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R&R Insurance Blog

DOL Finalizes Rule to Expand Association Health Plans

Posted by R&R Insurance

Fri, Jun 22, 2018 @ 12:05 PM

Association Health PlansOn June 19, 2018, the Department of Labor (DOL) released a final rule that gives small businesses more freedom to join together as a single group to purchase health insurance in the large group market or to self-insure. These benefit arrangements are called association health plans (AHPs). The final rule allows working owners without other employees, such as sole proprietors and other self-employed individuals, to join AHPs.

The final rule allows employers to join together to form an AHP that is a single ERISA plan if either of the following requirements is satisfied:

  • The employers are in the same trade, industry, line of business or profession; or
  • The employers have a principal place of business within a region that does not exceed boundaries of the same state or the same metropolitan area (even if the metropolitan area includes more than one state).


Most AHPs will not be subject to the Affordable Care Act’s requirement to include Essential Health Benefits (EHB), which requires small group plans to cover a core set of 10 major items and services, such as mental health care, maternity and newborn care, prescription drugs and emergency services. Most AHPs will also be exempt from the ACA’s rating restrictions for the small group market, which means that AHPs may base premiums on factors such as age, industry and gender. The final rule requires AHPs to comply with certain consumer protections and anti-discrimination protections that apply to the large group market (learn more).

R&R will continue to keep you informed as we monitor developing guidance regarding AHPs and other benefits matters at the federal and state levels. For a more complete understanding of the new AHP rule, click here to read more.

Topics: Compliance, benefits

Best Practices for Hiring Minors

Posted by Jamie Vanderveldt

Thu, Jun 14, 2018 @ 04:04 PM

iStock-164526286With the employee shortage many companies are facing, attracting and retaining talent is critical. An untapped resource for many industries is younger talent – such as high school students. While minors can be a very valuable resource for employers, there are best practices to keep in mind so your organization continues operating safely and efficiently.

Wisconsin's employment of minors laws prohibit the use of certain potentially hazardous equipment by minors under the age of 18. Included on the list are jobs such as:

  • Motor vehicle driver and outside helper
  • Power driven fixed or portable machines
  • Roofing or on or about a roof
  • Use of ladders

Note: The list is not exhaustive. If you have questions about a particular piece of equipment, we encourage you to contact the Department's Equal Rights Division or visit the Department of Workforce Development’s website for specific definitions.

Additional considerations when employing minors:

  • Minors 15 and under may not be employed in "manufacturing, mining, or processing occupations." This includes occupations that require the performance of any duties in workrooms or workplaces where goods are manufactured, mined, or otherwise processed. See Wis. Admin. Code § DWD 270.13(13).
  • The Student Learner Exemption: A "student learner" is a student of an accredited school who is employed on a part–time basis to obtain both scholastic credit and employment training under a bona fide written school-work training program agreement.
  • A student learner is permitted to do some work that is otherwise prohibited if the student learner is performing service within a bona fide school-work training program
    • Sponsored by an accredited school
    • Authorized and approved by
      • The state department of public instruction,
      • The technical college system board, or
      • The department's youth apprenticeship program
  • Each school-work training agreement shall:
    • Include the name of the student learner;
    • Be signed by the parent, employer, and school principal;
    • Be kept on file by both the school and the employer; and
    • Shall provide all of the following:
      • That the work of the student learner in the occupation declared hazardous under ss. DWD 270.12 and 270.13 is incidental to the student learner's training, and shall be intermittent and only for short periods of time (i.e., for 5% or less of the total work hours);
      • Direct and close supervision of a qualified and experienced person.
      • Safety instructions will be given by the school and correlated by the employer with on-the-job training.
      • A schedule of organized and progressive work processes to be performed on the job.

 

In addition to equipment, there are other crucial elements to keep top of mind when hiring minors. A sample of these elements include:

  • Employees under the age of 16 need to have a Child Labor Work Permit signed by their parent/guardian. Employers must reimburse the $10 fee, as well as provide a letter for the employee to receive their Work Permit.
  • While the equipment list provided by the DWD is helpful, there is additional training that needs to be provided with each of the tasks or tools that minors will be using. Per OSHA, this training needs to be documented.
  • Cell phone policies are becoming increasingly important. From cell phone use while driving, to having social media accessible at employees’ fingertips, it’s important to outline the Dos and Don’ts.
    • Do phones need to be put away while driving?
    • When are phones allowed on the jobsite?
    • Can pictures with company logos be shared on social media?

 

R&R Insurance has numerous resources to help your organization attract, train, and attain young talent. To learn more, contact Jamie Vanderveldt.

National Safety Month | June

Posted by Maureen Joy

Fri, Jun 08, 2018 @ 08:23 AM

National Safety MonthAccording to the National Safety Council (NSC), June is National Safety Month and the focus is on reducing the leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road, and in our homes and communities. Throughout the month, the NSC will be providing weekly materials centered around the following topics:

  • Week 1: Emergency Preparedness
  • Week 2: Wellness
  • Week 3: Falls
  • Week 4: Driving

Below are additional ways to get engaged and continue expanding your safety culture:

Lastly, the NSC has provided the following list of ideas engage employees throughout the month:

  • Distribute the downloadable NSM materials*
  • Create bulletin boards, newsletters or blog posts
  • Hold a safety trivia contest with weekly prizes
  • Make an activity out of identifying hazards where you work and live
  • Throw a safety fair, lunch ‘n learn or celebratory luncheon
  • Encourage others to take the SafeAtWork pledge at nsc.org/workpledge
  • Share posts on your social media channels using #No1GetsHurt
  • Provide safety training — watch for special NSM discounts or free opportunities
  • Show you care about safety by making a donation to NSC

How is your organization taking part in National Safety Month? Contact safety@rrins.com for additional resources.

Topics: Health and Safety

Important Legislative Update | Right to Try Law

Posted by Terry Frett, CEBS, ChHC, CLU, CPCU, REBC, RHU

Thu, Jun 07, 2018 @ 03:30 PM

iStock-637820234On May 30th President Trump signed into law the “Right to Try” legislation.  This new law gives terminally ill patients the right to use experimental medications that have not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. 

New pharmaceuticals brought to market must complete three phases of clinical trials that often take years to complete.  The first phase of trials requires a company to prove the drug is safe for humans and that the drug itself will not poison the patient.  Phase 1 trials are often conducted on as few as 30 patients.  The later clinical trials that supersede Phase 1, determine whether the drug is effective at treating the condition for which it is intended without problematic side effects.

The new “Right to Try” law allows a physician to administer a medication that has only cleared Phase 1 clinical trials.  These medications would still be considered experimental and not covered by health insurance.  Both the drug manufacturer and physician would be exempt from liability as a result of the trial medication’s failure to perform.

This legislation was developed for individuals that are suffering from terminal conditions such as amyotrophic lateral scleroses (ALS) for which there are promising treatments in the midst of the approval process. 

For more information, contact a KnowledgeBroker in our Employee Benefits Practice.

To learn more about the moving parts that make up pharmacy and what you can do as a plan sponsor to address the cost, attend R&R's upcoming Prescription Drug Seminar.

Wisconsin's ACA Section 1332 Waiver Application Is Officially Complete

Posted by Pete Frittitta

Fri, May 18, 2018 @ 09:25 AM

On May 9, 2018, the Departments of Health and Human Service and the Treasury notified officials in Wisconsin that their application for a state innovation waiver under Section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was complete. The Departments will accept public comment on the waiver application until June 8, 2018 and approve or deny the application within 180 days.

Wisconsin proposes to develop and implement a state-based reinsurance program—the Wisconsin Healthcare Stability Plan (WIHSP)—for its individual insurance market. WIHSP, if approved, would begin in the 2019 plan year and reduce premiums by 10.6 percent (relative to what premiums would have been in the absence of the waiver). Wisconsin estimates a federal pass-through rate of 83 percent. Of the overall $200 million program, the federal government is expected to contribute about $166 million and state funds are expected to account for about $34 million.

Stay tuned as developments progress.

Topics: Compliance

Careers Uncovered | R&R Involved in Aligning Education to High-Growth Industry Pathways

Posted by Rick Kalscheuer

Thu, May 17, 2018 @ 04:25 PM

BridgingTheGap_Header-817x213Through R&R's partnership with the Waukesha County Business Alliance, we are proud support 'Careers Uncovered,' a program aimed at aligning education to high-growth industry pathways. R&R is actively engaged in assisting employees in attracting and retaining top talent.

This new program allows Waukesha County educators the opportunity to visit a local company in one of the largest growing career pathways: healthcare, information technology, construction and manufacturing.

Experiences through the program's events will include:

  • General information about the company and career pathways available in the industry
  • Tours of the company that include networking opportunities with employees from all areas of business operations
  • Round-table discussions with industry leaders.
  • Educators working together to reflect and put together an action plan to apply the knowledge they gained to assist with the academic and career planning process.

'Careers Uncovered' supports educators in a handful of ways:

  • Gain first hand knowledge of what careers in high growth industries look like in 2018 and see how classroom content and skills are visible in industry settings
  • Enhance classroom curriculum with real-world career connections and examples
  • Identify career pathways within the industries to assist students in career and college readiness planning, helping students make educated choices for their futures
  • Connect with industry leaders to foster mutually beneficial partnerships

To learn more about upcoming 'Careers Uncovered' events, or for additional information, we invite you to contact the Waukesha County Business Alliance.

Featured Client | An Under-Insured Vehicle Caught in Time

Posted by Brandy Enger

Thu, May 17, 2018 @ 08:35 AM

To illustrate the benefits of rebalancing an insurance program to strengthen wealth protection and better manage expenses, the following example presents a before-and-after comparison for one of our newest valued clients.

Jason and SuUnderinsured vehiclesan are a successful couple in their early 40’s, with two young children.  They have two autos and a new home in Colgate, WI.  They said they had a good relationship with their previous agent, however during a discussion with their wealth manager realized that they hadn’t had a coverage review in quite some time.  During our initial 30 minute meeting at Jason’s office, we discovered some major coverage deficiencies:  unfortunately a vehicle that had been traded in a few months ago and replaced with a newer vehicle was not accurately updated on their auto policy, leaving the vehicle uninsured.  While that issue was quickly remedied, we also significantly reduced their risk exposure while decreasing their total premium 20% by rebalancing their program as follows:

Savings Opportunities:

  • Incorporate an association discount related to Susan’s profession.
  • Correct an error on their prior policy related to an auto claim: they were being charged for an “at-fault” accident, despite being rear-ended two years ago.
  • Add a valuable discount for having a central alarm in their home.

Program Improvements:

  • Decrease their homeowner’s deductible – including wind/hail – from $4,000 to $1,000.
  • Add full value replacement cost on their home.
  • Add personal injury protection.
  • Despite having a recognizable name in the community, they did not have a personal umbrella. The cost to add $1 million of coverage was just $260 annually.  $5 million? Just $500 more.

Find a Private Client Knowledge Broker

 

*Client names have been changed to maintain anonymity.

Topics: Featured Client, Private Client Group

Severe Weather Checklist | Don't Get Caught Unprepared

Posted by the knowledge brokers

Thu, May 17, 2018 @ 08:33 AM

iStock_000022103389MediumWhile this time of year brings sunshine and warmer temps, it also comes with the potential of tornadoes and severe weather. Homeowners, renters, business and vehicle owners can find themselves in a financially challenging situation following a spring storm if they haven't checked their insurance coverage carefully.

An article from Property Casualty 360, provides a checklist of best practices for protecting your assets during this season of storms.

  1. Verify your home is insured for its current value.
  2. Find out what kind of home insurance policy you have.
  3. Find out if you have a specific deductible in the event of a tornado or windstorm.
  4. Understand the claims process before you have to make a claim.
  5. Does your policy have any special limits or policy features?
  6. Prepare an inventory of the contents in your home, including contents in additional structures like tool or garden sheds.
  7. Find out what kind of coverage you have if there is a power failure.
  8. Find out what your limit is for Additional Living Expenses (ALE) and how you can expect the coverage to work.
  9. Make sure your car insurance includes comprehensive coverage, for damage such as hail, falling objects and windstorms.
  10. Ask if you have coverage for a rental car if your car needs repairs.
  11. If you have a vehicle in storage, make sure you haven't forgotten about coverage while it's there.
  12. If you sustain storm damage, contact your insurer as soon as possible and start the claims filing process. For customers of R&R, we recommend adding our CSR24 phone number, as well as the phone number for your insurance carrier to your cell phone. This will ensure you have information at your fingertips should an emergency arise. Feel free to contact your Personal Lines agent for assistance!

For more information about properly protecting your family and the assets you've worked so hard to acquire, contact a member of our Personal Lines team.

What You Need to Know About Premium Refund Checks

Posted by Pete Frittitta

Thu, Apr 19, 2018 @ 10:03 AM

erisa advisoryYou have the opportunity to earn a premium refund on your level-funded plan but do you know what to do with it once you get it? Or maybe you’ve already received one - did you know that there are compliance rules to follow to disburse any employee share of that refund within 90 days?

In most simple terms, if employees pay a portion of health care premiums, then they are entitled to a prorated share of the premium refund. Additionally, you must distribute the appropriate funds within 90 days of receiving the refund check.

There are some interpretations being expressed in the consulting community that would suggest a very simple option exists such as “give every employee the same amount.” We strongly discourage this as it relies on comments from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) that contradict other guidance by the DOL. It clearly is not supported.

An employer can apply the entire refund check amount toward reducing employee contributions. However, this only eliminates the need to calculate the “split” between the employees and the employer. Unless the employer has paid 100% of the premiums, employers will still need to calculate the appropriate share of the refund for each employee prorated according to the amount they contributed.

There are basically three compliance options available to employers. If you are not familiar with the compliance options that are available to you, contact an R&R Benefits Knowledge Broker to learn more.

Topics: Employee Benefits, Compliance

Generic vs. Brand Name Drugs

Posted by the knowledge brokers

Thu, Apr 05, 2018 @ 12:56 PM

prescriptionChoosing generic drugs over the brand name is generally less expensive. However, many people question whether generic drugs are as good, effective or safe as their brand name counterparts. The perception is that since many generic items found in grocery stores tend to be of lesser quality, the same must be true for medications. Fortunately, in the case of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications, generic substitutes are the equivalent of brand name drugs. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the chemical equivalency of generic drugs to ensure they are just as safe and effective as the brand name drugs they mimic.

Employees who understand their benefit plans make more informed choices about the medical services they receive, and that benefits everyone.

 

Talk to Your Doctor

The best way to ensure that you know all you can about a drug you have been prescribed, and its generic equivalents, is to talk openly with your doctor. Below are some suggested questions that you may want to ask.

  • Is there a generic substitute for this drug available?
  • Are there any drug interactions that I should be aware of?
  • Does this medication cause any side effects?
  • If I forget to take a dose, what should I do?

Also, make sure your doctor knows about any previous reactions you have had to medications. In addition, be sure to call your doctor immediately if you have any problems or adverse side effects from a new prescription. Choosing generic drugs when available, following your doctor’s and pharmacist’s instructions fully, and talking openly with your doctor will help you make the most of our prescription drug plan. These strategies can help you not only save money on the prescription itself, but also avoid future health problems that could be costly.

To know more about generic and brand name drugs, read here.

Source: Zywave

Topics: Employee Benefits