July 2014 Newsletter
In this issue:
- Top Five ACA Concerns for Employers
- How New Hire Reporting Benefits Employers
- Putting the Right People in the Right Seats
- Electronic Recordkeeping
- Did You Know?
Keeping up with changes under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a challenge for all employers. Here are the top five issues to keep on your radar as healthcare reform rolls out.
The Employer Mandate
Under the ACA, large employers (100+ full-time or full-time equivalent employees) will be required to provide affordable healthcare insurance that meets minimum value to all full-time employees beginning in 2015. For employers with 50-99 full-time/full-time equivalent employees, these rules will not apply until 2016. Final regulations issued in February clarify most aspects of how the mandate will be implemented.
The Individual Mandate
Beginning January 1, 2014, all individuals are required to carry qualified health insurance known as "minimum essential coverage" or face penalties when they file taxes in the spring of 2015. In 2014, the penalty for non-compliance will be the greater of $95 per uninsured person or 1% of household income over the filing threshold. This penalty will rise again in 2015 and again in 2016.
As health insurance costs rise, wellness programs are gaining popularity, but be cautious when designing and maintaining these benefits because they must conform to new ACA requirements and existing HIPAA non-discrimination requirements.
Beginning in the spring of 2016, large employers will face a new reporting requirement for the 2015 calendar year. The Form 6056 will ask for information including:
- contact information for the employer
- the number of full-time employees
- for each full-time employee, information about the coverage (if any) offered to the employee, by month, including the lowest employee cost of self-only coverage offered
Automatic Enrollment and Non-Discrimination Regulations
Though enforcement of the automatic enrollment and non-discrimination provisions of the ACA has not started, keep an eye out for regulations that will trigger compliance obligations.
Employers with over 100 employees should anticipate that in the next few years, they will be required to automatically enroll all full-time employees for health insurance coverage. In addition, employers who offer varying levels of coverage or employer-provided subsidies based on classes of employees need to watch for non-discrimination regulations.
Still confused? Don't worry – we are monitoring any and all ACA guidelines and regulations so you don't have to. However, if you would like to know more about how the ACA will affect your company specifically, please contact your Client Services Specialist at 410-451-4202.
The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996, better known as welfare reform, requires all employers to report certain information on their newly hired employees to a designated state agency shortly after the date of hire.
States then match New Hire reports against their child support records to locate parents, establish a child support order, or enforce an existing order. In addition to matching within a state, states transmit New Hire reports to the National Directory of New Hires (NDNH).
State agencies operating employment security (unemployment insurance) and workers' compensation programs have access to their state New Hire information to detect and prevent erroneous benefit payments. In addition, each state can conduct matches between its own New Hire database and other state programs to prevent unlawful or erroneous receipt of public assistance, including welfare, food stamps and Medicaid payments.
A benefit of this program to employers is the reduction and prevention of fraudulent unemployment and workers' compensation payments. Timely receipt of New Hire data allows each state to cross-match this data against its active workers' compensation and unemployment insurance claimant files to either stop or recover erroneous payments. States have saved millions of dollars of erroneous unemployment insurance payments because of these cross matches.
Behind every company, whether it's a multinational corporation or the smallest startup, is an intersection of talent. Each person is uniquely capable of performing their job: the company spokesperson is a gifted public speaker; the administrative assistant is a master multi-tasker; and the CEO is excellent at setting the vision and leading the team.
Alone, individual talents are powerful, but when combined with others' unique talents, they can become unstoppable. Every great business idea or invention is the product of worthwhile talent, but it takes a team with many different talents to bring those ideas to fruition. That is why getting the right people into the right seats is essential to a company's success.
Executives must be able to identify who the right people are and then create a plan that gets them on the right bus and in the right seat. Here is a simple process to get started:
- Identify who the right people are. Each organization and team will have different needs so your right people may be different than other organizations and teams.
- Sit down with company leadership and identify several people in your organization who you wish you could clone. Write down their characteristics and traits and create your own benchmark of the right person for each position.
- Identify the type of person that fits your organization and company culture. For example, if you want to create a positive culture, make sure you hire positive people. If you want to create a creative culture, then hire creative people.
- Take your time during the hiring/recruiting process. If you invest your time, resources and energy to get the right people the first time, you'll have less headaches and expenses later on.
Electronic storage can be a tremendously effective way to save space, cut storage costs, and make business practices more environmentally friendly. But are electronic records still in compliance with Federal and State recordkeeping regulations? The short answer is: Yes (according to Department of Labor, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and Fair Labor Standards Act regulations and guidance).
However, if your company is using or plans to use electronic recordkeeping, here are a few recommended guidelines:
- Be ready and able to furnish a hard copy. Make sure that electronically-stored records can easily be converted into paper copies if necessary.
- Don't compromise security. Ensure your recordkeeping system has reasonable controls and security measures in place to keep records confidential, accurate, and authentic.
- Make sure documents are still legible. Scanners, copiers, and fax machines can compromise a document's legibility. Invest in quality technology and instill measures that ensure any documents stored electronically are still readable when displayed on a screen or printed
- Back up your data. Electronic documents are no different than their paper counterparts in that you must have a back-up version available in the event that something happens to your primary storage method.
- Conduct evaluations. Conduct systematic evaluations of your electronic recordkeeping system to check for quality, security, safety, and legal compliance.
Alison Malmon of Active Minds (and a client of HRi) has recently been featured on WTOP! Alison founded Active Minds when she was a junior at the University of Pennsylvania, following the suicide of her older brother, Brian. Recognizing that few Penn students were talking about mental health issues though many were affected, Alison was motivated to change that culture on her campus. She wanted to combat the stigma of mental illness, encourage students who needed help to seek it early, and prevent future tragedies like the one that took her brother's life.
Since the inception of the organization, their presence now spans over 400 chapters nationwide as new generations on campuses care about depression and suicide in a way no other generation has.