<![CDATA[Blog]]> https://www.risk-strategies.com/ en info@risk-strategies.com Copyright 2021 2021-11-28T20:54:02-05:00 <![CDATA[Telehealth Relief for HSA-Compatible HDHPs to Expire]]> https://risk-strategies.com/knowledge-center/article/telehealth-relief-for-hsa-compatible-hdhps-to-expire#When:18:23:20Z The CARES Act of 2020 created a temporary safe harbor that permitted Health Savings Account (HSA) -compatible High Deductible Health plans (“HDHP”) to cover telehealth and remote care services on a first-dollar basis, or prior to members satisfying their HDHP deductible. This temporary relief allowed HDHPs to offer telehealth and other remote care services without violating IRS “first-dollar rules,” which require HSA participants to satisfy their deductible before receiving most non-preventive services coverage.

This relief is scheduled to end on December 31, 2021 and will not be available to plan years that start on January 1, 2022 or later. While…]]> 2021-11-23T18:23:20+00:00 <![CDATA[Reflections of Resiliency from the 2021 URMIA Annual Conference]]> https://risk-strategies.com/knowledge-center/article/reflections-of-resiliency-from-the-2021-urmia-annual-conference#When:20:11:08Z Last month, I had the opportunity to attend the 2021 University Risk Management and Insurance Association (URMIA) Conference in Seattle aptly named “Emerging from the Storm.” The major theme that ran throughout the conference and sessions I attended was dealing with the impact of COVID-19 on colleges and universities. While many issues emerged from the storm for higher education, the need to be flexible, creative, hopeful and resilient is at the top of the list.

Resiliency is defined as one’s ability to adapt and respond to meet challenges effectively. There were three items that stood out to me during the…]]> 2021-11-22T20:11:08+00:00 <![CDATA[MJBizCon 2021 – A View Beyond the Floor]]> https://risk-strategies.com/knowledge-center/article/mjbizcon-2021-a-view-beyond-the-floor#When:17:41:52Z Walking the floor of MJBizCon 2021, you could see clear signs of an industry in the midst of rapid growth. Show organizers tell me some 27,000 people attend this year’s event and hundreds of vendors exhibited on the show floor. You’d hardly know there was a pandemic still playing out in the country.

The activity on the floor was focused on operations and production. Vendors, and the conversations being had, were by-and-large geared toward the needs of people trying to scale and refine their business operations. From all types of equipment suppliers to engineering firms, the show…]]> 2021-11-15T17:41:52+00:00 <![CDATA[Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave – Updates from the State]]> https://risk-strategies.com/knowledge-center/article/massachusetts-paid-family-and-medical-leave-updates-from-the-state#When:16:53:23Z The Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (the “Department”) recently announced several changes in connection with the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave (“PFML”).  Read on for more information discussing these changes.

  • Contribution Rate: Effective January 1, 2022, the new contribution rate for eligible employee wages will be 0.68%, a decrease from the current 0.75% rate.  This rate is applicable to MA employers with 25 or more covered individuals and reflects a decrease to both the paid family leave and paid medical leave contributions.
  • Average Weekly Wage Rate: Effective January 1, 2022, the new average weekly wage in…]]> 2021-11-03T16:53:23+00:00 <![CDATA[The Other Side: COVID and the Evolution of Real Estate Occupancies ]]> https://risk-strategies.com/knowledge-center/article/the-other-side-covid-and-the-evolution-of-real-estate-occupancies#When:20:00:40Z Having sat on the Board of Directors for the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District, I am intimately aware of the social, financial and employee impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on Boston’s Commercial Real Estate District. Footfall traffic has dropped to unprecedented lows and tenant office space utilization is in the single digits. The ripple effect on local business cannot be overstated and this is not unique to Boston. The national impact has been no less dramatic.

    Since March of 2020, commercial, retail and hospitality real estate nationally has seen a utilization drop of over 30%. In certain sectors the…]]> 2021-10-25T20:00:40+00:00 <![CDATA[7 Tips to Prepare Your Benefits Administration System for Open Enrollment]]> https://risk-strategies.com/knowledge-center/article/7-tips-to-prepare-your-benefits-administration-system-for-open-enrollment#When:19:08:50Z The annual Open Enrollment period for many employee benefits programs is quickly approaching. Significant time and energy is typically spent on selecting the right insurance carriers and plans, implementing new benefits and perks, and developing communications. Another area requiring careful consideration is the benefits administration system used to capture enrollments.

    While each system will present its own requirements, there are key components that deserve attention regardless of the platform. Below are tips and strategies that may help your organization prepare. 

    1. Choose your open enrollment approach:  What level of engagement will you require of employees during open enrollment?…]]> 2021-10-20T19:08:50+00:00 <![CDATA[Offering Health Plan Discounts for Vaccines – Federal Guidance Released]]> https://risk-strategies.com/knowledge-center/article/offering-health-plan-discounts-for-vaccines-federal-guidance-released#When:18:37:24Z The recent FAQ guidance from federal agencies confirmed that employers who sponsor group health plans can provide contribution rate discounts to encourage employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine provided that the plan complies with the rules governing “activity-only” wellness programs. In this post, we will cover “activity-only” wellness programs further and discuss other important considerations when implementing a health plan discount for vaccinated employees.

      Wellness Program: Federal agencies released FAQ guidance on October 4, 2021 with some helpful answers.  The Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Treasury together issued guidance stating that group health plans may offer…]]> 2021-10-20T18:37:24+00:00 <![CDATA[The Other Side: Television, Film & Live Entertainment: The Shows Go On ]]> https://risk-strategies.com/knowledge-center/article/the-other-side-television-film-live-entertainment-the-shows-goes-on#When:18:54:54Z Legendary film director and producer Orson Welles once said: “The enemy of art is the absence of limitations.” Setting limitations is exactly what television, streaming and film executives are doing to safely create content amid the pandemic.

      As the industry moves closer to pre-pandemic levels of production, carriers are busier than ever handling increased demand from studios, networks and streaming providers. However, after being hit hard with payouts and claims throughout 2020, carriers are no longer willing to provide coverage for COVID-19-related claims.  Most entertainment insurance packages are now excluding coverage for communicable diseases, like COVID-19.

      With no financial safety…]]> 2021-10-13T18:54:54+00:00 <![CDATA[Delivery Business Challenges and Opportunities Brought on by Supply Chain Disruptions]]> https://risk-strategies.com/knowledge-center/article/delivery-business-challenges-and-opportunities-brought-on-by-supply-chain-disruptions#When:20:17:30Z The ripple effects of COVID-19 are still reverberating through the transportation industry. From top to bottom, the supply chain is being stretched thin by manufacturing disruptions and increased delivery demands. Production and manufacturing has slowed as factories were forced to shut down due to outbreaks, with knock-on effects that will take years to recover from. In the transportation industry, production delays in Asia-based factories making semiconductors required for cars and trucks has led to $210 billion dollars in lost revenue. Shipping container shortages, congestion at international ports and spiked shipping rates for select routes has led to a…]]> 2021-10-12T20:17:30+00:00 <![CDATA[Amazon’s Cannabis Restrictions Lift, Leaving DSPs with Increased Liability]]> https://risk-strategies.com/knowledge-center/article/amazons-cannabis-restrictions-lift-leaving-dpss-with-increased-liability#When:19:54:16Z After struggling to find effective incentives to recruit delivery drivers for Amazon Delivery Service Providers (DSPs), the e-tail giant has given them the green light to waive cannabis testing and widely advertise that applicants won’t be screened for marijuana use. This deepens the applicant pool during a serious driver shortage and offers employees the freedom to partake in recreational use while working steadily.

      While this may come across as a progressive, forward-thinking move to both normalize recreational cannabis use and bolster driver recruitment DSPs should think hard about and look closer at the potential risks and liabilities involved.