| SIG Seminar: Tactics for ACA Compliance

The Affordable Care Act has fouled up everything!

You want to stay current on all the changes in health care, but interpreting all the reporting requirements and new regulations have become a full-time task. Since all of this is new, there are no internal resources or experts for you to rely on. The legal complexities can be overwhelming, but you are crystal clear on the steep fines for noncompliance.

You’re not the only one overwhelmed by the new regulations.

To answer all your questions, Silberstein Insurance Group (SIG) Seminars were constructed to be a resource for high level professionals: CEOs, CFOs, HR, as well as advisors to clients, on how to maneuver through the complex landscape of health care reform while continuing to meet their financial goals for organization.

Peter Marathas

Peter Marathas, Partner in Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation & ERISA Litigation Health Care at Proskauer, brought his Boston sense of humor to outline your best strategies for compliance with employer mandates. His agenda covered:

 

  • New Developments & Reform Mandates
  • Strategies for Compliance
  • Approaches to Avoid

 

Avoiding Health Risk Assessment Penalties

 

Marathas, heading up Proskauer’s Health Care Reform Task Force, educated participants of the seminar on how to avoid particularly tricky snares in complying with the Affordable Care Act and answered questions on the required documentation involved. For example, government agencies can have conflicting requirements. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sees Health Risk Assessments as a violation of the American Disabilities Act although the Department of Labor has agreed to conditional eligibility as long as it is not results-oriented, as in, altering the health plans based on the results of health surveys or fitness tests.

 

If you have implemented an HRA, Mr. Marathas recommended that astute HR professionals should keep watch as a recently-filed judicial case, EEOC vs Orion Energy, proceeds through the courts to learn how wellness programs tied to ACA are to be conducted. The outcome of this case, filed this August in US District Court, will determine whether steep penalties (or withholding of rewards) for not participating in a wellness program are enough to deem the program “involuntary”, and thus in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

 

Mr. Marathas also discussed issues related to Individual Mandate Limit increases, consequences of the Hobby Lobby case, new reporting forms just released in July for determining Minimum Essential Coverage for all employers, and Pay-or-Play reporting for employers of more than 50 individuals. He then turned the seminar over to Jamie Hawkins to clarify the advantages and disadvantages of using one of the 300+ different payroll and benefits-tracking technologies on the market today.

 

Jamie Hawkins

 

Jamie Hawkins, an independent consultant at Benefit Technology Resources, works diligently to make sure organizations have the reporting they need in payroll and benefits technology to comply with Affordable Care Act requirements. Covering practical reporting operations, she led the audience through an explanation of how to evaluate your system and reduce the administrative burden on your HR and accounting staff.

 

Jamie’s good news? Most payroll providers already equip you right now with what you’ll need to remain ACA compliant. It’s simply a matter of upgrading or “switching on” those modules. Ms. Hawkins presented case studies of real technology audits, showing that people who do not have an integrated HRIS payroll system can save an average of $19 per employee per month, through technology integration and implementation.

 

SIG covered these compliance issues along with everything you need to know on employee benefits, including:

 

  • How to implement a Tobacco Cessation program
  • What to do if you missed the deadline to pay your organization’s PCORI Fees?
  • Will your terminated employees be eligible for enrollment in the Exchange?
  • Surviving a DOL Audit
  • Form 1095-C Reporting
  • Section 6055 and 6056 Reporting

 

So, if you are still feel baffled by any of these requirements, be sure to attend one of SIG’s upcoming webinars, scheduled for September 17 (Health and Welfare Plan Reporting Requirements) and October 15 (ACA & Its Impact on the Payroll/HR Practitioner).

To learn what you missed today, we’ll let you listen to this seminar’s recording at SIG University and access other seminars and webinars on healthcare, wellness, and all the updates you need to do your job!


| Healthcare Reform for Dummies

stethoscope and an American flag

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a wide-ranging, complex set of laws that define how health insurance is applied to different groups. It’s designed to ensure that all eligible Americans have access to healthcare, though, sometimes, the new laws cause confusion. Here is a breakdown of where things are at our current juncture. (more…)


| Silberstein Selected as Finalist for Baltimore’s Best Places to Work Award

 

SIG is so excited to be named a finalist in the Baltimore Business Journal’s 2014 Best Places to Work! With so many awesome employers not only in Baltimore, but also the surrounding counties, we are thrilled to be included in this group of nominees.

 Baltimore Business Journal Best Places to Work award 2014

The BBJ’s “Best Places to Work” awards are given each year to recognize local businesses that make employees feel valued and engaged, inspire trust in management, and have a high employee retention rate.

 

Finalists are chosen based on results of a confidential employee survey, which helps to accurately determine whether employees are fulfilled and prospering in their current role at a company. So, ultimately, it’s really our employees that got us this far. Whether or not we make the final cut for Baltimore’s “Best Place to Work,” we know that we’re doing a great job to those who matter most: our people!

 

With that, we’d like to congratulate our clients who also made the cut: EntreQuest, The Shelter Group, Tribute Home Care, and Wallace Montgomery. At the finalists’ luncheon on October 16th, we hope to witness these companies–and their happy employees–rise to accept the “Best Place to Work” award. Together, we’re each doing our part to make Baltimore a healthier city in which to work and to live!

 

The Shelter Group logo

Wallace Montgomery logo

Tribute Home Care logo

EntreQuest logo

To find out what makes our business stand out, read more about Silberstein Insurance Group.

 


| High Stakes Decisions On The Affordable Care Act

July 22, 2014 marked a day when two different federal courts came out on opposite sides of the same question. In the morning, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit dealt a serious blow to the Obama Administration with a decision that called into question the structural integrity of the “pay-or-play” mandates under the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). Later in the day, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, sitting down the road in Richmond, came out on the other side of the question.

In Halbig v. Burwell, the Appeals Court for the District of Columbia Circuit, sitting in Washington, DC, sided with the plaintiffs and against the Obama Administration today when it held that the ACA, by its terms, does not allow for subsidies for individual coverage in exchanges established by the federal government. Today, a majority of the states-more than 30-have federally-run exchanges. This means that, at least according to this court, individuals purchasing insurance coverage on the federally-run exchanges will not be eligible for federal subsidies when they purchase insurance. (more…)


| No Pay-or-Play Penalty in States with a Federal Exchange?

No Pay-or-Play Penalty in States with a Federal Exchange? DC Appeals Court Holds that Premium Subsidies are Not Available to Enrollees in Federal Exchanges

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has dealt a serious blow to the Obama Administration today with a decision that calls into question the structural integrity of the “pay-or-play” mandates under the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”).

In Halbig v. Burwell, the Appeals Court for the District of Columbia Circuit, sitting in Washington, DC, sided with the plaintiffs and against the Obama Administration today when it held that the ACA, by its terms, does not allow for subsidies for individual coverage in exchanges established by the federal government. Today, a majority of the states-34-have federally-run exchanges. This means that, at least according to this court, individuals purchasing insurance coverage on the federally-run exchanges will not be eligible for federal subsidies when they purchase insurance. This is significant to employers because one of the triggers for assessment of a penalty against an employer under the ACA is that a full-time employee has obtained subsidized coverage on an exchange. If individuals in 34 states are not eligible for subsidies on the exchanges in those states, employers in those states cannot be assessed a penalty. (more…)


| Brokers May Begin 2015 Registration & Renewal for Federal Marketplaces

Agents and brokers must complete certain registration activities initially and annually in order to participate in the federally-facilitated Marketplaces (FFM). Step-by-step instructions for agents and brokers to register are available from the Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight. As an overview, the registration process is comprised of two parts:

  • Part I: Completion of training, testing, and execution of agreements on the Medicare Learning Network (MLN);
  • Part II: Creation of an FFM user account and identity proofing on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Enterprise Portal. (more…)

| SIG names Rachel Druckenmiller Wellness Director

Rachel Druckenmiller, who has served as the Corporate Health & Wellness Specialist at SIG since 2007, has been promoted to Wellness Director.

Rachel completed her certification as a Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN), the world’s largest nutrition school in December 2013. At IIN, she studied dozens of dietary theories, practical lifestyle management techniques and innovative coaching methods with some of the world’s top health and wellness experts. She also earned a Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies in April 2014.

In her role as Wellness Director, Rachel assists organizations in implementing health promotion strategies to improve the health of their employees and the culture of their workplace. She has guided both SIG and their clients to receive local and national wellness awards, and SIG has been recognized as one of Baltimore’s Healthiest Employers for the past two years and a Gold-Level American Heart Association Fit Friendly Company for three years running.

Rachel is certified as a Wellness Culture Coach and by the Wellness Council of America (WELCOA) as a Well Workplace Practitioner, Faculty Status. She earned a Master of Science degree with concentrations in Community Health Education and Health Administration from Towson University in 2012. Rachel has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and has co-authored several articles on health-related topics that have been published in academic journals.

In addition to her corporate wellness expertise, as a result of overcoming several personal health challenges, Rachel is passionate about spreading the message of the importance of eating real, whole food and using food to heal and energize the body.

She believes good health begins in the kitchen and writes a healthy living blog focused on sharing delicious and nourishing whole, unprocessed recipes. Her blog also includes tips and tricks, and health information to help you feel your best, most energized and healthiest. You can follow her blog, Rachel’s Nourishing Kitchen, at www.rachelsnourishingkitchen.com.

“We are so excited about Rachel’s certification as a Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and what it means for SIG and our clients. This training gives SIG the ability to continue offering innovative health and wellness services based on the needs and interests of our clients and their employees. We’ve seen the demand for wellness services grow over the years. This past year, clients have requested wellness culture audits, senior leadership management training, and employee interest surveys and focus groups. The follow-up feedback we’ve received is that clients want to offer their employees interactive health education workshops and health coaching and that their employees are wanting to get that help directly. As a trained health coach, Rachel will be able to guide our clients and their employees to live healthier and more energized lives. SIG believes that good health equals good business and an increase in employee recruitment, retention, engagement and productivity.”
-Richard Silberstein


| Calling an Audible: Considering the Private Exchange

Calling an Audible: Considering the Private Exchange

A recent coverage option available to employers is the private health insurance exchange. Despite its newness of availability, the private exchange is a coverage model that has become quite popular among many employers (larger ones, in particular). If you are considering a private exchange for your business, weighing these factors will help you to make the choice that best serves your needs, but first, let’s take a look at the model a bit more closely. (more…)


| The Ultimate Productivity Booster: Employee Wellness Programs!

employee wellness program

Increasing profits and retaining and recruiting skilled, productive, and engaged employees are goals common to most organizations. Theories about how to increase productivity abound, but there is one that we practice here at SIG that has served as a key differentiator for us. We’ve found that having a robust health and wellness program for our employees that supports them in being well and staying energized and focused has been key to our success. The approach we’ve taken can make a major difference in your workplace, encouraging employees to be happier, more focused, and more creative. Healthier, happier employees who are engaged in their work will be sick less, which means fewer visits to the doctor, less days out due to sickness, and more time invested in completing work. The following steps highlight a few factors to consider when creating and implementing your employee wellness program and how to ensure that you and your employee receive the highest benefit possible. (more…)