Employee Benefits

February 18, 2020
cloud-based HRIS

The Ins & Outs of a Cloud-Based HRIS

Human Resources Information System, or HRIS, are centralized computer programs to manage the processes associated with having employees. While they have been around for a long time, the introduction of cloud-based HRIS systems has made them even more powerful. Employers who have not used this new technology may not be fully aware of what these updated programs are capable of, particularly in terms of efficiency, trackability and compliance. At WorkSmart Systems, our newly launched cloud-based HRIS offers a great deal of flexibility, allowing employers to pick and choose the services that best suit their employee base. However, it all starts with payroll and benefits, combining what used to be many vendors into one centralized platform. Imagine having just one log-in, one place to store and track all employee information, and one partner to help you with all of your employee management needs. WorkSmart’s Cloud-Based HRIS Service Modules: Payroll Module – Our system has been designed to offer greater flexibility so you can customize your services based on the needs of your workforce. Consultancies have different needs than manufacturers, who have different needs than labs. Employees receive their own log-ins and are able to make changes to items like mailing addresses, direct deposit information and dependent numbers. Varying levels of access allow managers and executives to see employee group information as appropriate. Also, all of your payroll information is stored in the same place as your benefits plan, streamlining tracking and compliance reporting. Benefits Module – WorkSmart’s group health benefits program offers four plan choices to your workforce. Once our benefits team meets with your employees one on one to help them choose the best option, each employee can log into the HRIS to sign up and track their claims. Paid Time Off Module – Executives, managers and employees can all have appropriate access to PTO information, monitoring time accrued and taken, as well as requests and approvals. Removing the paper and email trail by placing this data into a centralized place can help eliminate miscommunication and tracking issues. Employee Filing Cabinet Module – In keeping with WorkSmart’s goal to centralize all employee information, employers can scan previously created paper-based human resource files into this system (the perfect job for a summer intern!). Anything that has to do with having employees can be stored here: employee evaluations and certifications, tracking of company cell phones, computers and keys information, and the employee handbook are all examples of the kinds of information businesses can store in their personalized file cabinet. Employee Intranet Module – Businesses can use WorkSmart’s HRIS as an intranet system, a powerful way to communicate with all of your employees if you do not already have an internal system. You can easily notify everyone about company holidays, employee anniversaries and birthdays, and get-togethers. Applicant Tracking Center Module – Turnover is a part of being an employer, and WorkSmart’s HRIS not only makes the separation process easier, but it also aids in hiring. Job openings can be listed on the system […]
January 29, 2020
Outsourcing Human resources

How One Company Saved Time and Money by Outsourcing HR Services

In recent years regulations for the workplace have increased rapidly, making the job of administrating human resources complex and time-consuming. Organizations can become bogged down in the ocean of employment rules and policies, losing time and money in the effort to keep up with compliance. And, the consequences for falling behind have become steeper with the increase in fines. In search of a cost-effective solution, some companies have turned to outsourcing HR services from Professional Employer Organizations or PEOs. PEOs bypass the knowledge gap for employers who don’t have that expertise. I’d like to share a story about an Indiana-based company who was looking for an efficient way to handle their human resources tasks. The organization manages fitness centers in more than a dozen states. Trying to handle the plethora of regulations specific to each state, along with the wave of regulations legislated by the Affordable Care Act, was consuming too much of their time and bottom line. Seeking an alternative to hiring a $50,000 specialized HR employee, the company found that Worksmart Systems worked best for their situation. Without an in-house HR expert, the company relied on a combination of insurance brokers and expensive law firms for advice on internal benefits and workplace-related legal guidance. According to the company president, “As much as anything, it felt like we were spending more time making sure we didn’t step on a crack. Focusing on the legal aspects of employment law took time away from running the business. Now we have Worksmart to do that and it reduces our administrative time.” Worksmart Systems is an Indiana-based PEO that offers businesses payroll services, employee benefits, HR and compliance services, and a human resources information system. Another benefit of working with Worksmart is access to their expertise in employment policy and regulations. Each client has the ability to contact Worksmart for answers to employment questions and advice. Having experts just a phone call away at no additional expense offers business owners an invaluable peace of mind about their benefits and policies. Through Worksmart’s comprehensive offerings, the fitness company has seen improvement across the board, from staying compliant to revamping their employee medical package and retirement plans. The new retirement plan cuts administrative fees in half, and the health package includes better medical options and a health savings account for employees.  “It’s a much better plan,” said the company president. “I would have never offered a health savings account because I would have had to figure out all the rules on it. It’s too complicated.” “Worksmart has made things simple,” added the company president. “They uncomplicated the questions. In the past when someone asked us about insurance plans, we’d have to call the broker and get back to the employee. Worksmart knows the answer. We can take care of our customers and take care of our employees and run the business.” From providing peace of mind and efficiency, to offering robust medical and retirement benefits, PEOs act as a crucial spotter for companies who want […]
January 16, 2020
employee group health benefits

ICHRAs Offer a New Landscape for Small Business Employee Health Benefits

In mid-June 2019, the US Departments of Health & Human Services and the Treasury issued a rule allowing employers to contribute pre-tax dollars for employee health care coverage through a new health reimbursement arrangement named ICHRA. Like previous HRAs, employees can use employer funds to purchase health coverage from the public exchange or other insurance plans. However, this ruling lifted many restrictions on how companies could use HRAs or even qualify for group health plans, such as employee participation rates and affordability. This news changes the game for small business employee health benefits. The flexibility and options offered by this new ruling are not well known, but Wharton & Power Insurance has already assisted many local employers in taking advantage of this opportunity. For example, we helped three small business clients offer ICHRAs to their employees: a remodeler with 12 employees, a homebuilder with 12 employees and a restaurant with 70 employees. Benefits of ICHRAs in Offering Small Businesses Employee Health Benefit 1) Flexibility in Coverage By allowing employers to provide funds for employees to choose their own coverage, ICHRAs provide the flexibility for employees to determine their budget and coverage, rather than the employer. 2) Fewer Restrictions Small businesses had a difficult time meeting the requirements for group health plans, such as the number of W-2 employees, participation rate and premium contribution levels. ICHRA removes those restrictions while placing more control in the hands of the employer and the employees. 3) Wider Employee Definitions ICHRA allows contractors, 1099, W-2, seasonal and temporary employees to participate, though they must be of similar employment class, such as hourly or salary. Employers may vary their contribution levels per employee. 4) No Set Contribution and Participation Levels The employer sets the amount of money they want to provide to employees to supplement health care premiums. And, not every employee has to participate, making no real downside to the employer to offer the program.   How ICHRAs Work Once a budget has been set and the paperwork has been filed, an insurance broker like our Wharton & Power Insurance Team will work with employees to choose a health insurance plan that works for them. Considerations include the amount of money coming from their employer, their personal budget for health insurance premiums and the coverage they need. W&P then explores the options offered through the public exchange and private insurers. We also test for federal subsidy opportunities which can further reduce the employee’s cost of coverage. Rather than a company-wide group meeting about coverage options, the employee experience is more personal and has the potential to provide more beneficial coverage. With W&P, there is no cost for this service. Partnering this program with Wharton & Power Insurance can make taking advantage of this new option easy for your business. We have been working with employers and employees on both group and individual policies for over 30 years. We can help guide you through your budgeting decisions, set up your program and then work with your […]
November 20, 2019
group health benefits

Why Employers Continue to Offer Employee Health Benefits

It’s renewal season for most companies that offer employee health benefits. As the costs of offering health care have continued to rise, this time of year can come with hard choices. With the passage and gradual implementation of the Affordable Care Act, some businesses have considered abandoning offering health benefits, but continue to hang on regardless of their bottom line. Others have chosen to eliminate their plans, increasing employee pay instead to help them afford their own insurance. However, those employers are now returning to their previous ways. Why do employers continue to offer employee health benefits? For a few reasons: 1) To retain employees – Even though the increased income and ACA plan choices gave employees more flexibility with their health benefits, losing that employer benefit also brought complexity and fear. Workers are accustomed to this “perk” and can feel less valued by an organization that does not invest in their well-being. Wading through the ACA-approved insurance plans each year is frustrating and time-consuming. Businesses run the risk of good people leaving for organizations that offer employer-based coverage. There is a high value placed on peace of mind, not just by the employee, but by the employer as well. Offering quality employee benefits tends to be a common trait of companies committed to creating a desirable place to work. 2) To attract employees – One of the most common complaints among business owners is the challenge of finding quality employees to hire. Once that rare gem is found, employers must have an attractive package to offer, which for most workers includes more than salary and PTO. Health benefits can be an important value-add to attract a stellar workforce. 3) There are cost-effective alternatives available – Organizations facing large rate increases in their group health insurance premiums are looking for more affordable alternatives. One of those options is to contract with a Professional Employment Organization, or PEO. For a business with a healthy workforce, the unique role PEOs play in the health insurance world can be particularly beneficial. PEOs are designated as MEWAs, Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements, which are exempt from the ACA’s community-rated requirement placed on most health insurance providers. This allows PEOs like Indiana-based WorkSmart Systems to offer private group health insurance plans, allowing employers to take advantage of the power behind economies of scale. A co-employment PEO, WorkSmart medically underwrites its plan for its 9,000 co-employees, with multiple benefit options. Employers are able to offer the quality coverage of a Fortune 500 company while managing their costs. WorkSmart also offers other HR services to help businesses be more efficient with their time and money, such as payroll, HR administration, and an HRIS platform. Continued change is on the horizon in the health insurance landscape. Regardless, businesses still want to attract and maintain a quality workforce while managing their bottom line. Reach out to us for more information on WorkSmart, as well as other opportunities to help you achieve this goal.
June 11, 2019
Value_of_a_PEO

The Value Proposition of a PEO

How we work has changed quite a bit over the last decade. We’ve seen growth in the gig economy, and in the complexity of employment regulations. Even if your organization is fortunate enough to still have human resources professionals on staff, it can be difficult for them to stay up-to-date in this quickly changing world. A Professional Employer Organization, or PEO, offers your small to medium sized business the opportunity to efficiently manage these employee-based business operations. When you partner with a PEO, you are getting the benefit of economies of scale, shared liability and expertise. As a co-employer, the PEO streamlines your business operations, and provides a safety net for your decisions. They are not there to make day-to-day decisions about how you run your company – that’s your area of expertise. A PEO adds efficiency, structure, and accountability to the backend of your organization. PEO Services: Payroll: Once you have entered the co-employment status with a PEO, services begin with payroll. As the financial management center for employment, how you pay your employees is the key to the tracking and reporting requirements for your business. Quality PEOs go above and beyond the typical payroll service company by offering you access to other services, such as streamlined ACA reporting requirements and a pooled cost structure for areas like employee benefits and worker’s compensation. Employee Benefits: With the increasing cost of providing employee benefit plans, as a business owner you may be feeling squeezed. You want to take care of your employees, but the bottom line has to come first. A PEO is a great solution to this problem. Your business joins one large group plan, taking advantage of the economies of scale enjoyed by much larger organizations. For example, Worksmart Systems, an Indiana-based PEO, offers a self-funded plan offering four options, with 8,000 participants. They partner with Anthem, whose expansive network in Indiana offers greater discounts leading to more cost savings for you and your employees. Worksmart allows you to offer your employees a menu of benefits like a Fortune 500 company! Human Resources: During the economic downturn, many businesses downsized their non-revenue generating staff like human resource managers. However, that skill set is still needed. PEOs can serve as your human resources department, providing a wide range of services from employee training, hiring and termination assistance, and downsizing plans to EEOC claims, mandatory postings and employee handbooks. If you already have an HR department in place, PEOs can create an infrastructure to manage your day-to-day operations more efficiently. By offering a system that streamlines the multiple vendors that come with medical and dental benefits, 401k plans, payroll, worker’s comp, etc., PEOs allow your HR professionals to focus on the human aspect of their job. Benefits and HR Compliance: Businesses are finding it more difficult to stay in compliance in this constantly evolving world of employment law. The Affordable Care Act reporting requirements alone have placed a greater burden on business owners. Employers also must follow strict procedures within […]
March 11, 2018

Did Your Employee Group Health Insurance Rates Skyrocket? You Have Options.

Our clients who renewed their employee group health insurance plans for December 1, 2018 saw an average of a 10-12% rate increase. We expect the same for 2019. With the drastic changes in health insurance over the past few years, no one knows when this upward trend will level off. Fortunately, Wharton & Power Insurance has access to unique options for employers of at least two employees to reduce their benefit costs sooner rather than later. 1) PEO Program Professional Employer Organizations offer employers an efficient way to manage all of their human resource efforts. By entering into a co-employment contract with the PEO, all HR services are taken care of while the employer retains overall management of their employees’ work. The PEO’s group health insurance plans allow access to large-group programs and pricing, shielding employers from the volatility of the group health insurance market. As the Indiana Broker of Record for local PEO, Worksmart, the W&P Team is in the unique position to present this option. 2) BAGI Group Health Insurance Program Builder members of the Builder’s Association of Greater Indianapolis have access to the organizations’ employee group health program. By pooling the buying power of their members, BAGI’s program allows for a more even spread of risk, less rate volatility, and a viable answer to the double-digit rate increases we are seeing this year. With 12 different plans, from benefit-rich and low out-of-pocket plans, all the way up to plans with the maximum allowed federal out-of-pocket limits, there is an option for everyone. Wharton & Power Insurance is the sole administrator of the program, offering local, personalized service to all BAGI members. There may be no need to just accept the huge increases for your employee group health insurance rates, or to wait until the next renewal cycle. Send us an email, or give us a call at 317.663.4138 to learn more about your options to lower your costs now.
December 1, 2017
open enrollment

Managing Open Enrollment for Your 2018 Health Insurance Coverage

Whether you receive health benefits from your job, the marketplace or an association, you have probably been hearing a lot of urgent messages about open enrollment. It is this time of year where individuals and businesses alike have to make important decisions about their health insurance coverage. It is also the only opportunity to make changes to your plans without a qualifying event. Below we offer some items to consider as you make your way through open enrollment for your 2018 health insurance coverage. Individuals: With the Affordable Care Act in disarray, Indiana residents who were relying on the heath insurance marketplace for coverage are having to look for other options. Many have received notification from their 2017 insurer of a discontinuation of coverage. There is still one option for individual policies in Indiana’s health insurance exchange though AmBetter. We suggest you begin your search by assessing your current plan and looking for a new policy that will offer you the same or better coverage. Be prepared to provide employment, gender, home county and smoker status information to obtain a quote. Also be careful to note deadlines to sign up and when coverage will begin. Employees: Your employer received rate increases and plan changes in early fall and may have faced some hard decisions about the bottom line impact of offering health benefits. Open enrollment is the time where employees may have to make some decisions as well. It is important to read through information provided and to take advantage of any information sessions or assistance by the insurer. At Wharton Insurance and Financial Services (WIFS), we hold open enrollment meetings for all of our clients’ employees to ensure everyone understands the plans and what changes can be made. It may be that you will have to assess which offered plan works for you and your family in 2018, or you may have new circumstances that need to be addressed. Even if you have no personal changes, we suggest you review your company plans carefully so you will know what to expect for the coming year. Association Members: Many associations offer access to health insurance coverage as a benefit to membership. Similar to companies, these organizations have an open enrollment period to allow participants to assess their plan choices and costs, as well as account for life changes. This time of year is also when new members may enroll, so if you are looking for health coverage, it may be worthwhile to investigate membership in an applicable local association. For example, WIFS manages the health insurance plan for the Builder’s Association of Indianapolis, an organization focused on the local home improvement sector. It may be that your work or other affiliations could help provide you with quality health insurance coverage. Wharton Insurance and Financial Services has helped individuals, businesses and associations work their way throughout the rapidly changing world that is health insurance. If you have questions or are looking for coverage for yourself or your employees, send us an […]
November 2, 2017
employee health insurance

My Employees and I Are Losing Individual Health Coverage. What Are My Options?

With the demise of the individual health insurance market in Indiana, many small business owners are losing their health insurance right along with their employees. If you were relying on the ACA Exchange to cover you and your employees, you are well aware that option is now questionable. With your employees scrambling, you risk losing your workers to competitors by not offering health benefits. Besides, you and your family need them too! BAGI Group Health Insurance Plan As a BAGI contractor member in good standing, your company may be eligible to participate in the BAGI Group Health Insurance Plan. By pooling the employees from each member company into the coverage, the BAGI plan is able to offer large-company benefits to small businesses. Brokered by BAGI member Scott Wharton, and managed by Anthem, participants have 12 plan choices from benefit-rich and low out-of-pocket options, all the way up to plans with the maximum-allowed federal out-of-pocket limits. With BAGI’s program, you and your employees get affordability, quality and choice in their health insurance coverage. Small Employer Case Study Wharton Insurance had a small business owner reach out to them because she was losing her individual health insurance. She had not offered an employee plan in the past and was paying $12,000 a year out of pocket just to cover herself on the individual market. The Wharton Team suggested she look at offering a group plan that would include coverage for herself and her employees. The price tag could be the same for better coverage, and she would get the added bonus of making her employees happy. The BAGI plan could provide the same benefit to your company. Take Action Before It Is Too Late Open enrollment started November 1 for AmBetter, the only Affordable Care Act (ACA) approved individual plan available in our state. For many people, that lack of competition could mean lower-quality benefits for higher costs. Fortunately, there are other options if you are a business owner interested in providing coverage to your employees as well as yourself. However, you must act before the December 15th deadline to ensure coverage beginning January 1, 2018! As long as you have 2 or more employees, the BAGI plan may be the right choice for your business. As an independent insurance broker, Scott can also look into other options if the BAGI plan does not fit your situation. There is no cost to explore your options and it only takes about a day to complete. For more information about how you can find the coverage you need and offer your employees the health benefits they are looking for, email Scott or give him a call at 317.663.4138.      
October 26, 2017
Employee Health Benefits

Your Employees Want Health Insurance. There Are Ways to Give It to Them.

Are you like many other Indiana employers who are struggling with attracting and retaining employees? The corrosion of the individual healthcare market coupled with low unemployment means that one way to deal with this issue is to offer group health insurance. However, smaller businesses do not always feel they have the resources to compete on that level. Below, we offer two case studies on how we were able to offer our businesses clients affordable and high-quality options to help them achieve that goal. Case #1: Small Business Owner Needs Individual Coverage A small business owner with five employees had not previously offered a group health plan and was not sure she wanted to move in that direction. She had been paying $12,000 a year out of pocket just to cover herself on the individual market. The current dearth of individual plan options led her to us for help. We suggested that she explore a community-rated group plan, where she would be covered as well as her employees. The price tag could be the same for better coverage, and she would get the added bonus of making her employees happy. With Wharton Insurance, there is no charge to explore your options with us and it only takes about a day to complete. The final result could end up serving your needs better! Case #2: Manufacturing Company Needs to Compete for Employees A manufacturing company in Indiana came to us exasperated with the current state of their human resources activities. With 130 employees operating in five states, they did not have the formal HR structure that size of organization needs—they did not even have an employee handbook. In addition, they were struggling with attracting and retaining employees because of their current health insurance plan. Offering a competitive plan with multiple choices had been a problem, and they needed to figure out an option that would allow them to challenge the larger competitors attracting their workforce. WorkSmart Solutions, an Indiana-based Professional Employer Organization or PEO, was the best solution for their issues. PEOs allow small businesses to work like Fortune 500 organizations through the power of pooling. Their employees join the over 7,000 others managed under the PEO umbrella, allowing the business to offer their employees a rich benefit package with many plan choices. The HR Admin services included with PEO partnership also helped the management team get their HR needs under control. Health insurance is not what it used to be. If it has been a while since you explored your options, you may be surprised by what is possible. The Wharton Insurance Team would be happy to help. Send us an email, or give us a call at 317.663.4138.  
September 27, 2017
employee health insurance

Don’t Lose Your Workforce Over Employee Health Insurance Benefits

The individual health insurance market has essentially collapsed in Indiana. With the largest insurers no longer participating in the exchange set up under the Affordable Care Act, people without access to a group plan through an employer find themselves in a difficult place. If you are a business owner who relied on grossing up wages to help your employees purchase their own quality health insurance plans, it is important to know what they no longer have that option. Your business is now at risk of losing employees to competitors that provide health benefits. Fortunately, there is another employee health insurance option available to small businesses. Organizations classified as MEWAs, or Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements, have always been exempt from the ACA and therefore exist outside of the exchange. This exemption allows Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) like Indiana-based WorkSmart Systems to offer private group health insurance plans to its members. Partnering with a PEO allows small businesses to harness the power of pooling, by joining their employees with those of the other PEO members. Being a part of this larger group affords your employees the health benefits of a Fortune 500 firm at a reasonable cost. It may be that you were relying on the individual market for your health insurance as well and are now looking at your options. If you have at least five full-time employees, including yourself, WorkSmart is an option for your business. However, don’t let that number scare you off if it appears that you have fewer FTEs. There may be relationships within your business that qualify as employees that you have not considered. At Worksmart we can help you clearly define your workforce, which may open up the opportunity for PEO membership. While the fate of the individual health insurance market is uncertain, the fact is that you still need to run your business. Now more than ever, offering employee health insurance is a key factor in attracting and retaining a quality workforce. WorkSmart serves as the co-employer for over 7,000 Indiana employees, and medically underwrites their health insurance plan offering multiple benefit options. Their self-funded, trust-based model has allowed them to craft a balanced health benefits program that can help protect their partners from the policies coming out of Washington, today and beyond. To discover whether your business qualifies to participate in a PEO, send me an email or give me a call at 317.663.4138.    
September 10, 2015
ACA employer reporting requirements

Assuming Your Small Business is Free From Affordable Care Act Requirements? Think Again!

Let’s say you own a business with over 50, but under 100 employees, and you offer an affordable group health insurance plan. You’re clear from any responsibilities under the Affordable Care Act, right? Think again. Starting January 1, 2016, you will be subject to the same reporting requirements employers of over 100 people are currently managing. What do the ACA reporting requirements mean for your business? With the adoption of the ACA came additional paperwork that is tied to payroll reporting requirements. Now, employers have to send information to the Internal Revenue Service about their employee group health benefits, and they have to provide the value of that program to their employees. Formulas for determining full-time employee status have also changed and can have a great effect on determining accountability under the ACA. The penalties for miscommunicating this information are substantial, making it important that your Human Resources Administrator fully understand the complexities of these new reporting requirements. (Click here to learn more about the penalty structure that will affect businesses with 50+ employees 1/1/16). There is no need to figure out this new world all on your own! Wharton Insurance and Financial Services has many options to help ensure all of your bases are covered. We can guide you through the decisions surrounding offering affordable group health care coverage. We can help your employees find individual coverage if you want to disband your program. And, we can provide resources for managing the new intricacies of being an employer under the ACA. Send us an email, or give us a call at 317.663.4138 for more information.
February 18, 2015
ACA employer reporting requirements

Managing the New Affordable Care Act Employer Reporting Requirements

As of January 1st, 2015, businesses with 100+ full-time employees must be in compliance with the Affordable Care Act mandate to provide affordable employee health benefits or be subject to penalties. (Click here to read our blog post about what this change means for your business.) Along with the benefits mandate came a whole new layer of employer reporting requirements. The costs of non-compliance are now stiff, making it worthwhile to find a viable option to fulfill your obligations under the law. Human Resources Administration is becoming more complex and expensive to mismanage. Beyond the ACA, it seems the world of human resources is getting more and more complex, and expensive to mishandle. The reporting requirements for employers are also becoming more intricate. With the adoption of the ACA came additional paperwork that is tied to current payroll reporting requirements: employers may now have to report the value of employee health benefits on the employee’s W-2. With the cost of miscommunicating this information becoming more substantial, it is important that your HR Administrator fully understand the complexities of this new structure. PEOs Offer Employer Solutions As the HR landscape changes, how are you as a business owner meant to keep up? One way to insure that you are following the law is to contract with a Professional Employer Organization, or PEO. These entities offer employers a way to outsource their human resources needs, including payroll, employee benefits, and workers’ compensation insurance. PEOs are experts in their field. They allow the reporting process to be consolidated into one place, alleviating employers of the stress of trying to understand and abide by the new laws. Wharton Insurance & Financial Services has partnered with Worksmart, a local PEO with a 17 year history of satisfied clients. When you enter into a co-employment relationship with Worksmart, they become the employer of record for tax and insurance purposes while you retain the management of your employees’ overall work. Worksmart manages your payroll reporting requirements, which with the ACA is now tied to your health insurance obligations. As a co-employer with the expertise in dealing with HR administration on a daily basis, partnering with Worksmart provides a layer of protection from potential compliance and reporting issues. PEOs serve as a smart choice for one-stop shopping for your compliance reporting needs. For more information on how to manage the new Affordable Care Act employer reporting requirements using Worksmart, send us an email, or give us a call at 317.663.4138.
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