Serving over 200 companies and more than 2000 families since 1988

2882 Sand Hill Rd. Ste. 119 - Menlo Park, CA 94025 - (650) 854-8963 - (800) 564-4476
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Posts by bahim


From school openings to job security, to personal budgets and safety, we all have plenty to worry about right now. Luckily, your health insurance premium might not be one of them. Many health insurance providers have announced that they will be offering a variety of solutions to help consumers make their regular health insurance premium payments.  The pandemic situation has created a curious combination of events in these past few months. Due to fears of coronavirus, and shutdowns in many areas, the numbers of elective procedures and office visits at this time have sharply declined. With consumers avoiding both doctor appointments and emergency rooms, healthcare providers have reported a 30 percent drop in inpatient care, a 25 percent drop in outpatient care, and a 35 percent drop in physician services.  Naturally, such an enormous drop in healthcare services has equalled a decline in health insurance claims. Many of the major health insurance providers will be extending that savings to their customers, which can be great news if you’re worried about making premium payments right now or in the near future.  Depending upon your carrier, you might be able to take advantage of these provisions: A credit for premiums paid in previous monthsA discount on upcoming premiums dueAn extended grace period for making premium paymentsSuspension of out-of-pocket charges on some healthcare services Look for a notice from your health insurance provider, or you can call them directly to discover what help they might be offering to their customers. Alternately, feel free to call us and we’ll assist you in locating answers.  This is all great news, but we do want to caution you about one potential problem: Considering that preventive care accounts for many of the healthcare services postponed at this time, some of those avoiding doctor visits might be at increased risk of chronic health problems in the future. Stay in touch with your doctor, and discuss with them alternate means of accessing care. They will advise you of which preventive tests or procedures are most important, considering your personal risk factors, and help you make a plan to catch up on preventive...

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Sticking Together During Rough Times

Sticking Together During Rough Times


Posted By on May 9, 2020

This month, we wanted to reach out to all of our business clients. How are you holding up during these challenging times? Is there anything we can do for you? Just a few reminders… Have you applied for the Paycheck Protection Program yet? Or, do you anticipate applying in the near future? Funded through the Small Business Association, the Paycheck Protection Program provides businesses with a loan to cover eight weeks’ worth of payroll and other expenses. The goal is to help your business remain viable during our current economic climate, and of course, to help your employees keep their own bills paid. You can obtain a loan in the amount of 2.5 times your average monthly expenses, or $10 million, whichever is less. If you follow guidelines correctly, 100 percent of your loan could be forgiven (you won’t have to pay it back) You can qualify for Paycheck Protection if your business employs 500 or fewer workers, and you can demonstrate that the coronavirus pandemic has negatively impacted you economically. As you might expect, numerous rules and regulations apply to both qualification for the program, and in order to have your loan forgiven. Since this is quite a chunk of change, you will want to follow those guidelines to the letter. You can also apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, for up to $10,000. This loan can also be forgiven in certain situations. And yes, you can apply for both programs, but you cannot use money from both programs toward the same purpose. If you have questions about HR and Benefits during this ongoing situation, give us a call. We can help you identify solutions to the unique problems your business is facing. Remember, we’re here for you! Sticking together makes us all stronger – so let us know if you need help with anything at this...

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Employees might decline enrollment in their company’s small group health insurance policy for any number of reasons, but what happens if they later change their minds? Fortunately, the law does provide for a Special Enrollment Period under those circumstances. That’s good news, because under California law we all must enroll in a health insurance policy or face a penalty at tax time next year. That requirement began on January 1 of this year. For many reasons, a worker might change their mind after once declining coverage. In most cases, such as loss of coverage under another plan, or due to marriage or addition of a new child, they have 30 days to request enrollment in the small group plan. However, if the lost coverage was CHIP or Medi-Cal, a 60-day enrollment period will apply. Currently, anyone who previously denied coverage for any reason can now enroll in a healthcare plan. You do not need to experience a qualifying life event in order to take advantage of this opportunity. However, the time to enroll does differ from one carrier to the next, so we advise acting now in order to have access to as many options as possible. Coverage will be equivalent to other enrollees. Special enrollees in small group plans must be offered the same benefits as those who signed up during the original enrollment period. They cannot be charged more than those who enrolled when first eligible. Benefits cannot be denied on the basis of a preexisting condition. The Affordable Care Act protects potential enrollees from being denied healthcare coverage on the basis of a condition which was present prior to enrollment. Enrollees cannot be asked to complete a physical or submit a health history before joining the small group plan. A general questionnaire may be used, provided it does not request genetic information and is not used to deny, restrict, or delay benefits. A group health plan cannot charge an individual more than any other similarly situated individual, based on any health factor. Contact us to learn more about small group health coverage, and we can help you determine whether a Special Enrollment period applies to your...

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Historically, employees of small businesses have enjoyed few options with regard to retirement planning. With only four out of ten small businesses offering any sort of retirement benefit, many Californians faced challenges with regard to their financial futures. Looking toward the future, and envisioning millions of citizens retiring at barely above the poverty line, lawmakers stepped in to create a state-operated retirement system. CalSavers is now open for enrollment, with small businesses employing five or more workers required to enroll. Enrollment deadlines are staggered over the next two years, with the end goal of enrolling seven million Californians into a retirement savings plan (unless they take steps to opt out). The set-up is relatively simple: CalSavers will provide an IRA (Individual Retirement Account) and eligible employees of participating businesses will be automatically enrolled at a 5 percent contribution rate. A one percent automatic escalation will apply, up to an 8 percent contribution rate. Accounts stay with employees even if they change jobs. Business owners, also, can enroll in CalSavers if they are also employees of their businesses. Those who are not employees of their businesses can participate, but must make contributions from their bank accounts rather than payroll deductions. Self-employed workers are also eligible to join the program via the same process. Are all business owners required to enroll in CalSavers? No, not necessarily. Enrollment in CalSavers is required of small businesses who employ more than five workers, but only if they do not already participate in a retirement benefits program. If you have already established a qualified retirement plan for employees, or decide to establish one through another provider, you will not be required to participate in CalSavers. Otherwise, yes, small businesses will be required to enroll in CalSavers according to the following schedule: Businesses with 100 or more employees should enroll by June 30, 2020Businesses with 50 or more employees should enroll by June 30, 2021Businesses with 5 or more employees should enroll by June 30, 2022 Of course, you can enroll earlier than those dates as well. Businesses that fail to comply with the mandate can be charged a penalty of 250 dollars per employee up to 90 days after the deadline, and 500 dollars per employee after 90 days have passed without compliance. For more information on enrolling in CalSavers, or to discuss other retirement benefit options, give us a call. We can help you understand your options and select the course of action that best suits your...

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You may have heard the alarming news reports regarding the coronavirus outbreak in China. Although this news is concerning, mostly for those in China, arming yourself with knowledge can be the best antidote for your own worry. What is coronavirus? Coronavirus is actually an entire class of viruses, and they’re nothing new. In fact, coronaviruses are one of the frequent culprits behind the common cold. Concern over this particular strain of coronavirus is due to its unusual strength, and the fact that it is a strain we haven’t previously encountered before. What are the symptoms of coronavirus? Those infected with this new strain of coronavirus present with coughing, breathing difficulties, and fever. It might appear as a bad cold at first. However, the progression of the virus into respiratory distress and pneumonia is the true risk in this situation. What is the treatment for coronavirus? As with other viruses, antibiotics are not effective. Antiviral drugs commonly used against the flu also will not work against coronavirus. Treatment includes admission to the hospital, fluids, rest, and support for infected lungs. Recovery mostly depends upon the patient’s immune system. How lethal is this coronavirus? As of February 7, the infection tally has reached 31,161 inside China, with an additional 280 cases in 28 other countries. The death toll includes 636 Chinese, one death of a Hong Kong resident, and one death in the Philippines. The mortality rate of the virus stands at 2 percent. Most of the deaths have occurred in individuals with already compromised immune systems, the elderly, and people who are otherwise in poor health already. Health experts have suggested that many cases of coronavirus have gone undetected because symptoms were mild, and the affected individuals assumed they simply contracted a common cold. In that case, the lethality of the virus would be even lower than the estimated 2 percent. Are we at risk of infection in the US? So far, five cases of this particular coronavirus have been diagnosed in the United States. These patients recently traveled to China or had close contact with a traveler. So far the virus seems contained to these five patients, and health officials don’t believe it was spread within their communities. With travel to China heavily discouraged at the moment, it is unlikely that we will see a widespread outbreak of this viral strain in the...

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