Archive for UBA Partner News’ Category


Aug

17

2017

Strategic benefits communication: Five key steps to success this open enrollment season | Houston Benefit Advisors

In previous posts, I have talked about several aspects of strategic benefits communication. Now it’s time to put those strategies into action. As we approach enrollment season, let’s look at five key steps to ensuring this year’s open enrollment is successful for you and your employees. 1. Determine your key objectives What do employees need to know this enrollment season? As you review your benefit…

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Aug

15

2017

Wellness Programs – Getting Started and Remaining Compliant | Houston Benefit Advisors

Where to Start? First, expand the usual scope of wellness activity to well-BEING. Include initiatives that support more than just physical fitness, such as career growth, social needs, financial health, and community involvement. By doing this you increase your chances of seeing a return on investment (ROI) and a return on value (ROV). Qualitative results of a successful program are just as valuable as seeing…

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Aug

7

2017

Government and Education Employers Offer Richest HSA Plans | Houston Benefit Advisors

Across most industries, HSA contributions are, for the most part, down or unchanged from three years ago, according to UBA’s Health Plan Survey. The average employer contribution to an HSA is $474 for a single employee (down 3.5 percent from 2015 and 17.6 percent from five years ago) and $801 for a family (down 9.2 percent from last year and 13.7 percent from five years…

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Aug

3

2017

Best Practices for Initial COBRA Notices | Houston Benefit Advisors

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) requires group health plans to provide notices to covered employees and their families explaining their COBRA rights when certain events occur. The initial notice, also referred to as the general notice, communicates general COBRA rights and obligations to each covered employee (and his or her spouse) who becomes covered under the group health plan. This notice…

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What Employers Need to Know about the Senate Proposed Healthcare Bill | Houston Benefit Advisors
Jun

28

2017

What Employers Need to Know about the Senate Proposed Healthcare Bill | Houston Benefit Advisors

On June 22, 2017, the United States Senate released a “Discussion Draft” of the “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017” (BCRA), which would substitute the House’s House Resolution 1628, a reconciliation bill aimed at “repealing and replacing” the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The House bill was titled the “American Health Care Act of 2017” (AHCA). Employers with group health plans should continue…

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Jun

13

2017

What Happens to Coverage When Employees Reduce Their Hours? | Houston Benefit Advisors

The Section 125 cafeteria plan regulations and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) require employers to take certain actions when an employee reduces hours. Consider this scenario: An employer has an employee who is reducing hours below 30 hours per week. The employee is performing the same job and duties. The employee was determined to be full-time during the most recent measurement period….

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Jun

9

2017

2018 Amounts for HSAs; Retroactive Medicare Coverage Effect on Contributions | Houston Benefit Advisors

IRS Releases 2018 Amounts for HSAs The IRS released Revenue Procedure 2017-37 that sets the dollar limits for health savings accounts (HSAs) and high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) for 2018. For calendar year 2018, the annual contribution limit for an individual with self-only coverage under an HDHP is $3,450, and the annual contribution limit for an individual with family coverage under an HDHP is $6,900. How…

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Answers to the Top 4 Questions about Section 105(h) Nondiscrimination Testing | Houston Benefit Advisors
Jun

6

2017

Answers to the Top 4 Questions about Section 105(h) Nondiscrimination Testing | Houston Benefit Advisors

Under Internal Revenue Code Section 105(h), a self-insured medical reimbursement plan must pass two nondiscrimination tests. Failure to pass either test means that the favorable tax treatment for highly compensated individuals who participate in the plan will be lost. The Section 105(h) rules only affect whether reimbursement (including payments to health care providers) under a self-insured plan is taxable. When Section 105(h) was enacted, its…

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Why some companies offer an HRA | Houston Benefit Advisors
May

19

2017

Why some companies offer an HRA | Houston Benefit Advisors

In a world of insurance and acronyms, the term “HRA” is thrown around a lot, but it has a variety of meanings. HRA can mean health reimbursement account, heath reimbursement arrangement, or health risk assessment, and all of those mean something different. I want to be clear that in the following article I am going to be discussing the use of health reimbursement accounts with…

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May

3

2017

Why Private Exchanges Haven’t Taken Off As Predicted | Houston Benefit Advisors

While the health care affordability crisis has become so significant, questions still linger—will private exchanges become a viable solution for employers and payers, and will they will continue to grow? Back in 2015, Accenture estimated that 40 million people would be enrolled in private exchange programs by 2018; the way we see this model’s growth today doesn’t speak to that. So, what is preventing them…

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