We’ve become so accustomed to delays or changes surrounding implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it would not surprise us if the passage of the PACE Act went unnoticed. Of course you received several emails telling you that President Obama signed the Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees Act (PACE), but what does it really mean to you?
If you are an employer with approximately 50 to 99 full-time employees (including full-time equivalents), the PACE Act is probably good news for you.
Prior to the ACA, most states defined small employers as those with less than 50 employees. In the group health insurance market, small employers were subject to different rules, including how their policies were underwritten. The ACA intended to redefine “small employer” to mean all employers with less than 100 employees. Beginning January 2016, employers with 50 to 100 employees would for the first time be considered a “small employer” and subject to the ACA’s rules governing small employers.
Application of the ACA’s rules governing small employers to employers with 50 to 100 employees would have imposed strict community rating rules that would likely result in substantial premium increases and would require coverage for “essential health benefits” which may also contribute to higher premiums.
Because the PACE Act was passed, employers with 50 to 100 employees can breathe a sigh of relief.
What remains the same:
Employers with less than 50
7th Annual Food Drive Begins
The 7th Annual Food Drive has officially started! New this year is an additional push to support the Milwaukee Rescue Mission through social media. Each additional Page "Like" on the Vizance Facebook page will result in an increased donation to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission.
We are accepting food donations of all kinds, at both Vizance locations, from now until November 23rd. Thank you for your support!
Kristopher Sharpe joins Vizance as Financial Services Account Executive
Kristopher Sharpe has recently joined Vizance as an Account Executive. Prior to joining Vizance, Kristopher managed the insurance operations for Bronfman E. L. Rothschild (formerly Lake Country Wealth Management) for the past five years and has extensive experience in the design of personal and corporate insurance strategies. He holds his FINRA Series 7, FINRA Series 66 and WI Life, Accident, and Health Insurance licenses. Kristopher will be a resource for addressing life, long-term disability, and long-term care insurance needs. He views helping clients manage some of their risks through insurance planning as a significant part of the overall planning process and is eager to share his knowledge and resources.
Vizance Named One of the Milwaukee Business Journal’s Fastest Growing Firms
The Milwaukee Business Journal recently released its list of the 31 winners selected for the Fastest Growing Firms awards, and Vizance is honored to be among those chosen. This award recognizes Southeastern Wisconsin companies for significant growth over the past three years. The 2015 winners will be recognized at an awards luncheon on August 13th in Milwaukee, as well as in the Business Journal's August 14th edition. Vizance is grateful to its associates and clients for their continued support, which makes this award, and others, possible.
Vizance Named to Future 50 List
Vizance is proud to have been named a 2015 Future 50 award winner by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce. The Future 50 program recognizes privately-owned companies in the seven-county Milwaukee Region that have been in business for at least three years and have shown significant revenue and employment growth. Vizance, together with the other award recipients, will be honored at the 28th Annual Awards Luncheon in September.
Wellness Plans: Look Both Ways Before Crossing the Road
Renee Kuhs, Compliance Attorney, Vizance, Inc.
Look both ways before crossing the road. Does this advice sound familiar? Is it something your mother said to you every time you left the house? Is it advice you have passed along to your children? These words of caution are well suited for employers that have or are seeking to implement a Wellness Plan.
The EEOC recently filed lawsuits against three employers alleging their Wellness Plans violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. Two of these employers are located in Wisconsin; one employer is in Minnesota.
Employers are often surprised to learn that the Wellness Plan they have had in place for years violates federal law. Over the last seven years, I’ve worked with numerous employers to correct compliance problems with their Wellness Plan. Employers often rely upon an insurance carrier, insurance broker, or wellness consultant to help them implement their Wellness Plan. While these parties all bring expertise to the process, one important component is consistently missing – compliance with laws governing the employer. The three lawsuits that have been brought by the EEOC were filed against the employer. Neither the insurance broker nor the wellness consultant has been made a party to the lawsuits.
How will looking both ways before an employer crosses the road avoid litigation? Wellness Plans have typically been developed by focusing solely on the rules contained within the Health Insurance Portabilit
Same-Sex Marriages & Domestic Partnerships in Wisconsin
By Renee Kuhs, Compliance Attorney, Vizance, Inc.
Effective October 6, 2014, Wisconsin recognizes same-sex marriages. Wisconsin residents in a same-sex relationship may file for a marriage license in Wisconsin. Same-sex marriages that took place in another state will now also be recognized in Wisconsin.
Employers should consider how this change will impact their employment practices and health insurance plans.
In 2009, Wisconsin’s FMLA was modified to provide rights to individuals that were in a domestic partnership. In light of the recognition of same-sex marriages in Wisconsin, individuals in a same-sex marriage will also be entitled to the rights provided to legal spouses under Wisconsin’s FMLA.
Rights available under federal FMLA have been afforded to same-sex spouses if the marriage was recognized under the laws of the state where the individual resides. With the change in Wisconsin’s law on same-sex marriages, same-sex spouses are also entitled to protection under the federal FMLA effective immediately.
Health Insurance Coverage
Employers that offer a fully-insured health plan to its employees will be required to comply with Wisconsin insurance laws. The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance regulates fully-insured health plans in Wisconsin. To date they have not released official guidance in response to this change in law. However, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) prohibits insurance carriers from discriminating based upon sexual orientation. Beg
OSHA Issues New Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements
On September 11, 2014, OSHA announced a new final rule for reporting and recording severe work-related injuries and illnesses. Under the new rule, employers will be required to report any work-related fatality to OSHA within eight hours (same as current requirement) and any in-patient hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye within 24 hours (Updated requirement: Previously, employers only had to report in-patient hospitalizations of three or more employees). The final rule also updates the list of partially exempt industries. The final rule becomes effective on January 1, 2015.
Dimas Ocampo is Finalist in BizTimes Media’s Nonprofit Excellence Awards
Congratulations to Dimas Ocampo, Principal at Vizance, who is a finalist in the BizTimes Media's Nonprofit Excellence Awards in the “Next Generation Leadership” category. This award is given to an executive who demonstrates leadership and significant contributions to single or multiple nonprofit organizations through active leadership on a board and/or strategic management/guidance.
Dimas will be honored on November 4th at the Awards Ceremony, which honors Southeastern Wisconsin's "Best Corporate Citizens" and "Most Effective Nonprofit Organizations."
Governor Walker visits Vizance, Inc.
Vizance was honored to receive a visit from Governor Scott Walker this morning. He met with the Leadership Team, toured the building, met associates and shared his vision. Thank you for the visit!