Health And Wellness Resolutions for 2017

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Health and Wellness Resolutions for 2017…

Written by Mercer PeoplePro Health and Wellness Specialist, Richard Hill

If you are like many of us in HR, as you enjoyed time with family and friends over the holidays, you probably occasionally thought of work and some things you might want to do differently during the 2017 New Year.Here are some New Year’s Resolutions you might want to mull over regarding your Health and Wellness program offerings.

1. Look at your Wellness program and determine if you have upgraded the program to a more robust Well-being program that covers all aspects of a healthy life style, not just physical health. Also there are new rules for wellness plans effective 1/1/17, so might be good to make sure your programs meet the new EEOC rules especially the Cap on incentives. A reminder, the cap is up to 30% of total cost of employee-only coverage, or up to 50% if it’s a tobacco related program. Be careful that it also meets limits under the ADA and GINA rules.

2. You may have been “winging it” in the past when determining if you Employee Benefits plans are affordable and competitive with your competition, but during the upcoming year as the job market continues to tighten up, make a resolution to formally benchmark your benefits offerings to make sure they are as robust as your competitor’s offerings and are meeting the needs of your employee population.

3. Look at the new rules and guidance for preventative care services and their coverage under medical plans. Each year there seems to be a bit more movement under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to include more preventative services under this coverage umbrella. Make sure your insurance carrier has incorporated the latest thinking in this area.

4. In today’s Employee Benefits world in order to keep benefit offerings relevant we need to provide flexibility and voluntary benefit offerings to meet the needs of every generation. Millennials tend to want it their way, Gen Xer’s work to live and want plans to meet family’s needs, and Baby Boomers who tend to live to work, want a full range of subsidized benefit offerings. Make a resolution to address this generational shift, one size no longer fits all.

5. Look at your methodology for accurately reporting those with Medical benefits and identifying FTEs, PTEs, and “variable hour employees” whose hours may fluctuate during the reporting period. Make sure you resolve to collect and record the Social Security numbers for all spouses and dependents to facilitate the reporting. Keep in mind – tracking variable hour employees can be challenging.

6. As employers have had to do over a number of years, you must provide an average cost for the benefits for each employee to enter into their W2s. For the New Year make a resolution to be “ahead of the curve.” At the beginning of the year plan to start collecting the information required for the ACA Form 1095-C and 1094-C reporting. As you will recall, it’s required to confirm you are offering Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) and also meeting the Employer shared responsibility affordability standards.

7. Make a resolution to provide all the required notices out to your covered employees. Although some of them are required to be provided at different times, most employers have found that to include this bundle of notices at one time is the most efficient way to make sure they get done.The list of required notices for all plans includes:

  • Medicare Part D Notice
  • HIPAA Special Enrollment Notice
  • WHCRA Notice
  • NMHPA Notice
  • Michelle’s Law
  • Physician Designation Disclosure
  • CHIP/Medicaid Notice

8. Make a resolution to check the privacy, security, and electronic transaction obligations of the health plans under HIPAA. Although you may have reviewed these rules several years ago, the Federal Government has significantly increased the penalties involved for violations (could amount to millions of dollars) and you should update for emerging security threats we did not face several years ago.

While it might be tempting to assume a “whole new day” with less red tape will be coming in the area of Employer’s responsibility for health care, it might be several years before significant changes to the Affordable Care Act will occur. While there remains much uncertainty, we are also hearing that the move away from the ACA (Obamacare) will be a transition toward “universal access” for all and not necessarily back to the “way it was.”

HR Expertise On Demand

Remember as you reflect on these and other New Year’s Resolutions for your Human Resources
practices, Mercer People Pro is here to help, we will even give you two-hour
consultation FREE. To set up your free consultation, visit
or feel free to contact me, Richard Hill, or any one of our People Pro specialists for assistance with your  New Year’s Resolutions!

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