General

Agencies Issue Proposed Rules and Plans

November 22 | 2017
By: Danielle Capilla
Senior VP of Compliance and Operations

October was a busy month in the employee benefits world. President Trump announced a new Acting Secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Eric Hargan fills the position vacated by Tom Price, who resigned in late September 2017. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a proposed rule to delay a […]

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Latest IRS ACA Round Up (Including 2018 Cost-of-Living Adjustments)

November 20 | 2017
By: Danielle Capilla
VP of Compliance and Operations, United Benefit Advisors

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 […]

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2017 Health Plan Survey Shows Sharp Rise in Group Healthcare Premiums

November 10 | 2017
By: Peter Weber
M.S., CAE, President, United Benefit Advisors

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 […]

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Benefit Plan Design: Charging Employees Different Premiums

November 8 | 2017
By: Danielle Capilla
Senior VP of Compliance and Operations

Employers who are designing a health and welfare benefit plan for their employees often wonder about the rules relating to setting premiums for employees. Employers generally have significant flexibility in this part of their plan’s design. Common structures contemplated by employers include, but are not limited to: Charging all employees a flat amount for their […]

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Shhhhhh!

October 17 | 2017
By: Geoff Mukhtar
Communications Manager at United Benefit Advisors

There are places where you expect things to be noisy, such as a rock concert, and places where you expect it to be quiet, like an office. And while nobody likes being “shushed,” there are few things more annoying than trying to work when someone else is talking in the background. The ‘80s music group […]

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The Perk of Pets

October 15 | 2017
By: Geoff Mukhtar
Communications Manager at United Benefit Advisors

Companies on the leading edge of employee benefits, especially those that want to stand out within an industry, will offer such pet-friendly perks in order to attract top talent. But what exactly are these benefits? According to an article titled, “Pet-Friendly Perks” in Human Resource Executive Online, employers are offering benefits such as pet insurance, […]

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Are you addressing your employee’s financial health?

October 11 | 2017
By: Nancy Cannon
Workplace Solutions Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company, a UBA Strategic Partner

The importance of health and wellness in the workplace is more apparent than ever. It’s obvious why healthy individuals make better employees and the positive impact this has on your bottom line. When thinking about building a program to improve the well-being of your employees, don’t forget about the importance of their financial health. In […]

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VR for HR

October 4 | 2017
By: Geoff Mukhtar
Communications Manager at United Benefit Advisors

No matter how well traveled you are, or how busy your lifestyle may be, you likely haven’t been everywhere in the world, or done everything there is to do. There is technology out there, however, that can bring the world to you. That technology is called “virtual reality,” or VR for short, and it’s changing […]

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Don’t Put Up with the Bull of Bullying

October 2 | 2017
By: Geoff Mukhtar
Communications Manager at United Benefit Advisors

There’s no place for bullying and that’s especially true in the workplace, yet many employees bully their co-workers. So, how does this happen? It used to be that bullying was confined to the schoolyard, but now it’s spread to cyberbullying and workplace bullying. Now, if there’s a culture of bullying at an organization, often it’s […]

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The Killjoy of Office Culture

September 15 | 2017
By: Geoff Mukhtar
Communications Manager at United Benefit Advisors

One of the latest things trending right now in business is the importance of office culture. When everyone in the office is working well together, productivity rises and efficiency increases. Naturally, the opposite is true when employees do not work well together and the corporate culture suffers. So, what are these barriers and what can […]

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Religious Objections to Covering Contraceptives

September 11 | 2017
By: Linda Rowings
Chief Compliance Officer at United Benefit Advisors

On August 22, 2014, the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor, and Treasury released an interim final rule and a proposed rule that provide some new accommodations to employers that have religious objections to covering contraception under their group health plans. The agencies also released a fact sheet on the rules and an […]

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What You Need to Know about Health Flexible Spending Accounts

September 6 | 2017
By: Danielle Capilla
Chief Compliance Officer at United Benefit Advisors

A health flexible spending account (FSA) is a pre-tax account used to pay for out-of-pocket health care costs for a participant as well as a participant’s spouse and eligible dependents. Health FSAs are employer-established benefit plans and may be offered with other employer-provided benefits as part of a cafeteria plan. Self-employed individuals are not eligible […]

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Dependent Eligibility: Top Three Reason Why You Shouldn’t Audit

August 24 | 2017
By: Bill Olson
Chief Marketing Officer at United Benefit Advisors

Recently, UBA Partner Mike Humphrey, Senior Benefits Advisor at The Wilson Agency, shared some great insights for those who are considering doing a dependent audit. He points out three reasons why you shouldn’t do these audits and offers a much better approach to reining in costs associated with covering dependents that should no longer be […]

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Biting the Hand that Pays Them

August 21 | 2017
By: Ron E. Peck
The Phia Group, LLC, a UBA Strategic Partner

I was recently asked to speak to a gathering of hospital-sponsored health plans and providers of health care services about our health care system, and trends I see developing which threaten it. I’d planned to talk about how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) only targets one-third of the health care […]

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Strategic Benefits Communication: Five key steps to success this open enrollment season

August 17 | 2017
By: Kevin D. Seeker
Sun Life Financial, A UBA Strategic Partner

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 […]

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Emails Never Sleep: Employers Consider Email Expectations

August 14 | 2017
By: Robert Black
Software Developer, United Benefit Advisors

For some employees, when they leave work, they don’t even think about it until they return the next morning. For others, while they may leave their place of employment, they’re never truly disconnected. That’s because there’s a workplace culture where some employees feel they must check and respond to their work emails 24/7/365. While this […]

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When Grief Comes to Work

August 10 | 2017
By: Kathryn Schneider
Benefit Solutions Division Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company, a UBA Strategic Partner

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. […]

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The Future of Corporate Wellness – Where Will We Go From Here?

August 7 | 2017
By: Valeria S. Tivnan
MPH, M.ED., Director, Population Health and Well-Being at EBS

I am proud to say that I have been involved in corporate wellness since the mid-1980s. Helping employees live healthier and happier lives, as well as supporting employers with best-in-class tools to improve their cultures, have been my passion and purpose. I have witnessed and worked on corporate wellness since the time when physical health […]

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New Benefits Target Employee Debt

August 1 | 2017
By: Geoff Mukhtar
Communications Manager at United Benefit Advisors

Today, most new full-time hires expect a company to offer certain standard benefits – health, dental, vision, and life insurance, paid vacation and sick days, and a 401(k) or pension. Some companies go beyond this and provide other benefits such as profit sharing, parking reimbursement, mobile phone reimbursement, wellness programs, and even on-site daycare. So […]

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Well-Being Strategies for a Diverse Workforce, Building Value at an Individual Level

July 25 | 2017
By: Lindsay Simpson
Organizational Wellness Lead, The Richards Group, a UBA Partner Firm

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 […]

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