Q.- We are a small Pennsylvania employer with 10 employees. We are not subject to federal COBRA, but we do have to comply with PA mini-COBRA. Do we have to offer a continuation coverage election to our employees with a Medicare supplement policy who have a qualifying event?
From a “60,000 foot view,” BAS looks like a software development company focused on automating employee benefits enrollment and administration. However, a deep dive into BAS’ operations will uncover an organization committed to data security and IT best-practices. Toward this end, BAS utilizes many tools to help it continually monitor its systems for threats, risks and non-compliance. It also implements corrective security controls that automatically remediate issues.
One platform on which BAS’ IT department depends is its Tripwire VIA, which provides unprecedented controls for change management and log management. One feature, in particular, is the Tripwire file integrity monitoring (“FIM”), which BAS uses to establish a known-and-trusted state based on BAS’ polices, standards and compliance requirements.
Employers face an ongoing struggle of trying to offer rich, competitive benefits packages while keeping benefit dollars under control. Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company released a white paper identifying five benefit strategies that have been proven to help with increasing benefits costs. According to Colonial Life, public sector employers face increased benefits obstacles due to revenue shortfalls and increased scrutiny of government spending. The following five strategies have been proven to help with cost containment in the public sector and can be applied easily to the private and not-for-profit marketplace.
Health care reform created the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute which is tasked with reviewing and distributing comparative clinical effectiveness research information to help patients, doctors, purchasers and others make informed health care decisions through the distribution of comparative clinical effectiveness research findings. The Affordable Care Act requires health insurers and self-funded health plan sponsors to pay a fee each policy or plan year ending on or after October 1, 2012 and before October 1, 2019 to fund the Institute.
Q. Do you have a COBRA brochure or flyer I can give to employees when they are no longer active with our company so they can know about the COBRA rules?
BAS' MyEnroll.com contains personal information that may be subject to the privacy and security requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Because some employers request BAS to use participants' email addresses for benefit enrollment, BAS considers confirming a valid identity on an email as a vital step in maintaining individuals' privacy. As part of BAS' enhanced security requirements, each individual must validate their email address to authenticate access to personal information.
BAS’ new-hire process can swiftly and easily send benefit plan information to newly hired employees, while keeping an on-line PDF record of the documents sent, along with proof of USPS mailing.
Many employers have a format set of documents, including benefits information and enrollment materials, that they give to employees at the time of hire. BAS can assist employers with the distribution of these materials. BAS’s tried and tested postal service distribution process provides employers a method to mail a benefits package to employee’s home, while maintaining a reviewable record of the mailing. BAS’ efficient mailing process assists employers by making sure new employees timely receive benefits information allowing them to enroll during the new hire enrollment period.
Health Care Reform requires certain employers to automatically enroll employees in health coverage, unless those employees make an affirmative election to decline coverage. In general, employers subject to the Fair Labor Standard Act with more than 200 full-time employees (defined as employees working, on average, 30 or more hours per week) must automatically enroll new employees in their health benefits plan.
Employers that provide health and other welfare plan benefits on a pre-tax basis through a cafeteria plan must have a written document describing the rules relating to the pre-tax arrangement. As a condition of receiving favorable tax treatment, the IRS requires each cafeteria plan under section 125 of the Code to be properly documented.
Statistics show that often employers spend a large amount of their health care dollars on coverage for non-eligible dependents. When health coverage is available to dependents of employees, employers may wish to closely monitor those individuals who are enrolled in the plan under dependent status.
BAS trains each new employee in HIPAA privacy and security matters when the employee is hired. In addition, BAS conducts yearly "refresher" training courses to make sure all employees understand and are carrying out BAS' extensive HIPAA Privacy and Security Policies. In March, BAS' Compliance Officer met with employees to reinforce the necessity of HIPAA compliance.
Q.- I am preparing my tax return to file tomorrow. I participate in a dependent care flexible spending account plan. May I also claim the child care tax credit on my tax return?
Next week, April 17, 2012, Arthur Taylor, President of Benefit Allocation Systems, Inc., will be speaking at the National Association of Church Personnel Administrators (NACPA) convocation in Tampa, Florida. Mr. Taylor will be presenting an overview of BAS' MyEnroll.com consolidated location billing, collection and accounts receivable management solution (Consolidated Billing). Charles Bradley, BAS' Senior Vice President for Sales & Implementation will co-present.
Q- An employee on COBRA continuation coverage has a severance arrangement whereby we pay 50% of the cost of his COBRA continuation coverage. Can the 2% administrative charge get assessed on the full COBRA premium or only on the 50% of the premium that he pays?
As part of BAS' continuing effort to creatively enhance the security of MyEnroll.com, the first 5-digits of an employee’s Social Security Number (SSN) is now masked when the employee is logged into his or her own account.
An employee may confirm their complete SSN in MyEnroll.com by clicking the “Reveal” link associated with the SSN on the screen. The reveal link will initiate a pop up window in which the employee will be prompted to enter their complete SSN. If the SSN they enter matches the SSN in MyEnroll.com, they will be presented with a message confirming the match.
Employers may use MyEnroll.com to create a customized New Hire Enrollment Communication (NEHC) for newly hired employees. The NEHC is an email with specific instructions for proceeding through the new hire enrollment process. Employers who provide new hires with informational material (i.e. insurance booklets, privacy statements, etc.) can convert this material into PDF files and include them in the NHEC for distribution. This service reduces paper use, printing, and mailing costs. Additionally, by having new hire material included as attachments in the NHEC, employers can eliminate the time and effort it takes to organize, print, package, and distribute this material.
IPads, iPhones, BlackBerrys, PDAs, smartphones, notebooks- With employees always on the go, employers should think about implementing and enforcing mobile device policies. Having a mobile device policy in place is an important step in preparing for the risks inherent in using such technology.
States have until 2014 to implement Exchanges for the purchase of health insurance coverage. The Department of Health and Human Services, one of the three agencies responsible for the implementation of health care reform, recently issued new guidance on health insurance exchanges.
In support of its religious sector clients, several BAS sales and account management representatives will be attending the 2011 National Association of Church Personnel Administrators ("NACPA") "Waves of the Future Convocation" in Tampa, Florida April 15-17, 2012.