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.

Verizon ADA Settlement: More on leaves of absence as reasonable accommodation

Now that the dust is settling over the nationwide class-action disability discrimination lawsuit Verizon settled with the EEOC, we at the SmartHRManager blog wanted to ask HR professionals what this settlement means to their companies. To help you answer that question, take a look at the consent decree’s corporate improvement plan, which highlights what Verizon […]

Firing Employees for Gross Misconduct: How Is COBRA Coverage Affected?

Employers should tread carefully when deciding not to offer COBRA continuation coverage due to “gross misconduct,” as a recent court case reminds. Here, a federal district court in Ohio held that a former employee’s conviction due to a sex offense, which led to his employment termination, was not yet enough to deny COBRA coverage due […]

UCLA Hospital to Pay $865,500 in Latest HIPAA Privacy Settlement

In the latest big-ticket enforcement action for alleged HIPAA privacy and security violations, the University of California at Los Angeles Health System (UCLAHS) has agreed to pay the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) $865,500 to settle allegations the hospital violated HIPAA’s privacy and security rules. The settlement, announced July 7, resolves two […]

Consumer-Directed Health Plans Like HSAs/HRAs Continue to Grow

Does your computer’s spelling function auto-correct “HSA” to “HAS”? Mine used to, not recognizing that this abbreviation is no longer an error, but represents health savings accounts (HSAs), one type of consumer-directed health plan that is fast becoming mainstream in the health benefits industry. Health savings accounts couple a tax-favored savings account that is used […]

5500 Deadline for 403(b) Plans: Ready or Not, It’s Almost Here

Editor’s note: For purposes of this article, we are going to assume you know the basics. If you don’t, read BLR’s previous news coverage here and here. Sponsors of 403(b) plans, we really, really hope that by now you know whether or not you need to file Form 5500 for the 2009 plan year and […]

Seeing Growth in Self-Funding, Aetna Spends $600M to Grow Into ASO Market

Industry experts are saying health reform is helping promote the self-funding of health benefits, particularly among smaller employers, which can allow employers to get more of a say over benefits design and payment and help avoid a few reform obligations. Large insurers are, accordingly, betting on self-funding and seeing opportunity in administrative services only (ASO) […]

Health Coverage Premium Subsidies Need Boost, Says White House

Premium subsidies for health insurance coverage under the Health Care Tax Credit (HCTC) program may get a boost due to an agreement being negotiated between the White House and Congress. The HCTC program was enacted as part of the Trade Act of 2002. As originally enacted, it provided a 65-percent tax credit for qualifying health […]

6th Circuit Upholds Health Reform’s Individual Mandate

A three-judge panel from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals just upheld health reform’s controversial mandate that all individuals buy a minimum of health insurance or pay a penalty, saying that individual mandate is a valid exercise of Congress’ authority. This is the first appeals court ruling on such a challenge. … so 1-0 for […]

HIPAA Privacy Expert Discusses Merger Issues

The kind of information exchange that’s necessary before and during a merger or acquisition can raise thorny HIPAA privacy issues, and federal guidance on the subject is sparse at best — especially for employers and other plan sponsors, Senior Editor David Slaughter writes. In such a transaction between companies that are themselves covered by HIPAA […]

SHRM 2011: Helping Employees Lighten Up, Part 2

In giving SHRM attendees four tips to promote healthy living among employees to help them lose weight, I’m sure corporate health strategist Adam Bordes was aware that many attending his session, “Lighten Up: Daily Strategies for a Lighter, Healthier Workplace” will be using these steps themselves – I certainly will. Bordes’ tips can be divided […]