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Social Media at the Office

For employers who allow or encourage employees to access social media while at work, the benefits are clear: employees are more apt to engage in wellness programs and stay informed about employee benefits, more likely to provide feedback.  These employees also often feel as though they are part of a community and involved in your organization’s corporate culture. While the advantages of allowing access to social media sites outweigh the potential hazards for most organizations, social media use does pose a number of security risks to your company. Read on for a list of the most common risks associated with social media...

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Big Data to Drive Participant Outcomes

If you want to predict the wants, needs and fears of participants when it comes to retirement planning, consider the potential of predictive analytics. "Big data" is a bite-size term often used instead of the nerdier “predictive analytics." The use of big data is steering plan sponsor actions towards enhancing 401(k) participant outcomes and providing insights into consumer behavior. But what’s the best way to jump on this moving train? Predictive Analytics and Your 401(k) Plan First, predictive analytics is “using many techniques from data mining, statistics, modeling, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to analyze current data to make predictions about the future,” as...

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Medicare Part B premiums

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), most people with Medicare who receive Social Security benefits will pay the standard monthly Part B premium of $135.50 in 2019. However, if your premiums are deducted from your Social Security benefits, and the increase in your benefit payments for 2019 will not be enough to cover the Medicare Part B increase, then you may pay less than the standard Part B premium. Noteably, people with higher incomes may pay more than the standard premium. If your modified adjusted gross income as reported on your federal income tax return from two...

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How Employers Should Handle MLR Rebates

The Affordable Care Act's medical loss ratio (MLR) rules require group health insurance issuers to provide rebates if their MLR—the amount of health insurance premiums spent on health care and activities to improve health care quality—falls short of the applicable standard during a reporting year. Each year's rebates are issued to plan sponsors by September 30 of the following year and have three months to distribute the rebate to eligible plan enrollees. Employer Distribution The MLR rules provide that issuers must pay any rebates owed to persons covered under a group health plan to the policyholder, who is then responsible for distributing...

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Costly Mistakes: Failing to Remit Payroll Taxes and Retirement Plan Contributions on Time

Like many businesses, you may be feeling the financial crunch these days and be tempted to use money you deduct for taxes and retirement plan contributions from employees’ wages. Failing to remit payroll taxes and retirement plan contributions in a timely manner is not only a violation of an employer’s legal obligation, it can also subject your company to heavy penalties. When employers deduct income and Social Security taxes from employees’ wages, the money is not theirs to use, even for a short period of time. You must remit the deducted amounts, along with your portion of payroll taxes, by their...

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Open Enrollment: What’s Changing in 2020?

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, 2020. 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 2020 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...

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Employers Are Expected to Spend More on Health Care and Wellness in the Next Year

According to Optum’s Wellness in the Workplace study, more than 80% of employers plan to spend more on health care and wellness in the next year than in previous years. Health Care Spending The cost of providing employer-sponsored health care has been steadily increasing over the years. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average health insurance premium for family coverage was $19,616 in 2018, with employers paying 71% of that cost. Premiums are expected to continue to increase, which means employer health care spending will increase too. Wellness Spending To mitigate rising health care costs, improve attraction and retention, and increase employee well-being,...

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Reminder: Medicare Part D Notices Are Due Before Oct. 15

Requirement Applies to Employers that Offer Prescription Drug Coverage Employers who sponsor group health plans that offer prescription drug coverage to Medicare-eligible individuals must provide a Medicare Part D Creditable or Non-Creditable Coverage Notice to those individuals before October 15. These notices inform Medicare-eligible individuals whether the plan’s prescription drug coverage is expected to pay, on average, as much as the standard Medicare prescription drug coverage (meaning it is "creditable”). For more information on this notice requirement, including links to downloadable model notices, click here. ...

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DOL Issues New Salary Limits for Overtime Exemptions

Final Rule Takes Effect Jan. 1 On Sept. 24, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a new final rule that updates the salary thresholds that some individuals must meet in order to qualify for a minimum wage and overtime exemption under the federal Fair Labors Standards Act (FLSA). The final rule becomes effective on Jan. 1, 2020. As expected, this final rule increases the standard salary level for the executive, administrative and professional exemptions from $455 to $684 per week ($35,568 per year). It also increases the highly compensated employee salary level from $100,000 to $107,432 per year. In addition, the...

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