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Need legal help for your small business?

The BenefitPERx Legal Card from Compensation Solutions has many areas that cover your business and family lifestyles. Most of these services can also be utilized by your spouse and all legal dependents. Take a look below at one of the ways your BenefitPERx Legal Card can assist you.

Did you know?

As a BenefitPERx Legal Card holder, you now have access to attorneys who write letters on your behalf when deemed appropriate. Please visit our blog next week for another “Did You Know?”

For more information please call 800-654-4234 or email us at contactus@csihro.com.

Proposed bill to eliminate maximum deductibles for small employer health plans

On April 1, 2014, Congress passed H.R. 4302, the “Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014.” Section 213 of the Act would eliminate the maximum deductible cap that health care reform placed on small employer group health insurance plans.  The bill now goes to President Obama, who is expected to pass and sign the bill this week.

The bill once passed, will eliminate the $2000/$4000 deductible max which were imposed on small groups in 2014.  In addition, the bill will delay a 24% cut in Medicare physician payments for one year.

Employment-Based Orientation Periods Cannot Exceed One Month for Purposes of 90-Day Waiting Period Limit

Proposed Rules Clarify What Constitutes a ‘Reasonable and Bona Fide’ Orientation Period

The Affordable Care Act prohibits group health plans from applying any waiting period that exceeds 90 days in plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2014. A waiting period is the period of time that must pass before coverage for an employee or dependent who is otherwise eligible to enroll under the terms of a group health plan can become effective. For this purpose, being eligible for coverage means having met the plan’s substantive eligibility conditions.

Background Previously issued final rules addressed the relationship between a plan’s eligibility criteria and the 90-day waiting period limitation. Under those rules, a requirement to successfully complete a reasonable and bona fide employment-based orientation period is permissible as a condition for eligibility for coverage under a plan (among other conditions that are not based solely on the lapse of a time period). However, the facts and circumstances under which an employment-based orientation period would not be considered “reasonable and bona fide” were not specified.

Proposed Rules Proposed rules clarify that one month is the maximum allowed length of any reasonable and bona fide employment-based orientation period, and the 90-day waiting period must begin on the first day after such orientation period. During an orientation period, an employer and employee could evaluate whether the employment situation was satisfactory for each party, and standard orientation and training processes would begin.

One month would be determined by adding one calendar month and subtracting one calendar day, measured from an employee’s start date in a position that is otherwise eligible for coverage or, if there is not a corresponding date in the next calendar month, the last day of the next calendar month. (For example, if an employee’s start date is May 3, the last permitted day of the orientation period is June 2; if the employee’s start date is August 31, the last permitted day of the orientation period is September 30.)

Compliance with the proposed rules will constitute compliance with the 90-day waiting period limitation requirement at least through the end of 2014. To the extent final regulations or other guidance are more restrictive than the proposed rules, they will not be effective prior to January 1, 2015, and plans and issuers will be provided with sufficient time to comply.

Stay tuned here for more information about ACA and other news.

Did you know? The Small Business BenefitPERx Card offers many discounted services

The BenefitPERx Legal Card from Compensation Solutions has many areas that cover your business and family lifestyles. Most of these services can also be utilized by your spouse and all legal dependents. Take a look below at one of the ways your BenefitPERx Legal Card can assist you.

Did you know?

With the Small Business Legal Plan you are entitled to eight deeply discounted services, such as $275 for a simple divorce, $750 for filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, $250 for a real estate closing, to name just a few. Please visit our blog next week for another “Did You Know?”

For more information please call 800-654-4234 or email us at contactus@csihro.com.

CSI supports The Red Oaks School Circle of Friends Gala

The Red Oaks School in Morristown, NJ, hosts an annual event, the Circle of Friends Gala to support the school’s efforts to provide individualized education for children – early childhood age through middle school. Since 1965, Red Oaks has encorporated the early teachings of Dr. Maria Montessori to provide dynamic and progressive styles of teaching as well as promoting social awareness, critical-thinking and creativity throughout the students’ education.

Last year’s event raised more than $150,000 with the support of community businesses, family, friends and collegues of the school.  This year’s Circle of Friends Gala & Auction will provide you with great exposure along with an elegant evening of  live and silent auctions at Birchwood Manor in Whippany on Saturday, April 26, 2014. CSI is a long-time supporter of the school and again has sponsored the event.

For more information about the event or to donate/support the event, visit http://www.redoaksschool.org/giving/circle-of-friends-gala/index.aspx.

BenefitPERx Card offers unlimited legal consultations

The BenefitPERx Legal Card from Compensation Solutions has many areas that cover your business and family lifestyles. Most of these services can also be utilized by your spouse and all legal dependents. Take a look below at one of the ways your BenefitPERx Legal Card can assist you.

Did you know?

With the Small Business Legal Plan you get unlimited initial phone consultations during business hours for new legal matters. That’s like having your own personal lawyer for all your business needs! Imagine all the time and money you could save. Please visit our blog next week for another “Did You Know?”

Save time and money with BenefitPERx Legal Card. For more information please call 800-654-4234 or email us at contactus@csihro.com.

New rules released this week (March 5, 2014) regarding the Affordable Care Act

  • The federal government is giving the states the authority to allow those plans that do not meet the Affordable Care Act’s requirements for minimal essential standards a two year grace period to keep the plans in force until October 1, 2017);
  • The Transitional Reinsurance Program is adjusting to allow greater price stability in the public marketplaces (for example, changing the pooling point from $60,000 to $45,000 in 2014);
  • Open enrollment for the public marketplaces will now be modified for the coming period to November 15, 2014 through February 15, 2015, which provides an extra one month;
  • The 2015 out of pocket maximums will be $6,600 for single employees and $13,200 for families (a 4.21% increase);
  • The 2015 maximum limits on deductibles in the small group market (employers <50 lives) will be $2,050 for single coverage and $4,100 for families.

The CMS Fact Sheet addressing these changes can be found at: http://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-sheets/2014-Fact-sheets-items/2014-03-05-2.html

- Information gathered from www.napeo.org

Health care Reform Update: Final Rules on 90-Day Waiting Period Limitation

Final rules address the requirement in the Affordable Care Act that group health plans limit any waiting period to 90 days beginning with plan years starting on or after January 1, 2014.

Waiting Period Defined
A waiting period is the period of time that must pass before coverage for an employee or dependent who is otherwise eligible to enroll under the terms of a group health plan can become effective. Being otherwise eligible to enroll in a plan means having met the plan’s substantive eligibility conditions (such as, for example, being in an eligible job classification, achieving job-related licensure requirements specified in the plan’s terms, or satisfying a reasonable and bona fide employment-based orientation period).

Key Highlights of the Final Rules
Under the final rules, eligibility conditions that are based solely on the lapse of a time period are permissible for no more than 90 days. Other conditions for eligibility are generally permissible, such as meeting certain sales goals, earning a certain level of commission, or successfully completing an orientation period.

The final rules retain many of the provisions outlined in previously issued proposed regulations, such as the approach for applying waiting periods to variable-hour employees in cases in which a specified number of hours of service per period is a plan eligibility condition. Highlights of the final rules include:

  • Employers are not required to offer coverage to any particular individual or class of individuals (including, for example, part-time employees);
  • All calendar days are counted for purposes of the 90-day limit, including weekends and holidays, beginning on the individual’s enrollment date;
  • A requirement that employees complete a  certain number of cumulative hours of service before becoming eligible for  coverage is generally allowed as long as the requirement does not exceed  1,200 hours;
  • A former employee who is rehired may be  treated as newly eligible for coverage upon rehire and, therefore, may be  required to meet the plan’s eligibility criteria and satisfy the waiting period anew, if reasonable under the circumstances; and
  • A requirement to successfully complete a  reasonable and bona fide employment-based orientation period may be  imposed as a condition for eligibility for coverage under a plan (a companion proposed rule would limit the maximum duration of an otherwise permissible orientation period to one month).

For plan years beginning in 2014, plans may comply with either the previously proposed regulations or the final rules (effective for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2015).

Additional information or questions can be directed to Compensation Solutions at 800-654-4234.

‘Pay or Play’ Requirements Delayed Until 2016 for Large Employers With Fewer Than 100 Full-Time Employees

Final Rules on Employer Shared Responsibility

Newly issued final rules provide guidance regarding the shared responsibility (“pay or play”) requirements under Health Care Reform. While employers with at least 50 full-time employees (including full-time equivalents or FTEs) are generally subject to the requirements, the final rules provide transition relief for certain large employers with respect to all of 2015 and, for non-calendar plan years that begin in 2015, for the portion of that 2015 plan year that falls in 2016.

An employer is generally eligible for this transition relief if it satisfies the following conditions:

•Limited Workforce Size. The employer employs on average at least 50 full-time employees (including full-time equivalents or FTEs), but fewer than 100 full-time employees (including FTEs) on business days during 2014.

•Maintenance of Workforce and Aggregate Hours of Service. During the period beginning on February 9, 2014, and ending on December 31, 2014, the employer does not reduce the size of its workforce or the overall hours of service of its employees in order to satisfy the workforce size condition. (A reduction in workforce size or overall hours of service for bona fide business reasons will not be considered to have been made in order to satisfy the workforce size condition.)

•Maintenance of Previously Offered Health Coverage. Except as expressly permitted, during the “coverage maintenance period” the employer does not eliminate or materially reduce the health coverage, if any, it offered as of February 9, 2014. “Coverage maintenance period” means:

  • For an employer with a calendar year plan, the period beginning on February 9, 2014, and ending on December 31, 2015, and
  • For an employer with a non-calendar year plan, the period beginning on February 9, 2014, and ending on the last day of the plan year that begins in 2015

•Certification of Eligibility for Transition Relief. The employer certifies on a prescribed form that it meets the eligibility requirements set forth above. Forthcoming final regulations related to employer information reporting are expected to provide that an employer subject to the requirements who qualifies for transition relief will provide this certification as part of the transmittal form it is required to file with the IRS.

Stay tuned for more information regarding the final rules.

Tips for Fighting Flu in the Workplace – Preventive Actions May Prevent the Spread of Germs

Flu activity most commonly peaks in January or February and it can be a big disruption for business. Employees who are sick may not be as productive when it comes to getting work done, and symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, and fever can spread germs to healthy employees.

Everyday preventive actions that can help prevent the spread of germs in the workplace include:

  • Cover Your Mouth and Nose. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Flu viruses are thought to spread mainly from person to person through coughing, sneezing, or talking to someone with the flu.
  • Avoid Touching Your Eyes, Nose, or Mouth. Flu viruses also may spread when people touch something with flu virus on it and then touch their mouth, eyes, or nose. Routinely clean frequently touched objects and surfaces, including doorknobs, keyboards, and phones, to help remove germs.
  • Clean Your Hands. Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. Make sure your workplace has an adequate supply of tissues, soap, paper towels, alcohol-based hand rubs, and disposable wipes.
  • Stay Home When Sick. Employees should be encouraged to stay home from work when they are sick to help prevent others from getting ill. If there is only one employee who performs a particular task, consider training others so that coverage is available should that employee need to leave work early or stay home due to illness.

For more information and resources to help fight the flu in your workplace, check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website on Seasonal Flu Information for Businesses & Employers.

-  Posted on January 15, 2014 – HR360.com