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The end of the year is quickly approaching which means several plans, such as Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA), are ending for the 2017 year*. Depending on the details of those contracts (and whether they contain a rollover, carryover or grace period provision), employees have until 12/31/17 to use any remaining funds in their FSA or to submit claims for reimbursement under the HRA. 
Published in Best Practices
In early October, President Trump signed an Executive Order instructing the Department of Labor to propose regulations to expand access to Association Health Plans (AHPs). This expansion would give small employers and the self-employed more health insurance options through bona fide trade and association groups based on profession and interest groups.
 
It’s important to understand what AHPs are, and the potential impact this expansion could have on our current health insurance market. 
Published in Healthcare Reform
Congress missed the September 30 deadline to continue funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This means federal funding for this program will expire by the end of October. This could cause strain on state level budgets nationwide, because once CHIP funds run out, states will struggle to continue this important program. 
Published in Healthcare Reform
Tuesday, 31 October 2017 06:56

How do Your Benefits Stack Up?

The Kaiser Family Foundation has released their 2017 Annual National Employer Benefits Survey.  This survey compares employer-sponsored health benefits for private and nonfederal employers with three or more workers.  
 
Do you know how your current plans stack up to the competition?  Fall River uses this Kaiser survey and other local data to offer complimentary benchmarking consultations to ensure your specific benefits and contributions are attracting/retaining the top talent in your field. To sign up for a benchmarking session, existing clients can contact their Client Manager, and others can click here to get started.  
Published in Industry Trends
Typically when we think of employer wellness programs, we think of things like biometric screenings and health risk assessments.  But recent research shows that financial worries are a top stressor in many Americans’ lives.  
 
At first glance, the financial problems of the workforce may seem of a personal nature and not a corporate one.  Employers might be wary of legal issues and privacy concerns.  However there is a compelling argument for employers to include financial health in their wellness programs:  employee financial woes are costing companies money. 
Published in Wellness
Tuesday, 26 September 2017 18:59

HRIS Technology: To Digital Infinity and Beyond

Habits are hard to kick and people are hesitant to change, but it’s no secret that HR functions are leaving the paper-based world and moving digital.  Digital signatures, cloud computing and online benefits platforms are areas we are seeing most HR professionals gravitating towards.  The major reasons we are seeing this transition from manual to digital processes is for increased efficiency, employee engagement, and bottom line cost savings.  
Published in Industry Trends
Monday, 18 September 2017 18:51

Mandatory Compliance Notice Due October 15th

Do you know if your employer prescription benefits are creditable when compared Medicare Part D benefits? Are you informing your plan participants of the plan’s status on an annual basis? 
 
The Medicare Part D Notice is just one of the many compliance responsibilities to which most employer health plans are subject. 
Published in Compliance
Tuesday, 26 September 2017 18:41

Have you updated your CHIP notice?

The U.S. Department of Labor has released an updated Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) model notice.  When was the last time you updated your required Annual Notices? Why does this matter?
Published in Compliance
Tuesday, 29 August 2017 11:16

Making Wellness Wearables Work

Employers are constantly looking for ways to create effective, value-driven wellness programs for employees.  Wearables, such as various Fitbits (Charge 2, Blaze and Alta HR) and the Garmin Vivoactive, or watches from Apple or Samsung, have become a common motivational tool for employers who are implementing wellness programs. 

A recent survey conducted by Springbuk found that 35 percent of employers are currently using wearable devices. 
Published in Wellness
In a Twitter message on July 29th, U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to end government payments to health insurers if Congress did not pass a new healthcare bill. Trump tweeted "If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!"

The “BAILOUTS” that President Trump is referring to is the approximately $7 billion in cost-sharing reduction subsidies the federal government pays annually to reimburse insurers who are required under the ACA to reduce deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums for low-income Americans. Because of a pending lawsuit, the payments, which are determined by the Department of Health and Human Services, are currently being doled out on a month-to month basis. 
Published in Industry Trends
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