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August 22, 2016

The 2016 presidential election could bring significant changes to the U.S. health care system. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have both campaigned on promises to control health care spending and reduce out-of-pocket expenses for consumers.
The chart below provides a brief overview of each candidate’s health care platform, so you can better understand how Clinton or Trump may affect the employee benefits landscape if elected into office.

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Emergency Room or Urgent Care?

August 1, 2016

If you’re faced with a sudden illness or injury, choosing where to seek medical attention can be crucial to your personal and financial well-being. Listed below is a guide to selecting the appropriate place of care.

You should visit the Emergency Room (ER) for the following conditions:

  • Compound fractures
  • Moderate to severe burns
  • Uncontrollable bleeding
  • Deep knife or gunshot wounds
  • Serious head, neck or back injuries
  • Seizures or lack of consciousness
  • Signs of a heart attack or stroke
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Poisoning

You should visit an Urgent Care Center for the following conditions:

  • Sprains or strains
  • Skin rashes and infections
  • Ear infections
  • Sore throat, fever or cough
  • Flu symptoms
  • Minor broken bones (toes, fingers, etc.)
  • Vomiting, diarrhea or dehydration
  • Diagnostic Services

*Please note that emergency rooms are equipped to handle life-threatening injuries and other serious conditions. Although urgent care centers are usually more cost effective, they are not substitutes for emergency care. urgent care vs hospital

This is for informational purposes only and should not be interpreted as medical advice.

5 BIG Reasons to Offer Employee Benefits

July 28, 2016

benefit of benefits2

Significant Changes to Form 5500

July 27, 2016

On July 21, 2016, a proposed rule was published by federal regulators that seeks to modernize and improve the Form 5500 annual return/report that is filed by employee benefit plans. The changes are expected to apply for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2019.

While the Form 5500 is periodically updated so that it stays current with legal and market developments, these proposed updates are significant because of their focus on group health plans. Significantly, the proposed rule would eliminate the current filing exemption for small group health plans and require group health plans to complete a new detailed schedule.

In addition to these changes, the proposed changed would expand the Form 5500’s financial and compliance reporting, analytics capability and service provider information.

What Steps Should I Take?

Employers should monitor these proposed changes to the Form 5500 and consider how the changes would effect them if they are finalized. Employers with small group health plans that have been exempt from the Form 5500 filing requirement may wish to contact service providers to evaluate their options for Form 5500 filings.

DOL Increases Penalties for Health Plan Violations

July 18, 2016

On July 1st, 2016, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued an interim final rule that increases the civil penalty amounts that may be imposed under various federal laws, including the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The interim final rule increases the civil penalty amounts associated with:

  • Failing to provide an annual Form 5500 (as applicable)
  • Failing to provide the annual notice regarding premium assistance under the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
  • Failing to provide the Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) as required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

The increased amounts apply to civil penalties that are assessed after August 1, 2016, for violations that occurred after November 2, 2015.


Employers should review their health plans to ensure compliance with ERISA’s requirements. For example, employers should comply with ERISA’s reporting and disclosure rules, including the Form 5500, annual CHIP notice and SBC requirements.


July 14, 2016 


FLSA Overtime Rule Change

June 10, 2016

On May 18, 2016 the Department of Labor (DOL) released a new rule overhauling overtime wage payment in the United States. Under the new rule, the salary threshold will increase from $23,660 to $47,476 per year. It also increases the salary threshold for highly compensated individuals from $100,000 to $134,004 per year.

This new rule could affect more than 4 million American workers. According to estimates from the DOL, employers will spend more than $592 million to comply with the new rule. Employers who fail to implement overtime changes could face lawsuits, criminal charges, fines and restrictions in commerce.


Employers have until December 1, 2016 to comply, however, delaying preparation efforts could result in costly penalties. For more information on the new overtime rule, contact us today.