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Is this a Football Game or are we talking about Health Insurance?

Author: Jan Fernandez    Posted: March 1, 2017

It feels like a quarterback calling out a play, 6056, 1095, 4980H – HIKE!, but employers are reporting which employees had health insurance and for how many months during the year. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) created reporting requirements in Internal Revenue Code (Code) Section 6056. Under these rules, applicable large employers Applicable Large Employer (ALEs) subject to the employer shared responsibility rules must provide information to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) about the coverage […]

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Life Insurance, Something to Think About…

Author: Jan Fernandez    Posted: January 27, 2017

Although life insurance is one of the most common employer-provided benefits, many employees do not appreciate its value. As an employer, you are well-positioned to educate employees on the importance of this coverage. What’s in it for you? Educating employees about life insurance can yield higher enrollment, greater appreciation for your benefits package and increased loyalty to the company. Many employees are not financially savvy, but are interested in learning. Financial education from their employer […]

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Know Your Limits!

Author: Jan Fernandez    Posted: December 20, 2016

I know it seems like turkey day was just here and now holiday celebration, decorations, and shopping are in full swing, but it’s time to start planning for 2017 expenses.  The IRS revealed the new limits for HSA, FSA, 401 (k) and other tax deferred accounts. Let’s start with the HSA/HDHP limits.  First – how much can I put away in 2017?  For individuals, the IRS increased the limit by $50 allowing $3,400 to be socked away […]

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Are you ready to start paying your salaried employees overtime?

Author: Jan Fernandez    Posted: October 21, 2016

A Department of Labor (DOL) final rule is getting ready to increase the salary threshold for overtime exemptions to $47,476, with is almost double what it currently is today. The House of Representative passed a H.R. 6094 which would delay this but it would also need to be passed by the Senate and approved by the president before it becomes las and the President has threatened to veto the bill. What does that mean to […]

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Are you ready for Open Enrollment Season??

Author: Jan Fernandez    Posted: August 25, 2016

With over 69% of all employer sponsored health plans renewing January 1, 2017 it’s time to get ready for your employees Open Enrollment period; but are you going to be ready? 2017 holds new legal changes affecting the design and administration of your plans. You should review your plan documents to confirm that they include the required changes. Do you have a Summary Plan Description “SPD” or summary of material modifications “SMM”? This is different […]

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Costs For New Enrollees In ACA Plans Higher Than For Long-Term Enrollees

Author: Venus Dean-Bullinger    Posted: August 22, 2016

I recently read an article in the SHRM newsletter that discussed the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association revealing that consumers who were “newly insured under the Affordable Care Act were sicker, used more medical care and had higher medical costs than those who already had coverage.”  We all had assumed that those who had not been sold individual plans due to “Pre-existing Conditions” would be high utilizers of their new plans.  Why, because they […]

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Providers can make you pay up front!

Author: Venus Dean-Bullinger    Posted: August 2, 2016

So, I just had surgery a couple months ago.  I was caught off guard when the outpatient surgical facility asked me to pay my portion of the bill “up front”.  This seemed odd to me when I didn’t even have a High-Deductible Health Plan.  Nonetheless, they advised that this is how they handle their billing at many facilities now.  So, I requested they divide it into 3 installments, and payed the first before I went […]

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ARE YOU READY FOR THE NEW DOL AUDIT!

Author: Jan Fernandez    Posted: July 28, 2016

The Department of Labor is out in force and you can’t stop the rampage. After all, they have to subsidize the exchange tax credits somehow, right?! The penalties associated with being out of compliance with the ACA can cause a company to go out of business. The penalty for non-compliance is generally $110 per day, per individual, per violation. But don’t worry, there is a cap – $500,000. According to a Seattle Business Magazine article, […]

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Terminating employees in a small company can be tough

Author: Venus Dean-Bullinger    Posted: July 18, 2016

I’ve been talking to many of my friends and colleagues that are small business owners.  Many of them are the Owner, CFO, CEO and HR all rolled into one. That can be a difficult position for one person to be in; especially in a small company.  Many small business owners have a difficult time when it comes to terminating employees.  So I did some research and found some helpful steps that may make it a […]

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The Chamber of Commerce – Business Helping Business

Author: Jan Fernandez    Posted: February 25, 2016

While employed with a prior company, I had asked about joining the local chamber of commerce to get to know the businesses around town. My employer overwhelmingly pooh-poohed the idea. Their opinion was that the chamber wasn’t really out to help business, they were more of a political front for their own agenda. A few years later I started working at Rapport Benefits Group and noticed a Chamber sticker in our window. When I asked […]

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Fitness Trackers and HR Departments

Author: Venus Dean-Bullinger    Posted: February 17, 2016

We all know that the new fitness devices can be extremely helpful with keeping our New Year’s resolutions. From the Fitbit, for tracking your steps taken and distance traveled, to the MyFitnessPal App, that helps you track you caloric intake and show how many calories you have remaining for the day, there are lots of options on the market. Now, many employers are starting to utilize this technology, and there are some questions and concerns […]

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New Year’s Resolutions vs Goals

Author: KaDeana Roland    Posted: December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!  Here’s to 2016! I love this time of year.  It is cliché to say it is a new year, new birth, new beginning but it is.  I take full advantage of it. This is the time of year for you to set some goals.  Start fresh.  Perhaps you need to remove someone from your Facebook page or snapchat that you just don’t enjoy reading their comments. Don’t waste your time and energy […]

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Tacoma’s Paid Sick Leave

Author: Venus Dean-Bullinger    Posted: December 29, 2015

As you may or may not know, the Tacoma “Paid Sick Leave Law” will be going into effect February 1, 2016. You can visit http://www.cityoftacoma.org/cms/one.aspx?objectId=75860 for further information for Employers and Employees. According to the ordinance, any employee who has worked 80 plus hours per year within the City of Tacoma’s boundaries, is eligible for paid leave. Please be advised, that the calculation is based on where the employee works, not where the employer is located. […]

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5 Easy Steps to Reduce Your Workman’s Comp Insurance

Author: Jan Fernandez    Posted: December 7, 2015

Having come from the Human Resource side of the world, I had the opportunity to wear many hats.  One of my hats was a hard hat. Well, not really, but I was in charge of our company’s safety program.  When I started with my company we had a horrible experience rating, not because there were severe injuries, but because the front line supervisor’s mentality was to put an injured worker on LnI rather than find […]

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OIC Advisory Committee Notes – October, 28th, 2015

Author: Chris Free    Posted: November 2, 2015

On October 28th we convened the advisory committee at the Insurance Commissioner’s office. These meetings are always filled with interesting and important updates for the insurance industry and the residents of Washington State. It’s also a great opportunity to share the perspective of the individuals and businesses that are buying insurance every day in this market and what various regulations and reforms would mean to them directly. The Commissioner shared information on some of the […]

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ABCs of The New ACA Reporting Requirements

Author: Jan Fernandez    Posted: October 31, 2015

If payroll and human resources didn’t have enough to do with all this new world employee benefits stuff, the ACA has decided to tack on another report or two, or maybe three. Now, according to the ACAs section 6056, employers with 50 or more employees are required to provide the IRS with a report showing who was covered and how much the employer paid on the employee’s behalf.  This will be done through the form […]

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Uh, Oh….The Holidays Are Coming!

Author: Venus Dean-Bullinger    Posted: October 30, 2015

How exciting, Tis the season to be jolly. Fa’ La’ La’ La’ La..La’,La’ La La!  Tis also the season to watch what we eat. Although health advice has focused on saturated fats from high-fat animal foods, many people take that advice to mean all fats are bad.  Choosing in their stead an array of reduced-fat and fat-free foods rich in carbohydrates… from crackers to sweetened yogurts. They especially increased their consumption of two kinds of […]

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Ever considered HIPAA documents for your adult children?

Author: Venus Dean-Bullinger    Posted: September 22, 2015

Early one October morning, Sheri E. Warsh, a mother of three from Highland Park, Ill., stepped out of the shower to a ringing phone. On the other end, her 18-year-old son’s college roommate delivered terrifying news: Her son—270 miles away at the University of Michigan—was being rushed by ambulance to a nearby emergency room with severe, unrelenting chest pain. “I was scared out of my mind, imagining the worst,” Warsh said. In a panic, she […]

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Am I Contagious?

Author: KaDeana Roland    Posted: August 13, 2015

Am I Contagious? This is always the question at our office when someone isn’t feeling 100%. I found a great little chart from Healthline.  It contains great info on when to stay home. It’s going to be especially useful for my family and I hope it is for yours, too. I live in a household with 4 teenagers, my husband, and a dog. We’ve been in the process of moving and in the midst of […]

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Let’s get Hydrated!

Author: Jan Fernandez    Posted: August 11, 2015

I’ve always been a water drinker, but lately I’ve decided that increasing my consumption during this extreme heat wouldn’t be such a bad idea.  I was a little skittish about too much water though because I have heard that it can mess with your electrolytes.  So I did some research and have actually found some pretty amazing facts and put a few myths to rest. According to an article I read in the Huffington Post, […]

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See you at Coterie!

Author: Venus Dean-Bullinger    Posted: August 3, 2015

As you may know, Rapport Benefits Group puts on educational seminars throughout the year.  Well at our last “Affordable Care Act Update” seminar we had a new startup company attend by the name of Coterie (A stylish lounge that performs like an office).  I called to thank them for coming and learned a bit more about Coterie.  It’s kinda like an upscale, on call office space, restaurant/coffee shop/bar, all rolled up into one! I know […]

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I do not want to retire just because I am 65! What about Medicare and my group insurance?

Author: Beth Perry    Posted: July 22, 2015

Your options for healthcare after you turn 65 are pretty straightforward but it is important to know what category you are in: Your employer has fewer than 20 employees: Any Medicare insurance you have is primary or is billed and pays first and your employer coverage is secondary or is billed and pays second. Your employer has more than 20 employees: In this case your employer insurance is primary or pays first and your Medicare […]

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Summertime Sun Screen Time!

Author: Jan Fernandez    Posted: July 6, 2015

This time of year my southern European heritage is very apparent.  I can be out in the sun for 15 minutes and am two shades darker than when I first stepped outside!  Is that good or bad though?  My fair skinned friends have an advantage in knowing when it’s time to get out of the sun, they turn pink.  I, however, just keep browning and don’t realize the damage that I’m doing to my skin.  […]

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10 Things You Need to Know About Your Health Insurance

Author: Christina Cross    Posted: June 23, 2015

1.  Don’t ask your Doctor how this prescription or that procedure is covered; he specializes in medicine not health insurance, no matter what they tell you! Recently, I tested my theory during a preventive checkup.  Doctor stated that all of my blood work would be covered at 100%, based on health care reform.  Being an insurance advocate I knew that was not the case. I bet her $10 bucks I would have a portion to […]

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Lower Stress for Lower Claims and a Better Quality of Life!

Author: Venus Dean-Bullinger    Posted: June 22, 2015

Being an Employee Benefits Consultant means trying to mitigate cost and save our clients unneeded doctor’s visits is part of our job. Well, I have been stressed lately and went online to find easy ways that I could control some of those stressful symptoms.  Here are just a few of the things I found that I would like to share with all of you: Take a Load Off: Simply elevate your feet above your heart. […]

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SPEND LESS ON INSURANCE, BUT SAVE THE MONEY!

Author: Jan Fernandez    Posted: June 5, 2015

The other day I was selling my dog crate on Craigslist.  The gentleman who came to buy my crate was showing me a large dent in his front fender and complaining that he had $1,000 deductible and that was just way too much to pay when he had insurance.  I replied very politely “well, why did you choose $1,000 deductible?  I’m sure that you could have purchased a policy with a much lower out of […]

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Generics prescriptions saved our family and our clients a lot of money!

Author: Venus Dean-Bullinger    Posted: May 18, 2015

Some or you know that generic drugs are copies of brand-name drugs that have exactly the same intended use, effects, safety and risk concerns as their original brand-name counterparts.  An example of this would be simvastatin (generic), vs Zocor (brand-name).  Both are “statin” drugs used to help reduce bad cholesterol.  The reason I use this example is because I struggled for years with my husband to choose the generic form over the brand-name version.  I was […]

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Medicare Durable Medical Equipment (DME) Fraud, Waste and Abuse

Author: Beth Perry    Posted: May 11, 2015

Medicare works diligently on its programs and billings to reduce the millions of dollars a year that are spent on fraudulent charges. Durable Medical Equipment is often at the center of these scams. Over the years bogus operations have been shut down, oversight has been put into place, and new rules enacted. One of the rules relates to the need for practitioner visits and written orders prior to delivery of certain equipment. Medicare requires a […]

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$15.00 minimum wage hitting the I-5 corridor

Author: Jan Fernandez    Posted: May 4, 2015

Is the $15 an hour minimum wage really what the public thought that they were getting?  And, how is it really impacting employers in Seattle and Tacoma? First, I’d like to let you know that for today this blog is focused on Seattle.  I will have more to say on Tacoma once we more clear on what the heck is going on there. Lots of employees were ecstatic when they learned that the voters passed the $15 […]

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Emergency Room or Urgent Care!?

Author: Christina Cross    Posted: May 4, 2015

If you’re experiencing an emergency, please call 911… Have you ever received a large bill from the emergency room & thought to yourself; What just happened!? I sat in the waiting room longer than I was with the doctor and they didn’t even do any tests! My question to you is: Why did you go to the emergency room?  Most likely there are a few common reasons.  Maybe you don’t have a regular doctor that you could […]

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College Coverage vs. The Exchange

Author: Venus Dean-Bullinger    Posted: April 20, 2015

When my husband and I sent our two children away to college a few years ago, we didn’t have to worry about medical insurance.  They were both covered under their father’s company plan until the age of 26.  Unfortunately, all college bound students aren’t so lucky.  So, what options are available if a child doesn’t have coverage under a parents plan? Many parents aren’t aware that colleges and universities offer medical plans to students, and […]

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Getting the Most from Your Medicare Wellness Exam

Author: Beth Perry    Posted: April 14, 2015

The Affordable care Act has changed the “Annual Exam” for all insurance plans including Medicare Supplements and Medicare Advantage plans. The ACA mandates that these exams be offered for seniors on an annual basis at no cost. Certain labs and other services may be included. How do you get the most from your short time with the doctor? When you set the appointment, state you want a Medicare Annual Wellness Exam. This includes a specific […]

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Worksite wellness programs aren’t just for the other guys

Author: Jan Fernandez    Posted: April 6, 2015

Take it from me. I have found myself settling in to a very sedentary role.  I can spend hour after hour sitting in front of my computer analyzing health plans and looking for ways to help my client’s keep their employees healthy.  I tout active life styles and preventive exams, all free and all do nothing but make people’s endorphins soar and feel better both mentally and physically.  But did I practice what I preach? […]

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Employee Benefits Adviser 2015 Rising Star: Chris Free

Author: Christina Cross    Posted: March 19, 2015

Rapport Benefits Group is proud to announce that one of our Principals, Chris Free, has been recognized nationally as a rising star in employee benefits advising by Employee Benefit Adviser magazine. The award is given to benefits advisers who are innovating the way the employee benefits market works. Here’s their explanation: The benefits industry is in a state of transformation and young benefit advisers are spearheading many of the efforts that promise to keep the […]

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Association Health Plans: What’s going on?! UPDATE!

Author: Chris Free    Posted: March 13, 2015

UPDATE: Association Health Plans Continue!! For now… The court ruled in favor of associations on every count. There is a small opportunity for the federal government to overrule the court, but we are very unlikely to see that. Here’s the insurance commissioner’s statement regarding the ruling: http://insurance.wa.gov/about-oic/newsroom/main-statements/statements/2015/07-02-2015.htm — For longer than I’ve been in the employee benefits consulting space (make that about 15 years), Washington State has had a great deal of health plan options […]

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Tacoma, WA 98402
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From The Blog - SPEND LESS ON INSURANCE, BUT SAVE THE MONEY!

The other day I was selling my dog crate on Craigslist.  The gentleman who came to buy my crate was showing me a large dent in his front fender and complaining that he had $1,000 deductible and that was just way too much to pay when he had insurance.  I replied very politely “well, why did you choose $1,000 deductible?  I’m sure that you could have purchased a policy with a much lower out of […]

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