Category: Benefits

From 401(k) plans to vacation policy, this topic gives HR and Compensation professionals specific strategies on how to handle benefit plans. Articles also provide guidance to brokers, advisers and consultants.

The Top 6 Dangers Facing Self-insured Health Plans (and What to Do About Them)

Self-insuring health benefits is a riskier undertaking than just writing a check to a United or Aetna. But despite the risk, employers do it because it gives them more control over plan design and the growth of health costs. For self-insured plans to succeed in controlling costs – and they can – they must analyze […]

Bill Proposes FMLA Leave for Domestic Abuse Victims; Also Extends FMLA Leave to Domestic Partners

Employers would be required to approve leave for domestic violence victims and their families under a bill proposed earlier this month by Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif. H.R. 3151, the Domestic Violence Leave Act, would amend the Family and Medical Leave Act to guarantee unpaid leave to workers needing medical attention or legal assistance following domestic […]

Transit Benefit Drops by Nearly Half for 2012, While Parking Tax Break Rises

Administering qualified transportation fringe benefits (QTFBs) will be more complicated in 2012. Congress has allowed the parity between mass transit and parking thresholds — which gave transit and vanpool users the same tax advantage as drivers — to expire. Starting Jan. 1, 2012, the excludible amount for those who purchase bus, rail and other mass […]

IRS Ups Deductions for 401(k) and IRA Plans

Starting 2012, savers can sock away $17,000 per year in a 401(k) retirement plan without paying upfront taxes, up from $16,500 in 2010. This increase applies to all 401(k) and 403(b) plans, most 457 plans and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan. The last time the IRS raised this elective deferral (contribution) limit was in […]

Are Forces of Secrecy Blocking Path to Health Cost Control?

Health reform has passed and it was supposed to change the world. But it has yet to take effective action on the biggest problem — the upward spiral of health costs! Raise your hand if you think there is a connection between insurers’ and providers’ lack of transparency on premiums and fees, and that upward […]

Premium Subsidy Extension Becomes Law

Trade legislation that also extends premium subsidies for health coverage under the Health Care Tax Credit (HCTC) program was signed into law by President Obama Oct. 21. The HCTC was enacted as part of the Trade Act of 2002. As originally enacted, it provided a 65-percent tax credit for qualifying health coverage (including COBRA continuation […]

Social Security Taxable Wage Base Increases for First Time Since 2009

For the first time since 2009, the Social Security taxable wage base has increased: For 2012, it will be $110,100, up from $106,800. The Social Security Administration attributes this to the increase in average wages. In 2012, employers must withhold Social Security taxes on each employee’s first $110,100 of compensation. This means that the employer […]

Twelve for ’12: A Dozen Ideas for Flexible Benefits

The year 2011 will soon be in the history books so it is not too early to work on the master “to do” list for 2012. Here are a dozen suggestions for benefits and insurance professionals who are involved with flexible benefits, by Rich Glass, JD, Chief Compliance Officer, Infinisource, Inc. Keep an eye on […]

No Travel Reimbursement for Feds Who Stay at Lodging They Own

Federal employees who stay at lodgings they own while on job-related travel should not even try to obtain a reimbursement for their lodging expenses. So says the General Services Administration (GSA), the federal agency that sets the rules for reimbursement of federal employees’ employment-related travel expenses. The GSA issued a final rule on Oct. 14 […]

Gallup Data on Obese Workers: Time to Dust Off ‘Lighter’ Workplace Tips

Most U.S. workers are either obese or suffering from at least one chronic condition, which costs employers $153 billion in lost productivity, says a new Gallup-Healthways survey. That’s the bad news. The good news is employers can take steps to lighten their workforce, and I’ll provide a refresher on some of those steps later below. […]