Stay Compliant: Notices to Include in Your Annual Employee Benefits Open Enrollment Materials

David Rook

Whenever an employer offers a group health plan, it's imperative to properly administer all of the health plan notices required under the DOL, PPACA, ERISA, COBRA and HIPAA. Failure to comply with these directives can lead to costly penalties.

So when it comes to your employee benefits communications this open enrollment season, how confident are you in providing your employees (and their dependents) with all of these legally-required notices in the time and manner in which the law specifies?

Savvy employers can generally minimize both the administrative burden and cost of sending these notices by simply including them with the health plan enrollment materials they distribute each year. Although yearly distribution is not required for most federally mandated health plan notices, employers should consider including some of them with enrollment materials anyway. Doing so may cure any previous failure to give the notice, and it demonstrates an employer’s good faith effort to apprise plan participants of their rights.

Here is a rundown of the notices you might wish to include in your open enrollment communication efforts. Note that these notices, in general, apply to all types of group health plans, including both fully-insured and self-funded group health insurance plans. That said, some of the requirements vary by the type of health plan offered as well as the size of your company.

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Topics: Employee Benefits, Communications, Compliance

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Employee Handbook Basics

David Rook

Employee Handbook Basics

Understanding the basic fundamentals of employee handbooks can help keep employees on track while also keeping companies out of hot water. In this blog post we set out to answer questions such as why employers should have an employee handbook, what it should include, and why legal reviews are so critical.

Why Have An Employee Handbook?

The purpose of an employee handbook is to have one resource everyone in the company can go to for an explanation of the company policies. The handbook should record information on what the employer expects from the employees and what employees can expect from the employer. It is an easy-to-understand reference written to provide employees with answers to basic questions such as leave policies and more.

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Topics: Communications, Compliance

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Three Steps to Dramatically Improving Your Employee Benefits Communications

David Rook

Three Steps to Dramatically Improving Your Employee Benefits Communications

Today's legislative and administrative healthcare complexities only exacerbate the challenges most companies face when trying to market employee benefits to their workforces.

Let's face it, it's complicated (and boring) stuff. Just the thought of discussing medical, dental and vision insurance, not to mention disability coverage, life insurance, 401Ks and FSAs, usually has employees running for the exits (or at least checking their smartphones during the all-important Open Enrollment meeting).

Faced with this challenge, best-in-class employee communication practices really matter.

Our previous blog post focused solely on how employers can do a better job when it comes to branding their employee benefits programs.  This post (and much moreso, our free downloadable eBook) provides specific and actionable advice on how to maximize employee communications planning, construction and timing. 

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Topics: Communications

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3 Great TED Talks in The Era of Choice & Consumer-Driven Healthcare (CDHC)

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3 Great TED Talks in The Era of Choice & Consumer-Driven Healthcare (CDHC)

Initial indicators suggest that consumer-directed health plans are indeed succeeding on several fronts; primary care engagement is up, trips to the emergency room are down, health savings account (HSA) balances are rising, and most importantly, health care spending is falling by 5 to 14 percent. But there's a big roadblock to CDHC / CDHP adoption: rampant consumer confusion.

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Three Branding Strategies for Your Employee Benefits

David Rook

Three Branding Strategies for Your Employee Benefits

When we think about brands, we tend to think of strong global icons like Coke, Under Armour, Disney and BMW.  While it might seem odd to approach your employee benefits in the same manner, your employees are making a commitment of time and effort to learn about and participate in what programs you’re offering, so branding matters.

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Topics: Communications

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