04 Oct Is Your Insurance Advisor Putting You at Risk?
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has caused a growing number of companies to seek expert advice on complex employee benefits issues, including how to comply with new federal mandates and deadlines.
For example employers with 50 or more full-time employees or full-time equivalents are now required to offer affordable and adequate health coverage or pay a penalty tax. Full-time employees include those who work at least 30 weekly or 130 monthly hours. This definition differs from the 40-hour per week full-time eligibility requirement previously used by many companies.
Under the current federal mandate, variable hour and seasonal employees – such as those who work for construction companies, hotels and restaurants – may also be considered full-time. The eligibility formula for coverage is complex, requiring employers to determine which employees should be offered health care coverage under the new law.
The ACA also requires employers to distribute a Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) and a Uniform Glossary of healthcare terms to plan participants and other required notices within specific timelines.
The right industry professionals can keep you a step ahead of changing healthcare laws. However, not all parties are legally qualified or competent to serve as employee benefits advisors. In fact, the California Department of Insurance constantly pursues unlicensed individuals who put companies at risk by illegally collecting confidential employee information.
Before engaging the services of an insurance professional, beware of unlicensed operators! Insurance agents and administrators in California are required to display their license number on their business cards and marketing materials. Their licensing status can be verified online with the California Department of Insurance at www.insurance.ca.gov.
Next, choose an advisor with a reputation for trust in the employee benefits industry. Ask for client professional references. The California Department of Insurance’s website is a resource for obtaining the disciplinary records of agents and administrators.
Finally, select an insurance advisor who offers a level of service and personalized care to meet your group insurance needs. Making the right decision will simplify the benefits process, reduce corporate administrative costs and support the long-term health and wellness of employees.