INSURANCE

Employers planning changes to health benefits

03/25/2015
More than 80% of U.S. employers expect to make changes to their health benefit programs over the next three years, despite cost increases remaining at historically low levels, according to new research from the Towers Watson HR consulting firm.

COBRA strikes after benefits were continued

03/24/2015
Most employers know they must send a COBRA notice to terminated workers no longer covered by the company health plan. COBRA letters tell former employees they can continue their health insurance coverage for 18 months if they begin paying the entire premium, plus a small service fee. But what happens if the employee hasn’t been fired, but instead has been placed on an unpaid suspension pending possible discharge?

Obama administration publishes final rule on excepted benefits

03/23/2015
The U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Treasury have published final rules to amend the definition of excepted benefits to include certain limited wraparound coverage for employees who buy health coverage in the private market, including through Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges.

New California unemployment insurance deadlines coming July 1

03/23/2015
Effective July 1, 2015, deadlines for reconsideration or appeal of unemployment insurance benefit rulings, determinations, computation or administrative law judge decisions will be extended from 20 days to 30 days.

How best to control health costs?

03/22/2015
There’s no consensus on the best way for employers to rein in health care costs, but consumer-directed health plans, such as high-deductible coverage paired with a health savings account, have the most support.

OSHA: Workers' comp covers small share of workplace injury costs

03/18/2015
Workers’ compensation payments cover just 21% of lost wages and medical costs of work-related injuries and illnesses, according to a new OSHA report.

Unemployment comp possible even when fired 'for cause'

03/09/2015
Generally, employees fired for misconduct aren’t eligible for unemployment compensation benefits. That’s because payments are due to employees who are unemployed through no fault of their own. But not every mistake counts as misconduct.

What to do if your health plan was affected by Anthem's data breach

03/02/2015

In February, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, one of the largest health insurers in the country, announced it had been targeted by a cyber attack that compromised the confidentiality of medical and other personal information maintained on its computer systems. If your organization provides benefits through Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, your employees have probably been affected.

Employers scaling back family coverage

02/04/2015
Health coverage for employees’ spouses and dependents is on the chopping block as employers seek to rein in health care costs and avoid the Affordable Care Act “Cadillac tax” on high-value insurance plans set to take effect in 2018.

Pregnancy Discrimination Act

01/30/2015

HR Law 101: The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) of 1978 prohibits discrimination on the basis of "pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions." Employers can't deny a woman a job or a promotion merely because she's pregnant or has had an abortion ...

House moves to reduce ACA head-count requirements

01/22/2015
The House of Representatives has approved legislation exempting some military-connected and emergency-services workers from counting toward the employee thresholds that trigger the play-or-pay mandate that forms the backbone of the Affordable Care Act.

In ACA's second year, large employers respond

01/22/2015
More than half of employers with 1,000 or more employees are unprepared to comply with all Affordable Care Act regulatory requirements, but they are moving ahead with plans to deal with ongoing changes in the benefits landscape that the health care reform law has spawned.

House passes bill repealing ACA's 30-hour workweek definition

01/12/2015
The House of Representatives opened the 114th Congress on Jan. 8 by voting 252-172 to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s 30-hour definition of full-time employment and replace it with a 40-hour standard.

No accommodation request, no unemployment benefits

01/09/2015
Employees who quit for health reasons may receive unemployment benefits—if they give their employers a chance to accommodate them.

Austin bus company to pay $655K to settle labor dispute

01/05/2015
Travis Transit Management of Austin has agreed to pay 600 current and former employees $655,000 to settle charges it unilaterally changed employee health, retirement and other benefits when it began providing bus service for Austin’s Capital Metro in 2012.
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