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Anthem’s Customized Credit Freeze Program Following 2015 Cyber Attack

Earlier Anthem announced that they have agreed to provide a customized credit freeze program for minors who were under the age of 18 on January 27, 2015, when they first discovered indications of the 2015 cyber attack. Anthem announced that, as part of the Minor Credit Protection program, they will: Cover the one-time costs to set and remove a freeze at all three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion), if a parent chooses to set a minor credit freeze for his or her minor child. Reimburse the costs incurred for an existing minor credit freeze with the three credit bureaus, if...

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New SBC Template Required For Use On or After April 1

New versions of the Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) template, instructions, uniform glossary, and related documents are required for use on or after April 1, 2017. Under the Affordable Care Act, group health plans and health insurance issuers are generally required to provide a written SBC to plan participants and beneficiaries at specified times during the enrollment process and upon request. Changes to SBC Template The new SBC template includes an additional coverage example as well as language and terms to improve individuals' understanding of their health coverage. Specifically, the new template includes more information about cost sharing, such as...

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IRS Updates Publication on Deducting Travel, Entertainment, and Car Expenses

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has updated Publication 463 (Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and Car Expenses) for use in preparing 2016 tax returns that are filed in 2017. This publication explains what travel, entertainment, and car expenses are deductible, how to report them on returns, what records are needed to prove expenses, and how to treat any expense reimbursements received. Highlights of Updated Publication Updated Publication 463 contains the following new information: Standard mileage rate. For 2016, the standard mileage rate for the cost of operating a taxpayer's car for business use is 54 cents per mile. ...

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Revised Model CHIP Notice Now Available

A revised model notice is now available for all employers that provide group health coverage in states with premium assistance through the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or Medicaid, to inform employees of potential opportunities for assistance in obtaining coverage. The employer CHIP notice must be furnished to all employees annually before the start of each plan year. An employer may provide the notice applicable to the state in which an employee resides concurrent with the furnishing of: Materials notifying the employee of health plan eligibility; Materials provided to the employee in connection with an...

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SIMA at the ALA

SIMA was delighted to share information and good times with the members of the Association of Legal Administrators at their annual retreat this past month in Williamsburg, Virginia. Consultant Chris Nagle and Marketing Coordinator Kerri White discussed ways in which administrators in legal offices can work smarter, not harder, to alleviate many of the burdens associated with accounting, payroll, benefits, retirement plans, and ever-increasing compliance concerns. For our clients in the legal space, we extend an invitation to join us next year for exceptional networking and educational opportunities. This year we benefitted from sessions regarding the EEOC...

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Don’t make hunches — crunch the numbers

Some business owners make major decisions by relying on gut instinct. But investments made on a “hunch” often fall short of management’s expectations. In the broadest sense, you’re really trying to answer a simple question: If my company buys a given asset, will the asset’s benefits be greater than its cost? The good news is that there are ways — using financial metrics — to obtain an answer. Accounting payback Perhaps the most common and basic way to evaluate investment decisions is with a calculation called “accounting payback.” For example, a piece of equipment that costs $100,000 and generates an additional gross margin...

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An EAP can keep your top players on the floor

A good basketball team is at its best when its top players are on the floor. Similarly, a company is the most productive, efficient and innovative when its best employees are in the right positions, doing great work. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for good employees to battle personal problems, such as substance dependence, financial and legal woes, or mental health issues. These struggles can negatively affect their productivity and the working environment around them. One way employers can help is by offering a benefit called an employee assistance program (EAP). A benefit with benefits An EAP helps identify at-risk employees and assist them...

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Medicare Part D Online Disclosure to CMS Due Mar. 1

The Medicare Modernization Act requires employers that provide prescription drug coverage to Medicare-eligible individuals to complete the Online Disclosure Form to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to report whether such coverage is creditable prescription drug coverage (“creditable coverage”). Creditable coverage is coverage that is expected to pay, on average, as much as the standard Medicare prescription drug coverage. This disclosure is required annually, no later than 60 days from the beginning of a plan year—typically March 1st for calendar year plans—and at certain other times. Visit our section on Medicare for more information about how the law...

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New Expiration Date for Employer CHIP, COBRA General, and COBRA Election Notices

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has extended the effective dates of its model Employer CHIP Notice, General Notice of COBRA Rights, and COBRA Election Notice through December 31, 2019. Previously, these model notices expired on December 31, 2016. No other changes have been made to these notices. For the latest guidance regarding these notices, please visit the DOL's Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act and COBRA Continuation Coverage webpages, or contact the DOL directly at 1-866-487-2365.   ...

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DOL Adjusts Labor Law Penalties for 2017

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has published a final rule adjusting for inflation the civil monetary penalties assessed for violations of a number of federal labor laws. The increases generally apply to civil penalties assessed after January 13, 2017, whose associated violations occurred after November 2, 2015. Key Penalty Increases Penalty increases that may be of particular interest to employers include: FLSA Requirements. Repeated or willful violations of the FLSA's minimum wage or overtime pay requirements are subject to a penalty of up to $1,925 per violation (formerly $1,894); FMLA Posting. Willful violations of...

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