Benefits Communication with Social Media

Whether it is promoting open enrollment, explaining plan changes or educating on how to use benefits, communicating benefits information to employees is a perennial challenge for employers. A fast-growing trend among leading companies is to include social media in their benefits communication strategy to extend their reach.

The benefits of social media
Social media provides potential solutions to some of employers’ toughest benefits communication challenges.

  • One difficulty employers have is reaching a diverse audience of employees. Social media helps companies expand their reach. Although some employees may still expect printed materials, many would prefer reading a post online or watching a video. Plus, considering the amount of personal time employees spend daily on social networks, it makes sense to target them there.
  • Budget can be another hurdle for benefits communication efforts and social media is a way for employers to do more with less.
  • Benefits information can be overwhelming and complex, making some employees more likely to skim over or ignore it. Using social media, such as posting videos to Facebook or tweeting reminders, makes benefits information more relatable and personable—and employees are more likely to pay attention and understand.
  • Benefits communication must encompass many topics. Employers need to promote open enrollment, educate employees about plan changes, explain how to use the plan, promote consumerism and more. Social media helps break down this overload of information into easy-to-digest posts and reminders—in a place employees are already spending time.
  • Posting updates year-round can provide valuable reminders to employees about using their benefits wisely.
  • Social media offers two-way communication, so employees can easily ask questions about their benefits or interact with other employees.

Getting started

To get started, think about how you want to use social media for this purpose. Facebook and Twitter are good places to start, as they are likely the most popular among your employee population.

Whichever platforms you choose, create separate accounts from your external company accounts. Consider using employee-facing accounts not only for benefits communication, but also for wellness and other internal communications.

To get off to a strong start, you need to promote your new social media efforts widely among your employees—your strategy won’t work if your employees don’t follow your online accounts. As you’re getting the message out, promote it in several areas. Add a tagline in email signatures, post links on your intranet, post announcements around the office, etc. Emphasize the benefits for employees, such as the following:

  • Timely benefit enrollment reminders
  • Easy-to-understand information on plan changes that simplify enrollment decisions
  • Plan utilization tips that help save time and money
  • Ability to ask questions about plan changes or benefit details
  • Quick access to information anytime that can be shared with spouses and families

Suggestions for content

There are innumerable ways your company can take advantage of social media to communicate your benefits. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • Reminders about open enrollment deadlines
  • Short videos, blogs or posts explaining plan changes
  • Tweets or Facebook® posts about frequently asked questions or definitions
  • Health care and prescription money-saving tips (choose generics, only use ER for a true emergency, etc.)
  • Reminders about cost-free preventive care available to them
  • Tips on how to use a health plan (example: How to submit an FSA claim)
  • Retweet or link to relevant documents about consumerism or general benefits education
  • Education about voluntary benefits, such as long-term care or dental

Don’t forget to interact! Encourage employees to ask questions, and ask them to share their own experiences or tips for better plan use. And as with any social media initiative, be sure to reply if an employee contacts you or asks a question—engagement is a vital component of social sites.

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Donating to Disasters and Avoiding Scams

Hurricane Harvey is the strongest storm to make landfall in the United States since Hurricane Charley in 2004. News of the damage it has caused to southeastern Texas is prompting people to help in whatever ways they can. Unfortunately, there are dishonest people who prey upon people’s good intentions, creating fake charity campaigns to exploit victims and take advantage of those who want to help.

How to Avoid Scams

Despite the sense of urgency to help when disaster strikes, it is important to do some research before donating. Consider the following best practices to ensure that your resources go to a legitimate charity with experience in disaster relief:

  • Never wire money to someone who claims to be a charity. Legitimate charities do not ask for wire transfers. Once you wire the money, you’ll probably never get it back.
  • Be cautious about bloggers and social media posts that provide charity suggestions. Don’t assume that the person recommending the charity has fully researched the organization’s credibility.
  • Only donate through a charity’s official website, never through emails. Scammers have a knack for creating fake email accounts that seem legitimate.
  • Ensure that the charity explains on its website how your money will be used.
  • Be wary of charities that claim to give 100 percent of donations to victims. That is often a false claim, as well-structured organizations need to use some of their donations to cover administrative costs.
  • Never offer unnecessary personal information, such as your Social Security number or a copy of your driver’s license. However, it is common for legitimate charities to ask for your mailing address, and it is safe for you to provide it.

How to Choose a Charity

Even legitimate charities need to be considered with care. The Federal Trade Commission suggests avoiding new charities because, despite their legitimacy, they may not have the resources needed to get your money to its intended recipients.

Donors looking for a worthy charity can access an unbiased, objective list on a website called Charity Navigator. The site receives a Form 990 for all of its charities directly from the IRS, so it knows exactly how the charities spend their money and use their donations. It also rates charities based on their location, tax status, length of operation, accountability, transparency and public support.

Gaining popularity for charitable donations is a crowd funding website called GoFundMe, which allows people to raise money for a wide variety of circumstances. Despite its popularity, visitors to the site should be cautious about the campaigns to which they donate. Visitors can report suspicious campaigns directly to GoFundMe via its official website or to their state’s consumer protection hotline.

National Organizations

The following national organizations have long-standing reputations for providing disaster relief and accepting donations:

  • The American Red Cross provides shelter, food, emotional support and other necessities to people affected by disasters.
  • AmeriCares takes medicine and supplies to survivors.
  • Catholic Charities USA supports disaster response and recovery efforts that include direct assistance, rebuilding and health care services.
  • The Salvation Army provides shelter and emergency services to displaced individuals.

Remember that there are other ways to provide disaster relief that don’t involve monetary donations, especially if you live near the affected area. Local food banks and blood centers commonly ask for donations during relief efforts.

 

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On-site Health Clinics – Impact on HSA Eligibility

Employers may consider establishing on-site health clinics in order to help manage health care costs and encourage employee wellness. On-site health clinics can be designed to cover a wide array of health care services, such as first aid, treatment of work-related injuries or illnesses, preventive care or primary care.

Employers that offer high deductible health plans (HDHPs) that are compatible with health savings accounts (HSAs) should consider how access to an on-site health clinic may impact employees’ HSA eligibility. According to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance, having access to an on-site health clinic that provides significant medical benefits for free or at a reduced cost may prevent employees from making HSA contributions.

Employers that want to establish an on-site health clinic while preserving HSA eligibility will need to make sure that the clinic’s services are provided in a way that is HSA-compatible. This may include, for example, limiting the clinic’s services to first aid, care for workplace illnesses or injuries, preventive care or other types of permitted coverage.

On-site health clinics

On-site, employer-sponsored health clinics are growing in popularity as employers look for ways to manage health care costs and as employee wellness becomes a higher priority. An on-site health clinic can offer health care services to employees in a convenient location at the workplace. These clinics tend to offer health care services to employees for free or at a reduced cost.

Services offered at an on-site health clinic can vary widely. Some clinics only provide treatment for work-related injuries and illnesses and general first-aid services. Other clinics may provide services to support an employer’s wellness program (for example, blood and body mass index testing), offer comprehensive primary care services or simply supplement the care employees receive from their primary care providers. These supplemental clinics may offer diagnostic services, injury care, pharmacy access, preventive care and more.

Before establishing an on-site health clinic, employers should consider the compliance issues associated with this type of benefit. Employers that sponsor HDHPs will also want to consider whether the health clinic’s coverage could disqualify employees from making HSA contributions.

If you would like additional information, please contact your Lovitt & Touché representative.

 

 

© 2017 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved. EM 8/17

 

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Safety Focused

Staying safe while traveling involves more than simply locking your valuables in a hotel safe. Today, cyber crime is just as prevalent as conventional crime. In fact, your digital property may be more valuable to criminals than your personal property. Before packing for your next business trip, take the following precautions to protect yourself and your belongings while away:

  • Turn off home and work computers before you leave. Computers that are always left on are more vulnerable to hacks.
  • Back up all data. Store sensitive files either on a removable storage device locked in a safe or in a secure facility in the cloud.
  • Be cautious when using public Wi-Fi. If it is necessary to go online in public, use a secured connection. If you have to use an unsecured connection, avoid checking bank balances or visiting any site that asks you for personal information, which can be easily stolen.
  • Enable a pass code on your smartphone. This can prevent hackers from accessing sensitive information should you lose your phone.
  • Use a credit card instead of a debit card for purchases. A cyber criminal can deplete your bank account with your debit card.

© 2017 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

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2018 Open Enrollment Checklist

To prepare for open enrollment, group health plan sponsors should be aware of the legal changes affecting the design and administration of their plans for plan years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2018. Employers should review their plan documents to confirm that they include these required changes.

In addition, any changes to a health plan’s benefits for the 2018 plan year should be communicated to plan participants through an updated summary plan description (SPD) or a summary of material modifications (SMM).

Health plan sponsors should also confirm that their open enrollment materials contain certain required participant notices, when applicable—for example, the summary of benefits and coverage (SBC). There are also some participant notices that must be provided annually or upon initial enrollment. To minimize costs and streamline administration, employers should consider including these notices in their open enrollment materials.

Click here to download full article.

 

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Senate Rejects Efforts to Repeal the ACA

In the early morning hours of July 28, 2017, members of the U.S. Senate voted 49-51 to reject a “skinny” version of a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), called the Health Care Freedom Act (HCFA).

This was the final vote of the Senate’s 20-hour debate period, and effectively ends the Republicans’ current efforts to repeal and replace the ACA. However, the skinny repeal bill may be reintroduced at some point in the future.

IMPACT ON EMPLOYERS

Because the Senate was unable to pass any ACA repeal or replacement bill, the ACA remains current law, and employers must continue to comply with all applicable ACA provisions.

Following the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated that Republicans now intend to focus on other legislative issues, although they remain committed to repealing the ACA. Despite this, the Senate may choose to reintroduce the skinny repeal bill, or pursue their own ACA repeal and replacement, in the future.

 

 

© 2017 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

 

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Antique & Classic Car Insurance

Since you have purchased a classic or antique vehicle, you’ll want to insure it properly, as it is an investment.

Coverage Inclusions

A typical classic car insurance policy includes the following:

  • Agreed value coverage: Pays for the car’s full-insured value with no depreciation in the event of a total loss, less your deductible.
  • Inflation guard: To compensate for how classic cars increase in value over time, the policy increases the vehicle’s value quarterly.
  • Spare parts coverage
  • Flexible usage: Ability to drive the vehicle up to 2,500 or 5,000 miles annually. Not limited to “parades only.”

Additional Coverage Options

You can also purchase these additional coverage options for more specific protection:

  • Emergency towing in case of a breakdown.
  • Roadside assistance for items such as a flat tire, dead battery or running out of gas.
  • Emergency lockout
  • Lost key return
  • Emergency travel expenses in case your classic vehicle breaks down while away from home.
  • Car show expenses: Policy will pay for expenses associated with missing a car show due to a breakdown.
  • Theft reward
  • Personal effects: Policy will reimburse you for items that are vandalized or stolen when reported to police.

Live in the past while protecting your vehicle for the future! Contact Lovitt & Touché, Inc today at mailto:lhaas@lovitt-touche.com to learn more about all of our insurance solutions for your automobile needs.

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