Kainos Blog

November 2017
Latest IRS ACA Round Up (Including 2018 Cost-of-Living Adjustments) | Houston Benefit Advisors
in ACA, ACA Advisor, ACA Repeal, Blog, COBRA, Employee Benefits, Employer News, Health Care Plans, Health Care Reform, Health Plans, IRS, IRS reporting, Kainos Blog, Kainos News, PCORI, tax law, UBA

Latest IRS ACA Round Up (Including 2018 Cost-of-Living Adjustments) | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

Recently, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued the instructions for Forms 1094/1095 for the 2017 tax year, announced PCORI fees for 2017-18, and announced cost-of-living adjustments for 2018. The IRS provided additional guidance on leave-based donation programs’ tax treatment and released an information letter on COBRA and Medicare. Here’s a recap of these actions for your reference. IRS Announces Cost-of-Living Adjustments for 2018 The IRS...

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20

Nov
2017
How to Make the Most Out of Your FSA at Year-End | Houston Benefit Advisors
in Blog, Employee Assistance Program, Employee Benefits, Employee Communication, Employer News, Financial Planning, Financial Wellness, FSA, Health Care Plans, Health Plans, HSA, Insurance, Kainos Blog, Kainos News

How to Make the Most Out of Your FSA at Year-End | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

As 2017 comes to a close, it’s time to act on the money sitting in your Flexible Spending/Savings Account (FSA). Unlike a Health Savings Account or HSA, pre-taxed funds contributed to an FSA are lost at the end of the year if an employee doesn’t use them, and an employer doesn’t adopt a carryover policy.  It’s to your advantage to review the various ways you...

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13

Nov
2017
PPOs Dominate Despite Savings with HMOs and CDHPs | Houston Benefit Advisors
in Blog, CDHP, Employee Benefits, Employer News, Financial Planning, Financial Wellness, Health Care Plans, Health Care Reform, health insurance premiums, Health Plans, Insurance, Kainos Blog, Kainos News, PPO, UBA, UBA Surveys, Wellness

PPOs Dominate Despite Savings with HMOs and CDHPs | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

  The findings of our 2017 Health Plan Survey show a continuation of steady trends and some surprises. It’s no surprise, however, that costs continue to rise. The average annual health plan cost per employee for all plan types is $9,934, an increase from 2016, when the average cost was $9,727. There are significant cost differences when you look at the data by plan type....

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10

Nov
2017
4 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Your Life Insurance at Work | Houston Benefit Advisors
in Blog, Employee Benefits, Employer News, Financial Planning, Financial Wellness, Health Plans, Insurance, Kainos Blog, Kainos News, Life Insurance, Long term care, Wellness, Wellness Programs

4 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Your Life Insurance at Work | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

For the first time ever, more Americans have employer-provided life insurance (108 million) than have individual life insurance coverage (102 million), according to a new LIMRA study. And while that statistic sounds good, it actually hides a few important facts you should understand. 1. There’s more to the stat than meets the eye. When you dig a little deeper into the study, you find that...

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6

Nov
2017
2017 Health Plan Survey Shows Sharp Rise in Group Healthcare Premiums | Houston Benefit Advisors
in ACA, Affordable Care Act, Blog, Employee Benefits, Employer News, Health Care Plans, health insurance premiums, Health Plans, Insurance, Kainos Blog, Kainos News, UBA, UBA Surveys

2017 Health Plan Survey Shows Sharp Rise in Group Healthcare Premiums | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

I’m happy to report that this year’s UBA Health Plan survey achieved a milestone. For the first time, we surpassed 20,000 health plans entered—20,099 health plans to be exact, which were sponsored by 11,221 employers. What we were able to determine from all this data was that a tumultuous Presidential election likely encouraged many employers to stay the course and make only minor increases and...

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3

Nov
2017
October 2017
IRS Releases Final Forms and Instructions for 2017 ACA Reporting | Houston Benefit Advisors
in ACA, ACA Advisor, Affordable Care Act, Blog, Employer News, employer shared responsibility, Kainos Blog, Kainos News, UBA

IRS Releases Final Forms and Instructions for 2017 ACA Reporting | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

Instructions for both the 1094-B and 1095-B and the 1094-C and 1095-C were released, as were the forms for 1094-B, 1095-B, 1094-C, and 1095-C. Reporting will be due early in 2018, based on coverage in 2017. For calendar year 2017, Forms 1094-C, 1095-C, 1094-B, and 1095-B must be filed by February 28, 2018, or April 2, 2018, if filing electronically. Statements to employees must be...

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31

Oct
2017
It’s Open Enrollment Time! | Houston Benefit Advisors
in Blog, Consulting, corporate culture, Employer News, Kainos Blog, Kainos News, open enrollment

It’s Open Enrollment Time! | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

Fall. With it comes cooler temperatures’, falling leaves, warm seasonal scents like turkey and pumpkin pie, and Open Enrollment. It goes without saying; employees who understand the effectiveness of their benefits are much more pleased with those packages, happier with their employers, and more engaged in their work. So, as your company gears up for a new year of navigating Open Enrollment, here are a...

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23

Oct
2017
President Trump Ends ACA Cost Sharing Reductions | Houston Benefit Advisors
in ACA, ACA Advisor, ACA Repeal, Affordable Care Act, Blog

President Trump Ends ACA Cost Sharing Reductions | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

On the evening of October 12, 2017, President Trump announced that cost sharing reductions for low income Americans in relation to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) would be stopped. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has confirmed that payments will be stopped immediately. While there is no direct impact to employers at this time, UBA will continue to educate employers...

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20

Oct
2017
Shhhhhh! | Houston Benefit Advisors
in Blog, Employee Benefits, Employee Communication, Employer News, human resources, UBA, Well-being, Workplace

Shhhhhh! | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

There are places where you expect things to be noisy, such as a rock concert, and places where you expect it to be quiet, like an office. And while nobody likes being “shushed,” there are few things more annoying than trying to work when someone else is talking in the background. The ‘80s music group ‘Til Tuesday said it best: “Hush hush, keep it down...

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16

Oct
2017
October 2017 Executive Order on Healthcare | Houston Benefit Advisors
in ACA, ACA Repeal, Affordable Care Act, applicable large employer, Blog, Employee Assistance Programs, Employee Benefits, Employer News, ERISA, HRAs, Kainos News, UBA

October 2017 Executive Order on Healthcare | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

On October 12, 2017, the White House released an Executive Order, signed by President Trump, titled “Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States.” It is important to note that the Executive Order (EO) does not implement any new laws or regulations, but instead directs various federal agencies to explore options relating to association health plans, short term limited-duration coverage (STLDI), and health reimbursement...

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13

Oct
2017
PCORI Fee Increase for Health Plans | Houston Benefit Advisors
in ACA, ACA Advisor, Affordable Care Act, Blog, Health Plans, HRAs, Kainos Blog, Kainos News, PCORI

PCORI Fee Increase for Health Plans | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

On October 6, 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released Notice 2017-61 to announce that the health plan Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) fee for plan years ending between October 1, 2017 and September 30, 2018 will be $2.39 per plan participant. This is an increase from the prior year’s fee of $2.26 due to an inflation adjustment. Background The Affordable Care Act created the...

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9

Oct
2017
Are you addressing your employee’s financial health? | Houston Benefit Advisors
in Consulting, Employee Assistance Program, Employee Assistance Programs, Employee Benefits, Employer News, Financial Planning, Financial Wellness, Kainos Blog, Kainos News, UBA

Are you addressing your employee’s financial health? | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

The importance of health and wellness in the workplace is more apparent than ever. It’s obvious why healthy individuals make better employees and the positive impact this has on your bottom line. When thinking about building a program to improve the well-being of your employees, don’t forget about the importance of their financial health. In recent years, studies show that employees have a wide range...

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6

Oct
2017
IRS Roundup: What Employers Need to Know about the Latest ACA Notices | Houston Benefit Advisors
in ACA, ACA Advisor, Affordable Care Act, Blog, Employee Benefits, Employer News, employer shared responsibilty, IRS, IRS reporting, Kainos Blog, Kainos News, UBA, UBA Partner News

IRS Roundup: What Employers Need to Know about the Latest ACA Notices | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

In spite of the recent efforts by Congress to change or repeal the ACA, its provisions are still in effect. The IRS has issued continuing guidance on the affordability rate for coverage, the employer shared responsibility provisions and reporting, and the individual mandate provision. IRS Released the 2018 Affordability Rate The Internal Revenue Service released its Revenue Procedure 2017-36, which sets the affordability percentage at...

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2

Oct
2017
September 2017
Emergency vs. Urgent – What’s the Difference in Walk-In Care? | Houston Benefit Advisors
in Blog, Emergency Care Clinics, Emergency Room, Employer News, Health Plans, Insurance, Kainos Blog, Kainos News, Urgent Care Clinics

Emergency vs. Urgent – What’s the Difference in Walk-In Care? | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

We’ve all been there – once or twice (or more)—when a child, spouse or family member has had to gain access to healthcare quickly. Whether a fall that requires stitches; a sprained or broken bone; or something more serious, it can be difficult to identify which avenue to take when it comes to walk-in care. With the recent boom in stand-alone ERs (Emergency Care Clinics...

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29

Sep
2017
6 Reasons People Don’t Buy Life Insurance (and Why They’re Wrong) | Houston Benefit Advisors
in Blog, Employer News, Insurance, Kainos Blog, Kainos News, Life Insurance, Long term care, Term Life Insurance, Well-being, wellness

6 Reasons People Don’t Buy Life Insurance (and Why They’re Wrong) | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

Let’s face it. Most people put off buying life insurance for any number of reasons—if they even understand it Take a look at this list—do any of them sound like you? 1. It’s too expensive. In the ever-burgeoning budget of a young family, things like day care and car payments and possibly student loans eat up a good chunk of the money each month, and...

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25

Sep
2017
Court Remands Wellness Regulations to EEOC for Reconsideration | Houston Benefit Advisors
in ACA, Affordable Care Act, Blog, Employee Benefits, Employer News, ERISA, HIPAA, Insurance, Kainos Blog, Kainos News, UBA, UBA Partner News, Wellness

Court Remands Wellness Regulations to EEOC for Reconsideration | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

On August 22, 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. The court declined to vacate the EEOC’s...

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22

Sep
2017
The Risk of Being Uninsured (and the Hidden Bargain in Addressing It Now) | Houston Benefit Advisors
in Blog, Disability Insurance, Employer News, Financial Planning, Insurance, Life Insurance

The Risk of Being Uninsured (and the Hidden Bargain in Addressing It Now) | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

With all the expenses of everyday living, it’s tempting to think of insurance as just another cost. What’s harder to see is the potential cost of not buying insurance—or what’s known as “self-insuring”—and the hidden bargain of coverage. The Important vs. the Urgent We’ve all experienced it: the tendency to stay focused on putting out fires, while never getting ahead on the things that really...

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20

Sep
2017
Small Businesses Healthcare Competitive, But Faces Two Big Challenges | Houston Benefit Advisors- UBA
in Benefits Administration, Blog, Health Care Plans, Health Plans, Kainos Blog, Kainos News, small employer, UBA, UBA Partner News, UBA Surveys

Small Businesses Healthcare Competitive, But Faces Two Big Challenges | Houston Benefit Advisors- UBA

by admin

We recently revealed how competitive small business health plans are when compared to national averages—and even how they are doing a better job of containing costs. But the UBA Health Plan Survey also uncovers two challenges these groups face in its new special report: “Small Businesses Keeping Pace with Nationwide Health Trends”. 1. Small businesses are passing nearly 6.6 percent more of the costs for...

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15

Sep
2017
The Killjoy of Office Culture | Houston Benefit Advisors- UBA
in Blog, corporate culture, Employee Communication, human resources, Kainos Blog, teamwork, UBA, UBA Partner News, Workplace

The Killjoy of Office Culture | Houston Benefit Advisors- UBA

by admin

One of the latest things trending right now in business is the importance of office culture. When everyone in the office is working well together, productivity rises and efficiency increases. Naturally, the opposite is true when employees do not work well together and the corporate culture suffers. So, what are these barriers and what can you do to avoid them? According to an article titled,...

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14

Sep
2017
Understanding EAP Confidentiality | Houston Benefit Advisors
in Benefits Administration, Blog, EAP, EAPs, Employee Assistance Program, Employee Assistance Programs, Employee Benefits, Employee Communication, Employer News, Trending, UBA

Understanding EAP Confidentiality | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

When it comes to Employee Assistance Programs, confidentiality is a concern for both employers and employees. As an employer, it is helpful to understand the terms and processes your EAP uses to keep information confidential and ensure that your employees and your workplace are safe. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) rules apply to EAPs and their affiliate providers. All information that is...

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9

Sep
2017
What You Need to Know about Health Flexible Spending Accounts | Houston Benefit Advisors
in Affordable Care Act, Benefits Administration, Blog, Employee Benefits, Employer News, FSA, Kainos Blog, UBA

What You Need to Know about Health Flexible Spending Accounts | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

A health flexible spending account (FSA) is a pre-tax account used to pay for out-of-pocket health care costs for a participant as well as a participant’s spouse and eligible dependents. Health FSAs are employer-established benefit plans and may be offered with other employer-provided benefits as part of a cafeteria plan. Self-employed individuals are not eligible for FSAs. Even though a health FSA may be extended...

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6

Sep
2017
August 2017
The COBRA Payment Process | Houston Benefit Advisors
in Benefits Administration, Blog, Employee Benefits, Employer News, Health Plans, Kainos Blog, Kainos News, small employer, UBA

The COBRA Payment Process | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) allows qualified beneficiaries who lose health benefits due to a qualifying event to continue group health benefits. The COBRA payment process is subject to various rules in terms of grace periods, notification, premium payment methods, and treatment of insignificant shortfalls. Grace Periods The initial premium payment is due 45 days after the qualified beneficiary elects COBRA....

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29

Aug
2017
Separating Fact From Fiction When It Comes to Long-Term Care Insurance | Houston Benefit Advisors
in Baby Boomers, Benefits Administration, Blog, Employee Benefits, Employer News, Kainos Blog, Long term care, Medicare, Medicare Part D

Separating Fact From Fiction When It Comes to Long-Term Care Insurance | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

Few people are prepared to handle the financial burden of long-term health care. In fact, many people have a false sense of security when it comes to long-term care. Let’s separate fact from fiction: “Medicare and my Medicare supplement policy will cover it.” FACTS: Medicare and “Medigap” insurance was never intended to pay for ongoing, long-term care. Only about 12% of nursing home costs are...

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23

Aug
2017

in Blog, Employee Benefits, Employee Communication, Employer News, Kainos Blog, open enrollment, UBA, UBA Partner News, Voluntary Benefits, voluntary benfits

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

by admin

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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17

Aug
2017

in Blog, Employee Benefits, Kainos Blog, UBA, UBA Partner News, Wellness, Wellness Programs

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

by admin

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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15

Aug
2017
August 2017