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.
October 10, 2019
PEO services

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 Professional Employer Organizations, or PEOs, to manage their compliance and HR needs. 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 new 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 Systems 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 […]
September 18, 2019
payroll services

The PEO Difference in Payroll Services

As a business owner, you have many options for managing your payroll. However, there are key advantages to using Professional Employer Organizations, or PEOs, over other types of service providers: 1) The Value of Co-Employment Contracting with a PEO like WorkSmart Systems means you enter into a co-employment agreement. By grouping together all of the employees they serve, WorkSmart is able to offer you the benefits of economies of scale. These benefits go beyond cost-savings. You also gain the service, expertise and technology that large organizations receive without being one yourself. The PEO does not delve into the day-to-day activities of your business. Rather, a PEO takes care of the paperwork, disbursements, communication and reporting that comes with managing a payroll. And, the co-employment relationship means the PEO has a vested interest in making sure few if any mistakes are made. 2) Complete Payroll Services The power of pooling also allows PEOs to offer state-of-the-art payroll systems that improve the process for the employer and the employees. Everyone has direct access to the information they need without having to go through an HR professional. WorkSmart PEO even goes a step further by offering all of their payroll clients general human resources services at no additional cost. You are assigned a Payroll Specialist, rather than someone in a call center, who manages your account and knows you and your business. In addition, WorkSmart provides access to an HR expert who can guide you through hiring and firing processes, employee handbook creation, mandatory posting, training and a host of other employee relations and regulation needs. 3) Your Partner in Compliance Tracking salaries, exempt and non-exempt status, overtime, PTO, taxes and health benefits for each employee has always been complex. With the new regulations passed over the last few years, the HR landscape has become even more daunting for a business to manage. PEOs work hard to stay up-to-date on the latest reporting requirements to ensure their clients are compliant. With the ever-increasing cost of missing a deadline or misrepresenting your workforce, it is smart business to have an expert watching out for you. If you are thinking of outsourcing your payroll services, or are already contracted with a traditional provider, you may want to look into what a PEO can offer. Payroll is much more than salaries and W-2s these days. Having an expert on your side can reduce the headaches, costs and complexities of managing your employees.
August 14, 2019
Local PEO

The Benefits of Partnering with a Local PEO

The shop local movement is alive and strong in Indiana. Knowing where the products they buy come from and being able to call upon an actual person when a problem arises is important to consumers these days. The same is true for businesses, particularly when they are outsourcing critical services like payroll or health insurance. Contracting with a local PEO, or professional employer organization, ensures you have a partner that understands your unique needs, and is readily available to assist you when situations arise. The Benefits of a Local PEO Experts in Local Compliance – When it comes to payroll, health insurance, worker’s compensation and the like, each state has its own procedures and regulations that must be followed to stay in compliance. Local PEOs like WorkSmart Systems are experts in their geographical arenas. This knowledgebase allows them to be more effective in ensuring their clients complete the requirements. The increasing negative impact of non-compliance on businesses and their employees means it is critical to have an informed partner on your side. In-Person OnBoarding – Guiding your employees through understanding your group health insurance plan and answering their individual questions should not be done by conference call or webinar. Face-to-face group and individual meetings allow for in-depth conversation and information sharing. National PEOs are not inclined to fly in a representative to personally conduct these critical onboarding sessions, leaving room for confusion and frustration among you and your employees. Greater Flexibility and Better Customer Service – Local PEOs understand the unique traits of the state in which they work, and tailor their offerings to address those specifications. For example, WorkSmart crafted their payroll, HR services, and group health plans with Hoosiers in mind rather than forcing their clients into a national cookie-cutter model. And, by assigning a local account manager to each of the employment partners, they are able to better address the specific needs of each business and their employees. Fortunately, in Indiana, there is no need to go outside of your own state to manage the critical administration services of your business. With Hoosier-based PEOs like WorkSmart Systems available, your interests will be served by local experts committed to your shared community.  Let us know if you have questions about PEOs and the services they offer. Send us an email, or give us a call at 317.663.4138.
July 24, 2019
PEO Services

The Benefits of Outsourced HR Services

For many small businesses, managing the activities usually performed by a human resources department are done on the fly. Performance reviews, creating an employee handbook, or even setting vacation and PTO policies are dealt with as issues arise rather than strategically. The expense of a full-time HR professional is not always in the budget, so employee management duties fall to the owner or designated support staff. Or, the human resources director is being pulled in too many directions. The fact is, however, that businesses are subject to complex employment regulations or lawsuits, and the cost of misunderstanding or ignoring them can be steep. Bringing in outsourced HR services is a cost-effective way to protect your business and promote a positive work environment. Outsourcing human resources functions means you have an expert in your corner. Full-service organizations can assist you with all aspects of managing your employees: employee handbooks, mandatory postings, training, EEOC claims, salary reviews, downsizing or growth planning and execution etc. Programs can be tailored to your needs and, in the case of PEO’s like Worksmart Systems, can include other services like payroll and employee benefits. HR services providers do not get involved in the activities of your day-to-day business. They serve as your partner to increase regulatory compliance and reduce employer liability while maintaining your company culture. For organizations like Worksmart, HR services begin with payroll. Tracking the salaries, exempt and non-exempt status, overtime, PTO, taxes and health benefits for each employee has always been complex. With the new regulations passed over the past few years, the HR landscape has become even more daunting for a business to manage. Worksmart helps their clients address employer challenges by including HR services within their payroll programs. There are no hourly rates; the goal is to ensure that their clients never worry about incurring extra fees by picking up the phone and asking for advice or assistance. If you already have a human resources staff, outsourcing can provide a robust infrastructure, saving time and money. Contracting with a one-stop-shop for HR services can streamline vendor relationships, such as medical, dental, 401K, other business insurance, payroll, and worker’s comp. It is also helpful to find an organization that also offers an HRIS, providing you one place to manage all of your employee data. Looking for an outside partner to help manage the challenges that come with employing people is a powerful option for your business. Either you have access to a fully staffed HR department for less than hiring one person, or, your current HR staff can tap into outside expertise to help them perform at their best. I would be delighted to discuss how outsourced HR services can benefit your company. Send us an email, or give us a call at 317-663-4138.
July 17, 2019

PEOs: The Difference Between Full Co-Employment and ASO Models

As business leaders review the PEO marketplace for human resource services like payroll, employee benefits and HR administration, two options emerge: a full co-employment model and an ASO model. What are the differences? Why choose one over the other? A co-employment PEO is a Professional Employer Organization that provides small to medium-sized businesses with HR services through a co-employment model. An ASO PEO is an Administrative Services Organization that also serves as a source for HR services but without a co-employment agreement. Both models aim to streamline the behind-the-scenes administration requirements associated with having employees. It is important to note that co-employment does not mean the PEO delves into the day-to-day operations of a business. They are there to add efficiency, structure, and accountability to the backend of an organization. The Benefits of a Co-Employment PEO: The Power of Pooling: A co-employment PEO combines all of their clients’ employees into one group, creating one large pool to cover under a group health plan. This pooling allows the PEO to offer the bargaining power of large businesses to small and medium-sized businesses, which can lead to better coverage and lower premiums. The ASO model is based on outsourcing services separately for each employer that contracts with them. While ASOs also alleviate their clients from the responsibility of finding and implementing a group health plan, they are not able to offer smaller employers the preferred rates and benefits available to large companies. Full Suite of HR Services: With co-employment comes a full array of human resource services: health insurance, payroll functions, HR admin, HRIS, reporting and compliance. The PEO essentially takes on responsibility for their client’s employees like they are their own. The organization enrolls those employees in a timely manner into a group health coverage plan, provides payroll and payroll reporting, and manages COBRA and COBRA compliance as well as other human resource functions. An ASO is based on a cafeteria plan model, where an employer can pick and choose which services they would like to outsource. This type of PEO may not be able to reap the benefits of the bargaining weight of larger organizations, as it may not have enough participants in each service line. The co-employment PEO model includes many benefits to a small or medium-sized employer. Case in point, Worksmart Systems is an Indiana-based PEO that has been offering HR outsourcing services for 21 years. They provide a group health insurance plan. By pooling health risk-rating groups over many employees, Worksmart can offer small to medium-sized businesses competitive rates that larger businesses enjoy. Questions about PEO services? Send me an email, or give me a call at 317-663-4138.
June 11, 2019

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.
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.
September 24, 2014
Wharton Insurance PEO

What the Heck Is A PEO and How Would It Benefit My Business?

If you own a small to medium-sized business that employs people, you could use a PEO. PEO stands for Professional Employer Organization, which is an entity that offers employers a way to outsource everyday Human Resource tasks like Payroll, Employee Benefits and Workers’ Compensation. Taking advantage of the power of a PEO’s pooled resources can offer greater efficiency within your business operations.  Benefits of a PEO: Full-service Human Resources Department at your fingertips, leaving the intricacies of compliance to the experts Employee Benefits programs similar to large companies, providing you with protection from volatility in premiums and a wide variety of plans Management of Workers’ Compensation insurance and claims Payroll administration services managed by professionals Access to employee development services like employee skills testing, management training programs, and risk management programs Customized Human Resources Information Systems, giving you and your employees online access to tools and records Internal Human Resource professionals have the time to manage individualized needs with your business rather than dealing with endless paperwork How Does a PEO Work? You and a PEO enter into a co-employment relationship, where the PEO becomes the employer of record for tax and insurance purposes. The PEO then manages the everyday tasks of human resources administration and payroll, while you retain the overall management of your employee’s work. The PEO offers cost savings for these services by pooling their resources for the benefit of their clients. Where Do I Find a Reputable PEO? Wharton Insurance & Financial Services partners with WorkSmart Systems Inc. an Indianapolis-based PEO founded in 1998. Our long-standing relationship is built on a commitment to providing cost-effective services based on best practices in human resources administration. For more information on how your company could benefit from a PEO, give us a call at 317.663.4138 or send us an email.
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