Does Your Company Have an Affordable Care Act Strategy in Place?

As you may know, the employer mandate to provide health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been delayed until 2015 for large companies (100 or more full-time equivalent employees) and until 2016 for midsize companies (50 to 99 employees). Although the mandate has been delayed, it is still important to develop a health care and employment strategy now to best prepare for the future.  Even if you currently have under 50 full-time employees, it’s a good idea to formulate a strategy because your company could grow, forcing you to play or pay. How you schedule hours this year will determine if an employee is considered full time next year. It’s a good idea to put a policy in place to limit the hours of workers the business wants to keep part time. Without a policy, employees are more likely to cross the 30-hour threshold.

For purposes of calculating full-time status, you’ll also need to determine what time frame your company will use for the following periods:

  • Look-back measurement period – No longer than 12 months and no shorter than three consecutive months to determine if an employee has full-time status and is eligible for health care coverage.
  • Administrative period – Up to 90 days for employer to calculate and notify employees of full-time status, enroll/disenroll employees and carry out similar administrative tasks.
  • Stability period – Once employees are notified of their full-time status, they will be considered full-time for a stability period that can be no less than six and no more than 12 months (and not longer than the measurement period, except in this first year), regardless of hours worked during this time. At the end of the stability period, the employer may again measure the employee’s status

As your HR team, BCN Services wants to help your company determine what approach to dealing with the ACA will work best for you.

 

 

Amanda Cline (200x184)

Amanda Cline, HR Generalist

A lesson in customer service: Analyze what works for your company

A coworker gave me a book on tape to listen to a few weeks ago.  I had heard of the company, Zappos, but didn’t know much about them or their core values.  This online retailer started very small and grew quickly beyond anyone’s expectations.  They have had a lot of setbacks along the way, but learned a lot and are now one of the leading companies in our country in customer service.

They developed what they call Core Values as they grew and have published these values for others to learn from.  They actually polled their employees on what they viewed as a core value, leaving no restrictions and allowing employees to input both positive and negative.  They learned a lot from their employees and from this exercise developed the following:

1.  Deliver WOW through Service: Zappos is known for their service.  They will go above and beyond to serve their customers. One of the things they do during the holiday season when their customer call center is extremely busy, is to have every employee from EVERY department help with phones for a few hours.  Even CEO Tony Hsieh participates.

2.  Embrace and Drive Change: So many of us fear change, but not at Zappos. They never want anyone who works for them to be content with the status quo.  This is what keeps them ahead of their competition.

3.  Create Fun and A Little Weirdness: Zappos created an internal blog that highlights the fun and goofy things they do within each department.  This adds humor to the work day which makes employees enjoy their work environment even more.

4.  Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded: Do not be afraid to take risks and make mistakes; this is how their company learns and grows

5.  Pursue Growth and Learning: Zappos created an office library that has the top books that CEO Hsieh finds inspirational.  This library is free to all employees and visitors.

6.  Build Open and Honest Relationships with Communication: Zappos works very hard to have strong relationships in all areas, both internal and external.

7.  Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit: Employees that work at this company care for each other and don’t just come to work and go home.  Many interact outside of the office, which creates a desire to be at work and do the best they can at their jobs.

8.  Do More with Less: There is always room for improvement and Zappos is always looking for ways to improve the efficiency of their operation.

9.  Be Passionate and Determined: Zappos believes in what they do and they never take “no” or “that won’t work” for an answer.

10. Be Humble: Being respectful of everyone is a key value to the company.

I think that every company has their own set of core values.  While these work for Zappos, they may not work for other companies.  It’s important for businesses to evaluate their mission and what their core values are, write them down and implement them throughout their organization.

We at BCN Services strive to be a trusted adviser to our clients, provide solutions to problems, and service our clients with respect and excellence.  What are your core values?  Can we help you discover yours?

 

WendyAllen_6690

 

Wendy Allen, Marketing Manager

The Affordable Care Act and You: March 31st, and possible extensions

The Affordable Care Act signup period officially ended March 31, 2014.  There has been much discussion regarding the extension of this date and a lot of confusion as well.  Today, we take a look at the extension process, who is eligible and how a person receives an extension.

Who is eligible for an extension?

  • Anyone who started to enroll before the deadline, but didn’t finish the process will automatically qualify for the extension.

What about paper applications?

  • Paper applications will be accepted through April 7th 2014.  So if you did not start the process on Healthcare.gov, complete and send in the paper application as soon as possible.

What if I am an “unresolved case” after filing for coverage on the Healthcare.gov website?

  • There is no time limit.  If you are already in the “unresolved cases” queue, once your situation is resolved you will be enrolled, there is no end date for this to happen…yet.

What is a “special enrollment period” and how do I or my employees qualify?

  • Extensions through a “special enrollment period” are being granted for hardship reasons including: natural disasters, domestic abuse/violence, website malfunctions, insurance company errors, and mistakes by insurance counselors.To be considered for a special enrollment period, contact the Federal call center at 1-855-889-4325 or the appropriate state marketplace and explain your situation.  Special Extensions are granted on the honor system.  If your extension is granted, you or your employee(s) have another 60 days to enroll.

As with anything related to the Affordable Care Act, the information provided here is accurate as of March 31, 2014 and subject to change if the extension process or dates is modified after the March 31, 2014 date.

Please contact BCN Services if you have additional questions or would like to learn how we can eliminate the headaches and hassles of dealing with the ever-changing health care landscape.

 

 

Rick Dyer (200x193)

Rick Dyer, Vice President of Sales