Kainos Blog

February 2018

in 21st Century Cures Act, Benefits Administration, Blog, Compliance News, Employee Benefits, Employee Communication, employees, Employer Mandates, Employer News, Group Health Coverage, health, Health and Human Services, Health Care Plans, Health Care Reform, Health Plans, human resources, Insurance, IRS, IRS reporting, Kainos Blog, Kainos News, Long term care, Reporting, return to work plan, Trending, UBA, W-4

Federal Employment Law Update – February 2018 | Houston Employee Benefits

by admin

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...

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15

Feb
2018
2018 W-4 Forms Won’t Be Released Until Late February | Texas Benefit Advisors
in Blog, Employee Benefits, employees, Employer News, Financial Planning, human resources, IRS, IRS reporting, Kainos Blog, tax law, Uncategorized, W-4

2018 W-4 Forms Won’t Be Released Until Late February | Texas Benefit Advisors

by admin

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...

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7

Feb
2018
January 2018
Benefits Easy: Intro to Self-Funding | Texas Benefits Advisors
in Benefits Administration, Blog, Employee Benefits, employees, group benefits, health, Health Care Plans, Health Plans, Insurance, Kainos Blog, Kainos News, Plan Development, small employer, Uncategorized, Wellness, Wellness Programs

Benefits Easy: Intro to Self-Funding | Texas Benefits Advisors

by admin

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...

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30

Jan
2018

in DOL, FLSA, IRS, Kainos Blog, Kainos News, OSHA, Uncategorized

Federal Employment Law Update – January 2018 | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

WHD Revises Test for Unpaid Internships On January 5, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) released a Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB No. 2018-2) establishing that the primary beneficiary test, rather than the six-point test, will determine whether interns at for-profit employers are employees under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The primary beneficiary test requires an examination of the...

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25

Jan
2018
Do I Still Need Life Insurance Once I Retire? Your Questions Answered | Houston Employee Benefits
in Baby Boomers, Blog, Employee Benefits, Employee Communication, employees, financial health, Financial Planning, health, Life Insurance

Do I Still Need Life Insurance Once I Retire? Your Questions Answered | Houston Employee Benefits

by admin

Do I need life insurance once I retire? Just because you’re retired doesn’t necessarily mean you’re financially sound. Think of all the different scenarios that may still be applicable: You may have been required to retire early; you may have had investments that have gone sour and haven’t had time to rebuild your nest egg. Additionally, there may be a need to cover final expenses,...

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18

Jan
2018
Nothing Is Certain, But Death and LESS Taxes… | Texas Benefit Consultants
in Blog, child tax credit, Employee Benefits, employees, Employer News, IRS, IRS reporting, Kainos Blog, Kainos News, legislation, tax law, tax reform, Treasury, W-4

Nothing Is Certain, But Death and LESS Taxes… | Texas Benefit Consultants

by admin

On January 11, 2018, the Internal Revenue Service released its income tax withholding tables for 2018 reflecting changes made by the December 2017 tax reform legislation. The updated withholding information provides the new rates for employers to use during 2018. Employers are encouraged to use these tables as soon as possible but must use them by no later than February 15, 2018. Employers should continue to...

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16

Jan
2018
Oral Health = Overall Health | TX Benefit Advisors
in Blog, dental, dental health, financial health, Financial Planning, Financial Wellness, health, Health Plans, Insurance, Kainos Blog, Kainos News, Resources, Safety, Well-being, wellness, Wellness

Oral Health = Overall Health | TX Benefit Advisors

by admin

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...

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10

Jan
2018
New Year, New Penalties | Houston Benefit Advisors
in Blog, department of labor, DOL, Employee Benefits, Employer News, Financial Planning, Financial Wellness, Kainos Blog, Kainos News, OSH Act, OSHA, Reporting

New Year, New Penalties | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

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...

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5

Jan
2018
IRS Extends Deadline for Employers to Furnish Forms 1095-C and 1095-B | Houston Benefit Advisors
in 1095-B, 1095-C, ACA, ACA Advisor, Affordable Care Act, ALEs, Blog, Employee Benefits, Employee Communication, Health Plans, IRS, IRS reporting, Kainos Blog, Kainos News, Reporting

IRS Extends Deadline for Employers to Furnish Forms 1095-C and 1095-B | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

On December 22, 2017, the IRS released Notice 2018-06 to extend the due date for employers to furnish 2017 Form 1095-C or 1095-B under the Affordable Care Act’s employer reporting requirement. Employers will have an extra 30 days to prepare and distribute the 2017 form to individuals. The due dates for filing forms with the IRS are not extended. Background Applicable large employers (ALEs), who...

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3

Jan
2018
December 2017

in ACA, Blog, CDHP, DOL, Employee Benefits, employee wellness, Financial Planning, Financial Wellness, group benefits, Group Health Coverage, Health Care Plans, HEALTH PLAN BENCHMARKING, Health Plans, Kainos Blog, Kainos News, UBA, UBA Partner News, UBA Surveys, Wellness

2017 UBA Healthplan Survey | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

It was recently unveiled the latest findings from our 2017 Health Plan Survey. With data on 20,099 health plans sponsored by 11,221 employers, the UBA survey is nearly three times larger than the next two of the nation’s largest health plan benchmarking surveys combined.To learn more, watch this short video below.

27

Dec
2017
Utilize FSA Monies with Key Year–End Strategies | Houston Benefit Advisors
in Blog, DCFSA, Employee Benefits, Employee Communication, employee wellness, Employer News, Financial Planning, FSA, group benefits, IRS, Kainos Blog, Kainos News, OTC medications

Utilize FSA Monies with Key Year–End Strategies | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

‘Tis the Season’. Like most, you‘re probably in the midst of the “hussle and bussle” of this holiday season with dinners, parties, and activities; Christmas shopping; and spending those remaining FSA dollars you have allocated this year. Wait, what? Yes, you read right. Chances are, if you’ve opted to utilize an employer-sponsored FSA account in 2017, you may have remaining funds you’ll need to spend....

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19

Dec
2017
Agencies Provide Relief for Group Plans and Donation Programs Affected by Hurricanes/Wildfires | Houston Benefit Advisors
in california wildfires, COBRA, DOL, group benefits, Group Health Coverage, HIPAA, hurricane relief, IRS, IRS reporting, Kainos Blog, leave-based donation program, Reporting, Safety, Trending, UBA, Well-being, Wellness

Agencies Provide Relief for Group Plans and Donation Programs Affected by Hurricanes/Wildfires | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

Guidance for Group Health Plans Impacted by Hurricane Maria and California Wildfires The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a news release to recognize that plan participants and beneficiaries may encounter problems due to Hurricane Maria and the California Wildfires. The DOL advises plan fiduciaries to make reasonable accommodations to prevent workers’ loss of benefits and to take steps to minimize the possibility of individuals losing benefits...

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15

Dec
2017
With Below Average Cost, Increasing Enrollment, CDHPs Have Big Impact | Houston Benefit Advisors
in Blog, CDHP, consumer-directed health plan, Employee Benefits, employee wellness, Health Care Plans, Health Care Reform, HEALTH PLAN BENCHMARKING, Health Plans, Wellness Programs

With Below Average Cost, Increasing Enrollment, CDHPs Have Big Impact | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

When most experts think of group healthcare plans, Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans largely come to mind—though higher cost, they dominate the market in terms of plan distribution and employee enrollment. But Consumer-Directed Health Plans (CDHPs) have made surprising gains. Despite slight cost increases, CDHP costs are still below average and prevalence and enrollment in these plans continues to grow in most regions—a main reason...

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11

Dec
2017
The Perks of Holiday Parties: How They’re Still an Asset to Your Company | Houston Benefit Advisors
in Blog, christmas, corporate culture, Employer News, holiday party, human resources, Kainos Blog, Kainos News, Leadership, Workplace

The Perks of Holiday Parties: How They’re Still an Asset to Your Company | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

The end of the year is upon us and a majority of companies celebrate with an end-of-year/holiday party. Although the trend of holiday parties has diminished in recent years, it’s still a good idea to commemorate the year with an office perk like a fun, festive party. BENEFITS OF A YEAR-END CELEBRATION •Holiday staff parties are a perfect way to thank your employees for a...

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6

Dec
2017
Employee Benefit Plans and the House Republican Tax Reform Bill | Houston Benefit Advisors
in ACA, ACA Advisor, adoption assistance, Affordable Care Act, Benefits Administration, Blog, DCFSA, education assistance, Employee Benefits, Employer News, FSA, Health Care Reform, Health Plans, Insurance, IRS, IRS reporting, Kainos Blog, Kainos News, tax law, tax reform, Trending, UBA, Wealth Management, Well-being, wellness

Employee Benefit Plans and the House Republican Tax Reform Bill | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

On November 2, 2017, House Republicans introduced a tax reform bill (H.R.1-115th Congress) called the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” that, if passed, would impact multiple aspects of the tax code. Many of these changes relate to employee benefit plans, particularly in relation to certain fringe benefits. Dependent Care Accounts A dependent care flexible spending account (DCFSA) is a pre-tax benefit account used to pay...

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1

Dec
2017
November 2017
Ask the Experts: Can a well qualified older candidate fit on a much younger team? | Houston Benefit Advisors
in Blog, corporate culture, discrimination, Employee Benefits, Employee Communication, human resources, Kainos Blog, Kainos News, UBA Partner News

Ask the Experts: Can a well qualified older candidate fit on a much younger team? | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

Question: We recently interviewed an older candidate for a position. She’s well qualified, but the team she would be working with is made up of people who are much younger, and we are worried about how she will fit in. Can the criteria to hire for cultural fit outweigh potential age discrimination concerns? Answer: Your obligations under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act that protects...

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27

Nov
2017

in Blog, Employer News, financial debt, Financial Planning, Financial Wellness, Health Care Plans, Health Plans, Kainos Blog, Kainos News, Reporting, Trending, UBA, UBA Partner News, UBA Surveys, Wealth Management

UBA Survey: Weary Families Get a Break While Singles See Out-of-Pocket Cost Increases | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

While the rate impact of the regulatory environment plays out, one thing is clear from the 2017 UBA Health Plan Survey: employers continue to shift a greater share of expenses to employees through out-of-pocket cost increases. While this is just one of 7 mega trends uncovered in the survey, it is particularly interesting this year because singles were hit more heavily than families as compared...

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24

Nov
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
October 2017