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Guest Article by Kristen Deevy, Strategic Retirement Partners

The long wait it over! The Department of Labor (DOL) has finalized its Conflict of Interest rule. The question is “Did you know you were waiting for it?” As an employer you may not have heard about this new regulation, but your financial advisors have!

The DOL rule will dramatically affect how advisors and their broker dealer or Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) firms interact with employers who sponsor ERISA retirement plans and their plan participants, especially for IRA rollovers. Most of the rule’s provisions will go into effect in April 2017 while others go online in January 2018.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016 12:00

Telemedicine – Prix-fixe or A la Carte?

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Telemedicine has become a hot trend among insurance carriers and consumers. It’s not surprising since most services are now available online, so why not healthcare too? 

Telemedicine allows individuals to access a board certified and licensed physicians via phone, email or video chat - 24 hours a day and 7 days week - for common illnesses such as sore throats, UTI, allergies, common cold, eye infections, earaches and more. These doctors can diagnose and prescribe medication that the individual can pick up same-day.  

Monday, 25 April 2016 06:00

Are YOUR health plans compliant with ERISA?

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Mention ERISA, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, and most business owners and HR professionals think of retirement plans.  We actually find, however, that while the vast majority of employers comply with ERISA on the retirement side, far fewer do on their health plan. How familiar are you with what being fully-compliant entails?  What risks is your company taking by not complying with ERISA?

As we audit our clients on ERISA compliance, one of the common themes we find is that employers often do not have a Plan

Tuesday, 22 March 2016 12:00

Reader Survey Results Are In

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In last month’s blog, we asked readers to weigh in on what topics were most important to them.  And the results are (drum roll please!):

You said the topics most important to you are, in order of importance:

    1. Strategies to reduce health care costs
    2. Benefits compliance
Tuesday, 15 March 2016 12:00

Limits on OOP Maximums for 2017 announced

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Limits on health plan out-of-pocket (OOP) maximums for 2017 have been announced by the Department of Health and Human Services.  Annual limits on OOP maximums are imposed by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as the maximum amount an enrollee in a non-grandfathered health plan could be expected to pay for covered essential health benefits through cost-sharing (carriers can choose to establish lower limits for certain plans).  

The limits apply to both self-insured as well as large-group health plans.  The OOP maximum includes the yearly deductible and any cost-sharing obligations enrollees have, such as coinsurance, once the deductible is met.  The OOP maximum does not include premiums, billing amounts for out-of-network cost-sharing or spending for nonessential health benefits.  The limits below on OOP Maximums also do not apply to grandfathered or retiree-only plans.

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