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Company Benefits
JennaOPR

Why a UBA-Certified Insurance Broker Is an Added Employee Perk

Hiring an employee benefits firm to manage your company’s benefits plans has its advantages. Instead of managing your company’s employee benefit packages in-house, experts at a firm like CanopyNation know the latest local and federal regulations regarding labor workforces and have access to a range of insurance providers and offerings. Partner firms of United Benefit Advisors® offer even more advantages to companies. UBA brings together top employee benefit firms from across the United States to pool their knowledge and resources. What does that mean exactly? If you select CanopyNation to manage your employee benefits, you not only have access to our team’s experts, but also to dozens of other firms and brokers in the nation. Why should I hire a UBA firm? Evidence has shown that UBA Partner Firms deliver employee benefit solutions that attract and retain the best employees, while controlling costs. Employers serviced by UBA Partner Firms mirror 98% of employers and industries, which include a variety of companies from small to large companies and covers every geographic region and major U.S. metropolitan area. The benefits of choosing an insurance broker with a UBA certification is twofold – you get the strength of a nationally recognized firm while still receiving the local ownership accountability and customer service. How does this help my company? UBA partner firms, while remaining independent, are joined together to gain the knowledge and resources from other partners across the country. CanopyNation clients have access to shared wisdom from 130 member firms across the U.S. Our insurance brokers have access to a full arsenal of experts around the world. Instead of working with one firm and their ideas, all UBA partner firms, including CanopyNation, collaborate on products, services, features and strategies. As a result, clients receive sophisticated, cost-effective solutions equal to or better than those from large brokerages. Simultaneously, clients will continue to receive the personal attention and close-knit service that only an independent, local advisor can deliver. Can’t I get this same access with a large brokerage? Like CanopyNation, those designated as a UBA Partner Firm are benefit advisors with a local presence who understand the unique needs of their community. We have the same resources and national presence, but our clients won’t get passed off to call centers or put down to the bottom of the list. Instead of a larger brokerage, you and your employees will work directly with our team to ensure that your organization’s needs are met with the highest level of service and that your team members have full control and understanding of their benefit packages. The advantage of a local ownership is you will receive a sense of urgency and responsiveness from your benefits expert. CanopyNation is proud to be a certified UBA Partner Firm. We’re dedicated to providing premier benefits to our clients and their employees. If you are interested in a customized benefits solution package with ease of administration and unmatched client support for your organization, our team is eager to hear from you at hello@joincanopynation.com. We have an extensive list of available benefits, including but not limited to: Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) Group Dental Insurance Group Disability Insurance Group Health Insurance – Fully insured plans, Self Funded, Level Funded Group Life Insurance Group Long-Term Care (LTC) Insurance Group Vision Insurance Health Reimbursement Arrangement Health Savings Accounts (HSA) Pet Insurance Supplemental Offerings

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Medicare
JennaOPR

Navigating Health Coverage for Your Employees Ages 65+

As more people delay their retirement past age 65, more workers are becoming eligible for Medicare coverage. For employers that provide health insurance coverage as an employee benefit, the savings could be great for both the organization and the employee if the eligible beneficiary obtains some sort of Medicare coverage. However, the size of an organization has different rules, and some employees can even face late penalties if they enroll in a Medicare plan too late after turning 65. For companies with 20 or more employees, watch this video to understand the options your employees have. For companies with fewer than 20 employees, watch this video to understand the options your employees have. If you or an employee needs assistance in enrolling in a Medicare program as a secondary form of coverage or navigating other options, please have them reach out to a CanopyNation expert at hello@joincanopynation.com or 901-805-2860.  

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Company Benefits
JennaOPR

How to Personalize Your Employee Benefits Offerings

Employees within your organization are going to have different needs and values when it comes to their ideal benefits package. It’s important to keep in mind that benefits offerings are not one size fits all and the same benefits offerings will not satisfy everyone. If your organization is trying to appeal to current and prospective workers, consider personalizing your benefits options and tailoring them to the needs of your employees.  Here are some ways to explore the benefits that matter most to your employees and examples of how they can be modified based on the feedback they give. Talking to your employees. One of the best ways to discover what your employees desire for their benefits packages is to simply ask them. There are a few ways that you can initiate and maintain this conversation to truly understand what they want out of their benefits packages. Conduct focus groups. Similar to a survey, consider meeting with employees in small groups to solicit their feedback. Maintain ongoing benefits conversations. As employees age and grow in their careers, continue to ask them about their evolving benefits needs. Opt for variety. Consider offering different types of health plans or management programs that address specific health conditions. Personalized Benefits Examples Below is a list of potential benefits and perks that could appeal to a variety of workers: Affordable health plans — Consider offering tiers of health plans, with high deductible plans that appeal to healthier workers and more comprehensive plans for those with greater health needs. Family-building benefits — Simultaneously growing a career and a family can be challenging for working parents, but family-building benefits can help ease this burden. Caregiving benefits — More employees are now caring for children, adults with disabilities and older adults, increasing the value held on these benefits by employees. Flexible scheduling perks — While not a traditional benefit, schedule flexibility is becoming a highly sought-after perk that can help increase the balance of employees’ work and home lives. Robust retirement plans — According to a Willis Towers Watson survey, 67% of employees would trade a pay cut for richer retirement benefits. Expand your benefits offerings with a range of options so employees can select what matters to them the most. Mental health benefits — Mental health is a hot topic right now, and employees are seeking ways to better themselves and avoid burnout. Financial wellness benefits — Personal finance troubles can affect every aspect of an employee’s life, so having benefits to help navigate such issues can be a significant lifeline. Life insurance — Providing employees with life insurance options can give them and their families peace of mind should the worst happen. Chronic condition management solutions — Chronic conditions affect millions of workers. Offering programs such as opt-in diabetes management plans can help save participants’ overall health care dollars. Looking to create a more customized benefit package offering for your employees but not sure where to start? Contact the team at CanopyNation today at hello@joincanopynation.com and our team of industry experts can create a benefit plan that best suits the people within your company.

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Uncategorized
MattSF

Considering COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other strategies for workplace safety

By Orma Smith This article originally appeared in the Memphis Business Journal. As employers transition their teams back into the office, many  are struggling to determine the best strategy to protect their employees from contracting COVID-19 in the workplace. The Biden executive order mandated COVID-19 vaccine requirements for businesses with more than 100 employees. Though the parameters of the emergency rule are still being sorted out for these large companies, what options do small businesses have? If you’re a small business owner with fewer than 100 employees, there are several considerations, but some come with greater risk. Vaccine Mandates Some small businesses are also following the executive order’s footsteps and requiring all employees to be fully vaccinated by a determined date, or employees will face termination. If you don’t want to present an ultimatum, you can request those employees present a negative COVID-19 test each week, though questions about who is financially responsible for the test need to be answered before making an announcement.  Exemptions for medical or religious reasons must also be accepted, and the process to request exemption can get complicated. Ensure you designate a team member, such as a human resources officer, to review exemption requests for legitimacy. For medical exemptions, you can request employees present a doctor’s note that states they do not recommend the vaccine for that individual due to a condition. For religious exemptions, consider requesting a letter from the worker’s religious official stating their beliefs against vaccines. You can even request employees to cite specific excerpts from their religion’s scripture to reinforce their stance. Insurance Premium Surcharges In lieu of a mandate, some companies have announced that unvaccinated workers would face a surcharge to their group health insurance. Enforcing a higher premium cost for these employees may come with legal hurdles. According to employee benefits law firm Fisher Phillips, a company treating an employee differently based on a health factor can violate compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. However, instead of “punishing” an employee for refusing the vaccine, you can reward someone who receives it by contributing more money to their health care premium, thus reducing the employee’s contributions to their employee health plan. This strategy encourages an employee’s participation in a wellness program, which is very common among businesses. This incentive is similar to smoking cessation programs, in which employers contribute less to smokers’ health care premiums. However, keep in mind that wellness incentive limits cannot exceed 30% of the total cost of the employee’s coverage, per the Affordable Care Act.  If your company is one of the millions approaching open enrollment next month, now is the time to consider if an extra health care premium contribution is the route you want to take in an effort to encourage vaccinations among your workers.  Incentives Monetary or gift incentives are common among employers. A one-time bonus, paid time off or a gift card to Amazon or a local favorite eatery are just a few examples of the incentives many employers currently offer to encourage their team members to get vaccinated. This method has also become common on many university campuses across the country for students. Incentives can create a more mutual benefit for the employer and employee. By making it voluntary instead of mandated, employees will be more inclined to receive the vaccine. Opting in to receive an incentive can lighten some employees’ feelings that their privacy is being violated. If they don’t feel comfortable sharing their vaccination status, there’s nothing for them to lose. It also minimizes any potential resentment employees may feel toward their employers, if they feel forced to provide their vaccination status or ultimately face termination. Even though positive cases of COVID-19 are on a steady decline, many employers are faced with navigating the best return-to-work strategies. Before opening back up, leaders must be clear about the expectations they have for their staff regarding vaccination. Be prepared to answer employees’ questions and be ready to explain the reason behind your decision. If your company is participating in open enrollment this fall, determining your path now may also influence the type of group health plan to enroll in for 2022, as vaccinations can impact health costs for hospitalizations and other treatments for employees who contract COVID-19. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHOmBV4js_Ehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHOmBV4js_E

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Social Security
MattSF

Social Security benefits increase to affect 2022 paychecks

Effective Jan. 1, 2022, Social Security recipients will see an increase in their monthly checks. Additionally, the cap on taxable income to help fund Social Security benefits will also be increasing. The cost-of-living adjustment will be 5.9% in 2022 — the largest increase to the benefits in nearly 40 years. The nearly 70 million Americans who collect Social Security benefits will receive an additional $100, on average, to their monthly Social Security checks. Additionally, maximum earnings subject to Social Security payroll taxes will rise to $147,000 in 2022, up $4,200 from 2021. The increased 2022 COLA is aimed to help Social Security beneficiaries and their families offset continually rising costs and high inflation. Historically, for much of the past decade, the COLA had been under 2%. As a result, many workers may see a smaller net pay on their paychecks. Employers should be aware of the rising COLA. We recommend you inform your affected employees that they may see slightly reduced paychecks. Finally, employers should also ensure their payroll systems are updated to account for the increased taxable wage cap. For any questions regarding Social Security benefits, please contact CanopyNation today at hello@joincanopynation.com.

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