With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it is easy to get overwhelmed and over-scheduled during December. However, if you oversee your company’s health benefit plan, in between holiday shopping and celebrating, make sure you find time to address the following end-of-year issues applicable to health plans:
The average American gains about a pound each year during the holidays, and few lose it. Doesn’t sound like much until you consider the average weight gain for a year is 1-2 pounds which means that half or more of a years worth of weight gain occurs in this 6-week (Thanksgiving to New Years) holiday season.
On Friday, October 31, our employees dusted off (or kept the dust for effect) their favorite costumes and celebrated Halloween at our Salt Lake and Boise offices.
As we approach our 105th year in business, we have begun a new chapter in our fifth office space. Tasked with the challenge to design a space that both represents our strong history and our innovative nature, we curated two floors of a new office building—located on 101 South and 200 East—to build on our century-old foundation of business.
It seems like yesterday that we were celebrating our 100 year anniversary. And here we are, just four years later, with some big changes upon us. As many of you know, our Salt Lake office will be moving locations to downtown Salt Lake City. It’s been very exciting for all of us to hear about the progress being made on our new building. And we want to share that excitement with all of you.
Here are some recent photos of the construction progress:
The demand for voluntary benefits is greater than ever. In fact, according to the Metlife 2014 Employee Benefits Trend Study 64 percent of employees are interested in having their employer provide a wider array of voluntary benefits, which is up from 54 percent in the 2013 Study. The trend of employers moving to consumer-driven health plans—with more of the cost being shifted to employees and the impact of the Affordable Care Act—has played a big role in the advancement of voluntary benefits. With all of this going on we’re seeing new innovative products being introduced, new providers jumping in, and products already offered being enhanced.
Has your company been told that it can use an “employer payment plan” to provide pre-tax dollars to employees to buy individual health insurance policies in the public health exchanges? And by doing so, this is supposed to allow your company to terminate its health plan? Our clients have passed onto me several examples of such solicitations by so-called “benefit professionals.” Such schemes can be enticing, as every human resource/benefits professional would love to eliminate the hassle and work that goes along with maintaining a health plan. Unfortunately, the old saying, “if is sounds too good to be true it probably is,” applies here. While some in the benefits community continue to peddle the idea of an “employer payment plan” (pretax payments to employees to cover the cost of individual health insurance policies), the reality is that under IRS rules, an employer cannot provide employees with pre-tax dollars to buy individual coverage.
In our world, we name things. We name streets, and towns, people, pets, boats, and buildings, among others. We not only do this so we know what to call things, but we also do this to assign meaning. These names, depending on history can evoke memories, feelings, even endearment.