06 Sep

Tips for Open Enrollment Success

Health care benefits can be a top recruitment tool for attracting top talent, making it essential that you ensure your employees clearly understand their options and are able to make an informed decision. Truss recommends HR and benefits professionals make this process easier by thoroughly explaining any changes before and during the busy open enrollment period.

Even when employers offer only two or three health plan options, the serious decision to select the right coverage at open enrollment can overwhelm employees.

Are there any changes?

Years ago employer-offered coverage varied little year to year making it easy to simply roll over benefit elections. Unfortunately, the days of easy selection have passed.

Today, we more and more employers are looking for ways to reduce the cost of health care. This includes offering plan designs with higher out-of-pocket cost costs, which means employees must compare plans and understand the potential costs. For example, deductibles might double or co-pays could rise.

Change is normal but even with just a slight increase, families need to understand out-of-pocket costs so they can budget appropriately.

Over Communicate

Many employers successfully use a multipronged approach before, during and after open enrollment by holding in-person meetings, health fairs, webinars, and online portals or apps that centralize all of the year’s benefit information.

Most companies should begin their Open Enrollment communication campaigns 60 to 90 days before open enrollment starts. Larger companies may see the need to start earlier. The industry standard for the open enrollment period is 30 days; most small to mid-size companies still hold it in November.

In the end, a successful open enrollment campaign helps employees understand any impending health plan changes, review their options, and select the right plan for themselves and for their family.

31 Aug

September 2017 TrussConnect

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TRUSS PRESENTS: MARIJUANA AND OTHER SUBSTANCES IN THE WORKPLACE

Webinar on Thursday, September 7 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. CST.

With recreational and medical marijuana now legal in multiple states, employers may be left wondering what restrictions they can, and can’t, have in the workplace. We’ll discuss the legal landscape for both recreational and medical marijuana use, including potential ADA issues. And we’ll go over other drugs employers should be concerned about. Join us as we discuss testing options and tips on crafting a drug and alcohol policy that best fits your company. Register Here.

TIPS FOR OPEN ENROLLMENT SUCCESS

Health care benefits can be a top recruitment toll for attracting top talent, making it essential that you ensure your employees clearly understand their options and are able to make an informed decision. Truss recommends HR and benefits professionals make this process easier by thoroughly explaining any changes before and during the busy open enrollment period.

Even when employers offer only two or three health plan options, the serious decision to select the right coverage at open enrollment can overwhelm employees.

Are there any changes?

Years ago employer-offered coverage varied little year to year making it easy to simply roll over benefit elections. Unfortunately, the days of easy selection have passed.

Today, we more and more employers are looking for ways to reduce the cost of health care. This includes offering plan designs with higher out-of-pocket cost costs, which means employees must compare plans and understand the potential costs. For example, deductibles might double or co-pays could rise.

Change is normal but even with just a slight increase, families need to understand out-of-pocket costs so they can budget appropriately.

Over Communicate

Many employers successfully use a multipronged approach before, during and after open enrollment by holding in-person meetings, health fairs, webinars, and online portals or apps that centralize all of the year’s benefit information.

Most companies should begin their Open Enrollment communication campaigns 60 to 90 days before open enrollment starts. Larger companies may see the need to start earlier. The industry standard for the open enrollment period is 30 days; most small to mid-size companies still hold it in November.

In the end, a successful open enrollment campaign helps employees understand any impending health plan changes, review their options, and select the right plan for themselves and for their family.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT SURETY BONDS

Surety bond vs Insurance: What’s the difference?
Both surety bonds and insurance are needed for obtaining license, or to be in compliance with local laws. So what’s the difference? Simply put, insurance protects a business against loss, while a surety bond protects a third-party from a breach of contract from said business.

How does it work?
A surety bond is a third-party guarantee that a business will meet their legal and contractual obligations. It is guaranteed by a bonding company on behalf of the issuer, but does not protect the purchaser of the bond; it is similar to co-signing on a loan. The bonding company guarantees that the business will fulfill their obligations. Insurance is a two-party agreement, where the risk is transferred from the insured to the insurance company.

What should I look for when selecting a surety agent?
There are two aspects you need to evaluate before you hire any surety agent. First, they must possess the knowledge to be your business partner by providing you with advice, suggestions and feedback on many aspects of your business. This would include accounting, operations, internal controls, business perpetuation and more. Their knowledge ensures you will be properly represented as the agent seeks surety support on your behalf in the market.

Second, because every surety is different, your surety agent must have detailed knowledge of the various surety markets. A knowledgeable surety agent with strong connections across multiple markets will be able to match you to the best surety partner for your required bond needs.

There are four things you should do when interviewing a potential agent:

  1. Ask them about their relationships within their surety markets.
  2. Test their accounting and business law skills.
  3. Obtain a list of client contractor referrals.
  4. Ask your other valued business partners (such as your attorney, banker, or CPA) about the agents you are considering.

How does surety pricing work?
It depends on the situation and many factors affect pricing. If you upgrade your financial statement presentation as part of the bonding process, it may affect your rates favorably. A new company may have more challenges acquiring rates than a more established one. The quality of your agent is also an important factor. An agent who has good working relationships with markets will be more likely to place you in a better market.

More questions on assessing your surety team can be found here: http://trussadvantage.com/our-services/surety-bonds/

DO YOU WANT A WORKPLACE OF RESPECT?

Finally, a new approach to “harassment training.” We’ve all seen the cheesy videos with paid actors and cringe-worthy animations that are often associated with training videos. Preventing discrimination, harassment and retaliation is important for every workplace, and should not just be left to an outdated video or boring lawyer-led lecture.

Workplace of Respect™ is an innovative program offered in partnership with Wolf Prairie LLC that replaces those dated, awkward, and ineffective ‘harassment’ training programs that we’ve all endured.

This real-life learning program addresses all the legal requirements while focusing on the real purpose of this sort of training: Creating a great workplace filled with respect, honor, and welcome behavior.

For pricing and more information on our Workplace of Respect program and workshops, contact 913.735.5354 | jdewolf@TrussAdvantage.com.

TRUSS HOLIDAY CLOSING

As a reminder, Truss offices will close early on Friday, September 1 and also be closed on Monday, September 4 in observance of Labor Day.

30 Aug

Merchants Bonding Company for recognizing Truss as one of your Champions of Surety

Thank you, Merchants Bonding Company for recognizing Truss as one of your Champions of Surety!

 

10 Aug

Infographic: 5 Steps to Reduce Workplace Injuries

08 Aug

Truss Human Capital: Workplace of Respect

Do you want a workplace of respect?

Finally, a new approach to “harassment training.” We’ve all seen the cheesy videos with paid actors and cringe-worthy animations that are often associated with training videos. Preventing discrimination, harassment and retaliation is important for every workplace, and should not just be left to an outdated video or boring lawyer-led lecture.

Workplace of Respect™ is an innovative program offered in partnership with Wolf Prairie LLC that replaces those dated, awkward, and ineffective ‘harassment’ training programs that we’ve all endured.

This real-life learning program addresses all the legal requirements while focusing on the real purpose of this sort of training: Creating a great workplace filled with respect, honor, and welcome behavior.

For pricing and more information on our Workplace of Respect program and workshops, contact 913.735.5354 | jdewolf@TrussAdvantage.com.

03 Aug

TrussConnect August 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two West Presents: Plan Fees and Fiduciaries

Join Two West and Spencer Fane LLP as we help plan sponsors understand and comply with the strict legal obligations that apply to plan fiduciaries under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) as well as applicable state laws.

When: August 10, Noon for 401(k) or 1 p.m. for 403(b)
Where: Click here to register

1. Why are retirement plan fees important?
2. What is a “reasonable” fee?
3. Who pays the fees and how?
4. Who is responsible for monitoring the plan’s fee?

Attendees will receive a certificate of completion. These webinars are pre-approved for one HRCI or SHRM recertification hour.

Voluntary (aka) Worksite Benefits

Did you know that 58% of employees want benefit options that are personalized for their needs?
Voluntary benefits, or worksite benefits, allow your employees to select the plans that best suit their needs and fund those benefits via payroll deduction. This cost-effective solution helps to offset out-of-pocket medical expenses and helps to fill the gaps created by high-deductibles. These benefits provide an excellent opportunity to round out your traditional benefits program.

Truss’s worksite product offerings include:

  • Accident
  • Cancer
  • Critical Illness
  • Hospital Indemnity
  • Short-Term Disability
  • Long-Term Disability
  • Life
  • And more!

Truss recently welcomed Michelle Kivett to our team! Michelle specializes in worksite benefits and for more than 10 years has worked with hundreds of companies and thousands of employees to ensure worksite benefits are included in their portfolio. Michelle is passionate about bringing these personalized benefits to the table, and speaking with employees to help them understand their benefits. Helping them to make an informed decision is her top priority.

If you are interested in learning more about worksite benefits, or already have these benefits but would like an evaluation of your program, contact your Client Advisor today!

OSHA Releases a New Application for Injury and Illness Records

OSHA has launched the new Injury Tracking Application for employers, as of August 1, 2017, as part of the new reporting requirements that went into effect January 1, 2017. Establishments with 250 or more employees that are currently required to keep OSHA injury and illness records and establishments with 20-249 employees that are classified in certain industries with historically high rates of occupational injuries and illnesses are required to electronically submit information from their OSHA 300A form into the application.

The new reporting requirements will be phased in over two years. All covered establishments must submit information from their completed 2016 Form 300A by December 1, 2017. In 2018, covered establishments with 250 or more employees must submit information from all completed 2017 forms (300A, 300, and 301) by July 1, 2018, and covered establishments with 20-249 employees must submit information from their completed 2017 Form 300A by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, covered establishments must submit the information by March 2.

The new software application should make the submittal process easier for employers affected by the revised recordkeeping regulations.  For more information, please give Truss a call or visit www.osha.gov.

 

02 Aug

Two West Presents: Plan Fees and Fiduciaries

Registration: http://www.twowestcompanies.com/boardroom-webinars/

18 Jul

Healthcare Update – The Latest on ACA

Mark Avery
Chief Strategy Officer

The Senate will not pass their health bill.  Four Republican Senators, including Jerry Moran of Kansas, have stated they will not support it. Without at least two of them, it cannot pass.

The obstacle in passing a bill to alter or replace Obamacare for Republican Senators has proven to be that too great; a gap exists between conservative and moderate members gain consensus. Deep divides exist over support for Medicaid, how to stabilize the individual insurance market and the effects of allowing states to opt in or out of portions of the ACA.

What’s next? Immediately there will be a great deal of posturing regarding who’s to blame, what this means for the viability of Obamacare, and  likely, a Republican push toward a straight repeal with “replace” to be determined later.

Such an approach could prove risky. Repeal might be the feel good, rebound reflex for Republicans at the moment, but it’s hard to imagine their moderate members willing to embrace that much uncertainty.

For more information on the latest on ACA:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/?hpid=hp_no-name_no-name%3Ahomepage%2Fmasthead

05 Jul

COURTS RULE INACCESSIBLE WEBSITE VIOLATES AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT

Verdict out of Southern Florida is the first of its kind

Glendy Shannon, Associate Director, ClaimsGlendy Shannon, Associate Director, Claims

The Southern District of Florida made headlines this month with its ruling against Winn-Dixie Stores stating that their website was inaccessible to those who are visually impaired, violating Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ruling said that when a website operates as a gateway to physical store locations, then a website is considered a public accommodation, and is covered by the ADA.

Plaintiff firms are actively pursuing cases claiming violations of the ADA. Of note, a Truss client received one such claim that their website was not ADA compliant with allegations strikingly similar to the Southern District case; however, this client did not have a storefront.

Because we see an increase in activity in this area, and we want to ensure you are aware of the potential risks.

Here are a few items to consider in light of this ruling:
1. Have you recently reviewed your website to ensure the content is accessible to people with disabilities?
2. Do you have an Employment Practices Liability policy with Third-Party coverage in the event you are targeted by a lawsuit alleging a violation of the ADA?
3. Do you have a cyber policy in place to protect your company against network security and privacy breaches?

Truss has the resources and solutions your business needs. We’re here to help. Contact us for more information at 913-956-8998.

02 Jul

HEALTH CARE UPDATE: OUTCOME OF SENATE BILL STILL UNKNOWN

Mark Avery, Chief Strategy Officer

As expected this week the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its estimate of the Senate health care bill, known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act. The report projects 22 million people would lose health coverage in the next 10 years under the Senate’s plan (15 million of which would lose Medicaid coverage). However, it also projected federal deficit reduction of $321 billion over that same period. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced a vote on the proposed bill is postponed until after the July 4th break.

The proposed bill is not as much of a departure from the AHCA. In fact, it appears to be very much aligned with the AHCA in eliminating ACA taxes and Medicaid expansion. It also would give more ability to individual states in determining how certain marketplace and ACA rules could be altered or applied. One significant contrast to the House bill is, like Obamacare, it bases subsidies on income versus the AHCA’s plan to base them on age. It appears at least five Republican senators have indicated they will not pass the bill as it stands today. One of those senators who came forth Tuesday after the delay was announced is Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas.

We will continue to update you on changes as they happen. Keep in mind that should the Senate bill pass it will still have to go back to the House for reconciliation before reaching the President’s desk. At Truss, we are here to keep you up to date on the latest health care news. If you have any questions or concerns please reach out to your Client Advisor for assistance.