Posts Tagged ‘health benefits’

The Labor Market Squeeze

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

The post below is a guest blog from Dax Hill who serves as Principal, Health & Welfare Consultant for CAI’s employee benefits partner Hill, Chesson & Woody.

Many employers are expressing concerns that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find qualified applicants.  A couple of recent surveys outline the problem facing employers: labormarketsqueeze

  • Graham Personnel found that 59% of employers are having difficulty hiring qualified applicants.  They also report the top three employer concerns are:
    • Retention and employee relation issues (28%)
    • Recruiting (27%)
    • Other factors in their organization including sales and marketing (10%)
  • A 2016 SHRM survey found similar results. In their survey, SHRM reports that 68% of employers had difficulty filling full-time jobs in the past 12 months.  In 2013, only 50% of employers reported hiring difficulty.

These elevated numbers are concerning.  Employers understand the importance of recruiting the right talent, and the impact it has on their growth and productivity.  Recruiting and retaining talented individuals with the needed skill set has always been the lifeblood to organizations.

With the tightening labor market, employers are assessing what they need to do to either become, or remain, competitive.  Health benefits are an area of focus that employers are using to differentiate themselves.  In fact, 38% of SHRM respondents stated they leveraged their health and welfare benefits to gain a competitive advantage in recruiting.

What is your strategy towards offering health and welfare benefits to your employees?   How do you want your benefits to compare to the competition?  What benefits do you need to offer to recruit, retain and reward your employees?  What are other organizations doing to control cost and to also remain competitive?  These are all questions you should be asking yourselves.

If you are curious how your medical benefits “stack up,” we can assist you.  For the past 11 years, we have partnered with Capital Associated Industries (CAI) to produce a North Carolina state wide survey with nearly 650 respondents.  This survey allows you to compare your medical benefits and cost to other organizations of similar size, industry type and in your area. Having this type of information can be valuable, especially as you recruit in this tight labor market.  If you are interested in learning more about benchmarking your health plan, contact us!

Form 5500 Revisions Impact Both Small And Large Employers

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

The post below is a guest blog from Rob Krieg who serves as Principal, Health & Welfare Consultant for CAI’s employee benefits partner Hill, Chesson & Woody.

hcw5500revisionsblogThe Department of Labor (DOL), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) recently proposed significant changes to the form 5500 which has implications for both large employers and small employers. Targeting an effective date of 2019 plan year filings, the recent DOL Factsheet explains that many changes are on the horizon in an attempt to modernize and improve the Form 5500 annual return/report filed by employee benefit plans.  They identify the driving forces behind the changes include a desire to 1) modernize financial reporting, 2) provide greater information regarding group health plans, 3) enhance data mine-ability, 4 ) improve service provider fee information, and 5) enhance compliance with ERISA and the code.

The most notable proposed changes include:

  • Removing the small group exemption where previously many employers with less than 100 enrolled participants were exempt from filing;
  • Adding a new comprehensive schedule J (Group Health Plan Information) requirement;
  • New Schedule C requirement for each service provider;
  • And an expanded schedule H for funded plans.

Regardless of a group’s size, benefit plans should pay special attention to the new Schedule J requirements. Plans will now be asked to complete information on the types of benefits offered and the funding methods, including if benefits are HDHP, health FSA or HRA.  There will also be questions on participant contributions and employer contributions as well as enrollment information, including participants and dependents.  There appears to be requirements for claims data (including claims submitted, denied, appealed, paid, and where claims are paid from – insurer, trust or employer general assets.  And last but not least, there will be a focus on plan compliance with questions around COBRA, grandfathered status, MLR rebates, HIPAA, GINA, MHP SBC requirements, and SPD requirements.

As traditionally occurs, the DOL has asked for comments to the proposed regulations and these comments are due by October 4, 2016.  It is clear that the agencies are working together to significantly increase Form 5500 reporting obligations for many employers with group health plans. As explained in the fact sheet, the agencies are looking to update the filing requirement to gather data sufficient to support their enforcement efforts. Therefore, employers should take note and make sure to tighten up their benefit plan compliance over the next year.  The silver lining is that the agencies have provided plenty of lead time for employer’s to get into compliance.

If you have questions about these new regulations, or about your health benefit plan’s compliance with some of the regulations mentioned in the proposed regulations, contact your HCW consultant.

Enhance Your Health and Productivity with Work-Friendly Exercises

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Have you been feeling stressed or tired after finishing your work week? Are you finding it hard to concentrate in staff meetings? Is a routine task taking you longer to complete? If so, here’s a remedy to try: exercise!

Research shows that exercise provides people with a number of benefits. In addition to weight loss and preventing diseases and injuries, regular exercise can improve your job performance. Feeling stressed? When you exercise, you produce endorphins that help fight away stress hormones. Trouble focusing? A consistent exercise routine helps you concentrate better and learn faster. Still tired after waking up? Frequent exercise improves your quality of sleep so that you fall asleep easier and stay asleep longer.

Juggling work and life is a task that many people find challenging, but finding the time and dedication to focus on exercise is well worth the reward.  If your time is scarce, break up your exercise routine into 15 minute increments throughout the day. If motivation is your problem, enlist a coworker or friend to be your exercise buddy. There are even ways to increase your fitness level while working. Here are a few:

  • Park in the furthest parking spot from the building
  • Always opt for the stairs
  • Swap your desk chair for a fitness ball to improve balance and strengthen your core
  • Instead of reaching your coworkers through email or by phone, walk to their offices
  • If you have a short commute, try walking or biking to work a few times per week
  • Drink multiple cups of water throughout the day
  • Go to the gym or walk outside during your lunch break
  • Maintain good posture when standing or sitting to keep core muscles working
  • Stand up while doing tasks, like talking on the phone or reviewing documents

Many workers sit at a desk for eight or more hours a day, increasing their risk for obesity, back pain, poor posture, tense muscles and early health issues. Incorporate a regular fitness routine into your schedule to enhance your health and career.

Please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746 for additional tips on exercise and work performance.

Photo Source: lululemon athletica