagement in the greater New…
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Westchester Employee Benefits: What Candidates Look For In a Company

Westchester Employee Benefits: What Candidates Look For In a Company Business owners of large or medium sized companies will soon be required to offer health insurance to their employees, or face hefty penalties, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Though health insurance is a requirement, there is no law stating what other benefits, if any, you have to offer. However, benefits are arguably the strongest deciding factor there is for candidates looking for a new job, especially if they are trying to make a decision between two potential employers. Offering additional benefits is a good way for your company to attract and retain high quality workers. So what exactly do potential candidates look for? 401(k) Candidates want to know that they can roll over any vested benefits from their old plan at their previous employer. Not only can a 401(k) plan strengthen your business by attracting and retaining high-quality employees, but it can also help secure your own retirement. The administrative burden of implementing a program can be surprisingly minimal, and some 401(k) plans are web-based, which helps eliminate paperwork while offering 24/7 access to account management. Life and Disability Insurance Disability Insurance can help replace a portion of an employees’ income, should they become injured and unable to work. This is an obvious benefit for them, but can be advantageous for your business too. Offering this benefit can help cover overhead expenses in the event that an employee or business owner becomes totally disabled and unable to contribute to the company. It’s also a great way to recruit and retain candidates. PTO/ Vacation Time Offering Paid Time Off (PTO) or Vacation time makes your company more appealing to potential candidates. Employees are encouraged to take personal time for themselves, which could help improve their mental health and make them more productive when they are at work. PTO plans also help reduce the financial liability that you carry. These are just a few employee benefits that potential candidates might look for when considering where to work. Another benefit you might consider offering is a severance package, should the employee be terminated for any reason. At A.J. Benet, Inc., we understand how important it is to retain your high-performance employees and know that offering the right type of Employee Benefits can help with your business goals. We offer Group Short-Term and…
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How to Achieve an ROI with Employee Wellness Programs

How to Achieve an ROI with Employee Wellness Programs Employers want to see an ROI for all investments they make, and wellness and employee benefits programs are no exception. According to Healthcare Finance News, there are several reasons to invest into employee wellness programs. New research found that employers who measured the performance of their employee wellness and value-based healthcare programs show a positive ROI; a significant number of participants showed a savings of $3 or more for every dollar spent. The primary goal of course is reducing health costs. Employee Wellness plans focus on preventative methods that help participants lead healthy lifestyles that stave off dire illnesses before they ever start. Additional employee benefits include higher employee morale, increased productivity and reduced disability. “Without question, employers are beginning to understand the direct connection that wellness initiatives can have on both employee health and healthcare plan cost savings,” said Michael Wilson, International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, CEO, in a prepared statement Wellness programs provide obvious benefits to employees. They are also a great recruitment tool. They are a key provision in attracting employees and also help retention rates- many employees cite great benefit plans as reasons to stay with a company. Successful employee wellness programs are dependent upon employee participation. None of the benefits are realized until employees are actively engaged. The most successful employee wellness programs were ones that provided incentives for employees to participate. Nearly half used health insurance premium reductions as incentives for participating. The implementation of wellness programs has become more widespread among businesses throughout the country. Especially throughout the New York Tri-State area, many are realizing that healthy employees means happier, more productive individuals. Wellness programs are a way of achieving this goal for your New York business. A.J. Benet and our insurance partners can help you implement an Employee Wellness Program on behalf of your New York Business as part of our employee benefits services. Contact us today for more information about our benefit programs.

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