This infographic via Mercer indicates that employers are increasingly willing to invest in health management — and they believe their programs are making a difference. “US employers believe that health management is helping to slow medical trend, and they are putting more emphasis on these programs,” says Beth Umland, Director of Research for Mercer’s Health & Benefits business. “Now more than half of large employers provide employees with financial incentives to participate, and a fifth reward employees for achieving or maintaining specific health targets. They’re also making health improvement more fun with contests and challenges, and providing mobile apps to track activity.”
Category Archives: Benefits
Benefit planning inevitably involves tradeoffs between an ideal package and one that will maximize the desired impact at a price that can be afforded. These articles will provide how to information on managing the wide variety of benefits including health care, life, and disability insurance, and retirement benefits.
"Yesterday’s Advisor featured attorney Susan Fentin’s tips for managing employees with chronic health conditions. Today, how your managers’ compassionate impulses can lead to “regarded as” claims, plus an introduction to the audit guide that helps you find wage/hour problems before the feds do."
The Two Problems
Fentin, who is a partner in the Springfield, Massachusetts, law firm, Skoler, Abbott & Presser P.C., points out the two sometimes opposing desires of dealing with employees with chronic illnesses:
Supporting the employee with chronic illness, and
Managing the employee with the chronic illness.
"It might be HR’s toughest balancing act—how to manage your compassion for a chronically ill employee with your legitimate business concerns."
As an HR person, you care about people, says attorney Susan Fentin. Your impulse is to help; however, if the problem is driving the business down, you may not be able to help. You need to balance these sometimes-competing interests, and that’s not often easy.
What are the issues when an employee is chronically ill? Typically, says Fentin, we see:
"Yesterday’s Advisor featured consultant Carla McCormick’s tips for moving toward Value-Based Benefits Design (VBBD). Today, she offers a case study in VBBD plus we introduce the all-things-comp-in-one-place website, Compensation.BLR.com."
McCormick, a consultant with Fallon Benefits Group in Atlanta, made her remarks at BLR’s Advanced Employment Issues Symposium, held recently in Las Vegas.
Case Study in VBBD
Some facts about the client:
- Global presence with more than 7,000 covered lives
- Employee population includes office staff, manufacturing, and drivers
- Average employee age: 45 years
- Very low turnover
"Value-Based Benefits Design (VBBD) is where we’re headed in benefits, says consultant Carla McCormick. If you are not evaluating it for your company, you should be, she adds."
According to the annual National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans by Mercer employers expect the rate of growth in the per-employee cost of coverage to rebound in 2014. View the infographic below for a summary of the findings.
"Yesterday’s Advisor offered consultant Mike Miles’ take on the advantages of offering voluntary benefits to employees. Today, more on benefits, plus an introduction to the all-things-compensation-in-one-place website, Compensation.BLR.com."
Employees may think that they can’t afford a big policy, but it’s often a good idea to join the plan at the lowest level and cost, even if the policy is not large, says consultant Mike Miles. That gets your foot in the door and often ensures that you can “buy up” in the future on a guaranteed issue basis should something happen that would make you uninsurable.
"While some scoff at voluntary benefits as “garbage benefits that never pay,” such benefits may be very attractive to employees and may help employees cope with changes to their benefits packages brought on by the Affordable Care Act, says consultant Mike Miles."
"In yesterday’s Advisor, attorney Julie Athey said retroactive designation of Family and Medical Leave could be dangerous. Today, she offers three scenarios to help HR managers understand the possible pitfalls, plus we announce a timely webinar on leave management and PTO."
When you find out about a possible FMLA qualifying leave after it has started, how far back can you go to retroactively designate the leave? Athey, an attorney with The Robert E. Miller Group in Kansas City, Missouri, was joined by a colleague, consultant Kristi McKinzey, in a recent webinar sponsored by BLR/HRHero. Athey offers three retroactive designation scenarios:
"The underlying assumption for Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) is that it is generally in your interest to capture all absences that are FMLA‐related, says consultant Kristi McKinzey, PHR. She offers four common hazards employers face when they don’t track all absences."
Mckinzey, a consultant with The Robert E. Miller Group in Kansas City, Missouri, was joined by a colleague, attorney Julie Athey, in a recent webinar sponsored by BLR/HRHero.
Hazard # 1: Counting Against Attendance Policy
If you had reason to know an absence was due to an FMLA‐qualifying reason, you can’t count the absence against employees under your attendance policy even if it was never designated as FMLA and even if HR never knew about it—but the supervisor did.