HealthNews May 2015

Recovering from Tragedy

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Major and unexpected tragedies can occur at any time.The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25th, currently has a death toll of over 8,500 and that number is still climbing. Our deepest condolences go out to all the families in Nepal affected by this terrible tragedy.

After seeing the devastating aftermath of the quake in Nepal, we are reminded that earthquakes and other natural disasters often occur with little or no warning. Taking necessary steps to be prepared for a disaster are highly recommended by the American Red Cross. Below are some important earthquake kit supplies to have on hand:

  • Water ­ one gallon per person; three day supply
  • Food ­ three day supply of non perishable food
  • Manual Can Opener
  • Radio ­ battery powered
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First Aid Kit
  • Dust Mask
  • Wrench or Pliers to turn off utilities
  • Cell Phone with inverter or solar charger
  • Fire Extinguisher

If applicable:

  • Prescription Medication supply
  • Infant Formula/Diapers
  • Pet Food

If you wish to make a donation to Global Giving to help the
people of Nepal, please visit:

http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/nepal-earthquake-relief-fund/

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The release of the new brochure by the IRS, “Affordable Care Act: Reporting Requirements for Applicable Large Employers”, is a good reminder about the monthly tracking requirements this year for the required filing in 2016. Information reporting was voluntary for calendar year 2014. All applicable large employers (employed an average of at least 50 full – time employees, including full-time equivalent employees,) are required to report health coverage information for the first time in early 2016 for calendar year 2015.

Under the tax code sections 6055 and 6056, employers must compile monthly and report annually several data points to both the IRS as well as their own employees. This data will be used to verify the individual and employer mandates under the ACA. The required reporting under the above sections do not occur until January 2016 to the employees and February 28, 2016 (March 31, 2016 if filed electronically), to the IRS. The information being reported, however, needs to be collected this year.

Information that applicable large employers need to track in 2015 for the 2016 filing are as follows:

  • Whether the employer offered full – time employees and their dependents minimum essential coverage that meets the minimum value requirements and is affordable
  • Whether the employees enrolled in the self-insured minimum essential coverage you offered

Form 1095-C (Employer Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage) is the form that will need to be filled out and provided to both employees and the IRS. Form 1094-C (Transmittal of Employer Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns) is filed to the IRS as a transmittal document for forms 1095-C.

The links below include the latest brochure from the IRS on reporting requirements as well as the the most recent versions ( as of February 2015 ) of the forms that employers subject to the employer mandate will be required to file. The 2015 forms are likely to be very similar, however, it is important for employers to review these forms to ensure that they are on track for 2015 reporting. For additional information or questions please visit www.IRS.gov/aca

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p5196.pdf ( Brochure )
http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1095c.pdf ( Form 1095-C )
http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1094c.pdf ( Form 1094-C )

Employee Job Satisfaction Jumps

663e1f3a-c233-4375-a99a-8b0296cc038bThe Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) completed it’s annual survey and has determined that workers are reporting more job satisfaction than at any time since 2004. SHRM did add some new “satisfaction factors” to this years survey that may have helped bring out more information about the true components of job satisfaction. The most significant of these factors were “Respectful treatment of all employees at all levels,” and “Trust between employees and senior management.” Both factors were rated more highly than financial factors, 63% for benefits and 61% for pay. Respectful treatment was rated the most important by the most respondents at 72% and trust between employees and senior management was at 64%.

“Workers have shown an increased preference for understanding their role and how it aligns with the success of an organization,” said Evren Esen, director of SHRM’s survey programs. “What’s important to employees now is a collaborative environment that encourages feedback and interaction among co-workers and between employees and their supervisors.”

“Pay is important,” Esen said, “But workplace culture might mean more. Corporate culture and workplace relationships are held in higher esteem by workers as evidenced in this year’s survey.” SHRM attributed much of the gain in job satisfaction to the recovery. “We’re moving away from a period of uncertainty,” said Esen. “Organizations now have more flexibility in hiring and benefit offerings, and there is a renewed focus on retaining employees. At the same time, workers are more confident in the job market and are seeking out jobs that are more compatible with their needs and wants. It all adds up to a change in how workers view their work and greater satisfaction on the job.”

Other findings of the survey include:

  • 92% of employees said they were confident that they could meet their work goals
  • 88% said they were determined to accomplish their work goals
  • 76% said they had a clear understanding of their organization’s vision and mission
  • 74% said they were highly motivated by work goals, which is an increase of 10 percentage points form the year before.

Is the ER Your First Best Choice?

83b939c6-6cdb-4a80-86eb-8ccefe83a745 The old adage, “Go to the nearest emergency room,” is not always a viable option. With visits to the ER at an all time high, wait times have skyrocketed and emergency room treatments for non-emergency medical conditions contribute to the rising cost of our healthcare.

ER room doctors state that emergency room visits continue to increase since the inception of the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act, despite the laws efforts to curtail them. A new poll by The American College of Emergency Physicians shows three quarters of emergency doctors saying that emergency visits are going up. This is a significant jump from just one year ago when less than half reported increases. The jump is driven by more covered Americans under ACA and a continuing shortage of primary doctors to care for them.

Unless it’s a true emergency, you’ll likely get faster medical care at other settings such as an urgent care center, retail health clinic, or a walk-in doctor’s office. Use these options, when available, when you need medical care quickly but can’t see your primary physician:

  • Urgent Care Center – These clinics can usually handle problems that need immediate attention but aren’t life-threatening or emergencies that require stitches and x-rays
  • Retail Health Clinic – Many major pharmacies and retail stores now have these walk-in clinics staffed by medical professionals when you need routine care as in a cold and flu shots
  • Walk-In Doctor’s Office – No appointment is necessary at these offices, and you usually are not required to be an existing patient. This alternative is a good choice when you need medical care quickly for things like mild asthma and mild allergic reactions.

The Importance of Employees Being Physically Active

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Physically active employees have been found to be more productive than their sedentary counterparts. Unfortunately, the number of people who are active is less than 20%. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that only 1 in 5 adults meet the federal guidelines for both aerobic activity and muscle-strengthening exercise. The CDC suggests two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking, every week. Aerobic exercise simply means you’re breathing harder with your heart beating a little faster. Moderate-intensity aerobic activity should also have you breaking a sweat. The CDC also suggests muscle strengthening exercises at least two days a week.

Employees spend about 2,400 minutes at work each week. The majority of those minutes are spent sitting. Increased activity can help lessen their long term health risks.

Listed below are 10 simple changes to get more exercise every day:

At the office:

  1. Park farther from the entrance to add some extra steps.
  2. Use the stairs instead of the elevator.
  3. Get up from your desk occasionally and/or do squats or lunges at your workstation
  4. Take a walk at lunch rather than sitting the whole time.
  5. Swap out your chair for an exercise ball.

At home:

  1. Add an incline to a flat treadmill workout to burn extra calories or find walking trails with hills or stairs
  2. Try planks instead of crunches for a more complete core workout.
  3. Choose pushups instead of bicep curls – you’ll work more muscle groups in the same amount of time.
  4. Break up your cardio with an interval workout.
  5. Try something new or take a different group exercise class with a friend

The key to success is to find something you enjoy that fits into your daily routine and don’t give up. It will ensure a greater chance of success and reap all of the physical, emotional, and mental benefits of being physically active.

With great respect,

Douglas-McCarty Insurance Services

We are dedicated to the highest standards of business ethics with a commitment to excellence in the health insurance industry – Douglas-McCarty Insurance Services