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Showing posts from 2024

July 2024 Benefits Buzz: Group health plans and PCORI fees deadline 

Group health plan fiduciary litigation on the rise  Enforcement of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act’s strict standards of fiduciary conduct has traditionally been reserved for retirement plan sponsors. However, a new class action lawsuit highlights the importance of employers’ adherence to their fiduciary duties when managing their group health plans.  The lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson alleges the company violated its ERISA fiduciary duties by mismanaging its prescription drug benefit, which cost the health plan and participants millions of dollars. It serves as a reminder to employers that they must prudently select and monitor plan service providers, such as pharmacy benefit managers.  Although it is the first case of its kind, more fiduciary litigation involving the management of prescription drug benefits is expected as the PBM industry faces increasing scrutiny and new transparency laws provide employees with more information regarding healthcare costs.   Why is

Internal vs. external recruitment: 13 pros and cons to know

When it comes to filling a job opening, companies have two options: internal recruitment vs. external recruitment.   Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it's important for companies to carefully consider which is best for their specific needs. In this blog, we'll explore each method, providing insight on how to make the best decision for your organization.  What is internal recruitment?  Internal recruitment means filling job vacancies from within a company by promoting or transferring current employees to the desired position rather than hiring externally. Internal recruitment can take various forms, such as:  promoting employees to higher positions;  transferring employees to different departments or locations; or   encouraging employees to apply for open positions within the organization.  One benefit of internal recruitment is that it provides opportunities for career development and advancement for current employees. By considering internal candidates,

Employee Medical Benefits: Self-funded vs. Fully Insured

Group employee medical benefit plans typically fall into one of two categories: self-funded or fully insured. The choice of one over the other should not be made arbitrarily. Each type carries its own set of administrative rules and legal constraints.  What is self-funding?   Under an insured health benefit plan, an insurance company assumes the financial and legal risk of loss in exchange for a fixed premium paid to the carrier by the employer. Employers with self-funded (or self-insured) plans retain the risk of paying for their employees’ healthcare themselves, typically from corporate funds.   Most employers with more than 200 employees self-insure some or all their employee health benefits. Many employers with fewer than 200 employees also self-fund, but these employers require greater stop-loss insurance protection than larger employers (stop-loss insurance is discussed below). Generally, employers with fewer than 100 employees fully insure their group medical benefits. In New Yo

Getting the Most Out of Your 2024 Open Enrollment Communications

Open enrollment is a crucial period for both employers and employees. It’s when employees can make important decisions about their benefits and an opportunity for employers to engage with their workforce effectively. As organizations continue to adapt to evolving workforce needs, open enrollment communication becomes more critical than ever.   This article highlights why open enrollment communication to employees matters and provides tips on what to do before, during and after enrollment to maximize its effectiveness.   Why communication matters   Communication matters because it enables employees to understand the open enrollment process in a clear and accessible manner, which can boost active participation in benefits selection. Employees who feel valued and informed about their benefits are more likely to appreciate their employer’s efforts and stay engaged with their work.   Before open enrollment   Effective open enrollment communication to educate and inform employees about new,

June 2024 Benefits Buzz: 2025 HSA/HDHP limits and HIPAA privacy changes

HSA/HDHP limits will increase for 2025  On May 9, the IRS released Revenue Procedure 2024-25 to provide the inflation-adjusted limits for health savings accounts and high-deductible health plans for 2025. The IRS is required to publish HSA/HDHP limits by June 1 each year. These limits include:  the maximum HSA contribution limit;  the minimum deductible amount for HDHPs; and  the maximum out-of-pocket expense limit for HDHPs.  These limits vary based on whether an individual has self-only or family coverage under an HDHP.  Eligible individuals with self-only HDHP coverage will be able to contribute $4,300 to their HSAs in 2025, up from $4,150 in 2024. Eligible individuals with family HDHP coverage will be able to contribute $8,550 to their HSAs in 2025, up from $8,300 in 2024. Individuals age 55 or older may make an additional $1,000 “catch-up” contribution to their HSAs.  The minimum deductible amount for HDHPs increases to $1,650 for self-only coverage and $3,300 for family coverage

Employee assistance programs benefits: How to increase usage

Employers often ask, “What are the benefits of employee assistance programs, and how can I encourage employees to use them?”  EAPs are employer-sponsored programs that offer services or referrals to help employees manage personal challenges. These programs can boost employee well-being, satisfaction, performance and health.   Unfortunately, these programs are heavily underutilized. According to Mental Health America , 98% of mid- to large-sized companies offer EAPs, but only 4% of employees use them yearly. This represents a significant missed opportunity for employers and employees. Employers can use the guidance in this article to increase the use of their EAPs.  What is an EAP?  EAPs vary between organizations. Some programs focus specifically on issues such as mental health or substance misuse, while others offer expanded services to address eating disorders, marital issues, legal problems, childcare, care for older adults, gambling addiction and more.  Depending on how these progr

FMLA Outsourcing: 6 Key Employer Insights

Organizations need help navigating employee leave of absence. With so many complex regulations, many employers consider outsourcing their employee leave programs to specialized third-party vendors. Compliance with the Family and Medical Leave Act, a federal law allowing eligible employees to take unpaid leave for personal reasons, is central to administering employee leave.  In this blog, we'll go more than six insights employers need about FMLA outsourcing. Use this as your go-to list as you weigh the potential benefits against the drawbacks.  1. Third-party prowess  Expertise is at the heart of the outsourcing question. Can your in-house human resource team competently manage the complexities of FMLA requirements? Or are there benefits to be gained from a third-party vendor’s specialized focus?  In-house HR staff might need help with FMLA regulations , causing compliance errors and/or knowledge gaps. In this case, it would make sense for employers to search for a list of FMLA out

Q1 2024 Market Recap: Bulls on Parade

Is 2023’s market rally here to stay?   Moving into 2024, investors were cautiously optimistic about the financial market’s soft landing in the fourth quarter of 2023. Specifically, market strategists were uncertain if 2023’s rally was here to stay with inflation above the Federal Reserve’s target, a longer than expected terminal rate and concerns over earnings.   As Q1 2024 ends, our latest Retirement Market Recap examines Q1’s unique market cycle, documenting the financial markets’ strong start. Our professionals cover key economic trends, including:   the resilience of the equity market;  U.S. equities’ strong performance;  the disconnect between equity prices and underlying fundamentals; and  fixed income’s first quarter struggles.  Download our report today to get the first glimpse of 2024’s market performance . Contact us with any questions about this Market Recap or how TruePlan can help enhance your organization's retirement offerings .

Attraction & Retention Newsletter – Q2 2024

Last year’s challenging labor market continues to impact employers across all sectors in 2024. Organizations are still struggling to find and keep workers, as the U.S. economy added 275,000 jobs in February.   As competition to attract talent fiercens, all eyes are on innovative talent strategies that meet today’s workforce needs and make sense for organizations. Read the latest edition of the Attraction & Retention newsletter to gain expert updates on:  meeting demands with voluntary benefits ;  university and college recruiting season; and   key workplace outlook data, including primary job gains and unemployment rate.  Download your copy now and get the top labor trends and methods to secure talent. If you'd like more information regarding TruePlan and our services, contact our team today ! We’ll take the time to examine your current employee benefits and find the best solutions for your needs.  This is not intended to be exhaustive, nor should any discussion or opinions

May 2024 Benefits Buzz: RxDC Reporting Deadline and ACA Update

RxDC prescription drug report is due by June 1  Group health plans must annually submit detailed information on prescription drug and healthcare spending to the federal government. This reporting is referred to as “prescription drug data collection” or the “RxDC report.” The next RxDC reporting deadline is Saturday, June 1, covering data for 2023.   Employers should confirm they are complying with the 2024 RxDC reporting deadline, such as providing information to third-party vendors on a timely basis.   The RxDC report is comprised of several files, including those that require specific plan-level information, such as plan year beginning and end dates, and enrollment and premium data. It also includes files that require detailed information about medical and pharmacy benefits.   RxDC reports must be submitted through CMS’ online RxDC portal , which includes updated reporting instructions and other resources.   Employers commonly use third parties, such as insurance issuers, administrat

Voluntary benefits: Your complete 360 overview

As healthcare costs continue to rise, so does demand for voluntary benefits. Since many employers find it increasingly difficult to provide employees with a complete benefit package, voluntary benefits have become an ideal solution.   Voluntary benefits are attractive to employers because there is no added cost for the organization.  Employees benefit because they have a variety of insurance options available conveniently in one place — often with lower premiums than if they were to buy individual policies.  What are voluntary benefits?   Voluntary benefits are coverages and products made available to employees for elective purchase though payroll deductions. These programs have four key characteristics:   100% employee-paid;   offered through an employer;   solicited and enrolled through a carrier or enrollment firm;   paid through payroll deductions.   Because of their cost efficiency, voluntary benefits are becoming a central component of many companies’ benefits strategies .  What

Innovative employee retention strategies: 9 fresh ideas

Employee engagement and retention are pivotal in every sector, but they carry even more weight in the not-for-profit space, where resources are often limited. High turnover can be both costly and disruptive, impacting productivity and damaging morale. In an era of workforce evolution, to effectively retain their top talent, organizations must explore innovative employee retention strategies that go beyond conventional methods.  Engaged employees are distinguished by their higher productivity, motivation and loyalty, and they are more likely to stay with a company for the long term. Gallup recently updated its research article, The Benefits of Employee Engagement , finding that "low engagement teams typically endure turnover rates that are 18% to 43% higher than highly engaged teams."  In addition to turnover, disengaged employees negatively impact a company's financial health, with turnover costs averaging six to nine months of the departed employee's salary, accordin