Dynamic Work/Life Solutions Blog

Qualifying Events for Changing or Cancelling Health Insurance

Posted by Blog Tipster on Wed, Jun 08, 2016 @ 04:24 PM

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Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, changes have been made to the list of qualifying events in order to make it easier for employees to change insurance before their next open enrollment period.

Employees are now allowed to enroll, cancel, or change plan options under any of the following circumstances:

  • Loss of eligibility for group health benefits, individual health benefits, CHIP, or Medicaid
  • Meeting eligibility requirements for state premium assistance, Medicaid, or CHIP subsidies
  • Adding spouse or dependents through marriage, birth, adoption, or placement for adoption
  • Death of spouse or dependent
  • In the case of the birth of a child, a spouse can be enrolled due to the birth even if the spouse was not previously covered under the plan
  • Change in marital status (marriage or divorce)
  • Change in number of dependents
  • Change in employment status (part-time to full-time or vice versa)
  • Change in residence
  • Change in cost of coverage that permits the employer to automatically increase or decrease employee contributions
  • A significant change in the cost of coverage that permits an employee to add or drop coverage or switch plans
  • A significant reduction of benefits with or without a loss of coverage
  • If a plan adds a new benefit package or coverage option, improves an existing option, adds coverage for a new option, or switches plans
  • Allows for new election or cancelling of coverage when a change is made under another employer plan (i.e. for spouse or dependent)
  • Legal separation, annulment, or child support judgment
  • Employee, spouse, or dependent become eligible for Medicare Part A or B, Medicaid or loses coverage under these plans
  • Employee taking FMLA may revoke their election for insurance and choose another option for the remaining period of leave

Human resources must be notified of these changes within 31 days of the occurrence. Written proof of the event also needs to be submitted.

eni’s BalanceCare  Guides are available to assist our members with questions regarding qualifying events.  Learn more today!


*IRS Section 125

Tags: Health Care, Affordable Care Act, Qualifying Events

Creating Connection – Increasing Engagement

Posted by Blog Tipster on Thu, May 26, 2016 @ 11:39 AM

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Connection and engagement are two very popular buzz words in the HR industry today.  We all have an idea as to what they mean, but how do we make these words personal and meaningful for our employees?  With today’s workforce spanning five generations, the words “connection” and “engagement” have very different meanings for each of these groups.  Millennials connect with their peers, employers, and even their favorite brands via their Smartphones.  Baby Boomers may connect by reading a printed newspaper or speaking to a customer service representative to help them better understand a service or product, while Gen-Xers may prefer a combination of electronic and printed communication.

The challenge from an HR standpoint then becomes creating personalized and meaningful connections with employees that maximize engagement with their benefits and their company.  It may seem like a daunting task, considering everyone’s preference for receiving information is different, but it doesn’t have to be.  By managing and integrating information, such as HR benefits onto one platform, it makes the task feel less insurmountable.

eni has developed a revolutionary way to connect employees to and better engage employees with their benefits via BalanceBenefits.  This proprietary service and software platform is accessible to employees via a Mobile App, online web portal and 24/7 call center, which makes learning about, utilizing, and engaging with their robust benefit offering easier.  Having EVERY benefit on one software platform available to employees when and where it’s convenient for them is very empowering to employees and it makes them more efficient consumers of benefits.

With BalanceBenefits, gone are the days when employees remain on hold for 20-30 minutes waiting for a health insurance representative or have to wait until Monday to talk with HR.  The answer is now available to them immediately and via whichever platform they prefer, saving them time, frustration and lost productivity.  BalanceBenefits also offers employees peace of mind knowing that their benefit package supports whatever life event they may be experiencing at that moment. 

As an HR professional, you save valuable time in terms of productivity by not having to answer routine benefit questions. Instead, you are able to focus on what really matters to your business:  the most efficient use of your human capital to move your business forward.  It’s a win-win for you, your employees, and ultimately your organization.

Contact eni today to learn how you can increase engagement with benefits for all of your employees.

Tags: Benefit Communication, Employee Benefits, employee engagement, Mobile Apps, benefit engagement

Spring Maintenance

Posted by Blog Tipster on Wed, Mar 30, 2016 @ 02:42 PM

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Spring is a hopeful season filled with much transformation and change. The days are brighter and everywhere you turn, birds are singing their happy little songs. But with the longer days and warmer winds comes yard work and end-of-winter-maintenance. eni’s Personal Assistants have compiled a list to help you tackle your springtime chores.

  • Clear your gutters of leaves and debris and check to make sure they’re not loose. When not working correctly, it can lead to improper drainage and leakage. Make sure the downspout is pointing at least two feet away from foundation walls.
  • Check your roof shingles from the ground to make sure there is no damage from winter. Shingles that are cracked, loose or buckling will need to be replaced. Also inspect your ceiling for wet spots.
  • Look for cracked or chipped paint on the exterior of your house and scrape it off. Sand down the edges and then prime and paint it. Exposed wood will begin to rot.
  • Check your chimney to make sure no bricks or stones have fallen out. Make sure there are no plants growing out of the joints. Both of these can be signs of moisture infiltration. You can re-seal the masonry with water resistant material.
  • Trim down any overgrown foliage that is close to your house. It will help protect your siding and roof and keep away moisture. Branches should be at least seven feet away from the exterior of your home.
  • Pressure-wash your deck to strip it of dirt and debris and then re-stain it. It will make all the difference in the world.
  • Clean your air conditioner to ensure it works properly. An efficient air conditioner removes moisture from your home and can prevent damage to the foundation. Plus, a clean unit will save you money on your energy bill.
  • Rake your lawn to remove leaves and debris. They can suffocate the grass. Once the ground thaws completely, you can start planting your garden.
  • Repair any cracks in your driveway before it worsens. You can fill in cracks with cement repair products. For deeper cracks or if you’re dealing with asphalt, you might have to call a professional.
  • Tune up your lawn mower and prepare it for use. Dull blades just tear grass instead of slicing, which leaves it vulnerable to damage. Make sure to change the spark plugs and oil filter.

eni’s Personal Assistants are available to provide our members with information and resources related to spring maintenance and/or cleaning in addition to a wide variety of topics including travel, child/elder care, event planning, relocating, and much more!

Tags: Spring Cleaning, work/life balance

BalanceBenefits: Brokering Communication Across Generations

Posted by Blog Tipster on Wed, Mar 23, 2016 @ 04:12 PM

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How can brokers remain responsive and connected to their clients while aggressively pursuing new partnerships?  In today’s fast paced and competitive landscape, brokers are often pressed to provide the support and ongoing communication that their valued customers demand.  Let eni’s customer care center and benefit engagement software help by providing enhanced benefit communication and expert level support to your customers! Employees will appreciate and be more connected to their employee benefit package – and your customers will recognize a greater return on their benefit dollars.    

Just how connected are employees to their benefits today? Well, a 2015 MetLife study reveals that over half of employees (53%) surveyed indicated that they “need more help understanding how their benefits work or how benefits meet their needs.” Perhaps because employees did not understand their benefits, nearly 42% also indicate that they “did not believe they used their benefits effectively.” (MetLife 2015)  Effective communication about benefits to employees can help employees both understand and use their benefits appropriately.

The question becomes, what is the best way to communicate to employees? The answer – it depends … on the generation of the employee!  Multiple generations of employees are presently in the workforce – Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Post Millennials. ).  In 2015, the percentage of Millennials in the workforce became larger than the Baby Boomers, effectively becoming the largest generation in the workforce (Pew Research 2015).  The Generation X population will, similarly, outnumber the Baby Boomers in 2028. Clearly, communicating effectively with multiple generations will continue to be a priority.   

With so many generations in the workforce, a blanket communication style will just not be as effective as multiple methods of communicating about benefits (Wall Street Journal 2014).  Although there are always exceptions, research shows that Baby Boomers and Generation X may prefer communicating by telephone, via email, or in person.  In contrast, Millennials and Post Millennials prefer communicating by smart phone, using apps, texts and instant messages. In fact, the youngest generation is on mobile devices “88 percent of the time” (Fluent Study 2016).  Clearly, communicating about employee benefits to this multi-generational workforce needs to extend beyond the traditional in-person benefit orientations and face-to-face trainings. 

How can BalanceBenefits enhance benefit communication to this multi-generational workforce?  Well, BalanceBenefits offers multiple ways for employees to access and communicate with benefit engagement specialists about their benefits.  Employees can communicate with specialists through their telephone using a benefit engagement call center, through their computer using a member web portal, and through their smart phone using a mobile application. Benefit communication for all generations is no problem with BalanceBenefits!    

Stand out by being a broker, who provides unparalleled customer support while assisting with benefit communication and education, by offering BalanceBenefits to your customers!

Learn more about our suite of benefit engagement software, including our BalanceBenefits mobile app, on our website.  You can order “Beyond Benefits” by Gene Raymondi, CEO and industry thought leader, watch our quick integrated benefits video, or simply send us an email requesting more information.   

We look forward to helping with your benefit needs!

Tags: Benefit Communication, Benefit Enrollment, broker of record, brokers, BalanceBenefits

Final Overtime Rules Release Date Still Remains Uncertain – Are You in Compliance?

Posted by Blog Tipster on Mon, Mar 21, 2016 @ 04:03 PM

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The Department of Labor is now targeting July 2016 as the release date for the final rules on raising the overtime pay exemption threshold.  The proposed regulations increase the salary threshold needed to qualify for overtime exemption from $455 per week/$23,600 per year to $970 per week/$50,440 per year.

Once the DOL issues the final rules, employers will have a relatively short period of time before the rules become effective.  So what can HR managers do now to ensure their organizations are compliant when the new rules take effect?

1) Review all job positions/job descriptions against the FLSA exemption regulations to determine which employees are properly classified as exempt or non-exempt under the new law.

2) Determine which salaries you can raise to retain exempt status and which ones you can’t based on budgetary constraints.

3) Analyze how many hours exempt employees now work and what it would cost if their current salary is converted to an hourly figure and they continue to work the same number of hours.

4) Decide whether you will lower the hourly rate when you convert from exempt to hourly status so that total earnings remain the same.

5) Consider how you will communicate to employees that their status has been changed.

Before the overtime regulation goes into effect, now is a good time for employers to also consider the following:

  • Review your policies.  If you don’t have an overtime policy in place, now is the time to establish one. 
  • Maintain accurate time records for all employees.  This will assist you in determining how many employees have regularly worked overtime.

While these proposed changes will most likely impact your business, you still have time to start planning to make sure you are in the best possible position when the final rules are released.

For more information on the proposed overtime rules please refer to the department of labor documents listed below:

This article is designed to provide general information and is not a substitute for legal advice

Tags: Human Resource Management, Human Resources, Overtime

The Importance of Stretching

Posted by Blog Tipster on Wed, Feb 24, 2016 @ 11:14 AM

relax_yoga_meditation_wellness.jpgStretching is often a neglected part of our wellness plan and activity routine. It is easy to overlook and often forgotten. Incorporating stretching into your daily routine may seem futile, but the benefits of stretching are as important as your commitment to cardio and weight training. 

The benefits of stretching for your body:

  • Stretching helps improve range of motion and flexibility. A regular stretching routine can lengthen your muscles and make daily activities easier and more enjoyable.
  • Stretching improves your posture. Tense and tight muscles contribute to poor posture, which in turn can affect the functioning of internal organs, not to mention our appearance. Stretching the muscles of the lower back, shoulders, and chest helps keep the back in alignment and improves posture.
  • Stretching may help decrease injury by preparing muscles for work before activity.
  • Stretching improves circulation by increasing blood and nutrient supply to muscles and joints, thereby possibly reducing muscle soreness.

The benefits of stretching for your mind:

  • Stretching can provide relaxation and stress relief. Regular stretching helps relax tense muscles caused by stress.
  • A short break in your day for stretching can calm the mind, provide a mental break, and give your mind and body a chance to reboot.

Experts suggest stretching for a minimum of 10 minutes at least 2-3 times per week. This timeframe will ensure you are achieving the most benefits from your stretching routine. If you are inconsistent, you will not be able to maintain a consistent range of motion and flexibility.

Keep in mind that stretching is not a warm up activity for your cardio and weight lifting routine. Stretching is most effective when the muscles are warm. It is best to stretch after a workout focusing on tight muscles and increasing your blood flow to this area of your body.

Stretching has multiple benefits for both your body and your mind. Incorporating stretching into your daily routine improves your overall health!

Members of eni’s Corporate Wellness Program have access to experienced Health Coaches who provide valuable information, just like this, that helps them achieve their personal health and wellness goals. Wellness Programs have become a critical component of successful corporate strategies as healthy employees use fewer sick days, have fewer medical/disability/ workers compensation claims, and are more productive.

Contact eni today to learn more!

Tags: Corporate Wellness Programs, health and wellness, employee productivity, Wellness, stress relief, stress management, stretching

Vaccines

Posted by Blog Tipster on Wed, Feb 17, 2016 @ 03:51 PM

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There are a wide variety of vaccines available to help prevent illness.  Some vaccines are required for children to enter school, but others are completely voluntary and it is up to the individual and their doctor to decide if the vaccine is right for them.  In this article, eni’s Health Advocates will review two common vaccines.

Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV13):

Pneumococcal disease is caused by bacteria and is spread from person to person with close contact. It can cause ear infections, and can lead to more serious illnesses such as pneumonia, bacteremia or meningitis.

Approximately 18,000 older adults die of pneumococcal disease each year in the United States alone.  Children under 2 years of age, adults 65 and older, people with certain medical conditions and smokers are at greater risk for pneumococcal  pneumonia.

Pneumococcal meningitis is most common among adults and can cause deafness and brain damage.

The PCV13 vaccine protects against 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria. For children, the vaccine is given at 2, 4, 6, and 12-15 months of age. Older children and adults with certain health conditions are encouraged to get the vaccine as well.

People who have ever had an allergic reaction to earlier versions of this vaccine (PCV7), or DTaP, or any of its components should not get the PCV13 vaccine.

If you’re scheduled for the vaccine and aren’t feeling well on that day, you and your provider may want to reschedule it for when you’re feeling better.

For children, reactions range from mild fever to drowsiness.  Adults may experience site pain, redness and swelling. Any serious reactions should be reported to your provider.

Shingles Vaccine:

Shingles occurs when the virus that causes chickenpox starts up again in your body. After you get better from chickenpox, the virus "sleeps" (is dormant) in your nerve roots. In some people, it stays dormant forever. In others, the virus "wakes up" when disease, stress, or aging weakens the immune system. Some medicines may trigger the virus to wake up and cause a shingles rash. It is not clear why this happens. After the virus becomes active again, it can only cause shingles, not chickenpox.

You can't catch shingles from someone else who has shingles. However, there is a small chance that a person with a shingles rash can spread the virus to another person who hasn't had chickenpox and who hasn't gotten the chickenpox vaccine.

Shingles may start as unusual pain or tingling in one location on one side of the body. This area may be sensitive to touch.  A red rash then leads to fluid-filled blisters that wrap around either the left or right side of the torso. It can also appear around one eye or one side of the face or neck.

The shingles vaccine is almost 70% effective for those 50-59 years of age and 51% effective for those 60-69 years of age.  The current shingles vaccine offers protection for about 8 years.  A new vaccine which may be effective longer is currently being tested.

As always, check with your provider to see if he recommends either vaccine.

Some vaccines have age requirements and some insurance companies won’t pay for certain vaccines without a prescription.  BalanceCare is available to assist our members with determining if your insurance will pay for these vaccines and help you navigate the complexities of your healthcare.

 

Sources:

US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/shingles/shingles-topic-overview

AARP Bulletin, November 2015

 

Tags: Health Insurance, Health Care, Health Advocacy, vaccines

Maximize Benefit ROI in 2016!

Posted by Blog Tipster on Mon, Feb 08, 2016 @ 10:18 AM

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A new year has begun and with turning a page on the calendar, comes the opportunity to wipe the slate clean and prepare a new strategy for success.  We may set our own goals or they may be set for us.  Either way, having the proper tools to achieve these goals makes getting the job done much easier.

So many times we hear how HR is challenged and overwhelmed with being able to easily, frequently and consistently communicate benefits to employees.  As a matter of fact, it’s the #1 challenge HR currently faces.  With the demographic shift from Baby Boomers to Millennials, more employees are asking for flexible work situations and there is an increased need to make benefit packages more customized based upon different ages and stages of life.  It’s no wonder communicating all these benefits has become even more challenging. 

The good news is, it doesn’t have to be!  What if those benefits could be managed, administered and communicated with one single tool?  What if we could address all those needs and wants and provide employees with a personalized, consumer-driven experience?  It seems impossible, but eni has accomplished just that!  

BalanceBenefits  is a complete solution that integrates every benefit on ONE software platform. Every employee can use this powerful tool to access their benefit information based upon life events, which can be anything from the birth of a child to planning a family vacation.    This software is much more than single source sign-on or a simple listing of benefit vendor websites and phone numbers.  

Based upon an “intuitive intelligence”, BalanceBenefits cross-references every benefit and then creates a report demonstrating to employees - the benefits applicable to their life event, and how to access and utilize the applicable benefits.  It is a simplified, but comprehensive approach to benefits communication, engagement and utilization, with greater ROI potential for your organization.

Communication is made simpler through the benefits reminder feature.  Engagement is created with a gamification component called the Wheel of Life.  And utilization automatically increases through awareness and education of those benefits - ultimately providing a greater ROI for what is spent on the benefits package. 

You may be asking, how is ROI measured?  The answer is simple and not a secret.  When employees understand and use their benefits effectively, it creates a supportive environment, which in turn creates greater attachment to their employer.   And when employees fully understand the depth and breadth of their benefits, they are more likely to stay with their employer, reducing turnover and recruitment costs.

When you don’t have to think about high turnover and employees come to work fully engaged and prepared to work, HR is left with greater opportunities to create strategies to further propel the business from a human capital standpoint.   BalanceBenefits is a multi-faceted tool addressing the benefit needs of employees, the business needs of the organization, and the administrative needs of the HR department.  Once you learn more about how flexible and cost effective BalanceBenefits  is, you will wonder how you were able to do your job without it. 

Contact eni today for a quick demo and start maximizing your benefit ROI today!

Tags: Benefit Communication, Employee Benefits, Benefit Integration, benefit ROI

Five Must See Shows on Netflix

Posted by Blog Tipster on Wed, Jan 27, 2016 @ 04:20 PM

Winter is officially here and for a lot of us that means we find ourselves spending more time indoors. To keep you from getting cabin fever, eni’s work/life experts have compiled a list of shows that will keep you happily occupied!

Making a Murderer (TV Mini-Series 2015)

After spending 18 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Steven Avery was exonerated after DNA evidence proved him innocent. Avery then sues Manitowoc County for $36 million in damages. After filing the lawsuit, Avery was arrested for a murder that happened on his property. Did he do it or was he framed? You’ll find yourself binge-watching Making a Murderer to find out more answers. Be prepared to be glued to your screen.

Master of None (TV Series 2015)

Aziz Ansari created and stars in this award-winning comedy focusing on a 30 year old actor living in New York City. The show is both funny and heart-warming and you’ll easily fall in love with the main character, Dev, as you watch him figuring out his life through dating, dealing with his parents, and other social situations.

Narcos (TV Series 2015)

This fast-paced drama tells the true story of Colombian kingpin Pablo Escobar and the spread of drug cartels; from his start as a marijuana dealer to his rise as notorious drug lord. The story is told from the viewpoints of Escobar and U.S. DEA Agent Steve Murphy, who is trying to track him. The show has been called “thrillingly addictive.”

Bloodline (TV Series 2015)

This dramatic thriller focuses on the Rayburn family who own a hotel in the Florida Keys. The black sheep of the family, their eldest son Danny, returns home for the 45th anniversary of his parents’ hotel. His arrival back in town threatens to expose the family’s dark, shameful past and tests the family’s loyalty.

BoJack Horseman (TV Series 2014)

Netflix’s original animated comedy is voiced by numerous celebrities (Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris, and Aaron Paul) and follows the washed up life of BoJack, a used-to-be celebrity. The humor is mostly ridiculous but it’s easy to watch one episode after another.

eni’s Personal Assistant service is designed to help employees effectively balance the competing demands of work and life, while achieving optimal levels of productivity.  Our Personal Assistants are available to provide our members with research and information on virtually any topic from finding a great new TV show to finding a list of local contractors to fix that leaky roof.

Tags: Personal Assistant, work/life balance

BalanceBenefits and the Mobile Broker

Posted by Blog Tipster on Wed, Jan 20, 2016 @ 03:31 PM

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Brokers are always looking for new opportunities to effectively partner with their customers.  Providing ongoing, effective benefit education, communication, and support for companies and their employees is just the ticket to helping brokers stand out! The most recent Prudential Study of Employee Benefits found that employers’ top benefit strategy is to improve “the overall effectiveness of benefits communication”.   According to Prudential, ensuring regular, effective benefit communication is so important that employers are increasingly seeking to give carriers and TPAs a role in benefit communication.  Well it is time for brokers to step in and have a role too!  

How can you communicate about benefits effectively with employees?  Well, communicating about and engaging employees with their benefits on a regular basis, beyond new hire orientation, is important.  Employers are gravitating “towards a year-round, more value-added benefits education and enrollment strategy” (Prudential).   This is no surprise to brokers, who agree that benefit “communications and enrollment would be more effective if they took place at a different time of the year from medical insurance enrollment” (Prudential).  Next, effective benefit communication should use employees’ desired method of communication, be it call center and/or digital benefit support.

Finally, ensuring easy access for employees to their benefit information is crucial.  Many employees presently use their desktop (39%) or laptop (27%), but with the advent of the smart phone, nearly a quarter of employees prefer to use their mobile device to access their benefits (Prudential).  With the number of mobile devices now outnumbering desktops and laptops (Kleiner Perkins Caulfield Byers 2015), a mobile app designed specifically for benefit functions is a must!

Is there a particular area where employers would like help?  Well, a recent study revealed that employers would like help communicating with employees “during particular life events or life stages, such a marriage, divorce, or the birth or adoption of a child” (Prudential).  Employees, nearly 63% of those surveyed, were similarly very interested in “being notified of benefit changes or options at the time of a life event” (Prudential).  Employers and employees alike recognize the importance of knowing about benefit options available at the time of employee life events! 

The question then becomes, how can employers communicate about these benefits effectively, especially when life events occur for employees?   The answer is by turning to their broker, who can provide a unique and highly individualized approach to benefit administration and communication, complete with a comprehensive mobile app driven by life events that houses all benefit information! 

With BalanceBenefits suite of benefit engagement services including 24/7 call center support, a mobile app, as well as administrative and member web portals, employees will receive just that – benefit recommendations tailored to their individual needs!  Employees can select individual life events they need assistance with and receive benefit recommendations customized to meet their needs.  Benefit notifications, plan information, and custom benefit recommendations are available immediately in the palm of employees’ hands by using our mobile app or with the click of a mouse on their desktop.  Stand out, and become broker of record, by providing unparalleled customer support while assisting with benefit communication and education, by offering BalanceBenefits to your customers!

Learn more about our suite of benefit engagement services, including our BalanceBenefits mobile app, on our website.  You can order “Beyond Benefits” by Gene Raymondi, CEO and industry thought leader, watch our quick integrated benefits video, or simply send us an email requesting more information.   

We look forward to helping with your benefit needs!

Tags: Benefit Communication, Benefit Integration, Benefit Enrollment, broker of record, brokers