Human Resources

Fat People Are Costing Your Company

Several years ago, I blogged, Fat People Have Issues, with the disclaimer of posting the politically incorrect title in hopes of getting more people to read. Not being one to suddenly bow to the woke politically crowd I have posted another potentially insensitive title, again, in hopes of getting more people to read. As I said then, I like fat people, many of my friends are fat. So please take it in good humor. I don’t need hate mail. I also recognize some people have genetic challenges. – Bottom line, I’m hoping the information will motivate you to implement a targeted wellness campaign.

Employers bear a large share of excess costs attributed to obesity. Normal-weight employees cost an average of $3,830 per year in covered medical, sick day, short-term disability, and workers’ compensation claims, while morbidly obese employees cost more than twice that amount, or $,8067.

Key Findings from the National Center for Biotechnology Information

  1. Weight loss offers significantly significant savings for obese employees with weight-related conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, mental health disorders, arthritis and back pain.
  2. The greatest savings potential is for those with the highest baseline body mass index. “This suggests that investments in weight management programs that produce even relatively small amounts of weight loss, when directed at the most obese populations, could provide meaningful savings for employers.”
  3. The greatest savings potential is among non-Hispanic white employees.

Exerts taken from Benefits Pro.

You can read the November 19th, 2014, blog Fat People Have Issues by going to my website www.ebafl.com/blog and searching the title.

 

 Employee Benefit Advisors provides, employee benefits, Healthcare Consumption Audits, tax-advantaged healthcare, compliance guidance for ACA and Health & Welfare DOL Audits, and PEO Advisory & Consulting Services. We can customize a wellness plan for your budget and culture.

Overpaying for Prescriptions? – Try this

If you are fortunate enough to have health insurance with a low deductible or low-cost prescription co-pays, the high cost of drugs is driving up the premiums that you or your employer pay, making getting health insurance expensive and challenging.

Every American should have access to safe, affordable medicines. If you don’t have insurance or have a high deductible plan, even the most basic medications can be costly.

The Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company, https://costplusdrugs.com,  takes these problems head on. The goal is to dramatically reduce the cost of drugs, but it is just as important to introduce transparency to the pricing of drugs, so patients know they are getting a fair price.

Cost Plus Drugs marks up the price they are able to purchase the prescription by 15%, so they can continue to run the company and invest in disrupting the pricing of as many drugs as possibly. Then they add on the actual cost, $3.00, that their pharmacy partners charge to prepare and provide your prescription to you.

Every product we sell is priced exactly the same way – the cost plus 15%, plus the pharmacy fee, if any. When you get your medicine from Cost Plus Drug Co., you’ll always know exactly how they arrived at the price.

 

 

Employee Benefit Advisors provides, employee benefits, Healthcare Consumption Audits, tax-advantaged healthcare, compliance guidance for ACA and Health & Welfare DOL Audits, and PEO Advisory & Consulting Services. We can customize a wellness plan for your budget and culture.

Benefits Matter

Workers are rethinking what work means to them, driving an increase in both resignations and demand for talent. For many employers, the best talent is the talent already on their team. Retention is crucial—and benefits matter.

In today’s extremely tight labor market, generous benefits can help tip the scales in attracting and retaining employees. One of the best retention tools is Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance.

Healthcare as a Retention Strategy

Employers need a strategy. The 2023 out-of-pocket maximum (OOPM) for health plans is $9,100 for single coverage and $18,200 for family coverage. While it’s no secret the cost of health care is rising, to few employers are using it to their advantage. Concerns about health care affordability for lower-wage workers, along with the need to retain and attract employees in a competitive labor market, are resulting in a whole new cost sharing strategy. When health benefit cost growth accelerates, employers typically ratchet up cost management efforts to keep increases at sustainable levels. Employers of choice however hold off on raising deductibles and other cost-shifting measures, some even made changes to reduce employees’ out-of-pocket contributions for health services.

Ancillary Benefits

Is your benefits package meeting the expectations of today’s workforce? It’s time to stop thinking of ancillary benefits as ‘extras.’

With changing employee expectations, it’s clear that there’s a higher demand than ever for non-medical benefits. In today’s highly competitive job market where employees are resigning in record numbers—confident they can do better elsewhere, give yourself a competitive edge by offering the non-medical benefits employees and job seekers expect and no longer think of as ‘extras’—dental, vision, life/ad&d, std / ltd.

Employee Assistance and Mental Health Plans

Benefit priorities have shifted in response to the pandemic’s impact on the workforce. Employers view supporting the mental, emotional, and behavioral health of employees as business critical. Adding or expanding programs to increase access to behavioral health care has become a top priority for employers.

 

Employee Benefit Advisors provides, employee benefits, Healthcare Consumption Audits, tax-advantaged healthcare, compliance guidance for ACA and Health & Welfare DOL Audits, and PEO Advisory & Consulting Services. We can customize a wellness plan for your budget and culture.

At-Home COVID-19 Testing Information

Employee Benefit Advisors would like to share the below information regarding at-home COVID-19testing from some of the carriers.

As always, if you have any questions or would like additional information, please reach out.

 

Employee Benefit Advisors provides, employee benefits, Healthcare Consumption Audits, tax-advantaged healthcare, compliance guidance for ACA and Health & Welfare DOL Audits, and PEO Advisory & Consulting Services. We can customize a wellness plan for your budget and culture.

Medicare Secondary Payer Penalty

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has increased the following penalty affecting group health plans:

Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP): Violating the prohibition of offering Medicare beneficiaries financial or other benefits as incentives not to enroll in or to terminate enrollment in a group health plan that would otherwise be primary to Medicare will now trigger penalties of up to $9,753.

 

Employee Benefit Advisors provides, employee benefits, Healthcare Consumption Audits, tax-advantaged healthcare, compliance guidance for ACA and Health & Welfare DOL Audits, and PEO Advisory & Consulting Services. We can customize a wellness plan for your budget and culture.

IRS Guidelines – Indexed for 2022

FICA
Social Security Tax is 6.2% on income up to $147,000
Medicare Tax unlimited 1.45% to Unlimited

High Deductible Health Plans
Minimum Annual Deductible (Individual/Family) $1,400 / $2,800
Maximum Out-of-Pocket Limit (Individual/Family) $7,050 / $14,100

Health Savings Accounts
Individual / Family $3,650 / $7,300
Catch-up Contribution $1,000

ACA Plan Limits
Out-of-Pocket Limits Individual / Family $8,700 / $17,400

Flexible Spending Accounts
Health Care Flexible Spending Account Maximums $2,850 Maximum carryover $570
Dependent Care Spending Account Maximum $5,000
The dependent care FSA maximum is set by statute and is not subject to inflation-related adjustments.

Mileage & Transportation
Standard Mileage Rates
58.5 cents per mile for business miles driven
18 cents per mile for medical or moving purposes
14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

Parking (monthly) $280 2022
Mass Transit Passes (monthly) $280

Compensation
Compensation Limit $305,000
Highly Compensated Employee Salary Amount $135,000
Annual Compensation for Key Employee $200,000
Defined Benefit Plan Limit $245,000
Defined Contribution Plan Limit $61,000

Retirement Plans
401(k) $20,500
401(k) Catch-up $6,500
403(b) $20,500
457(b)(2) and 124(c)(1) $20,500
457(b) Catch-up $6,500

IRA Limit $6,000/$7,000 for age 50+
Simple IRA Limit $14,000/$3,000 Catch-Up

Employers’ premium surcharges for unvaccinated employees could result in ACA penalties

Employers are considering vaccine incentives and potential penalties for workers who remain unvaccinated against COVID-19. Before adding a premium surcharge, employers will want to consider how they may impact the affordability of an employer’s health plans. While there is an exception for tobacco, there’s nothing currently in the ACA rules that similarly applies to a surcharge or penalty for non-COVID-19 vaccinated employees.

• Under current ACA guidelines, a premium surcharge for choosing to be unvaccinated against COVID-19 could be added to the cost of your company’s lowest-cost health plan.

• If the cost including the surcharge renders the plan as unaffordable, and the employee goes to the exchange and receives a premium tax credit, the employer may be subject to Penalty B. That’s $4,060 penalty per year for each full-time employees who did not have an offer of affordable coverage and also received a premium tax credit.

Credit Kyle Scott is assistant vice president of compliance at Health e(fx), an Equifax company. She earned her Juris Doctor, Cum Laude, from Hamline University School of Law and her BA in Psychology from Purdue University.

 

Employee Benefit Advisors provides, employee benefits, Healthcare Consumption Audits, tax-advantaged healthcare, compliance guidance for ACA and Health & Welfare DOL Audits, and PEO Advisory & Consulting Services. We can customize a wellness plan for your budget and culture.

Many Patients Billed for Preventive Care That Should Be Free

People are being charged for preventive health care, health care that should be at no cost to them. That’s the headline from an article in the US News & World Report by Robert Preidt, HealthDay Reporter.

The article stated, “Out-of-pocket charges for preventive care that should be free under the Affordable Care Act can discourage patients from receiving recommended care…”. While a majority of patients are receiving preventive care for free, those who were charged only paid about $20 or less.

Unexpected charges were also common for routine screenings for cancer, diabetes, cholesterol, depression, obesity, and sexually transmitted infections, as well as pregnancy-related services.

The primary conclusion of the study was these charges were discouraging future health care screenings.

 

Employee Benefit Advisors provides, employee benefits, Healthcare Consumption Audits, tax-advantaged healthcare, compliance guidance for ACA and Health & Welfare DOL Audits, and PEO Advisory & Consulting Services. We can customize a wellness plan for your budget and culture.

COBRA and The American Rescue Plan Act

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARPA”) includes major changes to COBRA administration in 2021.image of a cobra snake

The Act creates an opportunity for free COBRA coverage during a six-month period from April through September 2021 for employees (and their family members) who experience a loss of group health coverage due to involuntary termination or reduced hours of employment.

The following will begin effective on 4/1/2021. – Employee Benefit Advisors would like to thank Diversified Administration in Hollywood Florida for providing the outline of the ARPA.

100% subsidies for COBRA Qualified Beneficiaries where the qualifying event was an involuntary termination of employment or reduction in hours, beginning 4/1/2021 (if signed this month) through September 2021 (6 months)
• The 100% subsidy is based on a COBRA premium that includes the 2% administrative fee that health plans are permitted to charge for COBRA. The assistance eligible individual does not pay the COBRA premium, but rather the premium initially is “advanced” by the employer, plan, or insurer and then reimbursed by the government through a refundable tax credit (against Medicare hospital insurance (HI) taxes).
• The subsidy will begin for coverage periods beginning on April 1, 2021 and ending on September 30, 2021. The subsidy would end sooner if the qualified beneficiary’s maximum COBRA coverage period ends or if the individual is eligible for another group health plan or Medicare.

Anyone in the COBRA-Election-Window, extending all the way back to last March (3/1/2020), or anyone who terminated COBRA early will have a special enrollment period for 60 days from the date that they receive a new required COBRA notice to make a new election for COBRA. Their COBRA will begin 4/1 and will be free for up to 6 months
• The COBRA Participant can have a GAP in coverage from their event date through 4/1 (This is entirely new to COBRA)
• If someone’s 18 months of COBRA expires before September, they do not get extra time on COBRA, their COBRA expiration date(s) are not extended in any way.

Anyone on COBRA, in the Election-Window or terminated COBRA early who is still within their COBRA Maximum Coverage Period (usually 18 months) can change plans (to a lower plan) 4/1/2021 in the special enrollment window.
• This is Optional and an employer can choose whether or not to offer this option to COBRA Qualified Beneficiaries.

Employers will have to review and audit all terminated employees back to March 1 of last year and determine if any former employees’ terminations were voluntary or involuntary.
• We have this reporting ability already, so some employers are already sending this info. However, many employers use the generic “Termination of Employment” option, all those will need to be reviewed by HR
• If your company uses file feeds, those must be updated accordingly to send the specifics on each termination of employment event.
• If your company uses our online COBRA event tools, the options to select Voluntary/Involuntary Terminations has always been an option, we will remove the option to submit Termination of Employment from the web-portals before 3/31/2021.

Employers are required to send notices to everyone terminated since last March
• The Act tasks the Department of Labor (DOL) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) with issuing regulations and guidance regarding the application and administration of the COBRA subsidy provisions of the Act.
• In addition, the Act requires the DOL to produce model COBRA election notices within 30 days of enactment and a model COBRA premium subsidy expiration notice within 45 days of enactment.
• Employers will have to wait for these model notices to send, to ensure compliant notices are sent.
• Diversified Administration (my go to COBRA Administrator) will handle the generation and distribution of the notices for all COBRA clients once model notices are released.

Employers also have a second notice requirement at the end of the person’s subsidy period, to advise them of such.
• Diversified Administration will handle the generation and distribution of the notices for all COBRA clients.

Employers will have to pay up front for COBRA participants coverages and then get the money back through payroll tax credits/refunds
• Premium initially is “advanced” by the employer, plan, or insurer and then reimbursed by the government through a refundable tax credit (against Medicare hospital insurance (HI) taxes).
• For self-insured plans, the COBRA premium is covered by the employer and reimbursed through a payroll tax credit.
• For fully insured plans, the tax credit is claimable by the insurer and/or employer.
• This mechanism as described in the legislation is complex, and we’re awaiting the DOL/IRS guidance on the specifics of the credits.

Employee Benefit Advisors provides employee benefits, tax-advantaged healthcare, compliance guidance for ACA and Health & Welfare DOL Audits, and PEO Advisory & Consulting Services. We can customize a wellness plan for your budget and culture.

No More Surprises

Shock by your hospital bill?The No Surprises Act, a ban on surprise medical bills, will take effect beginning in 2022.

Surprise Medical Bills

Surprise medical bills occur when patients unexpectedly receive care from out-of-network health care providers. – A patient goes to an in-network hospital for surgery or emergency care, and an out-of-network doctor is involved in the patient’s care. Patients are not able to determine the network status of providers, such as emergency room doctors or anesthesiologists. The patient is simply not involved in the choice of provider.

No Surprises Act

The Act applies to surprise bills from doctors, hospitals, and air ambulances. It prohibits these providers from billing patients who have health coverage for unpaid balances. Providers will have to work with the health insurance issuer carrier to determine the appropriate amount to be paid by the plan.

(The No Surprise Act was included in the stimulus bill signed by President Trump on Dec 27, 2020.)

EBA will continue to keep you updated as information becomes available on the details of the law.

Employee Benefit Advisors provides employee benefits, tax-advantaged healthcare, compliance guidance for ACA and Health & Welfare DOL Audits, and PEO Advisory & Consulting Services. We can customize a wellness plan for your budget and culture.

Back to top

Submit your Feedback

      Sending...
x