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Group health coverage to remain the same for most, employers report

Although many companies are anticipating the implementation of various cost-sharing efforts in their health care plans and benefits strategies in 2014, many plan on retaining group coverage for the next year. This information comes from the 2013/2014 Verisight and McGladrey Compensation, Retirement and Benefits Trade Survey. The survey also reported that a mere five percent of companies plan on moving their employees to the private exchange platform at this time. Other findings in the survey share that only four percent of those who participated are completely eliminating their coverage plans and instead plan to offer employees funds to acquire coverage on their through the state and federal exchanges. Other cost-sharing concepts companies reported utilizing include: raising premiums (35%), increasing co-payments or co-insurance (23%), raising deductibles (22%) and creating wellness programs for employees (22%). Many companies have not made finite decisions as to what their long term plans will be as a re ...

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Five Mistakes Employers Make when Terminating Employees

Termination of an employee is always challenging, but it can be more difficult if an employer doesn’t know the best practices for executing the action to avoid legal trouble in the future. Mistake 1: Terminating as a result of anger: On-the-spot terminations that are made out of anger on the part of the manager are usually never sound decisions in the long run. Firstly, it’s often difficult for individuals to make good decisions when they’re experiencing anger. Also, employers must make many considerations before making the decision to terminate an employee. Lastly, if an employee feels they were not treated with respect, they are more likely to bring forth legal action. Mistake 2: Terminating without asking appropriate parties: A manager should never terminate an employee without checking with human resources. It is the responsibility of human resources professionals to make specific determinations regarding the performance or an employee and the appropriateness of a potential termin ...

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Law says mental health and addiction benefits must be part of a health insurance policy.

A recent survey by the American Psychological Association (APA) illustrates a massive lack of implementation and awareness of a 2008 law that mandates insurance companies to provide mental and behavioral health coverage that is equal to or better than coverage for physical health. This includes no annual limits nor higher copays or deductibles for mental health issues and substance abuse situations. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act was legislation that was passed in 2008. The APA survey notes that only 4% of Americans are aware of the law. While the law applies to both employer-provided health insurance plans and to individual plans found on the Obamacare state and federal insurance exchanges, 29% of survey respondents said their insurance had different copays or other limits for mental health care that differ from the physical health care coverage. The survey goes on to say that 56% of Americans said their current health insurance provides coverage to see a psychologist or other men ...

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Workers utilizing retirement plans prematurely

Although those who work to sponsor retirement plans have tried to avoid it, nearly one quarter of Americans reported that they have taken measures such as collecting early distributions or borrowing against their retirement plans over the last three years. This data was recently released by Purchasing Power. The numbers show that those who participated in the survey are utilizing their retirement monies for everyday necessities. Specifically, these expenses include but are not limited to mortgage or rent payments, utilities, medical expenses, educational tuition and expenses, and credit card debt. Even large-ticket items such as electronics, computers and appliances are having an impact on what funds remain available to those who are tapping into their retirement investments, according to the numbers. Purchasing Power, the company responsible for the research, reiterated that retirement funds including 401(k) options are meant to be utilized during an employee’s actual retirement period. The com ...

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Four changes in Voluntary Benefits Employers Should Consider in 2014

Despite all the changes employers are facing in terms of their benefits packages in 2014 and years to follow, voluntary benefits continue to take center stage as companies realize the value associated with having and maintaining quality voluntary benefits for their employees. Many industry professionals no longer recognize these benefits as ancillary details to their big pictures, rather they see them as essential in an effort to not only keep top talent but also recruit the best and brightest moving forward. The following predictions for the evolution of voluntary benefits in 2014 could be helpful for companies working on these programs: Voluntary Benefits will no longer be optional packages in terms of what benefits are offered: These types of benefits will be sharing the stage with whatever health care platform the employer chooses to utilize to cover their employees. As these benefits become increasingly popular, the items included in these packages will be growing and expanding to include n ...

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