Month: October 2014

Me First!

seagullBob’s business has grown as the economy picks up and he now has 10 employees. As the holiday season approaches, every employee wants time off. Bob’s problem is that he never formalized the company’s leave policy as he added employees. Now he’s in a bind as the holidays approach and he still hasn’t figured out a system for granting leave.

Sue argues that seniority counts since she was the first employee hired. Doris argues for a “first come, first served” process, which is why she gave Bob her leave request right after the July 4th holiday. Others argue for a rotation so that all employees eventually have a chance at being the first to choose. Bob’s starting to hate his own company as he faces these daily conflicts.

What options are available to Bob?

  1. He can appeal to the better nature of the employees, imploring them to sort it out among themselves. (Everyone who thinks that will work, raise your hand).
  2. He can use a seniority system with the longest serving employee choosing first and the most recent hire choosing last. (Employees dislike this system but most employers use it).
  3. He can create a leave policy, whether seniority based or on a rotation and then meet with employees to explain how the policy will be implemented.

Has your company faced similar problems and struggled for a solution?

Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you create HR policies that are appropriate for your company’s size and then serve as a resource to your staff as the policies are implemented.

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Private Exchanges and the Small Employer.

Another update from the HR jungle….

Dorothy runs a small retail business with 8 employees. It’s a low margin business so there’s not much room for employee perks. Dorothy always wanted to offer a group health plan to her employees but could never afford it. She had high hopes of lower premiums under the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) but after looking at a couple of quotes she doubts if she can ever afford a group health plan for her employees.

Recently at a business networking event, Dorothy learned that a local hospital chain is teaming up with the largest health insurance company in the area to offer a private Exchange. A private Exchange does not offer premium and cost sharing subsidies like the public Exchange (a/k/a Marketplace). But a private Exchange offers some financial certainty to employers.

A private Exchange allows an employer to contribute a fixed dollar amount toward the cost of health coverage. Employees can then “buy up” to a higher premium level of health plan if they want lower deductibles or co-pays.

What options are available to Dorothy?

1. She can contribute a fixed dollar amount that covers the employee-only premium at a bronze plan level. Employees would be responsible for paying the premium for their family members added as dependents.
2. She can pay employees a bit more in wages and allow them to sort out their health coverage options.
3. She can continue doing nothing monetarily but encourage her employees to apply for individual coverage via the Healthcare Exchange (a/k/a Marketplace) in hopes they may qualify for some of the subsidies it offers to lower income individuals.

Is your company struggling to understand how the ACA will affect the employee group health plan? Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you grasp the basics of the ACA and how it affects an employer of your company’s size.

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Doing the Right Thing under the ACA.

Another update from the HR jungle….

Cindy owns a small business that has 6 employees. She would love to offer health insurance to her employees but has found it too expensive in the past. Instead, she raised wages slightly and encouraged her employees to buy individual coverage.

When Cindy first heard about the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) she was excited about the possibilities. Early reports were that small employers like her company might finally be able to afford a group health plan. The Small Business Health Option Program (SHOP) would have standardized plans, making it easier to compare coverage. The SHOP was also supposed to allow small employers to offer more than one health plan option to employees.

Alas, the SHOP is part of the Healthcare Exchange or Marketplace. The roll out of the Individual Exchange was such a mess that all the most attractive features of the SHOP were delayed. Another year has gone by and open enrollment in (and outside) the Exchange will soon start. Cindy is pondering her choices.

What options are available to Cindy?

1. She could work with her insurance agent to apply for a group health plan via the SHOP, even though the coverage options are limited.
2. She could work with her insurance agent to apply for a group health plan outside the SHOP where there are more coverage options available from more insurers.
3. She could continue doing what she currently does, which is to increase her employees’ pay and encourage them to obtain individual coverage.

Is your company struggling to understand how the ACA will affect the employee group health plan? Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you grasp the basics of the ACA and how it affects an employer of your company’s size.

Join the HR Compliance Jungle today. Click here!

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Pay Raises v. Health Insurance

Another update from the HR jungle….

Pete has a small company with 12 employees, many of whom are also related to him. Running a business with lots of family is not easy. (Who knew that Aunt Martha’s feud with Uncle Les would still be an issue after 50 years?) Pete figures the best way to keep everyone happy is to offer good pay and benefits.

One of the benefits he’s always wanted to offer is a group health plan. Pete gave up on a group plan for employees after his nephew had surgery and the rates on the group plan shot through the roof. Back when employees were risk-rated based on health factors, his nephew and a couple of other less healthy employees guaranteed that the premium increased dramatically each year.

Pete knows that under the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) small group plans with less than 50 employees are no longer risk-rated. Instead, the premium is based on the age of each participant, geographic location, family size (number of individuals covered), and tobacco use. So Pete decides to ask his insurance agent for a quote on a group health plan for his employees.

Pete gets sticker shock again when he sees the amount of the premium. He knows that he simply can’t afford to offer a group health plan. Still, he wants to do something for his employees.

What options are available to Pete?

1. He can tell employees that no pay raises will be given this year so that he can offer a group health plan.
2. He can go ahead with his plan to give pay raises and let his employees buy individual health policies. He hopes some will qualify for the subsidies offered by the Healthcare Exchange (a/k/a Marketplace).
3. He can give each employee a set amount of money, in lieu of a pay raise, that would cover employee-only health insurance on a low cost bronze plan (bought via the Exchange or directly from the insurer).

Is your company struggling to understand how the ACA will affect the employee group health plan? Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you grasp the basics of the ACA and how it affects an employer of your company’s size.

Join the HR Compliance Jungle today. Click here!

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Can My Company Live With the ACA?

Another update from the HR jungle….

Bob owns a company with 60 employees. He’s always offered health insurance to his headquarters employees but not to employees in the retail locations. The retail location employees tend to quit often, work varying schedules each week, and may have health coverage via a spouse’s employer’s plan. Bob decided long ago that it was a hassle to handle all the paperwork adding and terminating employees from the group health plan. So it was easier to not offer health insurance to the retail location employees.

Bob’s a sharp guy (that’s why he owns a company) and he’s tried to keep up with all the changes under the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare). He knows that his company is a “large” employer under the ACA because he has more than 50 employees. He knows that means his company could pay a penalty if the employee group health plan doesn’t meet the minimum standards set in the ACA, including offering coverage to most full-time employees.

Bob is concerned that some of the retail location employees may actually be full-time employees, meaning that they should be offered health insurance for calendar year 2015. Bob has also heard that there is transitional relief for employers with 50 – 99 employees. The transitional relief applies only to the 2015 calendar year but if his company meets the requirements, he gets another year penalty-free while he sorts out what he must do.

What options are available to Bob?

1. He could read the IRS regulation explaining the transitional relief requirements. (Bob’s tried reading IRS regulations before and he’d rather get his teeth drilled than go through that again.)
2. He could ask for assistance from the insurance agency or broker that sold the group health plan to his company, assuming they provide human resources assistance to clients.
3. He could take a quick look at the employer summaries on the IRS website and then wing it and hope it all works out.

Is your company struggling to understand how the ACA will affect the employee group health plan? Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you grasp the basics of the ACA and how it affects an employer of your company’s size.

Join the HR Compliance Jungle today. Click here!

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Visit us: http://www.complianceriskadvisor.com/