EEOC sues Honeywell for ACA Approved Wellness Plan

steth_jogCompanies across the country are struggling to afford the rising cost of healthcare for their employees. Charges for medical services are still increasing, utilization is up, Obamacare layered in a 3%-5% increase in fees and taxes, and our employees are getting older and less healthy. With little hope on the horizon for external or systemic cost controls, corporations are looking inward, designing plans that promote and encourage wellness, healthy living, and most importantly, clinical engagement of their employees. Read more…

2014 has been a year of solar innovation

November 19, 2014 Leave a comment

solarThanks to creative financing programs, federal tax credits and an overall reduction in product prices, solar power usage continues to accelerate at an increasing rate. Since 2010, the number of U.S. homes with solar power rooftops has nearly tripled. From homeowners and American businesses, to the U.S. government and education system, the solar industry keeps growing. According to data from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), more than a half-million U.S homes and businesses now utilize solar power. Furthermore, over fifty percent of all new electric capacity came from solar power during the first half of 2014. Read more…

Back from the polls – Election 2014 and what it means for the ACA

November 14, 2014 Leave a comment

ppacaLast week’s events in Washington D.C. may affect PPACA as we now know it.

Most notable was the fact that Election Day turned most of the country into a sea of red leaving pundits to speculate on the future of PPACA. Will it prevail? Even with a GOP-controlled Congress, getting any legislation to completely overhaul PPACA through the President would be wishful thinking. Perhaps the most disconcerting is the Supreme Court’s recent decision to hear a new challenge to PPACA. Here we go again….what could this mean for employers? While it’s unlikely that we’ll see many fundamental changes for employer-provided benefit plans, it doesn’t mean there won’t be minor tweaks to the law and how its provisions are applied.

We had a couple of minor but unexpected changes already reminding us that the law’s provisions can change on a dime. First, after employers were scrambling to comply, it was announced Read more…

Risk management, commercial insurance and employee benefits considerations for medical marijuana start-ups

November 13, 2014 Leave a comment

medmarSay that growing and distributing cannabis for medical treatment is your business. You are a classic entrepreneur – quite possibly personally funded. You are accustomed to quickly evaluating business opportunities and you are prepared to move swiftly when the occasion warrants. You have carefully selected a corps of legal and financial advisors to compliment your high energy. They understand your business and your objectives and are able to perform proper due diligence without delay when you come upon a compelling new deal. They also allow you to move quickly, enhancing the likelihood that any new venture will be worthwhile.

Legal and financial issues immediately garner your attention; however, two oft-forgotten components in this arena are risk management and human resources. Unfortunately, inattention to these areas can potentially and without warning end an investment before it begins. Read more…

Patent trolls threaten innovation

November 12, 2014 Leave a comment

Over the past few years, the challenge of protecting Intellectual Property (IP) at developing technology companies has reached a point of crisis. The problem stems from Non-Practicing Entities lodging unwarranted litigation. They are known as NPEs or sometimes referred to as the illustrative description of patent trolls. Last year, it was reported that the patent trolls problem cost American companies close to $13 billion in litigation settlements and attorney’s fees. The business of shaking down technology companies has become a $3.2 trillion industry globally, with over 11,000 companies having been accused of patent infringement at least once in the past decade. This is an astounding amount of capital that should otherwise be spent on driving innovation and economic growth.

And there’s a reason why you don’t you hear more about it. Many companies that have been victims of a patent troll scenario rarely go public out of fear of future attacks. Read more…

Startup liability: Marketplace economy companies face unique risks

November 10, 2014 Leave a comment

p2pThroughout the past year, I have helped place insurance programs for a number of “Peer- to-Peer” or “Marketplace Economy” companies – more appropriately called Technology Enabled Service Marketplace (TESM) companies. The insurance exposures that have accompanied this industry are vast, varied and complex, from Workers Compensation to Crime and Professional Liability. General Liability, however, remains the most common exposure for these companies, due to the numerous types of “jobs” they perform and specifically where those jobs are performed. Read more…

HIPAA violators not immune from criminal charges

November 4, 2014 Leave a comment

HIPAA_violatorsIn light of recent reports of a hospital employee facing criminal charges for violating privacy requirements under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), it’s clear that not only do violators of the law risk losing their job if they’re caught, they could end up in jail. The case isn’t the first federal prosecution under the Act – back in 2010, a Californian doctor received four months in jail after pleading guilty to four misdemeanor counts of snooping into the medical records of his supervisors and several well-known celebrities. While these cases are not common, they serve as a stark reminder to employees of HIPAA covered entities that the courts take HIPAA violations seriously and do not hold back delivering fines and criminal sanctions to those found guilty of breaking the law. Read more…

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