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Getting your money’s worth out of a company retreat

Company retreats can cost enormous amounts of time and money. Are they worth it? Sometimes. Large-scale get-togethers can involve considerable out-of-pocket costs. And if the retreat is poorly planned or executed, participants’ wasted time is the biggest expense. But a properly budgeted, planned and executed retreat can be hugely profitable, producing fresh ideas, renewed enthusiasm and heightened employee morale. Here are a few ways to get your money’s worth out of a company retreat. Create specific objectives First, nail down your goals and objectives. Several months ahead of time, determine and prioritize a list of the important issues you want to address. But...

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It’s that time of year… We can help

Most retirement plan sponsors are familiar with the plan testing that takes place around this time of year. With acronyms like ADP, ACP, HCEs, and NHCEs, the technical side of 401(k) nondiscrimination testing can easily become overwhelming. There are a variety of plan tests performed each year and there are several different ways to take action should the plan fail testing. Among options to consider, corrective distributions from the plan or adding additional money to certain parts of the plan may be advised. This annual testing cycle can be very time consuming and frustrating, and we understand our clients’...

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Anthem News: Drug list name will change for some Small Groups in Virginia

If your company offers an Anthem medical plan that complies with health care reform law, you may notice that the name of the plan's drug list (also called a formulary) has changed. The new name is the Traditional Open Drug List. The medications included on the drug list have not changed. The goal of the list is to provide access to drugs and therapies with clinical evidence to improve the health of Anthem members, while keeping health care affordable. As a reminder, Anthem's Drug Search Tool lets members see results specific to their plan's drug list, after they've logged into their...

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House Republicans Release Proposed ACA ‘Repeal and Replace’ Bill

UPDATE 3/27/17: Despite days of intense negotiations and last-minute concessions to win over wavering GOP conservatives and moderates, House Republican leaders Friday failed to secure enough support to pass their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the bill from consideration after he rushed to the White House to tell President Donald Trump that there weren’t the 216 votes necessary for passage." (Kaiser Health News, March 24, 2017)   Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives have released the American Health Care Act, a bill which seeks to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act...

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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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