Compensation Solutions Blog
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Compensation Solutions has been nominated by the New Jersey Business and Industry Association (NJBIA) for its Awards for Excellence in the Outstanding Employer category.
The NJBIA’s Awards for Excellence program recognizes member companies that are doing great things in New Jersey, from creating jobs, growing their businesses, motivating and rewarding their employees, protecting the environment, and helping their communities through public service.
NJBIA Outstanding Employer PDF News Release
The Obama Administration has announced that it will delay implementation of the employer ‘shared responsibility’ penalty by one year. By choosing to delay the implementation of the employer penalties until 2015, the Obama Administration has essentially delayed the implementation of the requirement for businesses to provide health insurance, until 2015. The move is said to give the Administration time to simplify reporting requirements and allow employers more time to bring their health coverage plans into compliance.
This decision has been very well received by the business community, as many businesses have been struggling with understanding the complex provisions of Health Care Reform and concerned about how they would manage the increased costs.
The U.S. Treasury has stated that this decision “is designed to meet two goals. First, it will allow us to consider ways to simplify the new reporting requirements consistent with the law. Second, it will provide time to adapt health coverage and reporting systems while employers are moving toward making health coverage affordable and accessible for their employees. A link to the official announcement by the U.S. Department of the Treasury is here.
Under the provision, businesses with at least 50 full-time or full-time equivalent (FTE) employees could face penalties unless affordable, “minimum essential” coverage is offered to workers. The penalty can range from $2,000 to $3,000 per worker.
On a website which is contributed to and sponsored by the Republican Party, a/k/a Grand Old Party or GOP, there is an essay that contends that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as ACA, PPACA, healthcare reform or “Obamacare”, will escalate healthcare costs, increase insurance premiums, hurt the quality of healthcare, raise taxes and increase the deficit all of which were not the effects promised by President Obama when ACA was signed into law back in 2010.
Check out the article and decide for yourself: http://www.gop.com/news/research/the-case-against-obamacare/.
Feed your brain: Eat “brain foods” like nuts, avocados, fish, and deep green vegetables. Antioxidants are another great brain food and can be found in berries and high quality chocolate and vegetables like kale, broccoli and cauliflower.
Sleep: Lack of sleep reduces productivity. Make 8-hours sleep a daily non-negotiable.
Giving: Ask your co-worker how you might be able to help. Even if you can only offer them a different perspective on the problem they are working on you will have served, you increase your value to the company and you feel good.
Sometimes it’s the small changes we make in our behavior that have the most profound results. Excelling at work doesn’t have to be complicated.
These simple steps can yield big results.
(excerpt from Huffington Post article by Laurie Erdman)
The importance of preventive health care:
Remember the old saying that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?” This can be especially true when it comes to preventive health care. And, better health may help lower your health care costs.
Maintaining or improving your health is important; and a focus on regular preventive care, along with following the advice of your doctor, may help you stay healthy. Routine checkups and screenings may help you avoid serious health problems, allowing you and your doctor to work as a team to manage your overall health.
What is preventive care?
Preventive care focuses on maintaining your health, and establishing your baseline health status. During a preventive visit, your doctor will determine what tests or screenings are appropriate for you based on many factors such as your age, gender, overall health status, personal health history and your current symptoms or chronic health concerns. Even if you’re in the best shape of your life, a serious condition with no signs or symptoms may put your health at risk. Through a preventive exam and other routine health screenings, your doctor may detect the early warning signs of more serious issues to provide early treatment.
In an article published by Bloomberg Business Week, “Obamacare Should Make Health Care Cheaper—Just Not Right Away”, writer Elizabeth Dwoskin writes:
This week, the Society of Actuaries threw a wrench into President Obama’s persistent assertions that his health-care overhaul is driving down the cost of health care. The nonpartisan professional association for insurance assessors came out with a report saying that medical claims—the biggest driver of premiums—will rise 32 percent (PDF) over the next three years because of Obamacare. In states such as Ohio and Wisconsin, the group expects the cost of claims to go up by 80 percent.
The study predicts that as states set up health insurance exchanges, people who are currently insured through state-sponsored high-risk pools will move into the private market, raising rates for everyone else. Many sicker people with employer-sponsored insurance are also likely move into the individual market because their employers will decide to drop higher-risk plans, preferring to pay a penalty rather than provide insurance.
The Society of Actuaries says that, at least in the short term, the cost of so many sick people entering the health-care market will more than offset the savings from the millions of healthy people who will enter it. This is the exact opposite of the argument the administration has been making.
This prediction—and recent assessments from the insurance industry—are causing the administration to tone town its optimistic rhetoric for the first time. This week Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius acknowledged that the promise of lower costs may not pan out, at least initially. She told reporters that some men and younger people could see their rates increase next year as key tenets of the law go into effect.
Some states already dispute the study, arguing that it doesn’t take into account additional Obamacare provisions that will do much to decrease spending. One example is the value-based purchasing program, in which Medicare reimburses hospitals for keeping patients healthy, as opposed to the fee-for-service model that has driven up the cost of care. (Researchers have argued that the rewards and penalties in pay-for-performance, which I wrote about last year, are too small to have much influence on provider behavior.)
Henry Aaron, a health-care expert at the Brookings Institution who supports the law, says it is obvious that health-care spending by government and insurance companies will rise initially, even if it’s not politically expedient to say so. For one thing, as more people get coverage, more claims will need to be paid out. Moreover, health-care costs continue to rise, even if the pace of spending has slowed. And Obamacare forces many people to get more complete—and therefore more expensive—coverage than they get now.
Over time, Aaron says, medical care should get cheaper. “There is a lot of room to improve health-care delivery, to bring down prices without undue loss of quality, and to encourage research into cost-reducing technology,” he says. “The major obstacle will be the first couple of years of implementation. I worry a lot about that. If we get by that period, I am very optimistic. We will reduce the growth of spending, but anyone who claims to know the timing is blowing smoke.”
On average, high blood pressure affects one in three people. However, there are several ways to make a positive change to high blood pressure which include very simple lifestyle changes.
- Exercise: if you don’t exercise, start! Exercise will not only help lower your blood pressure, you will lose weight. Reminder – prior to beginning an exercise routine you should consult with your doctor.
- Limit your salt intake: eating foods that are high in sodium on a regular basis will increase your blood pressure, lead to heart disease and perhaps even a stroke.
- DASH!: “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension” – the DASH diet is a healthy diet which includes such items as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. The DASH diet has been shown to lead to healthy blood pressure levels.
- Drop Weight: Losing weight will help to reduce high blood pressure.
- Easy on the Alcohol: Limiting your alcohol will help your heart.
The suggested lifestyle changes are meant to promote not just heart health but overall good health. GOOD LUCK!
Am I considered a small business employer or possibly a large business employer?
How do I figure it out?
What are the new fees that are part of the PPACA?
What is “Play or Pay”?
How will all these changes affect my business?
To hear all the above answers and more… Join us for our Healthcare Reform Seminar.
E-mail email@example.com for more information.
Ten simple ways which may help you lower stress, boost your positive mood and have more energy:
1. Make your bed: This small ritual can help create a calm environment for you in your bedroom. A soothing bedroom is believed to help you sleep better.
2. Pack a snack: Prepare a healthy snack to take to work or school with you. Fruit, unsalted nuts, low-fat cheese or certain yogurts make a healthy snack and when you get hungry later in the afternoon, you’ll be ready!
3. Clear your desk: From stray papers to coffee mugs, clutter can make you lose focus and curb productivity. De-clutter and you will feel more organized and will concentrate on the task at hand.
4. Listen to music: Several studies have found that listening to music can help lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and boost mood. The right music has the power to change your attitude and improve your day.
5. Sniff a lemon: For a quick de-stressing trick, turn to an underrated sense — your sense of smell. A substance found in lemons, may turn down the classic “flight-or-fight” stress response. Not into lemons? Try basil, juniper or lavender – these scents have been found to lower stress.
6. Stretch: Just a few easy moves will do. Stretch your arms overhead. Raise and lower your shoulders a couple of times. Stretching can help improve your circulation & flexibility and ease the tight muscles that come with stress.
7. Meditate: It’s easier than you may think. Here’s how: Settle into a comfortable position in a chair or on the floor. Then follow your breath – in & out — for a few minutes. Meditating daily, even just for a few minutes may help tame any stress.
8. Keep a gratitude diary: Take a minute every day to write down what you’re thankful for — big or small. Being thankful for what you have can make you appreciate all the positives in your life.
9. Turn off your electronics: Take a little break – from all your gadgets. So log off — of everything — every now and then.
10. Prioritize: Make a list – figure out what really matters, what can wait, and what you can skip. Work your way down the list, handling your top priorities first.
This time of year, employees will be invited to various Company sponsored or promoted events such as summer picnics, sports outings and charitable events, i.e., Habitat For Humanity, Hurricane Sandy Response and Recovery, etc. There are many great purposes for these events, such as for the enjoyment of employees, vendors, clients and their families, assisting the community and/or those in need. While these types of events can help boost morale and increase relationships, the employer could be liable for any accidents or injuries resulting from these events.
There are ways to minimize a Company’s risk while also being a good community Partner and they are:
- Explain, in writing, that all of the above type of events do not require attendance or participation by the employee and that they are totally voluntary.
- If an employee chooses not to attend or participate in the event then such decision shall not have any effect, positive or negative, on the terms and conditions of the employee’s employment with the company.
- It is beneficial to have an employee sign a release acknowledging they are aware these events are voluntary, not a requirement of their job and no work should be performed at the event.
- In cases where alcohol is available or served, employees should be reminded to be cautious and to control their consumption and the consumption by their guests.
Lastly, some of the events may entail physical exertion or be in extreme weather and it is always advisable to remind employees that they may want to consult with a physician before participating in the event.
Social activities are a great morale booster to all involved but do require a little preventive action on your part. If you would like a sample best practices’ notice and release for participants to sign then please contact the Human Resources’ Department.
CSI is providing the above blog in furtherance of its mission to provide its Clients and Friends with the best practice for their human resource (HR) needs. CSI does not provide legal, insurance, tax or financial advice of any kind. No portion of this blog or any prior correspondence, written or verbal, is intended to provide legal, tax or financial advice. You are advised to consult with competent counsel on all legal, insurance, tax or financial issues.