News

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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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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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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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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With Below Average Cost, Increasing Enrollment, CDHPs Have Big Impact

December 14 | 2017
By: Bill Olson
VP, Marketing & Communications at United Benefit Advisors

When most experts think of group healthcare plans, Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans largely come to mind—though higher cost, they dominate the marketin terms of plan distribution and employee enrollment. But Consumer-Directed Health Plans (CDHPs) have made surprising gains. Despite slight cost increases, CDHP costs are still below average and prevalence and enrollment in these […]

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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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UBA Survey: Weary Families Get a Break While Singles See Out-of-Pocket Cost Increases

November 28 | 2017
By: Bill Olson
VP, Marketing & Communications at United Benefit Advisors

While the rate impact of the regulatory environment plays out, one thing is clear from the 2017 UBA Health Plan Survey: employers continue to shift a greater share of expenses to employees through out-of-pocket cost increases. While this is just one of 7 mega trends uncovered in the survey, it is particularly interesting this year […]

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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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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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President Trump Ends ACA Cost Sharing Reductions

October 21 | 2017
By: Danielle Capilla
VP of Compliance and Operations, United Benefit Advisors

On the evening of October 12, 2017, President Trump announced that cost sharing reductions for low income Americans in relation to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) would be stopped. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has confirmed that payments will be stopped immediately. While there is no direct impact to […]

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October 2017 Executive Order on Healthcare

October 16 | 2017
By: Danielle Capilla
Chief Compliance Officer at United Benefit Advisors

On October 12, 2017, the White House released an Executive Order, signed by President Trump, titled “Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States.” It is important to note that the Executive Order (EO) does not implement any new laws or regulations, but instead directs various federal agencies to explore options relating to association […]

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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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IRS Roundup: What Employers Need to Know about the Latest ACA Notices

October 9 | 2017
By: Danielle Capilla
Chief Compliance Officer at United Benefit Advisors

In spite of the recent efforts by Congress to change or repeal the ACA, its provisions are still in effect. The IRS has issued continuing guidance on the affordability rate for coverage, the employer shared responsibility provisions and reporting, and the individual mandate provision. IRS Released the 2018 Affordability Rate The Internal Revenue Service released […]

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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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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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