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Central PA Benefit Solutions is currently hiring a full-time Client Service Administrator for their State College office.

Central PA Benefit Solutionsis currently hiring a full-time Client Service Administrator for their State College Office.

Position Responsibilities

Coordinate upcoming client Health, Dental and Vision insurance renewals.

Preparation of client renewal proposals

Assist with small group and individual health insurance enrollment

Request carrier quotes

Field client questions – written and verbal

 

Job Qualifications

High School diploma

Pennsylvania Life / Accident / Health License (can be obtained after employment)

Proficiency with Microsoft office, with an emphasis on Microsoft Excel

Ability to multitask

 

Reasons to become part of the Central PA Benefit Solutions team.

Central PA Benefit Solutions is a growing employee benefit firm with offices in State College, Lock Haven and Jersey Shore PA.  We take pride in providing top-notch service and solutions for employers in Central PA.  We are looking for a candidate who is self-motivated and would like to grow professionally.

-          Competitive benefit package available

-          Please submit resume and cover letter to –  info@1benefitsolutions.com

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President Obama Signs Small Group Bill into Law

On Wednesday evening, President Obama signed into law H.R. 1624, the Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees (PACE) Act, legislation that will give states the ability to define the size of a small group for health insurance purposes. This legislation included an extraordinary effort beginning last winter on its way to being passed on a voice vote by the House on September 28 and through unanimous consent by the Senate on October 1. This accomplishment would not have been possible without the support of Representatives Brett Guthrie (R-KY-2) and Tony Cardenas (D-CA-29) and 233 other bipartisan co-sponsors in the House, Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and 47 other co-sponsors in the Senate, and our members who collectively sent more than 21,000 messages to Congress on this issue asking for their support. If you haven’t already, we encourage you to send a message to your legislators, if they were among these co-sponsors, thanking them for their support and leadership on this issue.

The law repeals the mandated small group expansion from groups of up to 50 employees to groups of up to 100 employees that was to go into effect on January 1, 2016. This law gives states the flexibility to determine the size of their small group market instead of being forced into the national standard. NAHU has long been concerned that the combination of the new compliance requirements and the regulations for the new group size would cause dramatic change to the insurance policies of medium-sized employers, and we have continued to advocate for the enactment of the PACE Act to prevent this type of market disruption. However, it is important to note that this change does not repeal the employer shared responsibility, employer reporting, or other compliance requirements for groups over 50 employees.

NAHU is now shifting our focus to the states as they work to implement this new law. As stated above, the PACE Act defines small groups as those with up to 50 full-time equivalents; however, states now have the ability to set their own definition of small group as long as the definition is no less than 50 and no more than 100. Some states took action early and have already passed legislation that mirrored the ACA and expanded the definition of small group to groups of up to 100 effective January 1, 2016. Those states will expand to 100 unless action is taken to pass legislation to define small group as up to 50. For the majority of states that took no action regarding the definition of small group within their borders, we await confirmation from the departments of insurance and legislatures as to whether the states will accept the new federal standard or if they will take action of their own to expand the definition of small group of up to 100.

The process to address this issue began last winter, when we identified the disruption that the expansion could create to the small and medium-size employer group market. We then met with Administration officials and asked for a delay of the expansion of the small group market and in February, we sent a letter to the Administration formally asking for the delay. To augment our work with the Administration, we brought together a half dozen senators (Heitkamp, Coons, Manchin, King, Donnelly, Tester, and McCaskill) to send a letter on March 12 to the Administration asking for a delay. An Operation Shout followed this on March 16 and more than 5,300 messages were delivered to Congress.

By late March, it became clear that the Administration would not be delaying the transition, so we put together the 51-100 Coalition, an organization made up of carrier and business groups. We then ramped up our legislative push and met with all of the members of the Senate Finance Committee and House Energy and Commerce Committee to let them know of the coming problem. Following this meeting, we met with Congressmen Guthrie and Cardenas and discussed with them the small group definition issue. Subsequently, the congressmen introduced a bipartisan bill together in the House on March 25. We then engaged with Senators Scott and Shaheen, who later introduced a bill on April 27. We followed up these bills with an Operation Shout on April 30, which has since produced more than 11,000 messages to Congress asking for co-sponsorship on the bills.

Throughout the spring and summer, we connected with both House and Senate staff to get co-sponsors on both bills that were representative of every part of the political spectrum to help spread our message of the importance of this problem. Our supporters included over half the House chamber and just under half of the chamber in the Senate. During the summer, NAHU met with leadership in the House and Senate to ask them to pass their respective bills, and the Energy and Commerce Committee staff in both parties to prepare them for a hearing on the legislation. On September 9, the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held a hearing on H.R. 1624.

 

Article from NAHU – National Association of Health Underwriters

Just before the August recess, we worked with the Senate Democrats to run a hotline on the Democratic side to ensure that all of the senators were agreeable with the bill. When Congress reconvened in September, we worked with House leadership to ensure that the estimated $400 million in savings created by the bill could be used by the Republican leadership. With the savings issue resolved, the House scheduled a floor vote for H.R. 1624 on September 28. NAHU sent an Operation Shout before the vote in the House to ensure a success vote, generating 2,221 messages sent to Congress. The bill was passed on a voice vote, after which we encouraged the Republican leadership Senate to take the legislation. On September 29, the Republican agreed to run a hotline on their side to see if any Republican objected and on October 1 the Senate leadership passed the bill by unanimous consent.

healthy eating

Encourage your employees to adopt healthy, well-balanced diets. – you are what you eat.

Initiatives to Promote Nutrition

As the adage goes, “You are what you eat.”—which means unhealthy food leads to unhealthy people.

An unbalanced diet and poor nutrition can contribute to the following health problems:

  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Hypertension
  • Gout
  • Obesity

Nearly 35 percent of adults are obese—which, in turn, can increase the risks of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.

The most effective way to minimize many of these health risks is to encourage your employees to adopt healthy, well-balanced diets. Good nutrition can positively affect their performance through the following ways:

  • Increased productivity
  • Increased mental cognition and focus
  • Reduced anxiety, stress and depression

Activities to Promote Wellness

In order to achieve a well-balanced diet, there are two key ingredients: controlling portion size and choosing the best foods. To help your employees make healthy, nutritious meal decisions, consider taking these steps:

  • Provide healthy, nutritious cafeteria and vending machine options. Choices could include nuts, fresh and dried fruits, water or tea, leaner lunchmeats, and fewer frozen or microwavable meals.
  • Offer fresh fruit and whole grain breakfast options—avoid sugary treats such as donuts or toaster pastries. According to the Institute for Health and Productivity Management (IHPM), nearly one-third of employees skip breakfast. Without some food—regardless of whether or not it’s nutritious—your employees will have reduced energy, productivity and focus.
  • Order healthier options for lunch meetings and company events. Buffets provide your employees with the ability to decide what and how much to put on their plates.
  • Schedule a nutritional lunch seminar where a dietitian or physician educates your employees on the importance of a well-balanced diet and the methods of maintaining healthy eating habits.

A Well-balanced Diet Can Lead to a More Productive Workforce

On average, medical costs for an individual who is obese is $1,429 higher than an individual who maintains a well-balanced diet. A healthy diet can provide your employees with the energy and focus to be productive and efficient throughout the entire day.

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2016 Compliance Check List

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has made a number of significant changes to group health plans since the law was enacted over four years ago. Many of these key reforms became effective in 2014 and 2015, including health plan design changes, increased wellness program incentives and the employer shared responsibility penalties.

Additional reforms take effect in 2016 for employers sponsoring group health plans. To prepare for 2016, employers should review upcoming requirements and develop a compliance strategy.

Plan design changes

  • Grandfathered plan status
  • Cost sharing limits
  • Health FSA contributions

Reinsurance fees

HIPAA certification

Employer Penalty Rules

  • Applicable large employer (ALE)
  • 4980H(a) Penalty for not offering coverage
  • affordability of coverage

Reporting of coverage

  • Section 6055
  • form 1094-B, 1094-C, 1095-C
  • electronic reporting
  • Failure to report – penalties

This Legislative Brief provides a health care reform compliance checklist for 2016. Please contact Central PA Benefit Solutions for assistance or if you have questions about changes that were required in previous years.

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HR Audits – and various types – Central PA Benefit Solutions

What is an HR Audit?

An HR audit is an objective, systematic review of a company’s HR policies, procedures, strategic direction, structure, resources, and ultimately, its contribution to the organization. Such an audit offers the opportunity to protect the company, establish best practices and identify areas for improvement, and can help evaluate whether specific practice areas are adequate, legal and/or effective.

HR audits are essential for companies to ensure that they are avoiding any legal or regulatory liability associated with their HR policies and practices. In addition, audits can also provide the opportunity to benchmark a company’s strategies and practices against the best practices of other companies in its industry.

Types of Audits

There are various types of audits, each designed to accomplish specific objectives. Here are some of the more common types:

  • Compliance. Examines how well the company is complying with federal, state and local laws and regulations.
  • Best Practices. Compares company practices to those of companies identified as having exceptional HR practices, to help a company maintain or improve its competitive edge.
  • Strategic: Assesses the systems and processes within the company to determine whether they align with the HR department’s and/or the company’s strategic plan.
  • Function-Specific: Focuses on one specific area within the HR function (payroll, performance management, etc.).
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U.S. Supreme Court Legalizes Same-sex Marriage Nationwide – Central PA Benefit Solutions

On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated decision on same-sex marriage. In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the U.S. Constitution guarantees same-sex couples the right to marry. 

This case, Obergefell v. Hodges, involved challenges to same-sex marriage bans from four states—Ohio, Tennessee, Michigan and Kentucky. Even though the Supreme Court’s decision involves these four states, the ruling affects same-sex marriage laws in every state.

The Supreme Court’s ruling means that same-sex couples have the right to be married in their own states and to have their marriages recognized as valid in every other state.

The Supreme Court’s ruling is effective immediately, which means all states must start (or continue) issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on the same terms as opposite-sex couples.

Legal Debate on Same-sex Marriage

Up until two years ago, the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) banned federal recognition of same-sex marriages by solely defining “marriage” as the legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.

On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key part of DOMA, ruling that the law’s definition of “marriage” violated the U.S. Constitution. As a result of the Supreme Court’s DOMA ruling, legally married same-sex couples are entitled to the same benefits and protections under federal law as opposite-sex married couples.

At the time of the Supreme Court’s DOMA ruling, the majority of states had laws that prohibited same-sex couples from getting married. Most states also refused to recognize same-sex marriages that were legally entered into in other jurisdictions.

Due to the Supreme Court’s DOMA ruling, numerous lawsuits were filed across the country to challenge the constitutionality of state bans on same-sex marriage. Courts reviewing these challenges overwhelmingly ruled that the state bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional.

As of the Supreme Court’s ruling, same-sex marriage was legal in 37 states and the District of Columbia. In the majority of these states (Florida, Wisconsin, Kansas and Virginia, for example) same-sex marriage was legalized by a court decision following the Supreme Court’s DOMA ruling.

On Nov. 6, 2014, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld state bans on same-sex marriage in Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky. The 6th Circuit ruled that the same-sex marriage issue should be decided in each state through the regular political process and not through the court system. The 6th Circuit’s decision conflicted with the decisions from other federal appeals courts, and the Supreme Court stepped in to resolve this conflict.

Supreme Court Decision

The Supreme Court was asked to rule on two specific issues—the power of the states to ban same-sex marriages and the power of the states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

The Supreme Court held that marriage is a fundamental right under the Constitution for both opposite-sex and same-sex couples. Thus, the Supreme Court ruled that every state must allow marriages between two people of the same sex and must also recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state.

The Supreme Court noted that the institution of marriage has evolved over time in response to developments in law and society. The Supreme Court outlined four legal principles that supported its ruling that marriage is a fundamental right for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples. These legal principles are as follows:

  • The right to personal choice regarding marriage is inherent in the concept of individual autonomy;
  • The right to marry supports a two-person union unlike any other in its importance to the committed individuals;
  • Marriage safeguards children and families; and
  • Marriage is a keystone to our social order.

Impact of Supreme Court Decision

The Supreme Court’s decision impacts the legality of same-sex marriages throughout the country.

By ruling that state laws prohibiting same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has effectively legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states. Same-sex couples will be allowed to marry in any state, and will be entitled to all the rights, benefits and obligations given to opposite-sex spouses under both federal and state law.

Also, due to the Supreme Court’s ruling, employers will generally be required to treat employees in same-sex marriages the same as employees in opposite-sex marriages for many federal and state law purposes.

Many federal laws have already been interpreted to include both same-sex and opposite-sex marriages due to the Supreme Court’s decision on DOMA. The Supreme Court’s most recent ruling will expand these legal rights and protections to additional couples.

Also, many state law leave rights for legally married spouses should extend to employees with same-sex spouses. Same-sex married couples should also be subject to the same state tax rules as opposite-sex married couples. State insurance laws may require employers with insured health plans to offer equal health plan coverage to opposite-sex and same-sex couples.

The Supreme Court did not consider whether federal nondiscrimination laws should be expanded to protect workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. However, a number of states have laws that prohibit such workplace discrimination. Employers should keep any applicable laws in mind when providing any rights or benefits to employees.

Provided by Central PA Benefit Solutions

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A list of things to consider when hiring a 401(k) vendor to manage your plan

401(k) Vendor Comparison Checklist

A 401(k) plan is a valuable tool for employees to save for retirement, so it is important that you choose a good plan vendor that will properly service your employees’ needs and make the process as easy as possible for them. Selecting the best vendor for your employees may seem daunting, so here is a list of things to consider when hiring a 401(k) vendor to manage your plan:

 Background Information:

  • How long has the vendor been in business?
  • What type and size of client does the vendor typically service?
  • Is your plan in the vendor’s core market?
  • Does the vendor have experience with automatic 401(k) plans, if that is an option for your organization?
  • Is the provider a full-service provider and does it offer an entire range of administrative services and investments?
  • Does the service provider outsource to a third party?
  • Are any of their current clients available to discuss the vendor’s services?

Resources:

  • Is the vendor available 24/7 via a website and/or telephone?
  • What resources does it have to educate your employees on the plans, and how thorough is this training?

Recordkeeping:

  • Does the vendor handle recordkeeping duties and administration or do those responsibilities fall on you?

Legal Compliance:

  • Is the vendor familiar with all regulations and laws relating to 401(k) plans, including the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and the Pension Protection Act of 2006?
  • What audit procedures do they have in place?

Fees:

  • What are the setup fees? These cover the cost of establishing the plan, transferring an account if you had a prior vendor, entering your employees’ data, and preparing a document detailing your plan.
  • What are the administrative fees? These cover the cost of recordkeeping, compliance testing, loan processing and withdrawals.
  • What are the investment management fees? These cover the cost of buying and selling stocks, and research associated with those tasks.
  • What are the communication fees? These cover the cost of training and educating your employees about the 401(k) plan, as well as the cost of maintaining Internet access and call center representatives.
  • Are there any other additional fees you will be assessed while working with this vendor?
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Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) – Overtime Pay, DOL proposed regulations

DOL Sends Proposed FLSA Regulations to OMB

In March 2014, President Barack Obama directed the Secretary of Labor, Thomas Perez, to revise the overtime pay provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to increase the number of workers who are eligible for overtime pay.

Over a year later, the DOL has sent proposed regulations that aim to “modernize and streamline the existing overtime regulations for executive, administrative, and professional employees” to the OMB for review. After the review, the proposed regulations will be made available to the public for comment.

The proposed regulations may affect the number of employees at your company who are eligible for overtime pay. In addition to staying up to date on the proposed regulations, you should assess your current workforce to prepare for possible changes.

For example, complete an audit to make sure your organization’s job descriptions are current and accurately reflect the duties and required skills of each position. This will be a powerful tool when navigating the proposed regulations.

Health and wellness

Men: Stay Healthy at Any Age – Central PA Benefit Solutions LLC

Establishing and maintaining good health is an ongoing process that you need to take charge of. It is important that you are proactive in managing your health to avoid preventable illnesses and catch other medical conditions early.

Get the Screenings You Need

Screenings are tests that look for diseases before you have symptoms. Examples include blood pressure checks and tests for high cholesterol. You can get some screenings, such as blood pressure readings, in your doctor’s office. Others, such as a colonoscopy, will require you to visit a specialist or hospital.

After a screening, ask when you will see results and who you should talk to about them.

Take Steps to Good Health

-  Be physically active and make health food choices. Learn how at www.healthfinder.gov/HealthTopics/Category/everyday-healthy-living.

-  Get to a healthy weight and stay there. Balance the calories you take in from food and drink with the calories you burn off by your activities.

-  Be tobacco free. For tips on how to quit, go to smokefree.gov. To talk to someone about quitting, call the National Quitline: 800-QUITNOW (784-8669).

-  If you drink alcohol, have no more than two drinks per day if you are 65 or younger. If you are older than 65, have no more than one drink a day.

-    A standard drink is one 12-ounce bottle of beer or wine cooler, one 5-ounce glass of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits.

You know your body better than anyone else. Always tell your doctor or nurse about changes in your health, including your vision and hearing. Ask them about being checked for any condition you are concerned about (such as prostate or skin cancer), not just the ones listed here.

Source: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

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How does long-term disability work?

How Does Long-term Disability work?
If an employee becomes disabled outside of work, they are not eligible for workers’ compensation. Long-term disability insurance provides disabled employees with a portion of their regular income after short-term disability coverage is exhausted. The inability to work combined with having higher medical costs can be financially devastating; the pay provided by long-term disability coverage can lessen the financial burden.There is no federal requirement for employers to provide or offer long-term disability insurance to their employees. However, some states have laws concerning this coverage. Employers who choose to provide coverage have flexibility in determining how generous the long-term disability plan will be. Employers can set the amount of disability payments and length of time employees may receive payments under its plan.

Long-term disability plans can either be funded by the employer, the employee or both. The company determines how much coverage to elect. The average plan covers 50 to 70 percent of an employee’s regular income per month. Benefits are typically provided for five to 10 years; however, it is not uncommon for benefits to be provided until the employee reaches the age of 65.

Employers should research multiple long-term disability plans in order to determine what type of plan will work best for its company and employees.