Even though consumers are digging deeper to cover rising out-of-pocket medical costs, they’re contributing less to health savings accounts that could help take the sting out of their expenses, according to a new study.
Between 2011 and 2014, the percentage of people who said they contributed nothing to their health savings accounts (HSAs) more than doubled, to 23 percent, according to a survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Meanwhile, the percentage who said they contributed $1,500 or more dropped to 30 percent from 44 percent. Read more…
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…
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…
Under the Affordable Care Act, large employers that don’t offer their full-time workers comprehensive, affordable health insurance face a fine.
But some employers are taking it a step further and requiring workers to buy the company insurance, whether they want it or not. Many employees may have no choice but to comply.
Some workers are not pleased. One disgruntled reader wrote to Kaiser Health News:
My employer is requiring me to purchase health insurance and is automatically taking the premium out of my paycheck even though I don’t want to sign up for health insurance. Is this legal?” Read more…
By Ilyse Wolens Schuman and Michael J. Lotito
As promised during a Senate hearing conducted earlier this year, members of the House and Senate have introduced a bill seeking to reduce the legal uncertainly in administering employee wellness programs.
The Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act (H.R. 1189, S. 620) would:
- Explicitly permit wellness programs to offer a financial incentive to participate; Read more…
By Paul Starkman
Recently, vaccinations and public health have dominated the national conversation.
Much of the focus is on the more than 141 confirmed cases of measles in the United States. Measles has been confirmed in 19 states and Washington D.C., including 107 cases in California.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. It spreads through the air through coughing and sneezing. Measles can be serious, even deadly, especially for children younger than 5-years-old and those with weakened immune systems such as people battling cancer. Read more…
By Eric B. Meyer
Are you required to pay an employee for mandatory alcohol treatment?
More specifically, as posed in this recent federal court decision, “when an employer requires an employee to attend alcohol counseling and treatment sessions as a condition of keeping her job, must the employer compensate the employee for the time she spends in counseling and treatment?”
The three plaintiffs, New York police offers, identified three aspect of counseling that they claim they were required to undertake: Read more…
An article on PsyBlog has confirmed the sad truth: The stigma of mental illness is alive and well in the workplace.
According to a study published in The International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (IJOEM), one-third of employees would hide a mental illness from their manager for fear of damaging their careers. Participants cited losing credibility, being rejected, and becoming the object of gossip as top worries.
What’s more, 64.2 percent of employees indicated they’d be concerned about how work would be affected if a co-worker had a mental illness. Of those employees, most (42.7 percent) said their concerns would focus on safety. Read more…
By Ilyse Wolens Schuman
During the first employment-related hearing conducted Friday by the new Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), Senators and panelists debated whether the Affordable Care Act‘s definition of “full-time” employment should be amended.
Under the health care law’s employer responsibility requirements, employers with at least 100 full-time or full-time equivalent employees are now required to provide health insurance meeting certain ACA standards to their full-time employees or pay a penalty.
For employers with 50 to 100 full-time employees, this pay-or-play employer mandate becomes effective in 2016. The ACA considers a worker “full time” if he or she works 30 hours or more per week, instead of the customary 40 per week. Read more…
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…