In this issue:

Reminder: New Form I-9

ALL employers must use the newly revised Form I-9 starting May 7, 2013. Prior versions of the Form I-9 will no longer be accepted beginning May 7, 2013. HRi strongly encourages using the new form immediately so you become familiar with the new format and additional information.

Newly hired employees' Form I-9 must be filled out and signed by the employer no later than the third day of employment or the new hire cannot legally work. Fully completed Form I-9's MUST be received by HRi no later than the third business day. Submit the completed Form I-9 ALONG with copies of the forms of identification used to complete the I-9.

For more information, questions, concerns, or if you need assistance completing the form, please contact Michael Lanham, Client Services Manager.


SHOP Choice Delayed

On March 11, 2013, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) in the federal Health Insurance Exchange (HIX) will be delayed one year. The SHOP exchange was supposed to be available to small employers starting January 2014. However, administration officials said the program will be delayed until 2015 due to operational challenges.

In the SHOP exchange, there will be four standard levels of coverage, ranging from least to most generous. An employer can pick the level of coverage and then allow employees to choose among all the health plans available at that level. SHOP will provide small business employees the choice to select health plans "a la carte" instead of being enrolled in one pre-selected by their employer.

The federal government will be running insurance exchanges in 33 states; 16 states have elected to create their own exchange.


Possible Health Insurance Price Increases

Some Americans could see their insurance bills double next year as the healthcare overhaul law expands coverage to millions of people.

The nation's big health insurers say they expect premiums – or the cost for insurance coverage – to rise from 20 to 100 percent for millions of people due to changes that will occur when key provisions of the Affordable Care Act roll out on January 2014.

The price increases are a downside of President Barack Obama's healthcare law, which is expected to expand coverage to nearly 30 million uninsured people. The massive law calls for a number of changes that could cause premiums for people who don't have coverage through a big employer to rise next year – at a time when health care costs already are expected to grow by 5 percent or more:

  • Changes to how insurers set premiums according to age and gender could cause some premiums to rise as much as 50 percent, according to America's Health Insurance Plans, or AHIP, an industry trade group that is funded by insurers.
  • A new tax on premiums could raise prices as much as 2.3 percent in 2014 and more in subsequent years, according to a study commissioned by AHIP. Policyholders with plans that end in 2014 probably have already seen an impact from this.
  • Requirements that insurance plans in many cases cover more healthcare or pay a greater share of a patient's bill than they do now also could add to premiums, depending on the extent of a person's current coverage, according AHIP.

The Obama administration says the law balances added costs in several ways, including tax credits that will bring down what many consumers will pay for insurance.

"The healthcare law will bring down costs and save money for young people and families," said Erin Shields Britt, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services. "It's misleading to look at one provision of the law alone. Taken together, the law will reduce costs." (The Associated Press)


Employee Wellness: Underground Fitness

As we watch healthcare costs rise while we are working around the clock, wellness programs at work are becoming more important than ever. According to Corporate Wellness Magazine, every $1 invested in employee wellness programs yields approximately $4 in savings through reduced sick days, higher productivity and decreased overall health costs.

Worksite Wellness Programs, such as Underground Fitness (UGF), offer options and programs that fit any company size or budget. UGF's belief is that fitness in the workplace is the next logical step in preventive healthcare. More and more people are missing work every year due to minor injuries or colds simply because they do not get the minimum 30 minutes of required daily exercise.

Potential benefits of workplace health programs to employers and employees:

Employers

  • Lower healthcare and disability costs
  • Enhanced employee productivity
  • Reduced employee absenteeism
  • Decreased rates of illness and injuries
  • Enhanced corporate image
  • Improved employee morale
  • Improved employee recruitment and retention
  • Increased organizational commitment and creation of a culture of health

Employees

  • Increased well-being, self-image, and self-esteem
  • Improved coping skills with stress or other factors affecting health
  • Improved health status
  • Lower costs for acute health issues
  • Lower out of pocket costs for health care services (e.g. reduced premiums, deductibles, co-payments)
  • Increase access to health promotion resources and social support
  • Improved job satisfaction
  • Safer and more supportive work environment

Since 2011, HRi has been using UGF's worksite wellness program. Four times a week a UGF trainer comes to HRi's offices to teach a class, including zumba, yoga, boot camp and kickboxing.

As Lorry Twisdale, our Implementation Manager says:

"Since I've been participating in the HRI/Underground Fitness wellness program I feel like a different person, both physically and mentally. I am much more positive at work and have more energy throughout the day. I watch what I eat – even passing up french fries for steamed vegetables and I get excited about working out. The workout program is a great way to have fun with my colleagues and get to know them on a different level. I feel motivated and held accountable by the trainers – so much so that I have taken up jogging and I make sure to stay active on the weekends so I can meet my goals."

Did You Know?

HRi Community Highlight: Heinan Landa, Optimal Networks
One of our clients, Heinan Landa, CEO of Optimal Networks, Inc. has been selected as one of four outstanding Wharton alums by the Wharton Club of DC for his business accomplishments, service to the Wharton community, and contributions to the IT industry. Mr. Landa will be recognized on Tuesday, April 23 at the 43rd Joseph Wharton Awards dinner held at the Park Hyatt Hotel in DC.

Mr. Landa feels "honored and humbled to be recognized in this way from a group I admire and respect so much. I feel a strong allegiance to Wharton and our Club, and am proud to be counted among its alumni."

After graduating from the Wharton Business School in 1991, Mr. Landa founded Optimal Networks, Inc. to deliver unparalleled business and technical expertise to law firms, associations, and small- and mid-sized businesses and organizations in the DC area.

Optimal Networks has been named twice by The Gazette of Politics and Business as one of the 53 top businesses and organizations in the State of Maryland and recognized five times by the Alliance for Workplace Excellence for its outstanding culture and work environment. In 2009, the company received the National Capital Business Ethics Award (NCBEA) recognizing integrity and ethics in the business world.

  • INTEGRITY
  • INNOVATION
  • OWNERSHIP
  • PARTNERSHIP