Articles tagged 'Health Care Benefits'

Benefits, Talent Management

Good Managers Are Your Best Employee Wellness Strategy

workplacewellness

Relying on a corporate wellness program as the main strategy for improving employee health is like throwing a drowning person a DVD on how to do the backstroke.

In both cases, the focus is on the wrong stage of the problem.

Most company executives recognize that addressing workplace stress, the direct and indirect cause of many health problems, must be part of any strategy to improve employee health and reduce health care cost. Read more…

Benefits, HR Management

High-Deductible Health Plans: Savings Now, But Problems For Workers Later?

High deductible health plan

Got a high-deductible health plan? The kind that doesn’t pay most medical bills until they exceed several thousand dollars?

If so, you or your employees are foot soldiers who have been drafted in the war against high health costs.

Companies that switch workers into high-deductible plans can reap enormous savings, consultants will tell you — and not just by making employees pay more. Total costs paid by everybody — employer, employee and insurance company — tend to fall in the first year or rise more slowly when consumers have more at stake at the health-care checkout counter whether or not they’re making medically wise choices. Read more…

Benefits, HR News & Trends

Study: Obamacare Has Little Impact on Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage

Illustration by istockphoto.com

There has been much hand wringing over the health law requirement that large employers this year offer insurance to workers who put in 30 or more hours a week or face penalties for not doing so.

The new rules would cost employers a bundle, some fretted, as part-timers clamored for company coverage previously unavailable to them. Others worried that employers would cut workers’ hours to get under the cap.

A new study found that so far there’s little cause for concern: Average enrollment in company plans was essentially unchanged between 2014 and 2015 at 74 percent of all workers. Read more…

Benefits, HR News & Trends

Same-Sex Couples Now Must Marry to Get Employer Health Benefits

same-sex-marriage

Until recently, same-sex couples could not legally marry. Now, some are finding they must wed if they want to keep their partner’s job-based health insurance and other benefits.

With same-sex marriage now legal in 35 states and the District of Columbia, some employers that formerly covered domestic partners say they will require marriage licenses for workers who want those perks.

“We’re bringing our benefits in line, making them consistent with what we do for everyone else,” said Ray McConville, a spokesman for Verizon, which notified non-union employees in July that domestic partners in states where same-sex marriage is legal must wed if they want to qualify for such benefits. Read more…

Benefits, HR News & Trends

Small Businesses Drop Health Coverage Due to Obamacare Alternatives

health care reform

For two decades Atlanta restaurant owner Jim Dunn offered a group health plan to his managers and helped pay for it. That ended Dec. 1, after the Affordable Care Act made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

Health-law subsidies for workers to buy their own coverage combined with years of rising costs in the company plan made dropping the plan an obvious – though not easy – choice.

“I had a lot of regrets going into it,” Dunn, who owns three Italian Oven restaurants in suburban Atlanta, said of his decision. “I don’t think I have as many now — only because I’ve seen the affordability factor for my managers improve.” Read more…

Benefits, HR Management

The Challenges an Employee May Have Switching to a Spouse’s Insurance

open_enrollment

If a married couple who each have health insurance through a job want to switch coverage from one employer to the other, usually it’s a snap.

During the fall open enrollment period the husband, for example, can simply drop his on-the-job coverage for the new year and his wife can add him to her plan Jan. 1.

Since many companies have calendar year coverage periods, that’s the way it typically works. Read more…

Benefits, HR Management

Big Changes For Workplace Health Plans: 6 Pitfalls to Watch For in 2015

123RF Stock Photo

You don’t get a pass this year on big health insurance decisions because you and your employees are not shopping in an Affordable Care Act marketplace.

Employer medical plans — where most working-age folks get coverage — are changing too.

Rising costs, a looming tax on rich benefit packages and the idea that people should buy medical treatment the way they shop for cell phones have increased odds that workplace plans will be very different in 2015. Read more…

Benefits, HR News & Trends

What You and Your Business Need to Know About Obamacare, Year 2

health care reform

For business owners, two things in life are certain: taxes and rising health care costs. The two become nearly interchangeable when new IRS Health Care Reporting requirements go into effect, starting in 2016.

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), large employers (or those employing more than 50 full-time workers) face penalties if they fail to offer minimal coverage to employees. Prior to the Affordable Care Act, health insurance decisions were largely up to the individual business.

Beginning in 2016, large employers must report very specific information to the IRS to remain compliant, and the IRS has recently issued draft copies of the health care coverage forms. Read more…

Benefits, HR News & Trends

Costs Are Rising (Even If Premiums Aren’t) For 2015 Health Care

Photo illustration by istockphoto.com

Fall is enrollment season for many people who get insurance through their workplace.

Premium increases for 2015 plans are expected to be modest on average, but the shift toward higher out-of-pocket costs overall for consumers will continue as employers try to keep a lid on their costs and incorporate health law changes.

Experts anticipate that premiums will rise a modest 4 percent in 2015, on average, slightly higher than last year but lower than typical recent increases. Read more…