Health care

Businesses Face Health Care Dilemma; Teamsters Win Another Round

Last week the Teamsters union negotiated the highest health increase ever in the freight industry. While health costs are increasing at an unprecedented rate and employers are cutting benefits, raising the cost of employee participation, or both, the major trucking companies agreed to health and pension fund increases of $3.10 per hour and a continuation of the no-co-pay policy that is nearly non-existent among the rest of corporate America.
A&A

Targeting Those Caring For Elder Parents

by Michael P. Sullivan, President, 50-Plus Communications Consulting Does anyone ever really plan ahead to care for an aging parent? Not unless the older adult is in a troublesome or even critical state. Elder caregiving almost becomes a complete surprise. We don’t normally set aside money or time for the task. In fact, we are usually unprepared for it. And, often when it does occur, we tend to deny it’s happening. And yet there are critical issues that accompany the complex, extraordinarily powerful emotions of caring for loved ones who are elderly, disabled or ill.

HIPAA Privacy Rule Takes Effect April 14, 2003 - Be Informed

The HIPAA "Privacy Rule" goes into effect April 14 for group health plans with annual premium or claims of $5 million or more. HIPAA requires employers to separate protected health information from employment-relation functions. If you are a company who sponsors an employee health care plan, be prepared for the Privacy Rules of The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Businesses Can Offset Rises in Health Insurance Costs Without Trimming Benefits

Patricia A. Schultz, Esq., Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC Health insurance costs are expected to rise an average 16 percent in 2003.

Cost Sharing Strategies For Medical Benefits

With the costs of health care projected to increase as much as 20%, employers and employees alike are fearful that the rising costs will eat away at their bottom lines. Fortunately, a free report posted on AHI’s Benefits Alert website located at www.benefitsalert.com could help alleviate the pressure.The free report - "Cost Sharing Strategies For Medical Benefits" - outlines four of the best strategies (POPs, HRAs, FSAs, MSAs) for employers to use to derail the upward spiral in the cost of healthcare benefits for a company and its employees.

Helpful Ways to Manage Stress in Your Busy Life

Stress is a constant and is with us all the time. It comes from mental or emotional activity and physical activity. It is unique and personal to each of us. Too much emotional stress can cause physical illness such as high blood pressure, ulcers, or even heart disease; physical stress from work or exercise is not likely to cause such ailments.

House Passes Prescription Drugs Benefits Bill

CCH PROVIDES ANALYSIS AND COMPARES GOP AND DEMOCRAT APPROACHESHow Medicare Recipients Fare Under Each,States May See Relief from Rising Medicaid Bills(RIVERWOODS, ILL., June 28, 2002) – With the passage of the Medicare Modernization & Prescription Drug Act of 2002 (H.R. 4954) by the Republican-led House of Representatives on June 28, the pressure now is on the Democratic-led Senate to move on its own proposed bill.
Tax

IRS Rules in Favor of Consumer-Driven Health Plans

In a decision that could change the benefit landscape of the nation's workplaces, the Internal Revenue Service ruled on Wednesday, June 26 that employers who participate in high-deductible health care insurance policies may create Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) with rollover rights for their employees.For an HRA to qualify for the rollover treatment, employers must provide employees with a high-deductible health insurance policy with lower premiums than the typical low-deductible health plan popular in the workplace today.

Health Care Expenses Will Rise Dramatically in 2003

Consulting firm Hewitt Associates has released survey results showing an anticipated 20 percent increase in health care costs for 2003. Increases may be even greater for small businesses. Overall, health care premiums rose 15.6 percent in 2002.
Community News

KPMG: $9M Settlement in Medicare Fraud Case

Allegations that Big Five firm KPMG helped the nation's largest for-profit hospital chain cheat Medicare and Medicaid will be resolved by a $9 million settlement by the firm.KPMG this week agreed to settle out of court in a case that last year slapped their client the Columbia Hospital Corporation with over $840 million in criminal fines for defrauding government health care programs.The case alleged that KPMG filed false claims on behalf of Basic American Medical Inc. and later Columbia Hospital Corp. that allowed them to collect on costs they knew were not allowed.
Community News

Understanding The Benefits Improvement & Protection Act

The Benefits Improvement and Protection Act of 2000 (BIPA) Understanding the Opportunities CreatedPresented by Mike Stigler, CPA, FHFMADirector, Blue & Co., LLC.Contact Mike at mstigler@blueandco.comMay 10, 2001Visit the AccountingWEB Workshop Calendar for upcoming sessions.SummaryThe Benefits Improvement and Protection Act of 2000 (BIPA) is the second round
Community News

Upcoming Practices – What is Eldercare?

The Aging of North AmericaThe North American population is aging. Improved diets, sanitation and medical care are contributing to more people living longer lives than at any time in history. In the late 1700’s life expectancy at birth was only 35 years. This increased to 47 years by 1900 and 78 by 1991.In addition to this, the percentage of persons age 65 years and older to the entire population will is expected to increase from 12.3% in 1998 to 22.7% in 2041.The majority of the elderly are women.

Ergonomics Rule Killed by The House

Amidst cheers from business owners and jeers from unions, the House joined the Senate in voting down a bill that would have required extensive and expensive changes in the workplace.The ergonomics regulation, which was issued last November and would have taken effect in October, would cover over 100 million workers at more than 6 million work sites, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA estimated the compliance cost at $4.5 billion, far less than many business groups.

OSHA - Is Your Firm Ergonomically Ready?

OSHA's new rules, which go into effect January 16, 2001, cover all U.S. workers not employed in the agriculture, construction, railroad or maritime industries — in other words, 102 million workers in virtually every other line of business, big or small. Full enforcement of these regulations, following a nine-month grace period, begins October 15, 2001. The estimated total cost to businesses has ranged from OSHA's projection of $4.5 billion a year to industry figures of $125 billion a year.

Uninsured Workers Number 42 Million

Although the number of uninsured workers decreased 1.7 million between 1998 and 1999, a new study from the Health Insurance Association of America (HIAA) indicates that the economy could push the number of uninsured to 61 million by 2009. Employers should be concerned about these numbers because of the fact that health insurance coverage affects recruitment and retention.
A&A

CFOs Stay With Employers Seven+ Years

How long do you think the tenure of a CFO is with any one employer?According to a new survey from RHI Management Resources the average length is seven years or longer.Of those responding, 41 percent said they stayed with their employers this amount of time. The survey was conducted among 1,400 CFOs working in companies with 20 or more employees."For accounting and finance professionals, achieving CFO status is a career apex," says Paul McDonald, executive director. "Tenure tends to be more established at this level.
Community News

Lawsuit Against KPMG Raises Medicare Concerns

A lawsuit against KPMG in Florida raises issues as to whether accounting professionals should be involved in Medicare billing issues done on behalf of their clients.The suit alleges that the firm, in 1990-93, helped five state hospitals falsify Medicare cost reports that were used to illegally inflate the hospital's payments from Medicare.Although KPMG has publicly said they did nothing wrong (back then it was KPMG Peat Marwick), the U.S. Justice Department, last week, joined the lawsuit against the firm.

KPMG Sued by Florida Insurance Department

Claiming the Big 5 firm failed to uncover improprieties in the audit of HMO SunStar Health Plan, Inc., the Florida Insurance Department has filed suit against KPMG for $47 million.Earlier this year the department seized SunStar, claiming the organization didn't have enough money to pay the claims of its 80,000 policyholders.
Workplace Fitness

"Power Napping" and Relaxation Tips!

Some say that power napping is the key to success. More and more businesses are recognizing the tremendous payback to their employees when time is allowed for "Power Napping". You too can run and run like the Energizer Bunny!

New ERISA Update! Patients' Bill of Rights!

The Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974 has been revised to include a final regulation that will change the minimum requirements for benefits claims. The new regulation is effective 1/20/01 (is it a coincidence that this occurs on Innauguration Day?).The new regulation establishes new standards for processing claims under group health plans and plans providing disability payments.

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