IRS announces 2015 COLA limits

taxformThe Internal Revenue Service has just announced the annual cost-of-living adjustments for 2015. Every year around this time, the financial industry, especially those in the retirement space, anxiously await these updates, particularly since they outline whether or not taxpayers will be able to contribute more to their retirement plans. Between 2013 and 2014, there was little change for elective contributions. Catch-up contributions, 401(k), SIMPLE, Roth and Traditional IRAs all stayed the same as well. However, things are definitely changing in 2015.

On October 23, 2014 the IRS announced the 2015 cost-of-living adjustments for the dollar limitations under qualified retirement plans, 403(b) plans and 457(b) governmental plans. The following reflects the 2015 limits and offers a comparison between 2014 limits where there is a difference. Read more…

Is your Landlord’s tenant information open to a data breach?

October 29, 2014 Leave a comment

Fitch Ratings-recently reported that while the potential long-term effects of Essex Property Trust’s data breach are not yet known, the incident may serve as a harbinger of future problems for multifamily Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs).

A REIT is a type of real estate company modeled after mutual funds. REITs were created by Congress in 1960 to give all Americans the opportunity to invest in income-producing real estate in a manner similar to how many Americans invest in stocks and bonds through mutual funds. Income-producing real estate refers to land and the improvements on it, such as apartments, offices or hotels. Read more…

Tracking variable hour employees – when should employers look to outsource?

October 27, 2014 Leave a comment

time_moneyAs part of the Employer Shared Responsibility Provision going into effect on January 1, 2015, employers are required to extend coverage to employees working 30 or more hours per week. Sounds simple, right? Not necessarily. As it turns out, many employers with variable hour employees are struggling to determine which of their employees have averaged more than 30 hours per week.

Employers with large numbers of variable hour employees may want to consider partnering with a vendor to assist in this tracking. Payroll organizations may also have resources for tracking these employees. Read more…

Rise in healthcare regulatory scrutiny means providers must be extra cautious

October 24, 2014 Leave a comment

Healthcare providers who submit claims to Medicare and Medicaid are exposed to greater financial risk than ever before. Enhanced anti-fraud legislation coupled with a massive increase in government resources aimed at recouping billing errors and fraud will ultimately take millions of dollars away from healthcare providers and cost substantial sums to refute or defend in legal expenses and forensic reviews. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services(CMS) through its aggressive Recovery Audit Contractor(RAC) program initiated in 2006, whereby federally hired contractors are paid on a contingency basis retaining a percentage of recovery payments, had recouped almost a billion dollars as of 2008, that did not meet coding or necessity policies. Read more…

As Ebola threats continue, insurance options respond – or will they?

ebola_hospitalWhile the current Ebola pandemic still remains primarily isolated to West Africa, the death of Thomas Duncan earlier this month in Texas has raised many concerns relative to the potential spread of the disease globally. At this time, two nurses responsible for treating Duncan have both tested positive for the disease, raising questions about whether American hospitals and their staff are adequately prepared to contain the virus.

Read more…

Are your benefits plans ready for Ebola?

As the nation braces for a potential outbreak of one of the worst infectious diseases in modern history, employers and employees should carefully review their benefits contracts to ensure financial protection in the face of significant exposure. It’s obvious from the recent high profile cases that travel and treatment costs for a patient infected with Ebola can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, but don’t assume that your standard copays and out of pockets will cover the costs. Why not?

WGA’s Employee Benefits Practice has compiled responses and alerts from carriers and their contractual wording for medical, life and disability, critical illness and travel products. Employers should review their contracts and seek written clarifications that specifically include Ebola, as well as a listing of other pandemic diseases.  Read more…

When pandemic strikes: does your company have an action plan?

October 17, 2014 Leave a comment

hazmatFollowing reports of the first Ebola transmissions on U.S. soil, the threat of the disease continues to escalate across the world. The Ebola outbreak is only the latest version of potential worldwide pandemics with serious economic impacts affecting supply chain and business operations for companies of all types. Industries like mining, agriculture and energy face the greatest risks with Ebola, since these groups have a high number of operation bases and workers in the affected nations. However, companies that do not operate in Africa may also experience business interruptions when employee access to the workplace is compromised.

Read more…

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