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The State of the Union Address and the Employee Benefits Market

On Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, President Donald Trump delivered the 2019 State of the Union Address (SOTU). The SOTU is an annual message delivered by the president to a joint session of Congress at the beginning of each year. At this year’s SOTU, President Trump discussed issues that have the potential to impact the employee benefits industry, including pre-existing conditions, lower prescription drug prices and nationwide paid family leave. Pre-existing Condition Protection In a departure from 2018 Department of Justice actions, President Trump announced in the address that people who have pre-existing conditions should receive protections. If the administration holds true to...

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February Also Means Financial Aid Awareness

The higher-education community celebrates Financial Aid Awareness Month throughout the month of February. For many students and families, filing the FAFSA (the Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and the CSS Profile (the Common Private College Aid Application) is a daunting task. We offer a variety of materials that you can use to learn about financial aid, including the filing process, how income and assets are counted, and how colleges use the information to determine aid eligibility. Let a member of our team know if we can help with your overall financial planning by calling 804-285-5700 or emailing us at wealth@simafinancialgroup.com....

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February is for Fiduciaries!

Working together to help you achieve your financial goals is incredibly rewarding. Here at SIMA, we take our responsibilities to adhere to the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct very seriously, which is why we are proud to be an Accredited Investment Fiduciary® Designee. The AIF® Designation is more than just an acronym. It’s a symbol that we will always put your best interests first. Feb. 28 is National Fiduciary Day, which was established to acknowledge the importance of fiduciary excellence in our industry. In honor of this celebration, we am taking the opportunity to simply say thank you for...

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Calculating OT? Double-Check Your Math

Overtime, or OT, is typically calculated by multiplying an employee's hourly rate by 1.5--pretty easy, right? It depends who checks your math. The Department of Labor (DOL) recently published an opinion letter on pay rates, as they relate to calculating OT. According to the letter, you can vary employees' average hourly rates from week to week--assuming the average hourly pay is always above the Fair Labor Standards Act's minimum wage threshold. However, employers using this method should be cautious when determining OT pay. The DOL specified that a company may not "arbitrarily choose the regular rate of pay" on which to...

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Deadlines to Furnish Forms 1095-C and 1095-B to Employees Fast Approaching

The IRS deadlines to furnish Forms 1095-C and 1095-B to employees in early 2019 are fast approaching. The deadlines are as follows: Employers with 50 or more full-time employees (including full-time equivalent employees) generally must furnish a Form 1095-C to all full-time employees no later than March 4, 2019. Self-insured employers with fewer than 50 or more full-time employees (including full-time equivalent employees) generally must furnish a Form 1095-B to all responsible individuals--typically the primary insured, an employee or former employee, or other related person named on the application for insurance--no later than March 4, 2019. The deadline for employers to...

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IRS Kicks Off 2019 Tax-Filing Season

IR-2019-07, January 28, 2019 WASHINGTON ― The Internal Revenue Service successfully opened the 2019 tax-filing season today as the agency started accepting and processing federal tax returns for tax year 2018. Despite the major tax law changes made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the IRS was able to open this year’s tax-filing season one day earlier than the 2018 tax-filing season. More than 150 million individual tax returns for the 2018 tax year are expected to be filed, with the vast majority of those coming before the April tax deadline. Through mid-day Monday, the IRS had already received several million...

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Special Notice Regarding Year-End Payroll Forms & Billing

Employees’ W-2s have now been prepared and you should have received them in the mail. Your W-2 forms are also available on your online portal located under the Reports tab. We have already filed all returns with the tax authorities but please remember to distribute all W-2s to your employees by January 31st. Please keep in mind that we will be processing your payment for year-end filings on January 31st. You may find the amount of your year-end invoice in the Payroll Liability Report located under the Report tab. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact your payroll team...

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It’s Time to Prep for ACA Reporting in 2019

IRS Extends Form 1095 Distribution Deadline to March 4 On Nov. 29, the IRS extended the deadline for employers to distribute 2018 Forms 1095-C to employees by 30 days—until March 4, 2019, instead of Jan. 31. The delay also applies to self-insured small employers, insurers and others issuing Form 1095-B to covered individuals. See the SHRM Online article IRS Extends Form 1095 Distribution Deadline to March 4.   The IRS has published final forms and instructions to help employers prepare for next year's reporting on the health coverage they offered employees in 2018. Employers subject to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) must distribute reporting forms to employees and file with...

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More Employers Go Direct to Providers, Sidestepping Payers

Some large employers are sidestepping health insurers and contracting directly with providers. A recent Willis Towers Watson survey found that only 6% of employers contract directly with providers now, but 22% are considering it for 2019. Can a small employer do the same? Yes. Here in Richmond, trusted provider Bon Secours had partnered with a third party administrator ACMG to bring direct, lower-cost pricing to small employers with as few as five covered lives. ACMG is a Virginia-based and veteran-owned full-service third-party administrator with over 35 years of operating history. ACMG has extensive experience working with providers in delivering health insurance solutions to local...

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