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Thursday, 05/27/21 Walt Podgurski 440-773-1108 E-Mail
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Three Ways To Prioritize Well-Being Through Employee Benefits
By Tom Finn, co-founder, CEO at LeggUP / Forbes / / Read Article

Did you know employee benefits in the U.S. may have first made an appearance in 1636 with disabled colonists receiving pension plans? Employee benefits are far from a novel idea, but one could argue they are embarking on a new evolutionary stage.

In 1875, American Express became the first private company to offer their retirees 50% of the salary earned in their final decade with them, not exceeding $500. During World War II, profit-sharing became a top way to give workers additional compensation without raising wages.

As Fast Company explains, other notable advancements in employee benefits include:

• 1910: First group accident and sickness policy

• 1940s: Paid vacation and employee assistance programs (EAPs)

• 1980s-90s: Paid parental leave and stock options

In the '90s, employee benefits really began to take off, with SHRM tracking 60 perks and benefits by 1996. Today, they report, this number well exceeds 300, spanning from the now-standard medical, dental and vision plans to more esoteric perks including everything from “neurofeedback experiences” to DNA tests and screenings.

The main motivation for expanding employee benefits was and is to attract and retain top workers. In today’s modern and diverse workforce, it’s about prioritizing well-being so employees are happy, productive and engaged.

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Obamacare Subsidies: Six Reasons Congress Should Not Make Temporary Increases PermanentMay 26, 2021 20 min read Download Report
Doug Badger, Senior Fellow, Domestic Policy Studies / The Heritage Foundation / / Read Article

The decision to temporarily increase federal premium subsidies was ill-considered.

It was based on the false premise that millions of workers and their dependents had lost coverage due to government lockdowns.

It poured almost all resources into subsidizing the premiums of people who already had insurance.

it made the nation’s highest earners eligible for government premium assistance.

It enlarged federal payments to insurance companies in one of their most profitable lines of business and created perverse incentives to inflate premiums.

Making these subsidies permanent not only would double down on these bad policies but could also result in millions of Americans losing their employer-sponsored coverage.

Congress erred in enlarging premium subsidies last March. It should not compound that error by making that expanded subsidy structure permanent.

Jack: Biden plan warrants watching by estate planners
By: Aaron “AJ" Jack Guest Columnist / The Journal Record / / Read Article

In addition to raising the capital gains tax, President Biden’s ambitious $1.8 trillion American Families Plan could significantly increase estate taxes when wealth is transferred to family members, heirs and beneficiaries.

Biden’s plan, which has received considerable pushback from Republicans and moderate Democrats, features a wide range of initiatives to support families through $800 billion in tax cuts and $1 trillion in expenditures. In its current form, the AFP will provide financial support for child care, family leave, health care, higher education and a number of other programs.

To help pay for the plan, the Biden administration wants to raise the capital gains tax rate to 39% from 20%. It also plans to eliminate a tax adjustment called a “step up in basis” that minimizes capital gains taxes in excess of $1 million per person (double the amount for couples) for assets passed down to heirs.

Four Steps to Strengthen Workforce Financial Wellness
BY TED GODBOUT / NAPA (National Association Of Plan Advisors) / / Read Article

More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, finances continue to be a top cause of employee stress, even above job, health and relationship stress combined.

In fact, nearly two-thirds (63%) of full-time employees say their financial stress has increased since the start of the pandemic, PwC repots in its 2021 Employee Financial Wellness Survey of 1,600 full-time employed U.S. adults.

Consequently, the survey found that employees whose financial stress has increased due to the pandemic are:

four times as likely to have experienced a decrease in overall household income and find it difficult to meet household expenses on time each month; and
twice as likely to have used a payday loan or payday advance in the past year, taken a loan or distribution from a retirement account, or considering postponing their retirement.
So how can employers foster a culture of financial wellness and support to help their workforce? PwC suggests the following four steps.

1. Make the Business Case for Supporting Employee Financial Health
2. Recognize What’s Happening at Home
3. Leverage Momentum to Promote Good Financial Habits
4. Implement a Technology Solution Paired with Human Interaction and Guidance

Bassett Healthcare to collaborate with healthcare company Optum on technology
By KEVIN LIMITI / Allotsego.com / / Read Article

Bassett Healthcare announced Tuesday, May 25 that they will be collaborating with Optum, a healthcare innovation company, in order to streamline health services through the use of technology, making providing care cheaper and more efficient.

About 500 Bassett employees will be given the option of transitioning to work with Optum.

Here are the only two times when you should dip into your 401(k)
Robert Exley Jr. / CNBC / / Read Article

Over 25% percent of Americans planned to tap their 401(k) in 2020.

That almost always will be a bad idea, according to financial expert and radio show host Chris Hogan.

“The only time you really want to touch your 401(k) is to prevent bankruptcy or foreclosure,” Hogan said.

Pulling money out of your retirement accounts in most other situations prevents you from taking advantage of upswings in the market, Hogan said.

Transamerica Expands Employee Benefits Offerings with New Group Life, Disability Solutions
Employer-sponsored group life and disability insurance complements Transamerica's comprehensive suite of workplace benefit solutions
PRNewswire / / Read Article

Transamerica today announced the launch of new and enhanced employer-sponsored group disability and term life insurance. The company is continually expanding products and services designed for the workplace. As a leading employee benefit and retirement provider, Transamerica developed these new offerings based on extensive feedback from employers and distribution partners. Employers have shown a renewed focus on offering employees access to comprehensive benefits packages as the country has begun to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The timing and expansion of our employer-sponsored benefits demonstrate Transamerica's commitment to simplify the buying experience for employers and their financial professionals, and to develop solutions that help employees protect their financial security," said John Stanley, Senior Managing Director of Employee Benefits for Transamerica. "These group life and disability solutions enable Transamerica to provide a broader set of solutions to thousands of employers. We believe Transamerica's expanded wealth and health solutions, bolstered by our investments in our people and innovative technologies, will support our rapid growth in employee benefits and accelerate our position as a market leader."

Guardian Life is making it easier for employees to take time off
By Paola Peralta / / Read Article

Since the beginning of the pandemic, employers have been struggling to manage employee leave. A year and a half later, and it’s still proving to be a challenge.

Eight in 10 employers said COVID-19 raised senior leadership awareness of the importance of effective absence management, according to a study by insurance company Guardian Life. Which is why the company rolled out Guardian Absence Solutions, a service aimed at simplifying employee leave programs and supporting the return-to-work transition.

“At the heart of Guardian Absence Solutions is our focus on employee well-being, while providing employers the expert support needed to get employees back to work in a safe and timely manner via a digital-first solution that will ease the administrative burden of managing multiple types of employee leave,” Chris Smith, head of group benefits at Guardian Life, said in a press release.

Guardian Life’s new platform will digitally manage both short and long-term disability, state and federal leaves as well as company paid and unpaid leaves, and will include integrated intake, a unified claims portal, consolidated billing and continuous monitoring of leave regulations to help ensure federal and state compliance.

Assure Alliance Delivers Custom Marketing Platform for Members Powered by Agency Revolution
Named Accelerate, the platform is designed to drive agency growth by making marketing simple
PRNewswire / / Read Article

Agency Revolution, an FMG Suite company serving independent insurance agents, today announced a partnership with Assure Alliance, the largest network of independent insurance agencies in the southeastern United States, to deliver a custom, whitelabeled marketing platform to its membership.

Powered by Agency Revolution, Accelerate: Marketing Made Simple features support for communication via email, social media, personalized greeting cards, as well as virtual and in-person events. Bundled with a library of insurance-specific content, the platform makes marketing easy for Assure Alliance insurance agencies with the content and tools needed to capture new business and increase retention. The partnership exemplifies Assure Alliance's commitment to accelerating its members' success with robust marketing technology.

Photo Of The Day

Monday, 05/24/21 - - Dozens of longtime employees are suing Farmers Insurance for age discrimination

Tuesday, 05/25/21 - -
How nonprofit hospitals get away with the biggest rip off in America

Wednesday, 05-26-21 - -
Health Insurance Broker: Dude, what you're doing is changing lives by Andy Neary

Thursday, 05-20-21 - -  Brokers have seen mixed impacts to their voluntary business as a result of COVID-19, according to Eastbridge Consulting Group

Friday, 05-21-21 - -
Amazon Introduces New Mental Health Benefit for All U.S. Employees and Their Family Members

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