General

How Long Commutes Impact Workplace Productivity

February 20 | 2018
By: Geoff Mukhtar
Communications Manager at United Benefit Advisors

What do all employees have in common? They all have a burning dislike for their morning commute! Let’s face it, it’s not the actual commute that most people dislike, it’s the hassle of dealing with traffic, long lines, and rude people that make the trip so despised. It doesn’t matter how an employee gets to […]

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Wellness Checkup

February 13 | 2018
By: Adva Biton

The CDC estimates that 75 percent of healthcare costs come from 117 million people with one or more chronic health conditions. For employers, this can mean paying an annual average of $12,000 per employee on healthcare costs, according to a study by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. In recent years, many employers have gotten […]

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Culture, Not Perks, Most Important to Retain Employees

February 8 | 2018
By: Heather Stewart

As a small business, how can you attract and retain top-notch employees? That was the key question tackled during a breakout session at the Salt Lake Chamber Small Business Summit in early February. With the unemployment rate in Utah hovering at record-low levels, attracting and keeping top talent is top of mind for all business […]

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How to Motivate Employee Participation in Your Wellness Program

February 5 | 2018
By: Sara Saidi
Coordinator

Have you ever heard the quote, “If you take care of your people, they’ll take care of your business?” It’s great advice and goes beyond ensuring that they get a paycheck each month. Does your company show that they care about an employee’s total well-being? You should, especially considering that an employee’s physical and mental […]

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Negotiating over COBRA Coverage-Use EXTREME CAUTION!

January 31 | 2018
By: Elizabeth Kay
Compliance & Retention Analyst

Have you ever overheard the new employee in the break room, bragging about how good their health insurance was with their previous employer, and how much less expensive it was than the coverage they are currently being offered? You may think ”If it was so good, then why give it up?” There are always a […]

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Intermountain Healthcare, Others, Will Develop Generic Drug Company

January 25 | 2018
By: Utahbusiness.com

Salt Lake City—To help patients by addressing the often unwarranted shortages and high costs of lifesaving generic medications, Intermountain Healthcare is leading a collaboration with Ascension, SSM Health, and Trinity Health, in consultation with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs* (VA), to form a new, not-for-profit generic drug company. The five organizations represent more than […]

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Industry Outlook: Healthcare

January 19 | 2018
By: UtahBusiness.com

Utah’s healthcare community is facing an uncertain future due to the shifting tides of health reform, an ongoing opioid crisis and a new effort to set health policy at the ballot box. Here, healthcare leaders take on these issues and more. PARTICIPANTS: Scott Barlow, Revere Health Blaine Benard, Holland & Hart, LLC Brian Carter, Diversified […]

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Don’t Ignore the Human Element in Cybersecurity, Say Professionals

January 16 | 2018
By: Adva Taylor
Utah Business Magazine

Salt Lake City—Cybersecurity threats have become just a part of doing business. There’s no magical salve or solution that will keep your business 100 percent in the clear from any sort of cybersecurity threat—and those threats are becoming more sophisticated every year. How can you keep your company safe? One of the first steps is […]

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Drawing a Line: How to recognize and eliminate sexual harassment in your organization (yes, yours too)

January 11 | 2018
By: Lisa Christensen

Harvey Weinstein. Al Franken. Charlie Rose. The last several weeks have been filled with a seemingly endless line of allegations against high-profile celebrities, politicians and businessmen, and as more victims come forward, even more appear. Sexual harassment is a phenomenon that just happens in other places and other industries—until it happens close to home, too. […]

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Boostability: Giving Small Businesses an Online Boost

January 9 | 2018
By: UtahBusiness.com

In today’s world, consumers expect businesses to have an active presence online—and that includes small businesses. It doesn’t matter if you’re the handyman down the street or owner of the local pizza joint, your customers (and potential customers) expect you to be online. Let’s face it—the internet is as important today as the Yellow Pages […]

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Cost Effective Wellness Strategies for Small Business Employers

December 29 | 2017
By: Lori Kunkle
Clinical Wellness Director for Power Kunkle Benefits Consulting, a UBA Partner Firm

Companies like Google®, L.L. Bean®, and Zappos.com® have the ability to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on wellness programs for their employees. They can build state-of-the-art gym facilities, walking trails around the corporate campus, and offer any number of wellness services to benefit their workers, as well as monetary incentives. For the average employer […]

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EEOC Guidance on National Origin Discrimination

December 27 | 2017
By: Nancy Bourque
HR Practice Leader at United Benefit Advisors

Recently, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued new guidance on national origin discrimination. National origin discrimination is discrimination because an individual is, or the individual’s ancestors are, from a certain place or has the physical, cultural, or linguistic characteristics of a particular national origin group, including Native American tribes. A member of one national origin […]

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Advance Informational Copies of 2017 Form 5500 Annual Return/Report

December 22 | 2017
By: Danielle Capilla
Senior VP of Compliance and Operations, United Benefit Advisors

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) released advance informational copies of the 2017 Form 5500 annual return/report and related instructions. Specifically, the instructions highlight the following modifications to the forms, schedules, and instructions: IRS-Only Questions. IRS-only questions that filers were not required to […]

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Agencies Provide Relief for Group Plans and Donation Programs Affected by Hurricanes/Wildfires

December 19 | 2017
By: Danielle Capilla
Senior VP of Compliance and Operations, United Benefit Advisors

Guidance for Group Health Plans Impacted by Hurricane Maria and California Wildfires The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a news release to recognize that plan participants and beneficiaries may encounter problems due to Hurricane Maria and the California Wildfires. The DOL advises plan fiduciaries to make reasonable accommodations to prevent workers’ loss of benefits and to […]

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IRS Updates Guidance on Play-or-Pay Penalty Assessments

December 12 | 2017
By: Danielle Capilla
Senior VP of Compliance and Operations, United Benefit Advisors

Beginning in 2015, to comply with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), “large” employers must offer their full-time employees health coverage, or pay one of two employer shared responsibility / play-or-pay penalties. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) determines the penalty each calendar year after employees have filed their federal tax returns. In November […]

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Climate Leave: PTO for when the Wind Blows

December 7 | 2017
By: Bill Olson
VP, Marketing & Communications at United Benefit Advisors

This year, much of the United States had some form of major natural disaster—hurricanes, wildfires, floods, tornados—and millions of people were either directly affected, or had a family member or close friend who was affected. This life-changing disruption often meant that people couldn’t, or weren’t able to, go to work. While many companies were understanding […]

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Employee Benefit Plans and the House Republican Tax Reform Bill

December 5 | 2017
By: Danielle Capilla
Senior VP of Compliance and Operations, United Benefit Advisors

On November 2, 2017, House Republicans introduced a tax reform bill (H.R.1-115th Congress) called the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” that, if passed, would impact multiple aspects of the tax code. Many of these changes relate to employee benefit plans, particularly in relation to certain fringe benefits. Dependent Care Accounts A dependent care flexible spending […]

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Top 3 Frequently Asked Questions about Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangements

November 30 | 2017
By: Danielle Capilla
Senior VP of Compliance and Operations, United Benefit Advisors

On December 13, 2016, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act) into law. The Cures Act provides a method for certain small employers to reimburse individual health coverage premiums up to a dollar limit through HRAs called “Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangements” (QSE HRAs). The provision went into effect on January 1, 2017. On October […]

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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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