Serving over 200 companies and more than 2000 families since 1988

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Posts made in February, 2017

As an employer, you know that happy employees are the foundation of a successful company. There are many factors that can influence job satisfaction, and your benefits plan plays a big role. How much are you spending each year on employee benefits? Do your employees understand the value of their benefits plan? Often, an employer rolls out the plan or only addresses benefits during open enrollment. Then, there isn’t much discussion about these topics throughout the rest of the year. As a result, employees don’t fully understand their benefits, and they aren’t utilizing all of the options that are offered. Here are three things that you can do to maintain great communication regarding employee benefits: Schedule Employee Meetings Most new hires hear about the benefits during the onboarding process, but there isn’t much communication after that point. Schedule meetings to update your staff about the benefits and offer suggestions about ways to leverage the options that are offered. You might consider a mid-year meeting as well as a meeting during open enrollment. Use Other Forms of Communication Do you feel like your schedule is already overbooked with meetings? If you don’t want to setup another time to gather the group in the conference room, then you might look at other forms of communication. Emails can be a powerful way to disseminate information to everyone in the company. Another option is to put together a whitepaper that outlines the benefits that are offered. These pages can be printed and distributed with paychecks, in employee mailboxes, or in the breakroom. We live in a digital world, so a printed piece of paper can be an effective way to capture the attention of your workforce in a unique way. List the Value of Benefits Regardless of the communication platform that you choose, make sure that you provide details about the benefits that are offered. Employees don’t often understand the money that is invested to provide a great benefits package. Outline the extras that they are receiving on top of their base salary: insurance premiums, workers compensation, taxes, vacation pay and time off, and more. Ensure that Your Benefits Plan is Being Used We’ve found that the best way to ensure that your benefits plan works is by helping employees understand how to use it. By sharing this information, you can boost employee satisfaction and help them to see the ways their employer is providing for their family. Are you interested in learning more about how you can provide the best benefits for your employees? Contact us today for more...

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Open Enrollment for health insurance ended on January 31. If you missed the deadline, you might be wondering what will happen now. The answer depends largely upon your income, and also upon events that could unfold later this year. So when we talk about the consequences of failing to purchase health insurance, keep in mind that each individual situation varies. In general, though, you’re looking at three possible outcomes. You don’t have health insurance. This one is obvious. If you don’t have health insurance, unexpected medical expenses throughout this year could become a big problem. You will be held personally responsible for 100 percent of those bills. You might owe a penalty on your taxes next year. When you file your tax return in spring of 2018, here’s what you could owe for failing to purchase insurance (on top of your regular taxes): $695 per uninsured person in the household Or… 2.5 percent of your total income The penalty will be the greater of these two amounts, limited to $13,100 per household. There are exceptions to this rule. For example, those who fall below a certain income range might not be required to purchase insurance (although in that case, you should enroll in Medi-Cal). Various other exemptions exist, such as those for members of Native American tribes, but they are rare. You might be able to enroll in a health insurance plan at some point this year. The penalty applies if you go more than three months without health insurance during the calendar year, and is calculated on a pro-rated, per-month basis. So for example, if you aren’t covered for four months of the year, your penalty would be smaller than someone who is uncovered for the entire year. The good news is that you might still be able to obtain health insurance coverage, protect your financial future, and prevent the Individual Mandate penalty on your taxes next year. In certain cases, you might qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. You could be able to select a healthcare plan if: Your family size changes (you get married, get divorced, have a child, and so on) Your health insurance plan is canceled You experience a major change in financial status, which could qualify you for Medi-Cal or subsidies to help with the cost of insurance … and several more special situations. When in doubt, ask! Give us a call, and we can help you determine whether you are eligible for the Special Enrollment period. Even if you missed the Open Enrollment deadline on January 31, you might have opportunities throughout the year to enroll in a health insurance...

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