DOL Proposes Changes to AHP Rules

President Donald Trump issued an executive order last year to expand access to association health plans (AHP). The Employee Benefits Security Administration, part of the U.S. Labor Department, recently issued proposed rule changes that would help expand AHPs under the Affordable Care Act. It’s an effort to help provide more options for small employers looking for other insurance plans besides the small group health insurance market, which has been plagued with higher prices and fewer coverage options. “Association health plans are typically offered as packaged insurance programs to employers within a certain geographic region, such as from local chambers of commerce, or industry, such as statewide trade associations as a benefit of membership of the association,” says Chris Wolpert, managing member and employee benefits adviser at Group Benefit Solutions, an employee benefits management firm. Expanding the rules could mean changes for the insurance industry. Here’s what you need to know. …

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Nonqualified Plans – Baiting the Benefit Hook

Attracting and retaining qualified employees and managers is always a challenge for companies of all sizes. Most employers realize competitive salaries are not the only things desired by the best workers. Sought-after employees also expect compensation packages to include valued benefits. A qualified retirement plan is a traditional component of many employee benefit packages. As a business owner, you’re likely to appreciate the advantages: Your contributions are tax-deductible and accumulate on a tax-deferred basis. However, these plans can be difficult to administer and contain many regulations restricting employee eligibility, participation, vesting, and employee contributions. What’s the alternative? Nonqualified plans offer the flexibility to selectively choose whom you’ll cover and how much you’ll contribute for each individual. Many companies use them to supplement or replace their qualified plans. Although there is a wide range of nonqualified plans from which to choose, executive bonus plans and deferred compensation plans are among the …

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A Look at Medicaid

For an increasing number of families, long-term care planning is becoming a topic discussed with an unfortunate frequency. When a once healthy and vibrant person needs full-time care—either suddenly or through the ravages of a progressive illness—staggering pressures can bear down on that person, their immediate family, and close friends. One of the first and most natural questions that comes to mind is the question of cost: Where will the money come from to allow the individual to live out the rest of his or her life in the most comfortable situation possible? For a fortunate few, long-term care insurance will provide the necessary funds. For others, the savings of a lifetime can be depleted in a relatively short period of time without proper planning. At some point, the discussion of funding care will no doubt turn to Medicaid, a difficult topic to deliberate when combined with the stress of …

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Becoming a Better Negotiator

Whether closing a sale, haggling over a price with a supplier, or discussing a raise with an employee, business owners negotiate nearly every day. While you may already be an effective negotiator, consider the following strategies to help maximize your negotiating skills. Negotiating does not have to be a zero-sum game. When two parties enter into negotiations, they are both looking to create something of value that did not exist before. Instead of taking an adversarial approach, think about how both parties can arrive at a mutually beneficial solution. Without abandoning your own interests and objectives, consider the interests of your negotiating partner. Reflect on what your priorities might be if you were in your partner’s shoes and how you can best accommodate those priorities. Do Your Homework Before approaching the bargaining table to negotiate an important deal, make sure you are fully prepared. If, for example, you are attempting …

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