Risk Reduction: 7 Tips to Enhance Workplace Safety

Benefits, Benefits Plans, Employee Benefits, Group Health, Health Insurance, Health Plans, Healthcare, Human Resources, Mental Health, Open Enrollment

Caring and dutiful employers want to ensure workplace safety. Some reasons for a focus on safety are as simple as caring for everyone’s well-being, from executives and managers to daily staff and facility guests and clients.

There are also self-preservation-oriented goals that drive businesses to tighten up workplace safety, such as avoiding injury or loss of life, workers’ compensation claims, and lawsuits. Any of these instances have the power to damage a company’s reputation and, in some cases, can invite financial disaster that ultimately results in shuttering their doors. Therefore, a practical philosophy about workplace safety has the same impact as being concerned about people’s health and well-being.

When business leaders focus on these primary goals, risk reduction success becomes increasingly likely.

Let’s take a closer look at the value of reduced risk for your employees and business and how you can do it with some simple and effective tips.

by Chris Freitas

5 Workers Comp Issues for Health Care Workers

Benefits, Benefits Plans, Employee Benefits, Group Health, Health Insurance, Health Plans, Healthcare, Human Resources, Mental Health, Open Enrollment

Your organization’s health care workers are committed to serving patients with care – but unfortunately, that strong work ethic can put them at risk for their own workplace injuries. According to one report, health care workers sustain more injuries and illnesses on the job each year than other industries – with back injuries alone costing the health care industry more than $7 billion annually. In 2019, U.S. hospitals recorded 221,400 work-related injuries and illnesses, a rate of 5.5 work-related injuries and illnesses for every 100 full-time employees – almost twice the rate for other industries and even higher than the construction and manufacturing fields. The physically demanding nature of the job can certainly be a factor in these injuries, but there are other factors at play, too.

Let’s take a look at the circumstances that make health care workers more likely to sustain a workplace injury, as well as the possible solutions that can help them stay safe.

by Chris Freitas

FMLA Changes and General Leave Updates for 2021

Benefits, Benefits Plans, Employee Benefits, Group Health, Health Insurance, Health Plans, Healthcare, Human Resources, Mental Health, Open Enrollment

Everyone worldwide has experienced some degree of tumult since early 2020, when COVID-19 reached pandemic status. Workers all over the world have had to adjust to remote work options and many other unprecedented work-related modifications.

One thing that hasn’t changed in the past two years is that family medical issues that require valued employees’ attention come up. Sometimes, a situation requires their physical presence to manage the matter, which is frequently upsetting and worrisome for the family for some duration.

As most people know, such matters didn’t decrease with the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic. On the contrary, issues worsened, or new concerns specific to the novel virus itself arose in many cases. With that, the Department of Labor (DOL) had to take a fresh look at a classic law and make it work in the general sense and according to matters regarding COVID-19.

Do you know everything you need to know about Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA or Act) changes and general leave updates? If you’re uncertain, our KBI benefits team keeps up with all the latest FMLA changes and more, so let’s see what’s happening.

by Chris Freitas

What is Stop-Loss Insurance?

Benefits, Benefits Plans, Employee Benefits, Group Health, Health Insurance, Health Plans, Healthcare, Human Resources, Mental Health, Open Enrollment

If you’re offering self-funded health plans to employees, you’re aiming to cut health care costs while continuing to extend top-notch benefits. Self-funded plans can save money for both the company and employees – but they can bring significant risks, too.

If an employee suffers a catastrophic event that triggers unexpected expenses, you’re on the hook for the entire amount, which could be financially devastating – and even threaten the future of your self-funded plan.

That’s where stop-loss insurance policies come in. Companies that self-fund may choose to purchase stop-loss policies to cover these catastrophic claims.

by Chris Freitas

What is a Health Care Sharing Ministry?

Benefits, Benefits Plans, Employee Benefits, Group Health, Health Insurance, Health Plans, Healthcare, Human Resources, Mental Health, Open Enrollment

Over the past few decades, several alternatives to traditional group health insurance plans have emerged for employers who care about providing top insurance for employees and saving money for the organization. Business leaders and HR departments in various industries have sought new strategies in healthcare, such as the Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement (ICHRA) and self-funded plans.

Your employees might not participate in your plan at all. Whether one of your employees has a spouse with another insurance plan and coverage or receives insurance through a government-based program, not all your employees depend on you to provide healthcare insurance.

There is another alternative to employer-led insurance plans for work: a health care sharing ministry (HCSM). While it is outside the parameters of your business and your employees’ health insurance needs, you might employ some people who participate in such a plan.

Let’s take a few moments to learn more about this unique alternative to a traditional health insurance strategy.

by Chris Freitas

Health Care Compliance: What Is It?

Benefits, Benefits Plans, Employee Benefits, Group Health, Health Insurance, Health Plans, Healthcare, Human Resources, Mental Health, Open Enrollment

When your company decides to offer health care coverage to employees, you’re banking on the overall benefit to employee morale, retention rates, and health. While health benefits are indeed an excellent way to retain top employees and invest in their long-term health, implementing a health plan automatically requires you to follow a slew of compliance regulations.

These compliance regulations are designed to protect the interests of your plan participants and ensure you're following federal and state mandates for health plan operation.

by Chris Freitas

Changing Health Insurance Outside of Open Enrollment

Benefits, Benefits Plans, Employee Benefits, Group Health, Health Insurance, Health Plans, Healthcare, Human Resources, Mental Health, Open Enrollment

Each year, businesses offer employees the opportunity to sign up for, reevaluate, change, cancel, or otherwise adjust their healthcare plan during the open enrollment period. This timeframe also applies to individuals who participate in government-based Marketplace health plans on some level, which has an enrollment deadline in mid-August.

Generally, employees are not able to engage in any insurance-related activity outside the open enrollment timeframe. However, there are some exceptions to the rule.

To help employees interested in changing health insurance outside of open enrollment, keep reading.

by Chris Freitas

Mental Health Parity Rules: What Are the Changes to the Act?

Benefits, Benefits Plans, Employee Benefits, Group Health, Health Insurance, Health Plans, Healthcare, Human Resources, Mental Health

The efforts to recognize mental health issues as critical as physical issues have gone on for several decades. Finally, in 1996, the Mental Health Parity Act (MHPA) was enacted to prohibit large group health plans from imposing limits on mental health benefits, especially when less than favorable limits were imposed on surgical or medical benefits.

by Chris Freitas

How to Avoid an Employment-Related Lawsuit: 5 Practices to Follow

Benefits, Benefits Plans, Employee Benefits, Group Health, Health Insurance, Health Plans, Healthcare, Human Resources, Insurance, Teamwork

When companies start to approach the big 5-0 in terms of staffing, Human Resource (HR) teams face new levels of intensity when it comes to legal matters. It’s far easier to maintain a one-on-one approach to employee relations and compliance with smaller numbers. However, once your business reaches the level of success where you need more people to drive that momentum, you incur more risk.

by Chris Freitas

How Did COVID-19 Affect the Insurance Market?

Benefits, Benefits Plans, Employee Benefits, Group Health, Health Insurance, Health Plans, Healthcare, Human Resources, Insurance, Teamwork

More than a year since the start of the pandemic, we are continuing to monitor the ripple effects on business operations worldwide. As one of the most highly visible – and scrutinized – sectors of the economy, the health insurance sector was forced to grapple with an extraordinary crisis. Although insurance analysts will be studying the influence of COVID-19 for years to come – and some of the pandemic’s effects have yet to be determined – here’s what we know about the impact of COVID-19 on the insurance market so far.

by Chris Freitas