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The following articles were posted in 2013.

IRS Guidance Issued on Tax Treatment of Same Sex Marriages for FSA

Most everyone is familiar with the fact that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court this summer. The IRS has just released guidance about the tax treatment of same sex spouses as the tax year draws to a close, particularly as it relates to health care FSAs. If you have employees with same sex spouses, you’ll want to take a quick look at IRS Notice 2014-1 for more information.

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Posted on December 21, 2013 by Ben Cohen, CEBS, Practice Leader, Health and Welfare Benefits

SHOP Insurance Options Delayed in Federally Run State Exchanges/Marketplaces

While much of the attention surrounding the Marketplaces (formerly called Exchanges) is around individual coverage, another aspect of them was the ability for small employers with fewer than 50 full time employees to purchase group health insurance coverage through the SHOP Marketplace. The option was to be available to small employers when the Marketplaces opened on October 1, 2013 to be effective with plan years starting on or after January 1, 2014, but was ultimately delayed until sometime in November, 2013. However, on November 27, 2013, another delay was announced until November, 2014. This was of particular importance to qualifying small employers, since starting in 2014 the only way to receive the Small Employer Health Care Tax Credit was to purchase coverage through the Marketplace.

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Posted on December 04, 2013 by Ben Cohen, CEBS, Practice Leader, Health and Welfare Benefits

2014 Benefits Limits Announced

Annual benefit limits were delayed a bit this year due to the government shutdown, but we finally have them all now. We’ve compiled the most common limits necessary for Health & Welfare and Retirement plans. If you have any questions about how these apply to your plans, please contact your Kushner & Company representative.

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Posted on November 15, 2013 by Ben Cohen, CEBS, Practice Leader, Health & Welfare Benefits

Individual Employee Premiums Change How Employers Calculate Employee Premium Contributions

Small employers (those under 50 employees) are seeing a big change in how their insurance premiums are calculated for 2014, and not just in the overall increase (or rare decrease). Employers are used to seeing the same monthly premium cost for all employees in a given coverage level – employee only, dual, or family. Under new the underwriting, the premium costs are determined for each employee based on geographic location, gender, and age.

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Posted on November 13, 2013 by Ben Cohen, CEBS, Practice Leader, Health and Welfare Benefits

Cohen is Featured in October Workforce Magazine

Will older employees take advantage of the newfound flexibility and availability of affordable health coverage to follow their dreams? Does the availability of expanded Medicaid and/or federal subsidies diminish the drive for older, displaced workers to find new full employment? Was the availability of health coverage at their employer the primary reason they have maintained employment? Will we see a new pool of older workers eagerly (or not) willing to accept part-time work without benefits?

These are the issues explored by Ben Cohen, CEBS, Practice Leader, Health and Welfare Benefits with Kushner & Company in his article appearing in the October edition of Workforce magazine.

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Posted on October 23, 2013 by Cathy Fyock, CSP, SPHR

October HR Magazine Quotes Kushner on Benefits after DOMA

The October 2013 issue of HR Magazine quotes Kushner & Company’s CEO/Founder Gary Kushner, SPHR, CBP, in an article “Benefits After DOMA.” Kushner states that the federal government is likely to rely on the approach adopted by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in handling changes prospectively from the date of the Windsor decision since “it will be remarkably difficult to make any of these changes retroactively,” states Kushner. He also adds that it would not be surprising to see DOMA eventually ruled as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

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Posted on October 22, 2013 by Cathy Fyock, CSP, SPHR

Webinar: DOMA and the New Benefits Landscape

In this webinar, Gary Kushner, SPHR, CBP will review the Supreme Court’s Windsor decision and what employers and plan sponsors must do now to comply with those new requirements. Many, if not most, employers will have upcoming changes to both their plan documents and plan operations for health and welfare as well as qualified retirement plans and others.

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Posted on October 18, 2013 by Cathy Fyock, CSP, SPHR

Kushner & Company Offers Webinar on Benefits Education

Join us for a free webinar on Oct 23, 2013 at 2:00 PM EDT.

Benefits Education: The Time Is Right
Speaker: Ben Cohen, CEBS, Kushner & Company
Wednesday, October 23, 2 p.m. EDT

Is your communication approach ready for what promises to be a very confusing open enrollment season? With health care reform and greater benefit choices, employees need more guidance than ever. Even with budgets tighter than ever, benefits education are an investment your organization can’t afford to make. This program provides insight on what employees need to know about benefits, effective tools for communicating your perks and how your strategy can enhance employee morale and retention.

The webinar is free but you must register by following the link below.

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Posted on October 14, 2013 by Cathy Fyock, CSP, SPHR

No Penalty for Not Sending Exchange Notice? Not so fast.

In a newly-released FAQ, the DOL has addressed the issue of whether an employer can be fined for not providing the Exchange Notice. Under PPACA, the Exchange Notice must be automatically provided to current employees by October 1, 2013 (and then new hires thereafter). This new requirement is found in an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act (the FLSA). It requires all employers subject to the FLSA (which means virtually all U.S-based employers, regardless of size) to provide this notice in a timely manner.

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Posted on September 23, 2013 by Ben Cohen, CEBS, Practice Leader, Health and Welfare Benefits

Changes to HIPAA/HITECH Medical Privacy Coming September

On January 25, 2013, significant changes were made to the HIPAA Privacy rules in the HIPAA/HITECH Act Omnibus Act requiring action be implemented by September 23, 2013. These changes primarily broaden the definition of a “breach” of Protected Health Information (PHI) and expanded responsibilities for the employer and Business Associate in the event of a “breach”.

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Posted on September 09, 2013 by Ben Cohen, CEBS, Practice Leader, Health and Welfare Benefits

YOUTOONS Offer ACA Overview

In this short video, The YOUTOONS Get Ready for ObamaCare, individuals can learn the basics about the changes under the Affordable Care Act.

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Posted on September 05, 2013 by Cathy Fyock, CSP, SPHR, Senior HR/Business Advisor

Five Step Wellness and Benefits Communication System ebook Offered

If your organization is looking for ideas on how to effectively communicate wellness and health benefits to employees, this ebook offers excellent recommendations.

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Posted on August 26, 2013 by Cathy Fyock, CSP, SPHR, Senior HR/Business Advisor

Five Mistakes Your Company Should Avoid When Implementing Health Care Reform

Gary Kushner, SPHR, CBP, and CEO of Kushner & Company shares five mistakes your organization should avoid when implementing Health Care Reform in this SHRM video. If you’ve been thinking about changing the plan year, limiting the number within work groups, excluding dependents from coverage, or limiting workers to less than 30 hours per week, you must watch this short presentation.

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Posted on August 20, 2013 by Cathy Fyock, CSP, SPHR, Senior HR/Business Advisor

Kushner to speak on panel for CBS News WNEW 99.1 FM Healthcare Town Hall

Gary Kushner, SPHR, CBP, and CEO of Kushner & Company will be joining a distinguished panel discussing “Unraveling Health Care Reform and How it Affects You” on September 25, 2013 from 7:30 – 10:30 am in Washington, DC. The Healthcare Town Hall panel, led by Emmy-nominated Business Analyst for CBS News Jill Schlesinger, CFP, will be held at the Marriott Metro Center, 775 12th Street NW. The first 200 participants attend this event free of charge when they register in advance.

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Posted on August 19, 2013 by Cathy Fyock, CSP, SPHR, Senior HR/Business Advisor

SHRM Offers Webinar on Benefits Education featuring Ben Cohen, CEBS

SHRM offers a new webinar on Benefits Education featuring Ben Cohen, CEBS, Practice Leader for Health and Welfare Benefits with Kushner & Company.

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Posted on August 12, 2013 by Cathy Fyock, CSP, SPHR, Senior HR/Business Advisor

Gary Kushner's article "Time to Get Strategic" is featured in the August 2013 Special Section on Health Care Reform in HR Magazine

“It’s been a long time since many employers considered questions about why and how they offer benefits to their employees, but now is an ideal time to step back and closely examine total rewards strategy,” states Gary Kushner in the August 2013 Special Section on Health Care Reform in HR Magazine. Kushner recommends that HR professionals return to those basic strategic questions concerning the company’s objectives and carefully consider the alignment of benefits, plan design, and the communications strategy in the months ahead.

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Posted on August 09, 2013 by Cathy Fyock, CSP, SPHR, Senior HR/Business Advisor

SAP.info cites Kushner's 2013 SHRM Presentation on HR Trends

Nicolas Zeitler cites Gary Kushner’s 2013 SHRM Conference presentation on global trends in SAP.info’s article on August 7, 2013, highlighting seven global trends impacting the human resources profession.

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Posted on August 08, 2013 by Cathy Fyock, CSP, SPHR, Senior HR/Business Advisor

Executive Coaching: A Path to the Next Level

Many leaders today are turning to executive coaches to help them assess where they are and how they are being perceived, design learning experiences that best match with their needs, and provide the one-on-one support that is tailored to the leaders’ very specific needs.

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Posted on August 02, 2013 by Cathy Fyock, CSP, SPHR

The Arrogance of Competence

Jim Collins said that the enemy of great is good. Similarly, I believe the enemy of mastery is competence.

At the Masters Series at the INSHRM Conference in Indianapolis I’ll be talking about “The View from the Top”—what it means to be a strategic human resources professional. The session on August 29 will focus on the issues faced by senior-level HR professionals and CHROs.

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Posted on July 30, 2013 by Cathy Fyock, CSP, SPHR

The Real Challenge in Creating Cultures of Accountability

There’s been a lot of talk about creating cultures of accountability. Leaders want their teams to pick up the slack and don’t want to have to tell their people every little thing that needs to be done. Leaders want their teams to be empowered to jump in and take charge when appropriate, and to move the company forward without being told every step of the way.

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Posted on July 17, 2013 by Cathy Fyock, CSP, SPHR, Senior HR/Business Advisor

Will PPACA Drive Earlier Retirement?

Will “older” employees take advantage of the newfound flexibility and availability of affordable health coverage to follow their dreams? Was the availability of health coverage at their employer the primary reason they have maintained employment? Will we see an exodus of “older” employees looking to become cake decorators, shade tree mechanics, volunteers, or small business owners?

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Posted on July 09, 2013 by Ben Cohen, CEBS - Practice Leader, Health and Welfare Benefits

Are You Focused on the Most Important Part of Health Care Reform?

The focus of much of the current conversation on Health Care Reform has to do with compliance with the numerous and ever-changing regulations included in PPACA. But while operational compliance is an important piece, the higher level opportunity to address health benefits as part of the broader total rewards and HR strategies can positively impact the organization for decades to come.

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Posted on July 08, 2013 by Ben Cohen, CEBS - Practice Leader, Health and Welfare Benefits

What Makes a Productive Employee?

In her recent post, Donna Fuscaldo states “a happy employee equals a productive one,” but perhaps more accurately, an engaged and motivated employee equals a productive one. Happiness is a subjective emotion that comes and goes. The more important goal is the pursuit of meaning, accomplishment, and sense of productive belonging

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Posted on July 08, 2013 by David Bowman, Chief Operating Officer

Mike Haberman's OmegaHR Blog Cites Kushner's Presentation at SHRM's 2013 Annual Conference

In his weekly blog post, Mike Haberman, followed by many in the HR community, writes commentary on Gary Kushner’s presentation at this year’s SHRM Annual Conference on “Five Global Trends Impacting Strategic HR.”

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Posted on June 28, 2013 by Cathy Fyock, SPHR, CSP - Senior HR/Business Adviser

Five Global Trends Impacting Strategic HR

At the 65th SHRM Annual Conference held in Chicago in June, 2013, Gary Kushner was invited to share his thoughts with over 750 participants in a session entitled, “Five Global Trends Impacting Strategic HR.” SHRM’s publication HR Week carried a story on that talk.

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Posted on June 20, 2013 by Cathy Fyock, SPHR - Senior HR/Business Advisor

Keeping Your Salary Structure Up-to-Date

The main item of note is first to deal with how the organization creates value and competes, and then examine the linkage to its Total Rewards strategy and compensation as part of that.

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Posted on May 23, 2013 by Gary B. Kushner, SPHR, CBP - President and CEO

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