As the labor market tightens and businesses struggle to attract new talent, many companies are starting to boost their employee benefit offerings, particularly voluntary benefits.
But besides added benefit choices, what many employees want is relief from continually increasing health premiums as well as more options to choose from for their health insurance.
One major repercussion of the COVID-19 pandemic is that employees are embracing the voluntary benefits their employers are offering them, but they'd like to see more choices and issues such as mental health and voluntary benefits have risen to the fore.
The Hartford's "2021 Future of Benefits Study" found that before the pandemic, benefits were mainly viewed as a means of attracting and retaining talent. But the pandemic changed all that due to the stress of having our work and personal lives upended, as well as the widespread suffering and grief that the coronavirus has caused.
With so many people having been relegated to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers are now wrestling with how to proceed as it starts to wane. Many companies are considering implementing hybrid, flextime work schedules after seeing success with remote work.
Flextime is the use of flexible schedules in which employees spend a portion of their workday on the worksite, and the rest from home or another location. For example, a flextime schedule might require an employee to work on-site from 8 am to 2 pm, and complete the rest of the workday from another location.
One of the main recommendations for employees with 401(k) plans is that they should contribute at least enough to their plan every paycheck to ensure they receive the maximum they can in their employer's matching contributions.
But a new study by Willis Towers Watson recommends that younger, healthier workers should divert savings to their health savings account from their 401(k) after capping out employer matching instead of continuing to put money into their retirement plan.
There are new Summary of Benefits and Coverage notice requirements for health plans starting with the 2021 coverage year.
The requirements, released by the Department of Labor, have new model templates, new instructions and new information that affects the coverage examples that are required to be in SBC documents that employers with group health plans must distribute to their employees.
The recently enacted American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 includes a 100% COBRA subsidy for up to six months for employees laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic. The subsidy is in effect through September 30.
Due to the short ramping up period, it's imperative that employers who have laid off workers, or who plan to do so, start preparing to notify them.
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act requires group health plans sponsored by employers with 20 or more employees to offer staff and their families the opportunity for a temporary extension of health coverage (called continuation coverage) after they have quit or been laid off for 18 months. The employees will usually be responsible for the entire premium.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced in late February that private group health plans cannot deny coverage or impose cost-sharing for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, regardless of whether or not the patient is experiencing symptoms or has been exposed to someone with the disease.
The CMS said it had issued the new guidance to make it easier for people to get tested with no out-of-pocket costs if they are planning to visit family members or take a flight, for example. Here's what's going on.
New guidance from the Internal Revenue Service allows employers to temporarily give their employees extra benefits leeway in making changes to their flexible spending accounts and health savings accounts.
The guidance, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, also allows employees to make changes to their health plans outside of the traditional open enrollment period. This item sets out the changes that all employers should note.
A new study has identified the top five health conditions that are driving the overall cost of group health plan outlays, and without which spending would actually be falling.
The report is enlightening, and employers can use the findings to offer programs aimed at education and prevention to help control their employees' health care costs and cut into health insurance premiums paid by both employers and workers. What are the five conditions and what can you do to help your employees?
The $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill, passed by Congress and signed into law on Dec. 27, includes a number of provisions that affect employers and their workers in terms of paid sick leave and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act provisions.
The legislation also boosts unemployment benefits to out-of-work Americans, as well as reopening and expanding the Paycheck Protection Program that was introduced in March as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.