EEOC Issues Proposed Wellness Rules

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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today that it will publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on April 20 that addresses how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to employee wellness programs. To read the EEOC’s proposed rules in full, click here.

As past Mueller QAAS blog posts have detailed, the EEOC has been at odds with some employers about how incentives can be used to persuade employees to participate in wellness programs. Last ...

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Broker, Insurer Revenues Rise as Uninsured Rate and Wages Fall

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With tax day just one week away, many Americans are being reminded that 2014 was the first year they will have to pay a penalty for not having health insurance. The requirement to get health coverage is leading more and more people to sign up for health insurance and helping to reduce the rate of the uninsured. At the same time, these new customers are helping to bolster profits at the largest brokerages and insurance companies. The cost ...

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HR Awards Winners Announced!

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The Milwaukee Business Journal has announced the winners of its inaugural HR Awards!

The HR Awards program is intended to recognize the best human resources programs or practices that have had a positive impact on employees and the overall organization. In addition to receiving cash prizes provided by Mueller QAAS CEO Jim Mueller, the winners will be celebrated at an awards ceremony during MRA’s HR Conference at the Hilton City Center in Milwaukee on May 19.

Please join ...

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Combating Mental Health Stigma

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Even though it is estimated that nearly one in five adults in the U.S. will experience a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year, there remains significant stigma around this type of health condition. In fact, a 2014 survey of employers by the Disability Management Employer Coalition found that stigma surrounding mental and behavioral health issues in the workplace has never been higher. In 2012, 7% of employer respondents believed stigma surrounding mental health disorders was ...

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10 Days until all Same-Sex Marriages Recognized by FMLA

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As announced by the U.S. Department of Labor on February 25, 2015, employers must extend benefits under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to all legally-wed same-sex couples as of March 27, 2015. Although some employers fear the burden of additional leave requests, many multi-state employers are welcoming the uniformity provided by the new rule.

The DOL’s announcement of the new FMLA rule follows the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2013 decision that a section of the Defense of Marriage ...

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Planning for out-of-pocket costs a critical component of health plan affordability

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Comparing health plans can be difficult. With so many variables in play, many people focus on two amounts: the amount they will need to pay each month to maintain their coverage (the premium) and the amount they will need to pay before the insurance will begin covering major medical expenses (the deductible). However, the maximum amount an insured is responsible for paying out of pocket in a year (the out-of-pocket limit, or out-of-pocket maximum) is also a critical component of ...

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Many reasons for Milwaukee area’s high health costs

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An article by Guy Boulton in Friday’s edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel looked at four studies on health costs and concluded that the Milwaukee area has some of the highest health care costs in the nation. The studies were conducted by the Government Accountability Office, BSG Analytics, Milliman Inc. and the Institute of Medicine over different periods of time with different methodologies.

Despite these differences, the article is correct that Southeastern Wisconsin health care costs are not competitive when ...

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Cybersecurity in the Spotlight

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The data breach at Anthem is just the latest reminder that anyone can be a victim of cybercrime. Even though Anthem is offering a package of identity protection services to current and former members, you should still ask questions about how prepared your insurance company is to guard against and respond to breaches of personal information.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Will your current carrier provide credit protection if they suffer a data breach?
  • Will your current carrier provide you with ...
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DOL Health Plan Audits Underway

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Employers who sponsor health plans for their employees must be prepared to pass a health plan audit by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), recent reports indicate. Since 2009, the DOL has hired hundreds of new auditors to bring increased scrutiny to employer compliance with various laws and regulations. The first areas of emphasis revolved around wage and hour and employee classification issues, but with implementation of the Affordable Care Act nearly complete, health plans are receiving increased attention. The ...

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EEOC Wellness Lawsuits Highlight Tension Between ACA, ADA

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Between August and October 2014, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed three lawsuits against employers in Minnesota and Wisconsin over their workplace wellness programs. The EEOC claims that the programs violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), while the employers argue that their practices are specifically authorized by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Employers and HR professionals are watching the cases closely because workplace wellness programs are increasingly common, and the rules surrounding them are unclear. A 2014 Mercer ...

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