Our Blog

Wellness Works….

How Humana Wellness programs can reduce employee stress (and its related costs)

What is Wellness Works?
Wellness Works helps you stay informed about the latest and greatest in Humana Wellness. It will regularly share wellness-related outcomes, data points, testimonials, and thought leadership content in a convenient and efficient format.

In the spotlight
The focus of this Wellness Works is workplace stress and Work-Life Services. Employee stress is unavoidable, but when left unchecked, it can cost employers money with staff turnover and lost productivity. Keep reading to learn more about how Work-Life Services can help minimize these costs.

Did you know?

  • A Monster.com survey of almost 7,000 U.S. workers showed 42% had quit a job due to stress.1
  • 51% of employees say they’re less productive at work because of stress.2
  • Evidence suggests that financial stress may directly affect employee health and well-being, thereby lowering worker productivity and increasing absenteeism.3
  • Humana Work-Life Services can help!

What is Humana Work-Life Services?
Work-Life Services is a program that helps employees and their household members with childcare, adult/elder care, and everyday needs. Employees call a Work-Life specialist, who can help them by providing research, guidance, and customized referrals. Specialists can locate:

  • Day care facilities, nannies, back-up childcare, schools, and other child-related service providers
  • Nursing homes, assisted living facilities, home healthcare providers, community-based programs, and other adult care-related service providers
  • House repair services, pet walkers or pet day care, local youth development or community-based sports programs, gyms, party planners, and more

These service provider referrals are based on the caller’s stated preferences, such as location, price range, and schedules. For the employees who call, Work-Life is confidential, is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is offered at no cost to them. Work-Life is usually combined with the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for enhanced employee support.

Humana Wellness works!
With Work-Life Services, employers can experience an uptick in productivity. Using the program allows employees to save themselves time and stress, as well as refocus on their work while at the office.
According to self-reported surveys, employees consistently stated that, as a result of using Humana Work-Life Services, the following increased:

  • Their ability to handle the situation for which they sought assistance (Average score of 3.8 out of 5)
  • Their ability to be productive or accomplish things at work (3.9)
  • Their overall quality of life was better (3.6)4

Wellness is not just a solution for lowering the growth of healthcare costs; it is also a way for employers to avoid costs that stem from employees’ everyday concerns, issues, and sources of stress.

Feedback? We welcome your feedback on Wellness Works. Send your comments to:Humana Wellness Communications.

1 “42 Percent of Employees Have Changed Jobs Due To Stress,” Forbes, April 18, 2014.
2 “Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program Fact Sheet,” APA, 2010.
3 MetLife Global Financial Wellness Study 2011.
4 “HRI WL BOB Client Satisfaction Overview,” Jan–June 2014.

May is Disability Awareness Month….Who’s Buying DI Coverage?

Check out the great info-graphic below put together by Assurity Life.


Five myths about the ACA’s impact on small businesses

Owners of small and midsized businesses are striving to understand and comply with the broad set of new rules and changes required under the Affordable Care Act (ACA or health care reform law). This article dispels five common myths about the ACA for businesses with 51 to 100 employees. The Anthem blog is a very helpful resource for businesses of all sizes. Learning is good, right?

We wanted to share this particular blog article with you, the consummate professional wanting to stay updated.  The blog dispels many misconceptions employers may have about the ACA. We’ll also share this information with employers in our employer newsletter. But here are five common myths* some of your midsize group clients (51 to 100 employees) may need your help with to understand:

  • Myth #1: Our business is exempt from the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate
    Companies with more than 100 full-time employees must provide health insurance to full-time workers starting this year. In 2016, your employer clients with 51 to 100 full-time workers also will have to provide coverage.
  • Myth #2: Most businesses of our size don’t provide health insurance today
    The ACA requires your midsize employer groups to change their existing coverage. But only a small percentage will be offering coverage for the first time. Read the blog for some statistics that prove this.
  • Myth #3: Even if we are penalized for not providing coverage, we can deduct the penalty on our income taxes
    Companies that fail to comply with the employer mandate are subject to a penalty. But the mandate is set up as ashared responsibility fee. This makes the penalty a tax that cannot be deducted for federal income tax purposes.
  • Myth #4: We can continue to offer a limited benefit or mini-med plan
    Limited benefit plans do not meet ACA rules, so any midsize group clients currently offering these types of plans will need to upgrade their coverage to meet the employer mandate.
  • Myth #5: We will have to buy our insurance from a government website
    The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) is the online health insurance marketplace, or exchange, for businesses. But let your clients know that using the exchange is optional. Employers can come to you at no extra cost and buy directly from an insurance company.

This article is excerpted from the Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield blog for companies in Colorado. It’s a great resource and I would like to recommend you check out their site http://blog.makinghealthcarereformwork.com/ for more details about these common myths and more.


Updates for 2015…

Important HSA Info…
Are you enrolled on an HSA-qualified medical plan? Find out your contribution limits for 2015 here. When used properly, it’s a tremendous tax savings and a smart way to fund any eligible medical expenses. Check out the Top 20 Reasons to Open an HSA in 2015.

Qualifying Event questions…
What is a Qualifying “Life Change” Event related to employee benefit plans? It’s “simple”….just about anytime someone losses access to coverage or has one of these “Life Change” events from this list happen. In that scenario, the individual has generally 30 days to take action and enroll during that window of time. Here’s a great article from United Healthcare on qualifying life events.

Compliance Corner…
Is your health & wellness plan ready for a DOL audit? Department of Labor audits of employee benefit plans are on the rise and experts all recommend employers to get their compliance house in order prior to that impending knock on the door. Very exciting, right? Is that something you might want guidance with?

Are you familiar with the new IRS Employer Reporting forms for 2015 & 2016?

More importantly, is your CPA (IRS Sections 6056/6055), payroll provider and/or benefit broker up-to-date and informed on these requirements?

Feel free to give us a call and we can walk you through the details. Here’s the Reader’s Digest version:

  • If less than 50 employees & offering a “fully insured” group plan, then your carrier will issue the required 1095 form to your employees and there’s very little you’ll need to do.
  • 50 or more full-time equivalent employees will need to file an annual information return reporting. In addition, Applicable Large Employers (ALE) are subject to the Employer Shared Responsibility provisions.
  • Regardless of size, all employers that provide self-insured health coverage to their employees must file an annual return reporting certain information for each employee they cover.

Here’s an article from the Wall Street Journal & Anthem on the matter. The good news is there’s plenty of time and the CPA community will now have time to get updated with the 2014 tax season mostly in the books.

Non-ACA Compliant Health Insurance Plans to “Phase-Out” in 2015.

As you likely have heard by now, the Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI) announced last month that all remaining health insurance plans for individuals and for small employers that do not meet the Affordable Care Act (A.C.A.  i.e. “Obamacare”) requirements will not continue into 2016. This will impact nearly 200,000 people this year, mostly Coloradans.

Simply put…at “anniversary” renewal date in 2015, any group or individual enrolled on a Colorado-based health plan originally issued prior to January 2014 will not be allowed to “keep their plans.” You’ll receive plenty of notification from your insurance carrier and of course, we are here to guide you through our area of expertise and find the most competitive option moving forward. Here’s a Denver Post article on the matter. And, here’s a good FAQ and some additional information from the DOI.