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Saturday
May182013

PEO.com on Health Care Reform

Are Employers and PEOs Ready For Health Care Reform?

 Our friends at PEO.com make an interesting point about health care reform. Everyday, employers who are searching for employee leasing or trying to find a professional employer organization rely on PEO.com to locate an HR outsourcing provider. Rod Diekema, the founder of PEO.com, is an industry veteran who speaks with small and midsize business owners across the country daily. This gives him a unique prospective on what is going on in the business community. 

“The number one issue today is health care reform” he told me in a conversation last week. “Employers are just waking up to all the additional responsiblities, compliance and reporting that will be required. The regulations are complicated for sure”. After our discussion, Rod wasted no time in writing about his experience and suggestions in his blog on PEO.com.

Click on this link to his blog post entitled “Health Care Confusion Making You Crazy”.

Hope you enjoy it.

Monday
Dec102012

Employee Management Help For Business Owners

HR Outsourcing Firms Ease The Pain

Business owners and executives have many areas of their business to focus on. Opening the door every morning with a to-do list of tasks is challenging enough, having to be concerned with employee administration and compliance can be overwhelming for most. A recent article in The NY Times highlights some of the issues facing corporations larges and small. 

 

Look at the wide-ranging duties of human resources, it’s no wonder that companies are seeking outside help. “H.R. is supposed to be responsible for finding, developing, retaining and training the best people,” Suzanne Lucas, author of a blog called the Evil HR Lady. “It can also be responsible for benefits, compensation, employee and labor relations, business partners, data collection and legal issues.”

Fortunately, there are companies whose mission is to help small and midsize business owners and executives comply with the myriad of local, state and federal employment regulations.

Human Resource Outsourcing is a broad term that defines the performance of an HR service by a third party provider. It could be simply an ASO - Administrative Service Organization that provides a single service such as payroll processing, COBRA or 401k administration. Some are Information Technology firms who have developed software programs to ease the burden of employee administration and HR compliance. Many HRIS - Human Resource Information Systems, Labor Management, Recruiting and Staffing software platforms can be customized to the requirements of any businesss or association. Some firms offer a hybrid of technology combined with professional HR support services.

Employee leasing or  PEO - Professional Employer Organizations deliver a comprehensive integrated model called co-employment which enable business owners and corporations to transfer most of their personnel administration, benefits and human resource compliance to a qualified HR partner. The entire focus of these companies is making sure your business operates a safe and secure workplace, and complies with all of the latest employment rules and regulations.

“Outsourcing firms can take up various tasks, from payroll to benefits to recruiting, to free up a client to focus on its strengths, said Don Weinstein, senior vice president for product management at ADP, a large H.R. outsourcing firm. The new health care reform legislation, for example, will have a big impact on employers, some of whom may be overwhelmed by its complexities.”

It is important that business owners, executives and HR directors determine what services they require today and in the future, or as I like to say “identify what’s broken”. There are many providers to choose from, offering different HR service models and pricing formulas. Trying to identify the right fit for your organization can be a daunting task, but once you do, you will never go back to managing your employees on your own.

Monday
Nov192012

Workers Compensation Rates Will Increase In 2013

Small Business WC Premiums To Rise By 25% For Some Industries

Many small and midsize companies will experience an increase in their workers compensation insurance premiums in 2013. The effects will not be felt equally across the broad range of industries. Companies and business owners who employ blue-collar occupations may see increases of 25-30 percent.  Business operations that involve staffing, home health care, landscaping, and maintenance may find that they are unable to obtain workers compensation coverage in the standard insurance markets. Companies who are faced with this situation may be forced to consider their state’s Joint Underwriters Association (JUA), the insurance pool of last resort, where premiums could be triple.

Workers’ compensation insurance provides coverage for an employee who is injured on the job. Coverage for injured employees typically includes medical and rehabilitation costs, as well as lost wages. In Connecticut, some employers are facing another significant rate increase for workers compensation insurance next year, potentially as high as 30 percent, if approved by state regulators. The proposed rate changes would go into effect January 1st 2013. Businesses in the manufacturing industry, for example, face an average rate increase of 6.8 percent, but the range includes increases as high as 27 percent and rate decreases of 13 percent, according to the rate filing submitted by National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI). The contracting industry faces an average 9.9 percent increase in premiums, with rate increases topping out at 30 percent.

The goods and services industry faces an average 7.6 percent rate increase, with the maximum rate hike of 28 percent and a rate decrease as low as 12 percent. Employers in Connecticut are grappling with the second highest workers compensation costs in the nation, until now.

In Delaware, a 40 percent increase in their workers comp premium rates is set to take effect on December 1st, making that state’s rates the second highest in the nation, behind Illinois.  The greatest concern is the effect an increase of 40 percent will have on small business owners. A business now paying $20,000 in workers’ compensation rates will be paying nearly $30,000, and a company paying $70,000 would be paying close to $100,000. This is conditioned on a business owner’s ability to find coverage at all.

  After Hurrican Sandy - Capacity May Dry Up

Hurricane Sandy swept across the East Coast destroying businesses and homes in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York. The damage is expected to be billions of dollars. The industry states it can withstand claims of $50 billion dollars. What if claims exceed current projections? Insurers and investors allocate reserves to the various lines of coverage. When significant claims are paid, all lines of insurance are affected. Here is the current view of the market by Marsh, the world’s largest insurance broker.

Tracey Ant, primary placement leader in Marsh U.S. casualty practice, says that the workers compensation line of business “leads all commercial lines with the highest combined ratio” and results continue to deteriorate. The result is workers’ comp rates are on the increase. Insurers are taking other measures besides increasing rates by placing tighter controls over placements. “Profitability is more of a priority than growing their book of business.”

Business Owners Should Consider Alternative Options

Although, workers compensation will cost more next year, and some employers in blue-collar industries may not be able to secure coverage, there are still options available. Some employee leasing or staff leasing companies and professional employer organizations are still accepting certain risks at affordable rates. Companies who are faced with skyrocketing workers comp rate increases or non-renewals should consider working with an experienced PEO broker or employee leasing consultant for an alternative solution to their worker compensation problems.

Friday
Nov092012

Health Care Reform - The New Reality for PEOs

The End of Denial for Employee Leasing and PEO Companies?

NAPEO, The National Association for Professional Employer Organizations has published on their website napeo.org an announcement entitled;

PROFESSIONAL EMPLOYER ORGANIZATIONS CONGRATULATE PRESIDENT OBAMA ON REELECTION, LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WITH ADMINISTRATION ON HEALTHCARE.

I had to clean my glasses. This is an industry where many of it’s owners and executives, (over 98% of all employee leasing companies and PEOs are privately held) have fought health care reform every step of the way. Large contributions were made to The National Federation of Independent Business, The Chamber of Commerce, (click on this link to see the NFIB position) and a host of Republican PACs and lobbyists. We reported on their attitudes and views about Health Care Reform and the PPACA in our earlier blog post Want to Repeal Health Insurance Reform, Not Likely!!!.

NAPEO President and CEO Pat Cleary is quoted as saying “PEOs are already the go-to source for small businesses looking for help in preparing for and complying with the healthcare benefits changes brought on by reform, so we feel we have an important role to play as the implementation of the ACA proceeds” and offered its industry’s expertise as the Obama administration moves forward with implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Only time will tell if NAPEO, and the industry as a whole embraces Health Care Reform or not. My opinion is that the PPACA is one more reason small business owners should consider the services of proactive, qualified and responsible employee leasing companies and professional employer organizations.

Saturday
Jul282012

Gallagher and Liazon Team Up on Health Insurance Exchange

Two Industry Leaders Join Forces to Simplify Health Insurance

Arthur J Gallagher, one the oldest and most respected insurance brokers announced their launch of Bright Choices®, the innovative benefits platform powered by the Liazon Corporation. Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc. (GBS), their employee benefit consulting division, made official their decision to partner with Liazon Corporation in a press release where Anthony F. Hernandez, GBS Chief Information Officer, stated “We’ve selected a proven, comprehensive solution in the Bright Choices® Exchange—one that is easy to deploy, easy for the employee to use and built on outstanding technology.”

At Employers Rx, we could not agree more. We discovered Liazon’s remarkable technology, more than 3 years ago, and have proclaimed the virtues of the platform’s easy, user friendly interface from it’s inception. In May 2010, we wrote about Liazon’s unique Bright Choices® platform in a blog entitled Worried About Health Insurance Reform …. In it, I wrote how we believed then, as we do now, that Liazon’s Benefits Store and other health insurance exchanges will revolutionize the way medical plans are purchased in this country.

Liazon’s online benefits store enables employers to save money on their healthcare costs by setting predictable budgets, while enabling employees to select health, dental, vision, life and disability coverage, among other benefits, from various national and regional insurance providers.

Founded by Arthur Gallagher, a successful insurance agent in Chicago on October 1, 1927, the company was originally focused on commercial insurance and pioneered the concept of risk management. Today, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. is an international insurance brokerage and risk management services firm, with a network of correspondent brokers and consultants serving more than 110 countries. In 2010, Gallagher ranked 4th largest in the world based on revenue.