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DOL Guidance for Benefit Plans Impacted by Hurricane Harvey | Chicago Benefit Advisors

The U.S. Department of Labor has issued compliance guidance for benefit plans, employers and employees, and service providers who are impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The guidance generally provides relief from various ERISA requirements and time limits for entities in the disaster area. This follows the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announcement extending certain filing dates, including … Continued

Slight Increase to Standard Per Diem Rates for Fiscal Year 2018 | Chicago Benefit Advisors

Mark your calendars for October 1, 2017, when the 2018 standard per diem rates for the lower 48 Continental United States (CONUS, because everyone loves an acronym) go into effect.These rates, set by the General Services Administration (GSA, see acronym comment above), represent the maximum amount that federal employees can receive in travel reimbursements when … Continued

Survey: Small Businesses Keeping Pace with Health Benefits Offered by Employers Nationwide | Chicago Benefit Advisors

Small employers, those with fewer than 100 employees, have a reputation for not offering health insurance benefits that are competitive with larger employers, but new survey data from UBA’s Health Plan Survey reveals they are keeping pace with the average employer and, in fact, doing a better job of containing costs.According to our new special … Continued

The COBRA Payment Process | Chicago Benefit Advisors

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) allows qualified beneficiaries who lose health benefits due to a qualifying event to continue group health benefits. The COBRA payment process is subject to various rules in terms of grace periods, notification, premium payment methods, and treatment of insignificant shortfalls.Grace PeriodsThe initial premium payment is due … Continued

Strategic benefits communication: Five key steps to success this open enrollment season | Chicago Benefit Advisors

In previous posts, I have talked about several aspects of strategic benefits communication. Now it’s time to put those strategies into action. As we approach enrollment season, let’s look at five key steps to ensuring this year’s open enrollment is successful for you and your employees.1. Determine your key objectivesWhat do employees need to know … Continued

Wellness Programs – Getting Started and Remaining Compliant | Chicago Benefit Advisors

Where to Start?First, expand the usual scope of wellness activity to well-BEING. Include initiatives that support more than just physical fitness, such as career growth, social needs, financial health, and community involvement. By doing this you increase your chances of seeing a return on investment (ROI) and a return on value (ROV). Qualitative results of … Continued

When Grief Comes to Work | Chicago Benefit Advisors

Death and loss touch all of us, usually many times throughout our lives. Yet we may feel unprepared and uncomfortable when grief intrudes into our daily routines. As a manager, when grief impacts your employees it’s helpful to have a basic understanding of what they are going through as well as ways you can help.Experiencing … Continued

Government and Education Employers Offer Richest HSA Plans | Chicago Benefit Advisors

Across most industries, HSA contributions are, for the most part, down or unchanged from three years ago, according to UBA’s Health Plan Survey. The average employer contribution to an HSA is $474 for a single employee (down 3.5 percent from 2015 and 17.6 percent from five years ago) and $801 for a family (down 9.2 … Continued

Best Practices for Initial COBRA Notices | Chicago Benefit Advisors

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) requires group health plans to provide notices to covered employees and their families explaining their COBRA rights when certain events occur. The initial notice, also referred to as the general notice, communicates general COBRA rights and obligations to each covered employee (and his or her spouse) … Continued