Biden’s Vaccine Mandate & Delta’s Surcharge Signal Sweeping Changes for Employers & Employees

Denise GillinHealth Benefits, Human Resources, News

By Nathanael M. Alexander, Esq. for AssuredPartners Since we last blogged about the changes in the world of COVID-19 vaccines there have been plenty of headlining developments that are worthy of mention including the August 23, 2021 FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine, a woman being arrested in Hawaii for attempting to skirt the state’s entry requirements via the use of a fake vaccination card, and various state law mandates for teachers, healthcare workers, etc. This is all coupled with much enthusiasm from employers hoping to follow in the footsteps of Delta Air Lines’ recent decision to add a $200 monthly health insurance charge for their unvaccinated staff members. This heightened enthusiasm has led many employers to explore the various ramifications (both legal and …

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Employee Benefits Strategic Partnership

Denise GillinHealth Benefits, News

Providing and managing a comprehensive employee benefits program is more complex – and more important – than ever before. Murray’s Benefits Team has always been focused on providing innovative technology, human resources support, and a commitment to service to help clients of all sizes maximize the value of their employee benefits investment. On July 1 we are taking our client commitment to the next level! Two premier Employee Benefit Teams are coming together under the AssuredPartners umbrella: Murray’s Employee Benefits Team and the former StoudtAdvisor’s Team, who has been part of AssuredPartners for nearly six years. Through this strategic partnership, we will work together at AP Lititz to form one of the largest and most experienced Employee Benefits Teams in …

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DOL Announces New Cybersecurity Guidance For Plan Sponsors, Plan Fiduciaries, Record Keepers, Plan Participants

Denise GillinHealth Benefits, News, Wealth Management

News Release by US Department of Labor The U.S. Department of Labor announced new guidance for plan sponsors, plan fiduciaries, record keepers and plan participants on best practices for maintaining cybersecurity, including tips on how to protect the retirement benefits of America’s workers. This is the first time the department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration has issued cybersecurity guidance. This guidance is directed at plan sponsors and fiduciaries regulated by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, and plan participants and beneficiaries. As of 2018, EBSA estimates that there are 34 million defined benefit plan participants in private pension plans and 106 million defined contribution plan participants covering estimated assets of $9.3 trillion. Without sufficient protections, these participants and assets may be …

Alternate Funding Arrangements: Different Avenues to Access Care

Denise GillinHealth Benefits, News

By Kelly Hagan, Regional VP of Operations, Employee Benefits for Employers continue to feel the crush of increasing health care expenses. To mitigate those costs, more and more employers are looking at alternate funding arrangements and different ways to access care.  Below are a few alternate funding options to explore. Self-Funding Level Funding Reference Based Pricing Direct Primary Care High Performing Networks Accountable Care Organizations Bundled Payments Read more here>>>

Economic Stress Tests Workers’ Comp Plans

Denise GillinHealth Benefits, Insurance, Risk Management, Third Party Claim Administration

By John Lacy for With prevailing economic pressures widely expected to persist, more and more businesses will consider different ways to adapt, including the possibility of smaller, less skilled, and/or over-burdened workforces. These additional stresses could increase the risks of on-the-job injuries and, in some cases, jeopardize the ongoing well-being of the business. The good news for business owners is that those companies willing to proactively refine and manage their workers compensation program can take steps to mitigate losses, thus keeping their workers safe and protecting their business interests. Read how a robust workers’ compensation program is a basic tenet of successful risk management>>>

Identifying the (Benefits) Gaps – 3 steps employers can take to move toward an inclusive culture

Denise GillinDiversity & Inclusion, Health Benefits, News

By Katie Oberkircher for Using an employee-driven social networking platform, data is generated around how workers approach their jobs, share their beliefs, and interact with coworkers. In part one of a three-part series, Andrew Phillips, founder of All of Us, dives into what’s most important for employers to consider when deciding how to drive cultural change. Where to start>>>

New Benefit Plan Compensation Disclosure Requirements

Denise GillinHealth Benefits, News

By Scott Sinder and Kate Jensen for On Dec. 27, 2020, the “Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021” was signed into law. The 5,593-page missive includes the “No Surprises Act,” which encompasses a host of new healthcare payment-related initiatives of particular interest to us. Section 202 of the act dictates that, effective Dec. 27, 2021 (more on that in a moment), a “covered plan” shall not agree to any “contract or arrangement for services” or to any “extension or renewal of such contract or arrangement” with a “covered service provider” unless the new disclosure obligations it imposes have been satisfied. Read who must make the new requisite disclosures, to whom, and when>>>

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Pandemic Mental Toll On Gen Z

Denise GillinHealth Benefits, News

By Michael Diller, PsyD, Licensed Psychologist and Director, Employee Assistance Program, WellSpan Normal times can be stressful, but the additional distress added by a pandemic can make things overwhelming. What are the signs to look for that may indicate mental anxiety has become something more? Stressors and symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, lower frustration tolerance, difficulty concentrating, problems and changes with sleep and appetite become more frequent, more intense, and last longer. All may be indicators that there is a need to reach out for and get connected to professional support. While everyone is impacted by the pandemic, the American Psychological Association reports the long-term consequences of the persistent stress and trauma are particularly serious for Generation Z – teens …

Optimize Ventilation to Reduce COVID-19 Transmission Risk

Denise GillinHealth Benefits, Human Resources, News, Risk Management

By Toby Graham, KPA The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) released new COVID-19 guidance on ventilation in the workplace. Employers should discuss options for optimizing building ventilation with an HVAC professional. Steps that can be taken include: Encourage workers to stay home if they are sick. Ensure all HVAC systems are fully functional, especially those shut down or operating at reduced capacity during the pandemic. Remove or redirect personal fans to prevent blowing air from one worker to another. Use HVAC system filters with a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating of 13 or higher, where feasible. Increase the HVAC system’s outdoor air intake. Open windows or other sources of fresh air where possible. Be sure exhaust air is …

Home for the Holidays: finding joy and meaning during the pandemic

Denise GillinHealth Benefits, News

By Michael Diller, PsyD, Licensed Psychologist and Director, Employee Assistance Program, WellSpan As we enter the November and December holiday season, we remain amidst the ongoing, slow moving and ever-changing storm of COVID-19. Celebrating holidays that are rooted in tradition and history, mixed with personal meaning, can be disconcerting given our current situation. This can create heightened distress more so than any previous time. So, what can we do to help navigate the ongoing uncertainty and still find ways to embrace all this season has to offer? Tips for navigating and embracing this holiday season Acknowledge this year will be different: Express and own any normal frustrations. Admit the losses that are unique to you. Think of ways to safely …