A large number of American workers remain unaware of, confused about and unprepared for looming changes to their benefits coverage, according to the 2013 Open Enrollment Survey of 2,001 U.S. consumers, conducted in August 2013 for Aflac, a provider of voluntary insurance benefits.
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On Sept. 5, 2013, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service issued two proposed rules intended to streamline the information-reporting requirements for certain employers and insurers under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or ACA).
As more American employers turn to high-deductible health plans to reign in escalating health care expenses, many are offering health savings accounts (HSAs) in an effort to encourage workers to make cost-conscious health care decisions. But according to a recent survey by financial services firm Fidelity Investments, two-thirds (65 percent) of Americans who make household health-benefit decisions simply do not understand how an HSA works.
On May 29, 2013, the U.S.
Employers with employees who may seek coverage through a public exchange should become familiar with the applications and the information they will need to provide as part of the Employer Coverage Tool.
Many employers are making changes to their health plans as a result of health care reform coverage mandates, according to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans’ 2013 Employer-Sponsored Health Care: ACA’s Impact report.
Key findings from the survey of more than 950 U.S.-based employee benefits professionals include:
Under the 2013 revisions to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy and security rules, employers must update their health information disclosure policies and retrain their employees to ensure compliance, said Timothy Stanton, an attorney in Ogletree Deakins’ Chicago office, and Timothy Verrall, an attorney in the firm’s Houston office, speaking to attendees at the firm’s 2013 Workplace Strategies seminar on May 9.
To control health care expenses, U.S. businesses are continuing to switch to health plans that shift a greater share of costs to employees. According to benefit provider Aflac's 2013 Aflac WorkForces Report, published in April, more than half (53 percent) of employers have implemented a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) over the past three years—a trend that shows no sign of slowing.
People’s reactions when entering BMW’s brand-new 25,000-square-foot health care center are typically the same. After walking through the automatic glass doors, most pause to gaze about and take in the large atrium lobby, where sunlight pours in through a glass ceiling.
“When people first walk in the door they usually just stop and look all around and then tell us that it is the nicest doctor’s office they have ever seen,” said Bill Raulerson, director of site operations for the BMW health care center.
Employers that follow best practices for workplace wellness programs were more likely to report improvements in lowering medical cost trends and improving employee health status, a Scorecard report from the nonprofit Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) and consulting firm Mercer indicates.
In an analysis of data collected from more than 700 U.S. employers, researchers found that the best practices most strongly associated with positive wellness program outcomes were:
A set of frequently asked questions and answers (FAQs) issued by federal regulators on Jan. 24, 2013, will limit the use of employer-provided health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) to fund employee purchases of individual (nongroup) coverage on government-run health care exchanges, scheduled to launch in 2014.
In a final rule published in the Jan. 25, 2013, Federal Register, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) altered the definition of “breach” under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy, Security and Enforcement Rules.
The rule implements the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (the HITECH Act), which amended HIPAA.
One surprising result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) may be that lower-paid employees hope their employers will offer no or unaffordable health insurance, according to John Woyke, an attorney at Brody and Associates in Westport, Conn. That way, they’ll qualify for “pretty generous” subsidies to buy coverage on health care exchanges, he said during a Jan. 16, 2003, firm webcast.
Among the numerous Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) terms that have left employers scratching their heads, few are as puzzling as what constitutes “affordable” health care.
While a majority of human resource professionals say that wellness programs can help to reduce an employer’s health care costs, only 55 percent of respondents to a recent poll conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reported that their companies offered an onsite workplace wellness program to their employees.
The Obama administration issued three new proposed rules to implement provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
The rules, released on Nov. 20, 2012, and published in the Federal Register on Nov. 26, pertain to guaranteed issuance of coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions; essential health benefits that nongrandfathered plans in the individual and small group markets will be required to cover; and an increase in maximum allowable wellness program incentives.
A poll of U.S.-based HR managers conducted just after Election Day found that many respondents had delayed enacting health care plan changes required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).