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EBN’s top 10 blogs of 2016
With an ever-changing benefits landscape, having an inside look from industry experts is crucial to best strategize how to tackle any oncoming challenges. Over the course of the year, these were some of the top blog contributions received at EBN.
10. 1094 and 1095 reporting: The good, the bad and the ugly
The first ACA reporting season was traumatic for many employers. Gentrie Pool, VP of sales, southwest region for Sterling Administration, provides a snapshot of what worked, what didn’t and how to move forward.

Excerpt: “Most employers entered the reporting period vastly unaware of the requirements. They had not established measurement periods and were not tracking variable hour employees’ hours or properly assessing the affordability of their offered plans.”

Read more here.
9. Why employers should ditch ‘biggest loser’ contests
A multiple-choice health benefit trivia contest is a much better way to educate and engage employees, according to Quizzify’s Al Lewis.

Excerpt: “To call corporate crash-dieting contests a joke would be an insult to jokes. It’s not just that these contests don’t work. It’s that you may be harming your employees — and possibly setting yourself up for a career-ending lawsuit.”

Read more here.
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8. Top 3 trends in the benefits industry this year (so far)
Three big trends have come to the forefront in the employee benefits industry — and is changing how HR professionals are doing their job, says Scott Aston, vice president of Burnham Benefits Insurance Services, a California-based employee benefits brokerage firm.

Excerpt: “Telemedicine has made quite a splash in the market and there has been widespread adoption from plan sponsors and insurance carriers alike. Whether it’s Anthem’s Live Health Online, United Healthcare’s Virtual Visits or third-party providers such as MeMed or Teladoc, telemedicine is widespread and growing in popularity.”

Read more here.
7. Mindfulness training poised to take off as new employee benefit
Evidence is mounting that mindfulness is linked to better workplace functioning, including increased productivity, more efficient teamwork, fewer errors, better communication and fewer sick days. Ruth Wolever, eMindful’s chief scientific officer, explains.

Excerpt: “Mindfulness is thought to exert its benefits primarily through improved attention. Experiments have shown that those who practice mindfulness are less distractible, and better able to concentrate on what is important, while ignoring what is not.”

Read more here.
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6. Why employer-sponsored weight loss programs often deliver disappointing results
With an emphasis on pounds lost, rather than healthy, sustainable behavior change, traditional programs can leave employees feeling discouraged and disengaged, explains Lisa McVey, executive vice president technology and operations at BioIQ.

Excerpt: “Employers have been trying to do their part for years by making weight-loss programs available to overweight and obese employees, yet for most, obesity remains. That’s partly because traditional weight loss programs have had limited toolsets at their disposal, leaving them hamstrung as to what they can actually achieve.”

Read more here.
5. Who are the most stressed workers in the American workforce?
There is a common thread that runs among the most overburdened employees and must be addressed, says adviser Mark Singer.

Excerpt: “Employers are in a challenging position when it comes to effectively handling stress experienced by their employees. They require a workforce that performs at a high level, yet the challenges of poor financial education and decisions produce stress that is distracting and directly affects employee performance. Employers can directly increase their bottom line through the provision of financial education and assistance programs for their employees.”

Read more here.
4. 5 strategies to cut healthcare costs without cutting benefits
It takes knowledge and planning, but there are ways to keep health insurance costs from derailing company profits while still offering employees the benefits they need, says Anthony D. Cellucci, a co-founder of The Beacon Group of Companies.

Excerpt: “There is no single culprit in the battle against rising healthcare costs; rather, there are many drivers contributing to the increase. Soaring prices for medical services, new costly prescription drugs and medical technologies, paying for volume over value, unhealthy lifestyles and a lack of transparency concerning prices and quality are all factors contributing to the spike in premiums.”

Read more here.
3. Has the single-payer era arrived?
With the market condensing to a few big carriers, such as Anthem, adviser Vinnie Daboul predicts the health insurance system is entering a new phase.

Excerpt: “Looking into my crystal ball, I see lots of blue. Between Anthem and the non-profit BCBS world, we will end up with a single-payer system. My guest was not happy with this, either. We have eliminated competition, and without competition we will not have competitive pricing. Nevermind he is 100% behind a single-payer system. How much competition do we have with a single-payer system?”

Read more here.
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2. 9 FAQs about the DOL’s overtime rule
Attorney Archana Acharya answers common questions about the changes, including their effect on nonprofits and small businesses.

Excerpt: “The test for exempt employees is based on their duties and salaries; did the final rule change both? No. The final rule did not make any changes to the duties tests for any exemption.”

Read more here.
1. Q&A: EaseCentral’s founders open up about their own company’s benefits
To attract the best and the brightest employees, the HR software provider emphasizes career development and an array of innovative perks.

Excerpt: “Having a larger vision and a mission beyond just revenue is critical for attracting great talent. People have choices and the most ambitious people want more than just a paycheck. Offering an environment in which everyone can grow both professionally and personally will help every company grow.”

Read more here.