November 10, 2015

The ACA and Early Retirement

Depending on an individual’s situation, the ACA has been a very welcome piece of legislation that has allowed some to be able to find health insurance subsidized by the government because their households fall below a certain percentage of the federal poverty level. Those households struggled financially and the ACA has helped to improve their healthcare situation. For others, the ACA has had a negative impact and caused significant financial burden to their households. While they have had to endure significant cost increases to maintain health insurance, they’ve had little, or no, disposable income to do so. Bottom line – … Continue reading

September 30, 2015

Small Group vs. Large Group?

In 2016, the definition of a “small group employer” under the ACA expands from 1-50 employees to include employers with 51-100 employees. Analysts say that this change affects over 150,000 employers with more than 3 million workers. The change in the definition is creating confusion amongst many people about what this expansion of the size of a small group employer really means – AND what it doesn’t. The ACA defined a large group employer generally as one that employed over 50 full time employees. What most were concerned about was that they then were considered to be an “Applicable Large … Continue reading

September 16, 2015

Health Plan Reporting Pitfalls

  Most of us have come to understand that we’re required to be covered under a qualifying health insurance plan and that we must prove to the IRS each year that we were for all the months of the year on our tax returns. This is referred to as the “individual mandate” and it went into effect on January 1st, 2014 for most of us. Qualified coverage comes in many forms – one of the most common is through employers. While providing health insurance to their employees isn’t new for many employers, the data collection and reporting burden that now … Continue reading

February 19, 2014


Last week the federal government issued final regulations under the Affordable Care Act.  What you may not know is that this “reprieve” is only for a certain segment of employers, and includes with it record keeping and reporting responsibilities, even for those graced with another year of preparation. Located within the preamble are special rules that include a temporary delay of the shared responsibility for “not quite large” employers until 2016.  On its face, this delay will provide an additional year for employers with 50 to 99 full-time workers to comply with employer shared-responsibility provisions before they must pay the … Continue reading

February 17, 2014


We have been seeing and reading so much in the media lately about this topic – most of it driven by “benefits professionals” – that we thought it would be a good idea to write a quick blog to help everyone understand the likelihood of what will – and will not – be acceptable practice by the federal government. It stands to reason that with the advent of the widespread availability of individual coverage in all States beginning in 2014, some employers may consider whether they should help employees pay for individual health insurance policies rather than continuing to offer … Continue reading

January 24, 2014


This communication is in an effort to assist employers with compliance with Michigan State regulations. Most Michigan employers are required to post the total number of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred in calendar year 2013 (some exceptions do apply – check the FAQ at the LARA/MiOSHA website – click the link below – for further recordkeeping instructions). Most employers must complete and post the MIOSHA Form 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) for three months, from February 1 to April 30, 2014. The recently revised Form 300, 300A and 301 can be found on the LARA/MiOSHA website at,4601,7-154-61256_11407_30929-86277–,00.html  Note that if you … Continue reading

December 5, 2013


Last week, the Obama administration announced in a conference call that there would be another delay in their healthcare system overhaul – the launch of the online SHOP exchange will be delayed for an entire year. This comes after a disastrous rolling out of the Federal Marketplace in 36 states and is just one more in a long line of delays, problems, issues and glitches. The bright spot for all of us in this particular announcement was Press Secretary, Jay Carney, recommending that employers seek the assistance of agents and brokers to enroll in plans to be eligible for the 2014 … Continue reading

October 25, 2013

Managing the Chaos of the Affordable Care Act

When I recently spoke at the UP HR Fall Forum in Bark River, it was a few days prior to the 10/1 beginning Open Enrollment date for individual coverage via the federal marketplace website. Since that time, we have all come to know that there are serious issues, or glitches, as some are calling them, in the system.  Each day brings with it a new level of confusion for Americans, many of which don’t understand what is happening.  Depending on each individual and their personal situation, their attitude and emotion ranges from mildly interested to somewhat worried to all-out panic … Continue reading

June 28, 2013

I’ve Never Had An Employee Health Insurance Plan – Now What?

There are employers here in the UP and all over the country that are going to be newly mandated that have never dealt with employee health insurance before.  This is a whole new world for these folks.  It is a new line item to their expenses.  This must be acknowledged and acted upon.  They must be informed consumers.  Do the analysis and make informed decisions about your employee health insurance program. My advice to you as a Benefits and Risk Advisor: Use scenario based decision making – be cautious, take it slow, analyze the upside and the downside of every … Continue reading

June 21, 2013

Avoid a Knee-Jerk Reaction to Health Care Reform

The employers that come through this 5-10 years down the road as strong employers that survive and thrive, will be those that understand that this isn’t the time for a knee-jerk reaction.  They must fully understand the potential long-term impact of the decisions they make. Following are a few things to ponder: A short-term decision made for purposes of cost savings this year, may end up being a decision you regret in subsequent years. If it flies in the face of your corporate culture, a culture you have worked hard to build over the years, a short-term savings may not … Continue reading

The enrollment period for 2021 individual and family health plans starts November 1 and runs through December 15.

Open Enrollment