eBRIEFS Masthead

September 2012


Featured Article

Private Exchanges Could Trigger a 
Health Care Revolution 

To what extent Corporate America will embrace this emerging method of delivering health care is not yet clear - but a vast transformation appears quite possible.  Click here to continue.


In This Issue
In New Health Exchange, Customer Service is Up for Debate
Group Health Care Spending up in 2011
ADA Requires Employers to Fill Vacant Positions with Qualified Employees with Disabilities
Changes in 401(k) Plans Spur Higher Participation
Risk Management Services Newsletter
Personal Insurance Chatter Newsletter

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 Legislative/Regulatory Update

Safe Harbor for Determining Full-Time Employee Status


New guidance has been issued on two requirements under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the "Act") that will become effective in 2014. Specifically, the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service recently released Notice 2012-58, which describes a safe harbor approach employers may use for purposes of determining whether an employee is "full-time" for purposes of the Act's "pay-or-play" mandate. In addition, the Departments of Treasury, Labor and Health and Human Services released guidance on the Act's rule that prohibits group health plans from imposing waiting periods in excess of 90 days.  Click here to continue.



 Health Care Reform

In New Health Exchange, Human Element of Customer Service is Up for Debate


Health insurance exchanges, called for in the federal health law, are supposed to make it easy to compare health plans side-by-side, much like Expedia or Orbitz gives a list of flights by price and departure time. But choosing a health plan is far more complicated than arranging a flight to Des Moines.  Click here to continue.  

Focus on Health Reform: Questions About Health Insurance Subsidies


Click here to read a summary that describes the financial assistance provided under PPACA for people purchasing coverage own their own through health insurance exchanges.   


 Benefit Trends

Group Health Care Spending Up in 2011


Group health care spending in the United States accelerated last year, according to a new analysis. For those covered by employer plans, spending on health care services increased by 4.6 percent to $4,547 per plan enrollee. By contrast, in 2010, costs rose an average of 3.8 percent, according to the Health Care Cost Institute, an independent Washington-based health research organization.  Click here to continue.

Keep Your Sanity During Open Enrollment


Open enrollment can be a stressful time for HR professionals who work with benefits. Often, management doesn't have a true picture of the time and effort that go into making this event successful. The following are a few simple suggestions to help maintain your sanity.  

Online Avatars and Cyber Concierges Walk Workers Through Benefits


From increasing involvement and understanding of benefits during the open enrollment process to guiding a plan participant through a wellness program, interactive technology is becoming an ever more important and prominent part of the employee benefits communication package.  Click here to continue.


 HR and Payroll Issues

ADA Requires Employers to Fill Vacant Positions with Qualified Employees with Disabilities      


Employers must re-assign a qualified employee with a disability under the Americans With Disabilities Act to a vacant job for which the employee is qualified, even if there are other better qualified applicants for that vacant job, according to a decision issued last month by the federal appeals court in Chicago.  Click here to continue.

Employers Unprepared for Aggressive Labor Board


Two years ago, with Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, unions pushed for the Employee Free Choice Act or "card check."  Click here to continue. 

Employees Not Barred From Sharing Genetic Info


Can you imagine a time when employees might willingly share their genetic information with employers in an effort to protect their jobs? According to lawyer Richard Tuschman, shareholder in Akerman Setnerfitt's labor and employment practice group, this scenario is a real possibility. Click here to continue. 


 Retirement Plans

Changes in 401(k) Plans Spur Higher Participation  

More U.S. companies and participants are putting money into 401(k) plans, and they are doing so at higher rates than in previous years, according to the not-for-profit Plan Sponsor Council of America's (PSCA) 55th Annual Survey of Profit Sharing and 401(k) Plans.  Click here to continue.  

How to Capitalize on 2012 Regulations to Improve Your Retirement Plan


The disclosures and guidance provided in 2012 will most likely encourage more changes in how 401(k) and 403(b) plans are evaluated and judged in any one year since the rise of their popularity in the early 1980's.  This article will review eight ways that you can improve your retirement plan in 2012.  Click here to continue.  

Warning Signs That Something Could Be Wrong With Your 401k Plan


As much as you would like to think all is well with your company, its owners, products, and 401k plan, this is not always the case. It is not that uncommon for things to go wrong. When it comes to your retirement, you don't want anything to happen to your 401k plan. It is up to you to watch out for your own interests.  Click here

to continue.

 Risk Management

Risk Management Services Newsletter


Click here to view the current issue of our Risk Management newsletter.

Claims Spotlight: Workers Comp Money Saving Tips


Managing Claims and implementing loss control techniques can help businesses save on rising workers' compensation costs while reducing the risk of employee injuries. Safety programs, claims investigations, return-to-work strategies and medical considerations are reviewed in this informative article.  Click here to continue.

Managing Reputation Risks Key to Organization's Success


Events that threaten an organization's reputation may be more common than many have previously thought, according to a new report, and a coherent strategy for managing a reputation-threatening event and rebuilding a damaged reputation can be the difference between an organization's success and failure. Click here to continue. 


 Personal Lines

Personal Insurance Chatter Newsletter


Click here to view the current issue of our Personal Insurance newsletter.

Secure Proper Loss Assessment Coverage


An increasing number of home owners are now members of home owners' associations (HOAs). An HOA is a corporation formed by a real estate developer for the purpose of marketing, managing, and selling of homes and lots in a residential subdivision. Membership in the HOA is often a condition of sale. Although there are many benefits, membership does entail some added risks, particularly the exposure to paying for losses to common areas.  Click here to continue.  

How to Insure Your Valuable Assets


It's one thing to insure the Chevy you drive to work every day, but quite another to cover loss or damage to a rare, 1940s-era Rolls Royce, an antique watch or a Jackson Pollock painting. Your traditional homeowner's insurance policy rider may fall short, requiring the purchase of a more sophisticated policy.  Click here to continue.