Kainos Blog

August 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
When Grief Comes to Work | Houston Benefit Advisors
in Employee Assistance Program, Employee Benefits, Kainos Blog, return to work plan, UBA, Wellness

When Grief Comes to Work | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

Death and loss touch all of us, usually many times throughout our lives. Yet we may feel unprepared and uncomfortable when grief intrudes into our daily routines. As a manager, when grief impacts your employees it’s helpful to have a basic understanding of what they are going through as well as ways you can help. Experiencing Grief Although we all experience grief in our own...

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10

Aug
2017

in Blog, HSA, Kainos Blog, UBA, UBA Partner News, UBA Surveys

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

by admin

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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7

Aug
2017

in Blog, COBRA, Kainos Blog, UBA, UBA Partner News

Best Practices for Initial COBRA Notices | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

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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3

Aug
2017
July 2017

in HIPAA, Kainos Blog, Preexisting Conditions

What Are Some Pros & Cons of HIPAA? | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

Congress approved the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to guard the privacy of personal medical information, and to give individuals the right to keep their health insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions in place even if they change jobs. The law has done this, providing important safeguards for patients. But it has also increased the red tape involved in medical care. History Congress passed...

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31

Jul
2017

in Blog, Employer News, Kainos Blog, Prescription Drug Coverage, UBA, UBA Surveys

Employer Strategies for Managing Prescription Drug Costs | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

Modern medicines have resulted in longer, more productive lives for many of us. Prescription drugs soothe sore muscles after a strenuous workout or manage the conditions of a chronic disease. Unfortunately, this use of prescriptions drugs can come with a hefty price tag. Americans are spending more money on prescription drugs than ever before and the United States as a nation spends more per capita...

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28

Jul
2017

in Blog, Kainos Blog, Life Insurance, Millennials

5 Things Millennials Need to Know About Life Insurance | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

Being catapulted into the adult world is a shock to the system, regardless of how prepared you think you are. And these days, it’s more complicated than ever, with internet access and mobile devices being must-have utilities and navigating tax forms when they aren’t as “EZ” as they used to be. Maybe you’re still living with your folks while you get established. Or maybe you’re...

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25

Jul
2017

in Employer News, Kainos Blog, small employer, UBA

Small Employers Ask about Form 5500 | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

UBA’s compliance team leverages the collective expertise of its independent partner firms to advise 36,000 employers and their 5 million employees. Lately, a common question from employers is: If a health and welfare benefit plan has fewer than 100 participants, then does it need to file a Form 5500? If a plan is self-funded and uses a trust, then it is required to file a...

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20

Jul
2017
How Long do Employers Need to Keep Payroll Records? | Houston Benefit Advisors
in Benefits Administration, Employee Benefits, Employer News, Kainos Blog, Live Strong

How Long do Employers Need to Keep Payroll Records? | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

Under U.S. federal law, employers must keep the payroll records of their employees or former employees for a certain length of time. The amount of time, however, varies according to which statute you refer to, which can make knowing how long to keep employee records confusing. By keeping in mind the required time limits under each statute as well as what payroll-related records the statute...

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18

Jul
2017

in Employee Benefits, Kainos Blog, Leadership, Motivation, Organizational Motivation, UBA

How to Be a Magnetic Organization | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

When we hear something’s magnetic, it’s likely the first thought that comes to mind is attraction. By definition, a magnetic force is the attraction or repulsion that arises between electrically charged particles because of their motion. What perfect framing for an organization – the desire to attract (or repel) people to help advance your organization. With this framing comes the assumption that there’s motion, which...

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14

Jul
2017

in Blog, Kainos Blog, Long term care, UBA

Top Misconceptions about Long Term Care Insurance | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

In conversations with HR professionals and benefit brokers, we find that the topic of long-term care insurance (LTCi) is often covered in less than two minutes during renewal meetings. When I ask why the topic of conversation is so short, they tell me, “Employees just aren’t asking about it, so they must not be interested.” If employees aren’t asking about LTCi, does it mean they...

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11

Jul
2017

in Blog, Kainos Blog, TeleDoc, Telemedicine

TeleMedicine | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

It’s not surprising that 2017 stands to be the year many will have an experience to share using a Telemedicine or a Virtual Doctor service. With current market trends, government regulations, and changing economic demands, it’s fast becoming a more popular alternative to traditional healthcare visits. And, as healthcare costs continue to rise and there are more strategic pricing options and digital models available to...

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7

Jul
2017
I Have Life Insurance Through My Employer. Why Do I Need Another Policy? | Houston Benefit Advisors
in Employee Benefits, Kainos Blog, Life Insurance

I Have Life Insurance Through My Employer. Why Do I Need Another Policy? | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

One of the perks of having a full-time job with a good company is the benefits package that comes with it. Often, those benefits include life insurance coverage, which is great. And everyone who can get life insurance at work should definitely take it, as there are many advantages to company-funded life insurance, also known as group life insurance. These advantages include: 1. Easy qualification....

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5

Jul
2017
June 2017

in 21st Century Cures Act, ACA, Affordable Care Act, Blog, mental health, UBA

DOL Asks for MHPAEA Related Comments; Clarifies Eating Disorder Benefit Requirements | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

Earlier this month, the Department of Labor (DOL) provided an informational FAQ relating to the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) and the 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act). This is the DOL’s 38th FAQ on implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions and related regulations. The DOL is requesting comments on a draft model form for participants to use...

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30

Jun
2017
What Employers Need to Know about the Senate Proposed Healthcare Bill | Houston Benefit Advisors
in ACA, ACA Repeal, Affordable Care Act, Health Care Plans, Health Care Reform, Kainos Blog, UBA Partner News

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

by admin

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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28

Jun
2017

in ACA, ACA Repeal, Affordable Care Act, Blog, Kainos Blog

Senate Releases Health Care Proposal | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

This morning, Senate Republicans released their proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA), the Senate proposal adopts H.R. 1628, the bill narrowly passed last month by the House of Representatives, but replaces all the text. The Senate proposal was released without going through committee review or being scored by the Congressional Budget Office...

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22

Jun
2017

in Employer News, Kainos Blog, Preexisting Conditions

AHCA and the Preexisting Conditions Debate—What Employers Can Do During Uncertainty | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

Preexisting conditions. While it’s no doubt this term has been a hot topic in recent months—and notably misconstrued—one thing has not changed; insurers cannot deny coverage to anyone with a preexisting condition.  Now that House Resolution 1628 has moved to the Senate floor, what can employers and individuals alike expect? If passed by the Senate as is and signed into law; some provisions will take...

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20

Jun
2017

in Employee Benefits, HSA, Kainos Blog, small employer, UBA Surveys

Small Employers Lead the Way in Funding HSAs | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

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 ago). There was a 26 percent increase in the number of individuals enrolled in HSAs, likely due to the increase in CDHP enrollment...

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16

Jun
2017

in ACA, Affordable Care Act, Blog, Cafeteria Plans, UBA Partner News

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

by admin

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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13

Jun
2017

in Employee Benefits, Employee Communication, HSA, UBA Partner News

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

by admin

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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9

Jun
2017
Answers to the Top 4 Questions about Section 105(h) Nondiscrimination Testing | Houston Benefit Advisors
in Employee Benefits, nondiscrimination testing, Section (105)h, UBA Partner News

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

by admin

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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6

Jun
2017

in Blog, ERISA, HRAs, Kainos Blog, small employer

Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangements and ERISA | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

Certain small employers have the option to reimburse individual health coverage premiums up to a dollar limit through Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangements (QSE HRAs) under the 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act). The Cures Act amends the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to exclude QSE HRAs from the ERISA definition of group health plan; however, the Cures Act does not...

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1

Jun
2017
May 2017
Well-Being Strategies for a Diverse Workforce, Building Value at an Individual Level | Houston Benefit Advisors
in Employee Benefits, Employee Communication, UBA Surveys, Well-being, wellness, Wellness Programs

Well-Being Strategies for a Diverse Workforce, Building Value at an Individual Level | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

Your organization has 312 employees, which means you have 312 different needs for well-being support. Well-being strategies should not be a one-size-fits-all approach. Developing a set of flexible and responsive well-being strategies that meet changing individual needs throughout an employee’s tenure is a critical way to both attract and retain talent. A few case studies to illustrate: Jordan is serving in an entry-level position. This...

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30

May
2017
Factor Emerging Trends, Generational Needs Into Wellness Programs | Houston Benefit Advisors
in Blog, Employee Benefits, Employee Communication, wellness, Wellness Programs

Factor Emerging Trends, Generational Needs Into Wellness Programs | Houston Benefit Advisors

by admin

Your wellness program seems to have it all – biometric screenings, lunch and learns, and weight loss challenges. So, why do you struggle with engagement, or to see any real results? While traditional wellness components are still a large part of plans today, emerging trends, coupled with generational differences, make for challenges when designing an impactful program. As wellness programs begin to be viewed as...

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26

May
2017
May 2017