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R&R Insurance Blog

IRS Sets 2018 HSA/HDHP Limits

Posted by Shay Sherfinski

Thu, May 25, 2017 @ 09:03 AM

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On May 5, 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released Revenue Procedure 2017-37 to announce the inflation-adjusted limits for health savings accounts (HSAs) and high deductible health plans (HDHPs) for 2018. The IRS limits for HSA contributions and HDHP cost-sharing will all increase for 2018. These limits include:

  • Contribution limits for individuals rising to $3,450 (from $3,400 in 2017) and limits for family coverage rising to $6,900 (from $6,700 in 2017)
  • Max out of pocket figures – Single: $6,650 (up from $6.550 in 2017) and Family: $13,300 (up from $13,100 in 2017)

These limits vary based on whether an individual has self-only or family coverage under an HDHP.

The triple-tax-advantaged HSAs can provide account owners with benefits beyond savings to pay for health expenses. Reminder deposits into an HSA are tax free and contributions grow in the account tax free. Distributions are also tax free as long as the money is used for out-of-pocket health care expenses, including deductibles.

If the money is withdrawn before the account owner turns 65 and gets spent on something other than an eligible expense for health care, it is both penalized at a rate of 20 percent and taxed.

While those 55 and older can contribute an extra $1,000 as a catch-up contribution, it can only be made in the name of the person who is 55 or older; HSAs are not joint accounts. Therefore, even for family plan, a spouse younger than 55 cannot make that catch-up contribution in their own name.

The HSA contribution limits will increase effective January 1, 2018, while the HDHP limits will increase effective for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2018.

Do not hesitate to reach out to Shay Sherfinski with any questions regarding these changes or for more information. 

Topics: Healthcare, health savings account

“WannaCry”: A Wake Up Call for Businesses

Posted by Carla Borda

Thu, May 18, 2017 @ 01:29 PM

WannaCry Ransomware Virus.jpgOver the last week the WannaCry ransomware was released and spread to over 200,000 computers in over 100 countries throughout the world. Following WannaCry, a new attack called Adylkuzz has crippled computers over 150,000 computers. Both attacks exploit a vulnerability in the Microsoft operating systems that are no longer being supported, even though Microsoft did release a patch in March to protect against an attack. Also this week, a hacking group called Shadow Brokers posted an internet message saying it would release a new trove of cyber-attack tools next month.

Even if your business was not impacted these attacks they should be sounding loud warning bells in your organization.  Let’s consider the following:

  1. How prepared are you for the next attack?  While attacks such as these have been released for years, they are indicative of a drastic increase in Ransomware over the last year.   Do you have a response plan in place?  Are you conducting exercises to measure your response and how effective your plan is? 

  2. Are you running any legacy software that is no longer being supported? Many companies have some version of legacy software to power a portion of their business.   Have you identified vulnerabilities in this software?  How up to date are you in installing patches and updates? Are un-patched computers connected to your network?

  3. Do you have a plan in place if you are no longer able to access third party vendors which your business relies upon?  For example, if you are a manufacturer and rely on a product or material obtained through a third party, what happens to your business if that vendor is not able to fill orders due to a cyber attack?

  4. Are you conducting regular training of employees to identify phishing emails?  We know that malware and viruses are delivered by either clicking on a link in an email or an internet site.  Do you have a corporate culture that makes cyber security a priority for everyone in the organization?

If your emergency response plan hasn’t been updated to incorporate a cyber attack, now is the time for action.  Also, if you have not purchased cyber insurance, the coverage, proactive risk management tools, and response services could be a life line for your business. 

 

Download: Tips & Tricks to Avoid a Phishing Attack

Topics: Cyber Crime

R&R Partners with Arrowhead Robotics for 2nd Consecutive Safety Award Win

Posted by Scott Brookes

Wed, May 17, 2017 @ 11:31 AM

cyberhawks.jpgR&R Insurance is proud to congratulate the Arrowhead High School Robotics Team, Cyberhawks Team 706, on their win at the 2017 FIRST Robotics Wisconsin Regional competition. The Cyberhawks took home the Industrial Safety Award for the 2nd consecutive year. Sponsored by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), this award recognizes a team that progresses beyond safety fundamentals by using innovative ways to eliminate or protect against hazards. The UL Safety Advisors focus on the combination of individual and team safety behaviors and safe physical conditions, along with safety outreach to other teams. By winning this award over the 53 other teams, the Cyberhawks demonstrated continued safe practices in all aspects of the team operation.

R&R’s own Scott Brookes acts one of Arrowhead's Lead Robotics Advisors. Scott was recruited by his son two years ago, who saw the need for a Team Safety Advisor. Scott's background in engineering and his experience in the insurance industry enable him to bring safety education and risk management training to the robotics environment. Together, the Cyberhawks are working to become an OSHA compliant organization.

With the help of R&R and Community Insurance Corporation (CIC), Scott educated the Cyberhawks on top ten OSHA industry losses. They identified which of the OSHA industry losses applied to the industrial machine shop setting in which the team works. The Cyberhawks studied information from R&R's Risk Management Center (RMC), which provides detailed training on relevant safety concepts. In addition, Scott implemented training processes for common cause of loss, including Slip Trip & Fall, fall from height, machine usage and guarding, auto fleet safety, lifting/bending, and PPE usage. All of these training techniques educated the team to properly implement and act out correct safety procedures.

R&R uses a very similar approach with businesses when implementing safety procedures. The process of safety training and utilization of resources, such as the RMC, are used to educate employees to enhance the safety culture of their organization.

 

Topics: Risk Management Center, Safety Practices

House of Representatives Passes the American Health Care Act

Posted by Pete Frittitta

Thu, May 04, 2017 @ 04:25 PM

iStock_000021750256_Large-1.jpgOn May 4, 2017, members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted along party lines to pass an amended version of the American Health Care Act - proposed legislation to repeal and replace the ACA. The AHCA will now move on to be considered by the Senate.

ACA Provisions Not Impacted

The majority of the ACA would not be affected by the AHCA. The MacArthur amendments specifically maintain most of the ACA’s market reforms. For example, the following key ACA provisions would remain in place:

  • Cost-sharing limits on essential health benefits (EHBs) for non-grandfathered plans (currently $7,150 for self-only coverage and $14,300 for family coverage)
  • Prohibition on lifetime and annual limits for EHBs
  • Requirements to cover pre-existing conditions
  • Coverage for adult children up to age 26
  • Guaranteed availability and renewability of coverage
  • Nondiscrimination rules (on the basis of race, nationality, disability, age or sex)
  • Prohibition on health status underwriting

Click here to download the ACA Compliance Bulletin - which provides an overview of the proposed legislation and its potential impact going forward.

 

Topics: ObamaCare, ACA

Risks & Exposures of Traveling Employees

Posted by Mike Geldreich

Wed, May 03, 2017 @ 01:23 PM

iStock_000032294600Large-664206-edited.jpgDo you have employees who travel during their workday? Do you fully understand their exposures? Is it clear when they are driving within the course and scope of employment?

Many of you have heard of the Ninedorf vs. Joyal case, which took place in Wisconsin in 2014. To summarize the case: Mr. Ninedorf and Mr. Joyal worked for a beverage distributor. One Friday afternoon, a customer requested an order from Mr. Joyal and the two men left to deliver the beer together. After the delivery was complete, they stayed at the location for multiple drinks and proceeded to visit several other bars in a nearby town. While Mr. Joyal was driving the two men home, they were involved in an accident which left Mr. Ninedorf paralyzed.

The Circuit Court granted summary judgment to Mr. Joyal’s personal automobile insurer on the basis that the exclusive remedy rule applied - because Mr. Ninedorf was within the course of employment at the time of the injury. Multiple maps confirmed the city where the men were last drinking was a rational place to travel between the delivery and returning home. They continued their trip home along a reasonable route and were deemed to be back in the course of employment.

While there are various opinions regarding the outcome of this case, the court ruled the men had returned to the course of employment due to the route they were traveling and therefore, despite intoxication, workers’ compensation benefit are the exclusive remedy.

This case is just one example of the exposures of traveling employees. For questions regarding potential risks of your employees, contact a knowledge broker at R&R Insurance.

Medicare Counseling Services

Posted by the knowledge brokers

Wed, May 03, 2017 @ 10:34 AM

There are two significant trends with today’s modern work force:iStock_000024180657_Large.jpg
  1. Employees are working longer and retiring at a later age
  2. Each day, there are over 10,000 Americans reaching age 65 and becoming eligible for Medicare

At R&R Insurance Services we continue to provide our Medicare counseling services to the employees and dependents of our clients to understand their insurance options. All too often an employee overlooks their Medicare eligibility if they elect to work beyond age 65. However, this may not be their best insurance option when you factor in their cost of insurance (employee contribution) and the plan deductible. 

With most employers embracing a high deductible health plan, employees or dependents of employees who reach age 65 can exercise their option to enroll into Medicare and waive the employer’s group medical plan. Often the cost to elect Medicare Part B and a corresponding private supplement or Advantage plan can result in a medical plan with a $0 deductible and lower direct premium costs.

Our health insurance experts are ready to help you with your needs. Click here to meet our team. 

Topics: medicare, retirement

5 Tips for Working with Multiple Lines of Coverage on a Claim

Posted by Brian Bean

Mon, May 01, 2017 @ 01:50 PM

An accident happens with company vehicles on the road.  Step 1 is to call the insurance company.  Out on the road there are various exposures, each being covered under their own line of coverage.  With multiple coverages comes multiple claims adjusters.  With everyone working on their own timelines, offers are often slow to come in, and quite frankly, creates communication hurdles. 

In one particular case, damage was done to:

  1. Auto physical damage to truck chassis and trailer
  2. Inland Marine items - on- and in- the truck

Noticing the lack of central communication point,  R&R stepped in.  Meeting with each of the adjusters, three approaches were discussed how to evaluate the ACV (Actual Cash Value) of the damaged items:

  1. Market approach
  2. Straight-line depreciation
  3. Broad evidence rule

Each situation will dictate the best evaluation method. In analyzing the various offers from the insurance company's adjusters, and looking at the client's equipment value, R&R was able to recover an additional $78,000+ for our client compared to the original offer from the carrier!

Lessons learned?

  1. Determine best method for equipment valuation
  2. Identify all equipment, including smaller items, with name & serial number
  3. Document where equipment is bought
  4. Utilize equipment appraisals that may already be on file for bonding & line of credit purposes
  5. Have an independent agent facilitate negotiations

Having a KnowledgeBroker working on your behalf will guide you through complicated claims and ensure you're receiving every dollar you deserve.  Want a second look at a claim?  Shoot us an email: safety@rrins.com.

 

Topics: Claim Management, accidents and claims, Inland Marine

Reduce Insurance Costs & Increase Employee Productivity

Posted by Shay Sherfinski

Thu, Apr 20, 2017 @ 09:09 PM

Workplace_Wellnessjpg.jpgAccording to a recent study, 81% of large employers and 49% of small employers offer wellness programs to their employees. Aimed to improve employees’ overall well-being, these programs are often centered around weight loss, smoking cessation, and walking.

Why is it important to promote wellness in the workplace?

Wellness affects your company’s bottom line in many ways—in particular, it can lower health care costs, increase productivity, decrease absenteeism and raise employee morale.

Employees with health risk factors, such as being overweight or smoking, can directly impact insurance costs.  In turn, those employees will pay more for health care than employees with fewer risk factors. Wellness can help employees with high risk factors make the lifestyle changes to improve their quality of life and reduce their health care costs, while also helping employees with fewer risk factors stay healthy. 

What are the benefits of a wellness program?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) promotes the formation of workplace wellness programs because, according to one of its studies, employees in companies with “a strong culture of health” are three times more likely to actively strive to improve their health.

In addition, wellness programs have shown to directly:

  • Control health insurance costs
  • Reduce Workers’ Compensation and disability costs
  • Increase employee productivity and absenteeism
  • Enhance morale and improve recruiting

Read more about the value a wellness program can provide on your organization and how to lower your insurance costs, or contact Shay Sherfinski.

Topics: Wellness Program, Employee Benefits, Wellness, lower insurance costs, corporate wellness

Dental Claims - By the Numbers

Posted by Carla Borda

Thu, Apr 20, 2017 @ 02:22 PM

Dental Claim.jpgIn CNA Insurance's 2016 "Claim Report", they recap the statistics behind dental claims for the year.  Below are a few that stuck out to me - all the more reason that we make sure your Practice is properly covered. 

  1. The average indemnity paid  for general practitioners was $83,120
  2. The average indemnity payment for specialists was $125,651; excluding oral surgeons the average was $98,626
  3. The top 4 procedures associated with claims are root canals, surgical extractions, surgical placement of implants and crowns
  4. 23% of closed claims allege treatment failure, resulting in a total paid indemnity of $17,892,090
  5. Dentists who participated in the risk management education programs had claim costs 20% below the overall average.

Questions about your dental practice insurance program?  Please give me a call: Carla Borda / 262.502.3843 / carla.borda@rrins.com.

Topics: Professional Liability, Dental Practice

Individual Health Insurance | Know Your Options

Posted by Liz Johnson

Tue, Apr 11, 2017 @ 02:12 PM

Individual Health Insurance.pngAs you become eligible for Medicare, you have options for your health insurance coverage. R&R Insurance has an Individual Health Insurance Department that can help you determine which plan would be best for you. The months leading up to your Medicare eligibility can be particularly overwhelming as many insurance companies will begin sending you mailings about the plans that they offer.

We are lucky to have four talented Individual Health Insurance experts located at different offices.

There are several parts of Medicare that can be difficult to understand and certain timelines you need to be aware of to avoid future financial penalties.  Our team can help you with:

  • Understanding the “Alphabet Soup” of Medicare
  • Reviewing your option of enrolling into Medicare or remaining on your employer’s plan
  • Explaining the difference between traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans
  • Evaluating your Medicare Part D (prescription drug) coverage options
  • Understanding your requirement to enroll in Medicare Part B if you work for a small employer

If you would like to evaluate your Medicare options, or know someone who does, contact us for a complimentary consultation.

Topics: Individual Health Insurance, medicare