Required announcement for employees, samples and guidance …

Required employer notice explaining an employees ability to go to the marketplace to obtain coverage.

October 1st is a deadline date I would not want you to miss.

As the premier, trusted source, BenStaff has prepared this short announcement for you to announce to employees the required DOL notice for health care reform.

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Health care reform, Obama care, is here and to help you comply the team has prepared this email to help you. You will find three links in this note and a few short helpful tips. The first is our employee announcement template, the second is the DOL model notice and the third is a SAMPLE completed notice.

Click here for the employee announcement template you can send to employees. You will likely revise this to fit your own peculiarities, remember to keep your message simple and don’t include language that promises employees something by mistake. The team has seen announcements others have provided and found information that obscures the plain language intended by the DOL.

When writing to employees about benefits, you likely wouldn’t be surprised to learn, shorter is better because employees likely won’t read all you write. Send us your revisions or your own letter and we’ll give you our thoughts at no charge.

The required DOL notice – PDF is easy to fill-in, most employers can fill this in without any assistance and send it to employees with only minor personalization. The DOL also provides tools and resources you can find at On the second and third pages of the notice there are references to minimum value, actuarial value, and essential benefits. Many insurance companies or issuers of policies have provided employers with these items; minimum value, actuarial value and if essential benefits are included.

But, for some employers who have HRAs or separately administered drug cards or wrap plans their plan may require an actuarial valuation to satisfy the forms accurate completion. This is a written statement made by a member of the American Academy of Actuaries. We have this assistance available if an employer plan needs that help. Our staff is ready to provide the certifications.

The notice intent is to communicate to all employees that the government health care site (to be referred to as the Marketplace) will open 10/1 and to provide employees with basic information about the employer plan. Employees who venture to the Marketplace will need this information.

Review the completed sample; BenStaff_sample_DOL_required_notice_for_10_1.

A WORD OF CAUTION: If the employee cost you enter in box 15 or 16 is more than 9.5% of any employees pay, you should review your plans again. We would recommend you look more closely because an employee whose cost is that high is likely eligible for a subsidy. This may put you into the penalty. It’s true penalties have been delayed to 2015 but the measurement period that will determine the penalties has not. Call us for help, we can provide a few simple recommendations.

The notice we’ve provided here is for employers who have health plans, there is a different notice for employers that don’t.

(as provided in an email alert, September 2013)

Sticker Shock, Even for Boosters of Obamacare

A returning customer reacting to sticker shock said, “WOW, I am a supporter of providing insurance for more people, but this is awful.”

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Mike Rogers, before Congress 10/23/2013

I do enjoy watching and listening to first hand commentary. I just received a link to Mr Rogers opening remarks on Health care reform in Washington at the same time a returning customer was slugging through their new 1/1/2014 health care options.

A returning customer reacting to sticker shock said, WOW, I am a supporter of providing insurance for more people, but this is awful.”  This customer found premiums per person doubling for their small business.

The sentiments of the customer are consistent with so many who are having sticker shock along with confusion about the new rules.

Rogers, in his brief remarks mentions the trade-off the government is forcing on 85% of the population who have health care. One trade-off he explains is the, “National cancer intelligence center for the United Kingdom and the Canadian Cancer registry here’s the trade-off they picked by having government run health care. If you get prostate cancer you have a less chance of survivability than you do in the United States. And, that’s the same for skin cancer, breast cancer, bladder cancer…”

There are answers but they’re not republican or democrat. The answers lie in the details underpinning health care and its availability and affordability. The Economist just published an article, “How Science Goes Wrong“ where they outline a lack of rigor in research. Agenda driven research needs to be abolished, both to benefit individuals and lower cost for employers.

BenStaff is an analytic, detail loving firm. Everyone on my team is detail oriented and our work is focused on making the most of the employee benefit dollar spent.


A Note about older posts

Old “Blogger posts” have been consolidated into this one posting location.

Over time I have posted blog pages, written articles, spoken on TV or been interviewed about employee benefits, healthcare, retirement and topics like that. I’ve not been consistent where these things have been located.

If you know of posts I should retrieve, please let me know.


ACA requires an actuary to “calculate appropriate adjustments to the AV”

Employer plan sponsors who use HRA accounts or wrapping programs must certify the plans actuarial value by using the IRS calculator, and in cases where the calculator doesn’t fit, an Actuary must certify.

Certify your plans actuarial value

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Some plan designs do not fit neatly into a predetermined AV, you will need an actuary to calculate an accurate actuarial value used to report to employees. The actuarial calculator for ACA does not take into account every unique plan design circumstance. In this case, hand calculated AV will bridge the gap. This is an affordable endeavor that permits plans to continue to be creative in plan design options.

For instance, plan design teams are focused on including a 60% AV to meet company cost objectives. Confirming, or working with us, will optimize plan designs for both the employer cost equation and employee value.