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Straight From The Source Blog


President Trump's Executive Orders

October 17 , 2017

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On Oct. 12, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order intended to change certain rules under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The order would expand access to association health plans, health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) and short-term, limited-duration insurance. It doesn't change existing regulations, but directs federal agencies to consider new regulations or guidance to implement the order’s policies. The executive order directs many agencies, including the Department of Labor, to consider proposing rules or new guidance to loosen current restrictions on what are called “association health plans” and on selling low-cost, short-term insurance. Such rules potentially exempt those plans for a number of ACA requirements.

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Tags: Compliance


Open enrollment communication best practices

October 12 , 2017

Communicating employee benefits

Your company offers great benefits, but do your employees know this? If employees are unaware of all the benefits available, or if they lack the resources needed to select the plans that best suit them, the company’s efforts will go unnoticed and unappreciated. Help your employees and boost workplace satisfaction by optimizing your open enrollment communication strategies.

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Tags: Employee Benefits


Trump administration expands contraceptive mandate exemptions

October 10 , 2017

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Late last week, the Departments of Labor (DOL), Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Treasury (Departments) issued two interim final rules expanding certain exemptions from the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) contraceptive coverage mandate. These final rules expand the availability of the religious exemption to include most employers that object to providing contraceptive coverage based on their religious beliefs or moral convictions, and they make the accommodations approach optional for eligible organizations. This guidance, which is effective immediately, significantly expands the number of employers that are eligible for an exemption from the contraceptive coverage mandate.

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Tags: Compliance


October HR News Worth Review

October 09 , 2017

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Court Orders EEOC to Reconsider Wellness Rules

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia directed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to reconsider its final wellness rules under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). The final rules allow employers to offer wellness incentives of up to 30 percent of the cost of health plan coverage. The court held that the EEOC failed to provide a reasonable explanation for adopting the incentive limit. Rather than vacating the final rules, the court sent them back to the EEOC for reconsideration, but it's unclear how it will respond to the court’s decision.

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Tags: Compliance


Transportation contract risk management: Texas anti-indemnity laws

October 06 , 2017

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In the first two parts of this contract review series, we discussed the state-specific anti-indemnity laws affecting Texas construction and oilfield contracts. As we explained, the Lone Star State has specific anti-indemnity laws for the commercial construction, oilfield and motor carrier transportation industries. It’s important to understand these laws before your company signs a contract so you can avoid unexpected costs and litigation in the event of a claim.

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Tags: Risk Management


Medicare Part D notices due October 15, 2017

October 02 , 2017

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The deadline to distribute creditable coverage disclosure notices to Medicare-eligible individuals is only a few weeks away. If you have any plan participants eligible for Medicare Part D, you must disclose to those individuals before October 15 each year whether their prescription coverage through your group plan is as comprehensive as the benefits offered under Medicare Part D.

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Tags: Compliance


Workplace flu prevention

September 28 , 2017

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Autumn is here, which means so is flu season. According to the CDC Foundation, between five and 20 percent of the United States population gets sick with the flu every year, and 60 percent of adults who are hospitalized for the flu are between the working ages of 18 and 64. Each year, the flu costs the United States $16.3 billion in lost earnings, and the total economic burden is estimated at $87 billion. Protect your workers and your business by implementing a workplace flu prevention strategy.

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Tags: Health Risk Management


How much life insurance do you need? Use the DIME calculation.

September 21 , 2017

Calculating life insurance

Life insurance isn’t usually a hot topic at social gatherings. After all, nobody really wants to think about death, and we’re all planning to live forever. But…you know what they say about the best laid plans.

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Tags: Individual Life & Health


Hurricane Harvey recovery and workplace safety concerns

September 13 , 2017

Hurricane Harvey Recovery

The storm is over, but the recovery is only beginning. After making landfall in Texas on August 25, Hurricane Harvey caused massive damage both with high winds and with extreme flooding. Texas Governor Greg Abbot expects damage from the storm to cost at least $150 billion. As people try to return to life and work as normal, many potential hazards await them. For companies trying to resume business, it’s important to consider the workplace safety risks that such a major storm creates.

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Tags: Risk Management


HR update: overtime rule, ACA penalties, updated Form I-9 and DOL fiduciary rule delay

September 11 , 2017

Human Resources Compliance Update

Overtime Rule Struck Down

On August 31, 2017, Federal District Court Judge Amos Mazzant overturned the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) final overtime rule that would have doubled the annual salary level to qualify for exemption from overtime pay, raising it from $23,660 to $47,476. Mazzant issued an injunction stopping implementation of the final rule nine months ago, and the Trump administration didn't challenge the decision.

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Tags: Compliance


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