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The Guard Group Blog

2016, an expensive year for ACA compliance.

The Affordable Care Act has increased health care costs to many employers, but 2016 might just be the most costly years yet. New reporting & notification requirements bring new headaches, and new expenses.

Maintaining compliance comes at a cost, labor for long hours to comply, manual data collection, all increase costs, especially for smaller organizations.

Organizations are looking to control costs now, as there are most likely more costly years ahead. Employers are adding high deductible health plans to their benefit options to reduce overall premiums. Not only are employers making changes to benefit plans, they are also looking for solutions to help with data collection, benefit administration, time and labor management. If employers can reduce the amount of time and labor spent manually reporting to stay in compliance, that can help reduce some of the cost increases.

The Guard Group and Suite HR have the solution. Employers have to provide reports to employees, and the IRS which is an overwhelming task of data collection. SuiteHR has an ACA module that allows you to proactively manage your ACA compliance strategy across your entire workforce.

How does your organization plan to control rising health care and compliance costs?

Let us show you how simple it can be.

Looking to control healthcare costs?

Employers are doing everything they can to control healthcare costs, three increasingly popular solutions are telemedicine, social media benefits communication, and online enrollment, according to the Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.’s 2015 benchmarking survey.

Are these solutions that you currently offer to your employees? Could you add or expand these ideas within your company?

Here at The Guard Group, our goal is to help employers reduce healthcare costs, and at the same time make HR and benefits administration a process that becomes simple.

Here are a few ways to help reduce healthcare expenses:

  • Telemedicine
    • Telemedicine is helping to solve healthcare access problems and drive down the cost of healthcare. HDHP’s are extremely popular to bring down overall premiums, but increasing the out of pocket expense for employees. One of the ways to combat out of pocket expenses is Telemedicine. Telephonic medical consultations will reduce office visit co-pays and claims against employers utilization. Another benefit for employers, less time employees will be out of the office for doctors appointments. Two great benefits for employees, less out of pocket expenses and they won’t be spending valuable time waiting in doctors offices surrounded by other sick patients.
  • Online Benefits Enrollment
    • Annual open enrollment can be expensive, not just the amount of time your HR and benefits staff will spend getting all of your employees enrolled, but the materials you use to communicate with employees. Employers have been using online benefits enrollment systems to streamline their process. Employees enroll online, no paper, on their time! Your HR department won’t be handling paper enrollments, faxing forms back and forth, and not to mention printing employee communication materials. When everything is offered online, employees can review options, elect benefits and make their decisions quickly!
  • Social Media
    • Employers have taken to social media to communicate benefits information. And why not! This is a free and easy way to communicate with employees. Let’s face it, the benefits packets you send home might get tossed aside. By most of your workforce is probably on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. You can also use blogs or podcasts to engage employees with videos or even contests to get them involved. Using these free resources will help employees communicate with eachother, get them talking and inform them of important interoffice topics.
The Guard Group stays up to date with new and interesting ways to reduce healthcare costs, let us guide you step by step!

What does benefits administration look like post- ACA?

As we all transition to benefits administration in the post-ACA era, we realize how much is changing and how important the need is for technology that can keep up with the changes. HRIS systems and benefits administration systems are necessary to keep operations running smoothly but the two systems are overlapping and it can be hard to distinguish the difference between the two.

HRIS systems should cover onboarding, payroll, benefits, performance management, work history and recruiting to name a few. Benefits administration systems should include, benefits enrollment, life events, cobra, also, benefit education and communication.

Employers feel having a benefits administration system that can do more will ease the administrative burden, but keeping the two separate is important. Ben admin systems can get bogged down with compliance.

Having a good benefits administration system can engage employees year round and improve participation in voluntary benefits enrollment as well. When employees are engaged and informed with their benefits, they are likely to use them correctly and when needed, reducing the amount of confusion for employees and human resource departments.

Is your HR department still using paper? How is information being sent to carriers? What can a benefits administration system do to ease the burden on your departments?

When choosing a system, think long term, past year one. Look for something that will enhance productivity, and is easy to navigate.

Suite HR is simple and simple is Suite. Simple is happy employees. We have the solution.

It just makes “cents”!

Having an automated time and attendance system may just seem like a bonus to your human resource department, but at the end of the day, it really does make more “cents” to invest in an automated system. How much time and money are you actually losing on a manual system?

Manually processing time and attendance can come at a cost. Time theft and human error are two reasons manually processing payroll can result in hidden costs.

When employees are reporting time manually, they are not going to be precise as if they were using an automated system. Let’s face it, most of us can hardly remember what we did yesterday so remembering the exact hours we worked 2 days ago or even last week could be a stretch. So your employees will find themselves “assuming” they worked a normal day but could have left early for an appointment or may have come in late. You’re paying them for time that was not worked. Employees might not be doing this intentionally but it will come at a cost to you.

Adding up time sheets might not seem like a hard job, even with a calculator! But having employees add up their own hours or even having HR do all the time and attendance calculations can lead to mistakes.
Not to mention compensating someone to calculate and manually enter payroll, when they could be productive in other areas.

What is the solution? One of the easiest and most accurate new solutions is mobile time and attendance. Developed in response to the growing need for mobile technology, SuiteHR is ideally suited for companies with employees and managers who are on the move.

Don’t worry about remote or field employees punching in from the wrong location. Managers can set geospatial limitations to ensure employees are only punching in at a specified location, down to a tenth of a mile. You won’t have to worry about employees clocking out at 5 even though they’ve been home since 3.

This brings peace of mind to employers, knowing you’re paying your employees for the job they’re supposed to be doing. It just makes “cents”!

Pay or Play

Under the ACA, the “employer shared responsibility provision” sometimes referred to as “Pay or Play”, mid-size to large employers can choose to offer health insurance or pay a penalty. Employers may be trying to decide whether they want to pay the penalty or “play” and offer coverage to their employees.

First, some questions you might need to ask yourself:
Are you an applicable large employer?
Which employees count when you’re determining if you’re an applicable large employer?

Here is a helpful tool that can answer those questions.

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p5196.pdf

Reporting can be confusing, not to mention the instructions for the 1095-C and 1094-C forms are complex. Determining if you have the required number of full time employees and if you are offering coverage to at least 95% of their full time employees, can be confusing. The good news is, with SuiteHR, ACA reporting is easy and will run reports in real time, with the ability to drill down into each employee file. Compliance alerts will also notify managers if an employees status changes from full time to part time.

We help simplify the processes around ACA compliance to help avoid steep penalties. Tracking, integrating and analyzing data across time and attendance, payroll and HR is here and we make it simple.

COBRA, Compliance is Key.

Maintaining COBRA compliance is extremely important and required by law. It can be confusing and overwhelming but we have the solution to save you time, money, and allow you the freedom to focus on other areas of your business.

COBRA administration from SuiteHR will:
Keep you compliant
Reduce COBRA continuant claims
Reduce administrative expenses
Communicate with the COBRA recipient about coverage and qualifying events

We make it simple:
Education and communication about changes in regulations
Assume responsibility for COBRA administration under DBI’s control
Online access for you and qualified beneficiaries

Do you have the time to administer COBRA? Are you knowledgeable about the latest COBRA requirements? Can you afford the liability for noncompliance?

Don’t let your COBRA administration leave you exposed. Don’t underestimate all that is involved. There are deadlines and details that can put you at risk for penalties and fines. Let us make it simple.

Simple is Suite.