What employers need to know about ACA compliance

Posted by Emily Kubis on Mon, Aug 21, 2017 @ 09:08

Repeal talk doesn’t minimize potential for penalties

Though the Senate has been unable to pass an Affordable Care Act repeal bill so far, many legislators say they are not giving up. An ACA repeal could loosen a number of regulations for employers, but organizations should not assume repeal is imminent.

While it is important to monitor Congress’ actions around repeal or deregulation, employers must remain critically aware that the ACA is in place, and carries stiff penalties for noncompliance. Keep an eye toward Washington, but focus on compliance today, because the possibility of repeal does not affect the penalties today.

Here’s how to stay ACA-compliant. Need help reviewing your organization’s compliance standards, or developing processes for managing them? BernieHR offers on-demand HR consulting and services. Click here to learn more.

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Tags: HR, compliance, employer digest, non-compliant, ACA-compliant, BernieHR

Is Obamacare repeal over? Three possible outcomes

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Fri, Aug 18, 2017 @ 09:08

What consumers might expect 

It has been a dramatic summer for health care policy, and though Senate Republicans’ effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act seem tabled for now, uncertainties still remain.

Consumers will begin signing up for 2018 coverage in just a few months. Meanwhile, the individual market faces challenges, which could end up getting exacerbated or alleviated. While no one can say for sure how the rest of the year will play out, there seem to be three basic scenarios in the cards.

From here, stakeholders could weaken the individual market, strengthen the individual market or put repeal back on the table.

Which one of these is most likely? It’s hard to say, but let’s look at each one at a time.

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, health insurance, obamacare, Individual health insurance, health reform, healthcare costs, Huffington Post, repeal, insurance, repeal and replace

Bernard Health Named to 2017 Inc. 5000

Posted by Emily Kubis on Wed, Aug 16, 2017 @ 16:08

For the first time, Nashville benefits advisory firm makes exclusive list of America's fastest-growing private companies

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Tags: Bernard Health, Alex Tolbert, Inc. 5000

Are vacation savings accounts the hot new benefit?

Posted by Emily Kubis on Wed, Aug 16, 2017 @ 09:08

New company thinks so

The rise of flextime in U.S. workplaces—more than half of employers now allow it—represents increasingly employee desire for work/life balance. As employers compete for talent under a robust employment rate, they seem increasingly willing to deliver.

A new product from travel savings company Outski called “401(play)” sees an opportunity in that trend.

The company has created a tool that allows employers and employees to set aside a portion of their paycheck in an insured “Vacation Savings Account.”

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Tags: employer health benefits, solutions for employers, health insurance small employers, employer digest, vacation savings account, vacation benefit

Why would Oscar Health partner with Humana?

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Mon, Aug 14, 2017 @ 09:08

Is it a good thing for small employers?

Oscar Health, the New York-based insurance startup that recently announced plans to sell individual plans in Nashville next year, sees an additional business opportunity in Middle Tennessee. 

The company has also announced a partnership with Humana to offer plans in Nashville’s small group market, creating an unusual partnership between what would otherwise be two competing insurers. 

The announcement demonstrates just how uncertain the health insurance market is right now — much of the traditional business models are changing, and new alliances and partnerships are being formed. 

The arrangement leads to a number of questions. Why would two insurers partner with each other? What does Humana get out of this deal? Is this a good thing for small employers? 

Let’s look at a few things to consider. 

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, healthcare, The Tennessean, humana, Oscar Health

Don’t have an employee handbook? Start here

Posted by Emily Kubis on Fri, Aug 11, 2017 @ 09:08

What to include

The employee handbook is the single most important document for your organization. It is a road map for employees, clearly outlining what behaviors and work patterns are acceptable to the company.

Even so, many employers, particularly small ones, lack employee handbooks. Startups frequently make the mistake of considering handbooks unnecessary or outdated, but they are extremely useful for even the smallest organizations.

A detailed, easy-to-read handbook sets the tone of your company’s culture and expectations, and it communicates to new hires that they are joining an organization that has vision.

If you don’t have an employee handbook yet, here are the items you will want to include. Need help developing company documents? Contact BernieHR today to get started. Click here to learn more.

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Tags: HR, employer digest, BernieHR, employee handbook

High deductible? These options could help you avoid expensive bills

Posted by Emily Kubis on Wed, Aug 09, 2017 @ 08:08

How supplemental insurance can cover medical bills

High deductible health plans continue to rise in popularity, as more consumers try to minimize premium costs by choosing plans with more cost-sharing.

However, the trade-off is significant. In the event that you experience a high-cost healthcare incident, you will be responsible for all medical bills until you reach your deductible, and a portion of any remaining bills until you reach your out-of-pocket maximum.

This amount can easily surpass $6,000, and certainly not every consumer with a high deductible health plan has that amount stowed away.

There are a number of tips for minimizing costs for expected expenses, but accidents do happen. In some cases, enrolling in a supplemental insurance plan could protect you against large out-of-pocket costs.

Here are three options—critical illness coverage, hospital indemnity coverage and gap insurance, that could protect you from large out-of-pocket costs.

One important note about these options—it’s key to pay close attention to the details of any specific plan. Many have waiting periods, which means you can’t file a claim through them immediately after signing up. This is to incentivize you to sign up for coverage before you need it. Many also have exclusions, which means certain conditions or treatments might not be covered.

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Tags: deductible, High Deductible Health Plan, health insurance deductible, Individual health insurance, high deductibles, critical illness, individual digest, hospital indemnity, gap coverage

Financial advisors: How much will healthcare cost your clients in retirement?

Posted by Emily Kubis on Mon, Aug 07, 2017 @ 07:08

Healthcare planning services needed as costs continue to rise

According to Fidelity Investment, a 65-year-old couple retiring this year will need an estimated $260,000 to cover healthcare costs in retirement.

That’s a 6 percent increase, and the highest estimate since the firm began calculating these costs in 2002. The company attributed the rise to increased utilization and rising drug prices.

To insure against the need for long-term care, Fidelity estimates a couple in good health would need an additional $130,000.

Where do all these costs come from? The spending associated with Medicare Part B premiums, Medicare Part D, Medigap policies and out-of-pocket expenses—including prescriptions—really adds up.

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Tags: Bernard Health, retirement, financial planner, financial advisors, healthcare extension, medicare costs

Background checks—to run or not to run?

Posted by Emily Kubis on Fri, Aug 04, 2017 @ 07:08

Three things to consider

The majority of employers conduct background checks on new employees. According to CareerBuilder, 72 percent do background checks, largely analyzing criminal history and confirming current employment.

If you don’t conduct background checks, you may be wondering if the cost and administrative hassle is worth it. Before you decide against it, though, consider these three factors. Need help managing your new hires? Click here to learn more about Bernard Health’s on-demand HR consulting service, BernieHR.

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Tags: HR, onboarding, employer digest, BernieHR

Why a benefits platform makes open enrollment easier

Posted by Emily Kubis on Wed, Aug 02, 2017 @ 07:08

Don't settle for dysfunction  

Open enrollment is coming up quickly, and HR departments everywhere are gearing up for another stressful round of paperwork, deadlines, and of course, never-ending employee support.

Traditionally, open enrollment is inefficient. You know the drill, but let’s review how operationally frustrating this time of year can be. First there are the endless forms for employees to fill out. Then the HR team has to scan or fax the forms to the broker for review.

Whoops, the broker found an error, which he send to you, and now it’s back to the employee for corrections.

Then to payroll, where you’ll be using spreadsheets and forms to find the right amount to be deducted from an employee’s paycheck.

Finally, carriers are alerted through a variety of platforms—mail, faxes, email, web forms—you name it.

But of course, that isn’t the end. Next comes the record maintenance. Each and every time there’s a change, you’re back in the middle of the paperwork.

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Tags: health insurance, Online Benefits Administration, employer health benefits, open enrollment, group benefits, healthcare costs, hr software, employer digest, benefits administration, benefits software

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