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Inflation and open enrollment: How one is impacting the other

Inflation is causing many employees to feel financially strained. According to The Hartford’s Future of Benefits Pulse Survey , nearly half of all U.S. workers feel inflation is making it difficult for them to contribute to their employee benefits. Because of this, employees will consider options and determine how to best optimize their money spent. This year’s open enrollment may be more challenging for employers and benefits providers. According to Voya research, 70% of workers are looking for employers to help them enhance their benefits selections. This includes retirement savings, healthcare, health savings accounts and voluntary benefits (e.g., critical illness, hospital indemnity, disability income or accident insurance). This same research also revealed that due to inflation, employees will spend more time during this year’s open enrollment reviewing their benefits selections compared to years past. Read our Benefits Insights for tips on understanding how employees approach be

Benefits Breakdown Newsletter - September 2022

Early preparation is crucial for 2023 open enrollment The job market is still dealing with the after-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Workers are taking stock of their circumstances and considering which employment perks matter the most. Specifically, employees are more concerned now about their physical and mental health, financial security and work-life balance than before the pandemic. Many employers have enhanced benefits offerings to support their employees, but providing the right options for a specific workforce is vital. Beginning open enrollment efforts early in 2023 will enable employers to tailor benefits offerings and showcase all the perks they can provide for their employees. Employers can prepare early for open enrollment by: surveying employees to determine which benefits are essential to them; revamping benefits offerings to meet workforce needs; strategizing employee messaging; and effectively communicating benefits offerings. Early preparation can help show employee

Total Rewards to Recruit and Retain

Sustaining and recruiting high-quality talent in a tight labor market is a challenge. Doing it while controlling costs seems nearly impossible. Companies are becoming increasingly aware of the challenge and are looking for ways to improve recruitment and retention strategies. Total Rewards Concept For years, employers have produced total compensation packages that include detailed compensation and benefits. Incentives include base and variable pay, group insurance, paid time off, recognition programs, and training and career opportunities. These total rewards programs aim to provide each employee with monetary and non-monetary rewards to motivate them to maintain desired business performance. According to a survey of HR professionals from 22 different countries sponsored by Deloitte Consulting and the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists, 35% believe that finding, motivating and retaining top talent is their biggest immediate challenge. To meet company and em

How the NYS Health Care Worker Bonus Program Impacts Employers

In August, the State Department of Health launched the Health Care Worker Bonus Program (HWB) aimed at rewarding and retaining frontline healthcare and mental hygiene workers. As with any new state program, many questions arise. Below, we answer the most frequently asked questions from our clients.   What is the New York State Health Care and Mental Hygiene Worker Bonus Program? The HWB Program is a state-funded initiative that requires “qualified employers” to pay bonuses to “qualified employees” who earn less than $125,000 annually and remain in their positions for at least six months. Payments are based on the number of hours worked and duration of service within designated “vesting periods” for a maximum of $3,000 per employee.  Who is a “qualified employer?” Qualified employers include employers with at least one employee and that: bill for services under the Medicaid state plan; bill for services under a home or community-based services waiver; or have a provider agreement to bil

How Employers Can Address Social Determinants of Health

Expanding access to the healthcare system has traditionally been a key strategy to improve health outcomes. But we’ve recently seen a growing emphasis on a more holistic approach focusing on social factors that impact an individual’s health, well-being and quality of life. These factors, such as income, access to food, safe housing, education and job opportunities, are known as social determinants of health. Employers may be unaware of how social determinants of health impact employees. Understanding the broader barriers to health and well-being can help employers identify the social factors that may be impacting their workforce. This knowledge enables employers to more effectively and holistically improve employee health outcomes by offering benefits that best align with their employees’ needs and wants. Not only could this improve their employees’ health outcomes, but it may lead to a more productive and loyal workforce and lower overall healthcare expenses. Read our full Benefits In

The ins and outs of HRAs

Health reimbursement arrangements are employer-funded accounts that reimburse employees for qualified medical expenses they’ve paid for out-of-pocket. Employers set up an HRA, determine the amount of money available to each employee for a coverage period and establish which expenses the funds can be used for. But there’s a lot more to understand when it comes to HRAs , like: what are the benefits; who is eligible; how contributions and distributions are made; and what medical expenses are eligible? Download our recent Know Your Benefits articles Understanding an HRA and Examples of Eligible Expenses to get all the answers and more. For more information about  employee benefits, our services and products , contact HBS by  email  or call 800.388.1963. These Know Your Benefits articles are provided by HANYS Benefit Services and are to be used for informational use only and should not be construed as professional advice. © 2022 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

Why you need an HRA

  What are HRAs? Health reimbursement arrangements are employer-funded programs that reimburse employees for certain medical expenses. Typically, an employer can only offer an HRA to employees with a group health plan, often a high-deductible health plan. Your employer determines the amount of money available in the HRA, which is typically an amount less than your annual health plan deductible. Why an HRA? HRAs provide a tax-free, employer-funded amount of money for healthcare expenses. These arrangements are a great way to pay for out-of-pocket qualified medical expenses while working to meet your plan deductible. There are many advantages to HRAs including: tax savings; out-of-pocket expense reduction; and accrued balance. How do HRAs work? You can use your HRA funds to get reimbursed for your own eligible medical expenses, as well as your spouse’s and dependents’ eligible medical expenses. Eligible medical expenses are unreimbursed medical care expenses, as defined under Section 213