HRCI & SHRM Pre-Approved Webinar | Is Wellness Worth it? A Data-Driven Look into the World of Corporate Wellness

Posted October 10, 2019 by Megan DiMartino

For nearly a decade, the wellness industry has promised employers the outcomes of better health, prevention of large claims, and lower insurance claims costs and trend. They have also touted higher productivity, higher morale and high employee satisfaction as “soft” outcomes. Yet, who has actually taken the time to analyze the data and see if what wellness companies claim they do is actually happening?

Join us for this HRCI* and SHRM** pre-approved, complimentary, one-hour webinar as AP Benefit Advisors’ Director of Data Analytics, Scott Mayer, takes an unbiased look at claims data, historical data and independent studies to pull back on what is myth and what is reality when trying to figure out the efficacy of traditional wellness plans.

Takeaways:

  • Do wellness plans actually reduce health care claims trends?
  • What impacts do wellness plans have on a company’s population health profile?
  • How to trust, but verify, the results that the wellness vendors are showing

Webinar details:

  • Thursday, October 24, 2019
  • 1:00pm – 2:00 pm EDT
  • No cost to attend
  • This webinar is open to all HR and Finance Professionals – but not to brokers, agents, TPAs and PEOs

Register Now


*The use of this seal confirms that this activity has met HR Certification Institute’s® (HRCI®) criteria for recertification credit pre-approval.

**AP Benefit Advisors, LLC is recognized by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP. This program is valid for 1 PDC for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP. For more information about certification or recertification, please visit shrmcertification.org.


For more information, contact info@apbenefitadvisors.com. The information contained in this post, and any attachments, is not intended and should not be misconstrued as legal advice. You should contact your employment, benefits or ERISA attorney for legal direction.

AP Benefit Advisors’ webinar and website resources are designed for U.S.-based organizations. Our privacy and GDPR policy should be reviewed here. Please opt-out if you do not agree to these terms and conditions.

New DOL Overtime Regulations Effective January 1, 2020

Posted September 30, 2019 by Megan DiMartino

Author: Cindy Wagner, Director of HR Professional Services at AP Benefit Advisors

On September 24, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced its plans to update the rules of the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) effective January 1, 2020. It is estimated that up to 1.3 million workers will become newly eligible for overtime pay due to the updates applied in the earnings thresholds necessary to exempt executive, administrative or professional employees from the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime pay requirements.

The DOL is updating both the minimum weekly standard salary level and the total annual compensation requirement for “highly compensated employees (HCEs)” to reflect growth in wages and salaries, which were last accounted for in 2004. The DOL believes that this update will help maintain the original purpose of the salary level test and will help employers more readily identify exempt employees. The next stage of the project includes revisions to the special salary levels for employees in U.S. territories and the special base rate for employees in the motion picture producing industry.

The DOL has shared that this new rule brings a more common-sense type approach that offers consistency and certainty for employers, as well as clarify and prosperity for American workers. And, for the first time in 15 years, American workers will see an update to the FLSA overtime regulations that will in turn place overtime compensation into the pockets of more than a million working American people.

The DOL estimates this rule will transfer income from employers to employees in the form of wages by an annualized amount of $298.8 million. The majority of these transfers will be attributable to the FLSA’s overtime provision and a smaller share will be attributable to the FLSA’s minimum wage requirement.

A review of the key provisions:

  1. Raising the “standard salary level” from the currently enforced level of $455 to $684 per week (equivalent of $35,568 per year (full year)/per worker);
  2. Raising the total annual compensation level for HCEs from the currently enforced level of $100,000 to $107,432 per year;
  3. Allowing employers to utilize non-discretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) paid at least annually to satisfy up to 10% of the standard salary level, in recognition of evolving pay practices; and
  4. Revising the special salary levels for workers in U.S. territories and in the motion picture industry (rules under development).

In addition, the DOL has announced their intention to continue routine updates of the standard salary and HCEs total annual compensation levels more regularly in the future through notice-and-comment rulemaking.

A breakdown of the final rule by the numbers:

  • $684 per week – new salary requirement. This amount was increased from $455 per week. The new equivalent level is $35,568 per year.
  • $107,432 – total HCE compensation threshold. This amount was increased from $100,000 annually.
  • 10% – amount of the standard salary level of final rule allows employers to cover with non-discretionary bonuses and incentive payments that are paid annually or more frequently.
  • $1.3 million – estimated number of current exempt workers the DOL estimates will potentially become eligible for overtime.
  • $298.8 million – estimated amount of extra pay workers may receive each year.
  • $455 per week – special salary level for workers in Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
  • $380 per week – special salary level for workers in American Samoa.
  • $1,043 per week – “base rate” threshold for employees in the motion picture industry.

What comes next?

Employers need to do their homework – as the new rules have been released and the fourth quarter is upon us, it is highly recommended that HR and/or Payroll Professionals immediately begin pulling data for exempt workers earning below the new threshold level. Upon review of budget, consideration should be given for which positions may need to be reclassified, restructured, and where salary adjustments should be applied, if applicable. In addition, timing and communications should be considered and defined. For compliance purposes, the appropriate testing criteria should be applied. And, of course, document your process and results in case of an audit. It is also recommended that you seek guidance from your legal counsel and/or HR Consultant should you require any assistance with this project.

Areas of focus to help ensure a successful action plan:

  • Review job descriptions
  • Review budgets
  • Develop training materials
  • Define communications strategy
  • Document action plan
  • Review compliance requirements
  • Seek legal guidance/HR consultant support

Lastly, don’t forget to update your Employee Handbooks and Policies and Procedures to reflect any changes made regarding these new regulations.

Also, continue to monitor information shared by the DOL for updated clarification and guidance on these final rules. AP Benefit Advisors will continue to keep you informed as we become aware of any new and breaking information.

Links: U.S. Department of Labor | Final Rule: Overtime Update


For more information, contact info@apbenefitadvisors.com. The information contained in this post, and any attachments, is not intended and should not be misconstrued as legal advice. You should contact your employment, benefits or ERISA attorney for legal direction.

AP Benefit Advisors’ webinar and website resources are designed for U.S.-based organizations. Our privacy and GDPR policy should be reviewed here. Please opt-out if you do not agree to these terms and conditions.

2019 3rd Quarter Compliance Update

Posted September 27, 2019 by Megan DiMartino

Topics include:

  • Medicare Part D Notices
  • Rx Plans May Exclude Value of Drug Manufacturers’ Coupons Until Further Notice
  • Summary Annual Reports
  • Agencies Finalize Mental Health Parity Resources
  • Affordable Coverage
  • MLR Rebates
  • ACA Pay or Play Still Applies
  • ACA Reporting 2019
  • And more!

Read Now


For more information, contact info@apbenefitadvisors.com. The information contained in this post, and any attachments, is not intended and should not be misconstrued as legal advice. You should contact your employment, benefits or ERISA attorney for legal direction.

AP Benefit Advisors’ webinar and website resources are designed for U.S.-based organizations. Our privacy and GDPR policy should be reviewed here. Please opt-out if you do not agree to these terms and conditions.

HRCI & SHRM Pre-Approved Webinar | Retirement Plans – The Four “Fs” Retirement Plan Administrators Need to Know

Posted September 17, 2019 by Megan DiMartino

In the face of multiple fiduciary breach lawsuits, plan sponsors need to be on their game to protect themselves from the real liability that exists with group retirement plans. Pricing on group retirement plans has become incredibly competitive, and if any plan sponsors haven’t benchmarked their plans to the open market in the past 24 months, there is likely some great opportunity to improve plan pricing.

The Four “Fs”:

  • How we can help with plan fees
  • How we can help with fiduciary responsibilities
  • How we can help with fund selection and monitoring
  • How we can help to finally provide that financial wellness program that all plan sponsors need

Please join us for this HRCI* and SHRM** pre-approved, complimentary, one-hour webinar as Chris Strother, SVP of Retirement Plan Services, and Bryan Wright, Principal at AP Colorado, cover the four “Fs” above in this educational retirement plan webinar.

Webinar details:

  • Wednesday, September 25, 2019
  • 2:00pm – 3:00 pm EDT
  • No cost to attend
  • This webinar is open to all HR and Finance Professionals – but not to brokers, agents, TPAs and PEOs

Register Now


*The use of this seal confirms that this activity has met HR Certification Institute’s® (HRCI®) criteria for recertification credit pre-approval.

**AP Benefit Advisors, LLC is recognized by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP. This program is valid for 1 PDC for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP. For more information about certification or recertification, please visit shrmcertification.org.


For more information, contact info@apbenefitadvisors.com. The information contained in this post, and any attachments, is not intended and should not be misconstrued as legal advice. You should contact your employment, benefits or ERISA attorney for legal direction.

AP Benefit Advisors’ webinar and website resources are designed for U.S.-based organizations. Our privacy and GDPR policy should be reviewed here. Please opt-out if you do not agree to these terms and conditions.

CVS-Aetna Merger Finalized

Posted September 13, 2019 by Megan DiMartino

We expect to see the ongoing consolidation of our industry stakeholders. The CVS/Aetna plays with the recent CIGNA/ESI deal that also aligns in the integrated medical/Rx delivery model with UHC/Optum. With this alignment between CVS and Aetna and the continued move towards an integrated care model, it is more imperative than ever for employers to carve out their Pharmacy benefit to have maximum disclosure and savings for their drug spend.

– Howard Mazzafro, VP Business Development at Keenan Pharmacy (An AssuredPartners Company)

Dive Brief:

  1. District Court Judge Richard Leon has approved the settlement agreement CVS and Aetna reached with the U.S. Department of Justice to allay antitrust concerns
  2. Leon gave his blessing grudgingly. He had been highly critical of the settlement that called for Aetna to divest its Medicare Part D business to WellCare, noting the agreement addressed just a sliver of the nearly $70 billion deal. His order, however, imposes no further conditions.
  3. The American Medical Association, which argued in court the agreement did not go far enough to address market concentration concerns, spoke out against Wednesday’s ruling.

Dive Insight:

The review by Leon was unprecedented, spanning nearly a year as he decided whether the agreement was in the public interest.

Under federal law, judges have the power to review DOJ settlement agreements and the risk was whether Leon would send the DOJ and CVS-Aetna back to the negotiating table.

“Indeed, if the Tunney Act is to mean anything, it surely must mean that no court should rubberstamp a consent decree approving the merger of ‘one of the largest companies in the United States’ and ‘the nation’s third largest health-insurance company,’ simply because the Government requests it!” Leon wrote in an accompanying opinion.

Leon even held a hearing, letting others besides CVS-Aetna and the DOJ testify on the merits of the merger and the potential harm to competition.

“Obviously we’re disappointed, but I think we’ve established a precedent for the future for the enforcement of the Tunney Act in antitrust cases,” David Balto, a lawyer who testified at the evidentiary hearings on behalf of U.S. PIRG and Consumer Action, told Healthcare Dive. “I think the judge demonstrated why the Tunney Act is important in the oversight of antitrust actions.”

The American Medical Association has been critical of the deal and also had their own experts testify during the hearing.

“Nothing in the deal guarantees reductions on insurance premiums or prescription drug costs. As for promised efficiency savings, that money will likely go straight to CVS’ bottom line. CVS made no commitment to pass much-hyped savings onto consumers through lower premiums or drug costs,” the AMA said in a statement.

CVS, which previously closed on its deal with Aetna, said – “CVS Health and Aetna have been one company since November 2018, and today’s action by the district court makes that 100 percent clear.”

Source: Healthcare Dive | Judge finally blesses CVS-Aetna merger settlement


For more information, contact info@apbenefitadvisors.com. The information contained in this post, and any attachments, is not intended and should not be misconstrued as legal advice. You should contact your employment, benefits or ERISA attorney for legal direction.

AP Benefit Advisors’ webinar and website resources are designed for U.S.-based organizations. Our privacy and GDPR policy should be reviewed here. Please opt-out if you do not agree to these terms and conditions.

Rx Plans May Exclude Value of Drug Manufacturers’ Coupons Until Further Notice

Posted September 4, 2019 by Patrick Haynes

The DOL, HHS, and IRS have jointly issued an FAQ addressing whether health plans must count drug manufacturers’ coupons toward the annual cost-sharing limits under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). (Note:  these limits apply to non-grandfathered group health plans, including self-insured and insured small and large group market health plans.) Regulations that announced the 2020 benefit and payment parameters (including the maximum annual cost-sharing limits) provided that, for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2020, plans and insurers need not count the value of drug manufacturers’ coupons toward the annual cost-sharing limits when a medically appropriate generic equivalent is available.  Please see our May 9, 2019 post about the 2020 limits here.

After the regulations were released, stakeholders pointed out that this provision implies that, in any other circumstances, plans and insurers must count such coupon amounts toward the annual cost-sharing limits, and that such a requirement could create a conflict with certain rules for high deductible health plans (HDHPs) that are intended to allow eligible individuals to establish HSAs.

Explaining that, for purposes of determining whether the HDHP minimum deductible has been satisfied, HDHPs must disregard drug discounts and other manufacturers’ and providers’ discounts and may only take into account amounts actually paid by the individual, the FAQ acknowledges that HDHP insurers or sponsors may be unable to comply with both rules simultaneously. The agencies intend to address this conflict in the regulations that announce the 2021 benefit and payment parameters. Until such regulations are effective, the agencies will not initiate an enforcement action if an insurer or plan excludes the value of drug manufacturers’ coupons from the annual cost-sharing limits, including when no medically appropriate generic equivalent is available.

The rule announced in the 2020 benefit and payment parameters was intended to discourage providers and patients from choosing expensive brand-name drugs when a less expensive and equally effective alternative is available. HHS also proposed other rules designed to encourage the use of generic drugs but did not include them in the final parameters, noting their complexity and administrative burden. It will be interesting to see what direction the agencies take when the 2021 benefit and payment parameters are proposed, including how they reconcile any conflicting rules such as the one addressed in this FAQ.

Links:


For more information, contact info@apbenefitadvisors.com. The information contained in this post, and any attachments, is not intended and should not be misconstrued as legal advice. You should contact your employment, benefits or ERISA attorney for legal direction.

AP Benefit Advisors’ webinar and website resources are designed for U.S.-based organizations. Our privacy and GDPR policy should be reviewed here. Please opt-out if you do not agree to these terms and conditions.

ACA Limits, Penalties and Fees – 2014 thru 2020

Posted August 26, 2019 by Patrick Haynes

Employer Shared Responsibility (Employer Mandate)

Plan Years 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
Affordability Safe Harbor Percentage 9.78% 9.86% 9.56% 9.69% 9.66% 9.56% 9.50%

Employer Mandate Penalties – Calendar Year

Penalties 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
Tier One: Failure to offer coverage or to offer to 95% of employees (70% for 2015) TBD $2,500 $2,320 $2,260 $2,160 $2,080 $2,000
Tier Two: Failure to offer coverage that is affordable and meets minimum value TBD $3,750 $3,480 $3,390 $3,240 $3,120 $3,000

Market Rules

Account Limits 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
Health Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) TBD $2,700 $2,650 $2,600 $2,550 $2,550 $2,500
Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) TBD $5,000 $5,000 $5,000 $5,000 $5,000 $5,000
Health Spending Accounts (HSA)
High Deductible Health Plan Annual Deductible Minimums (Self-Only/Family) $1,400
$2,800
$1,350
$2,700
$1,350
$2,700
$1,300
$2,600
$1,300
$2,600
$1,300
$2,600
$1,250
$2,500
Annual Out-of-Pocket Maximums (Self-Only/Family) $6,900
$13,800
$6,750
$13,500
$6,650
$13,300
$6,550
$13,100
$6,550
$13,100
$6,450
$12,900
$6,350
$12,700
Maximum Contribution (Self-Only/Family) $3,550
$7,100
$3,500
$7,000
$3,450
$6,850/$6,900
$3,400
$6,750
$3,350
$6,750
$3,350
$6,650
$3,300
$6,550
Transportation
Parking (per month) $265 $265 $260 $255 $255 $250 $250
Mass Transit (per month) $265 $265 $260 $255 $255 $250 $130

Fees – Paid by Health Plan (per Covered Life)

Fees 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
Transitional Reinsurance Fee N/A N/A $0 $27.00 $44.00 $63.00
Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCORI)
Plan Years Ending 1/1 – 9/30 $2.45 $2.39 $2.26 $2.17 $2.08 $2.00
Plan Years Ending 10/1 – 12/31 N/A $2.45 $2.39 $2.26 $2.17 $2.08

 

2020 HSA Limits were made available on May 28, 2019.  Please see those details here:  https://www.apbenefitadvisors.com/2019/05/28/irs-releases-2020-limits-for-hsas/

Please contact your AssuredPartners’ Sales Executive or Account Manager for any further questions or assistance.


For more information, contact info@apbenefitadvisors.com. The information contained in this post, and any attachments, is not intended and should not be misconstrued as legal advice. You should contact your employment, benefits or ERISA attorney for legal direction.

AP Benefit Advisors’ webinar and website resources are designed for U.S.-based organizations. Our privacy and GDPR policy should be reviewed here. Please opt-out if you do not agree to these terms and conditions.

HRCI & SHRM Pre-Approved Webinar | Voluntary Benefits: Life Insurance with Long-Term Care – The Overlooked Lifetime Benefit

Posted August 13, 2019 by Megan DiMartino

The life insurance market has changed dramatically in the last 20 years and that is nothing compared to what has happened in the long-term care (LTC) market. Almost every employee has some personal financial risk (many are great) with the potential costs of an extended long-term care situation.

Join us for this HRCI* and SHRM** pre-approved, complimentary, one-hour webinar as our Director of Voluntary Benefits, Stephen Ivey, discusses the changes in the markets, the new definitions and features of LTC, and how these new types of plans are becoming much more important as a benefit offer.

Webinar details:

  • Thursday, August 22, 2019
  • 2:00pm – 3:00 pm EDT
  • No cost to attend
  • This webinar is open to all HR and Finance Professionals – but not to brokers, agents, TPAs and PEOs

Register Now


*The use of this seal confirms that this activity has met HR Certification Institute’s® (HRCI®) criteria for recertification credit pre-approval.

**AP Benefit Advisors, LLC is recognized by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP. This program is valid for 1 PDC for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP. For more information about certification or recertification, please visit shrmcertification.org.


For more information, contact info@apbenefitadvisors.com. The information contained in this post, and any attachments, is not intended and should not be misconstrued as legal advice. You should contact your employment, benefits or ERISA attorney for legal direction.

AP Benefit Advisors’ webinar and website resources are designed for U.S.-based organizations. Our privacy and GDPR policy should be reviewed here. Please opt-out if you do not agree to these terms and conditions.

2019 2nd Quarter Compliance Update

Posted July 17, 2019 by Megan DiMartino

Topics include:

  • Expanded HRA Options
  • Form 5500 is Due by July 31
  • President Trump’s Latest Executive Order
  • HDHP/HSA Limits Increase for 2020
  • New EEOC Wellness Rules Expected by December
  • ACA Limits, Penalties and Fees
  • And more!

Read Now


For more information, contact info@apbenefitadvisors.com. The information contained in this post, and any attachments, is not intended and should not be misconstrued as legal advice. You should contact your employment, benefits or ERISA attorney for legal direction.

AP Benefit Advisors’ webinar and website resources are designed for U.S.-based organizations. Our privacy and GDPR policy should be reviewed here. Please opt-out if you do not agree to these terms and conditions.