Navigating FMLA: Beyond Maternity Leave

Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google Plus Share this Page

Navigating FMLA: Beyond Maternity Leave

Typically, when the term FMLA comes up, most people (that is, anyone NOT employed in the field of Human Resources) immediately think of maternity leave. While FMLA obviously does kick in for maternity leave, according to ERC’s research, when it comes to administering FMLA, pregnancy/maternity leave is really the least of HR’s worries. Instead, for most HR practitioners, the challenge lies in the administration of FMLA for serious health conditions and/or other circumstances outside of pregnancy and child birth.
Read this article...

What Are Employers Doing to Manage Health Care Costs?

Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google Plus Share this Page

Wellness Program

According to the 2015 ERC Wellness Practices Survey both the average percent premium increase and the average annual spend on health insurance premiums have declined since the 2013 survey. This slight downward trend is certainly not the case at every organization and did not occur without significant cost management efforts on the part of both employer and employees. Of course there are variables that no one can control, i.e. unexpected serious illness, aging employee population, etc., but this year’s survey results help illuminate which tactics employers are using (or not using) most effectively to help push the variables that are in their control in the right direction.
Read this article...

What Employers Need to Know About the Hobby Lobby Decision

Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google Plus Share this Page

The U.S. Supreme Court closed out its 2014 term dramatic fashion as it handed down a 5-4 decision in favor of Hobby Lobby in the controversial Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores case.

The ruling set off a barrage of strongly worded articles, blog posts and comments, including the Court’s own majority and dissenting opinions. Given the politically and morally charged nature of the case that hit on topics including the Affordable Care Act (ACA), religious freedom, women’s health, contraception, and separation of church & state just to name a few, the resulting controversy was virtually inevitable.
Read this article...

3 Health Care Cost Benchmarks

Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google Plus Share this Page

With some organizations and individuals encountering significant changes to their health insurance costs and plans in 2014, the following metrics provide benchmarks on how organizations in Northeast Ohio have structured their health insurance plans and how much these plans are costing both employers and employees.

Although the needs of each organization vary, understanding how these benefits are being delivered to employees and at what price can help organizations gauge how competitive their benefits offerings are compared to other organizations in the region.

Plan Type

As the figure below illustrates, the most common type of health insurance plans offered are Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and High Deductible Health Plans (HDHP). In terms of controlling and sharing costs, HSAs have been experiencing the strongest growth in popularity. Many organizations have turned to HSAs as a way to better fit the financial and health related needs of certain employee groups. Although the numbers vary somewhat from those reported in the table below, according to ERC’s 2013 Workplace Practices survey, the number of organizations offering HSAs has jumped by nearly 30% over the past 10 years.
Read this article...

3 Strategies for Managing Your Healthcare Costs

Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google Plus Share this Page

Rising healthcare costs are consistently cited in ERC’s research as a top concern among employers in Northeast Ohio. Interestingly, data from sources ranging from local (ERC) to national (Kaiser Family Foundation) have shown more moderate percent increases in health insurance premiums in 2013. The reasons for these increases, no matter how large or small, are multi-faceted and difficult to measure, but for a glimpse at how many area organizations managing these increases, we turn to the 2013 ERC Wellness Practices Survey.

1) Empowering employees

Much like in 2011, when the Wellness Survey was last conducted, the 2013 results suggest that organizations are still largely focusing on methods of cost control that empower employees to make better decisions related to their overall health. In particular, the top two methods of cost control, “educating employees to be better health consumers” and “creating wellness programs” (both used by about two-thirds of employers) rely heavily on employees to make well informed choices. It is also worth noting that while both of these options rely heavily on employees, they also give employers the opportunity to influence and structure the various programs that fall under these categories in order to fit the organization’s workforce demographics and culture to maximize the effectiveness of the programs.
Read this article...

Health Care Exchanges Launched Oct. 1

Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google Plus Share this Page

Health Care Exchanges Launched October 1; Government Shutdown Doesn’t Stop Implementation

October 1, marked the launch of the federal and state health insurance exchanges under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The exchanges are now live for individuals. Employers should be aware of the following important updates:

  1. The government shutdown is not affecting the launch of the health insurance exchanges.
  2. The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) will be delayed until November.
  3. The effective date of coverage will be January 1, 2014 for those small business employers (with fewer than 50 employees) and employees who enroll in the exchanges by December 15th, however, small business employers and employees can enroll in the exchanges by March 31st to receive coverage in 2014.
  4. Organizations subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) were required to provide all employees notices describing the health care exchanges by today, October 1, however the Department of Labor (DOL) said that no penalty will be imposed on employers that fail to provide exchange notices to employees.
    Read this article...

How Healthcare Reform Will Affect Your Wellness Program

Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google Plus Share this Page

Healthcare reform is bringing several changes to how employers administer healthcare benefits as well as their wellness programs in 2013. Here are a couple key items you need to know about how healthcare reform affects your wellness program.

Larger wellness incentives

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) creates new incentives for employers to build wellness programs in their workplace and encourage healthier habits.

The Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Labor, and the Treasury Department released proposed rules for employer-based wellness program incentives, which apply to plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2014.
Read this article...

Salaries in Healthcare Sector Reflect Demand

Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google Plus Share this Page

Here in Northeast Ohio the prominence of our healthcare industry is often touted as one of the region’s greatest strengths. In terms of sheer volume, health care represents a significant proportion of the workforce- approximately 16% according to the 2012 Current Employment Statistics survey for non-agricultural jobs in the Cleveland-Elyria-mentor Metropolitan Statistic Area (MSA).

However, for those 155,400 individuals employed in healthcare/social assistance, being part of the workforce for this booming industry does not always translate into higher levels of compensation. In fact, using data from several ERC Compensation Surveys to perform an occupation specific analysis for 40 job categories placed two occupational subcategories within the healthcare industry, i.e. Patient/Client Services and Social Work, among the 10 lowest paying job categories in Northeast Ohio. Conversely, Clinical Healthcare Practitioners and Nurses came in as two of the 10 highest paying job categories in the region according to this 2012 data. 

Nursing, coming in as the fourth highest paid occupation in the analysis, is one of only a few positions that pay above the national median salary reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As noted in a recent article from Crain’s Cleveland Business, registered nurses in particular can expect to remain in high demand across local healthcare systems. Clearly this demand for specialized, skilled talent is a key factor driving up rates of compensation within Nursing and among Clinical Healthcare Practitioners more generally.

At the opposite end of the spectrum the Patient/Client Services category includes a wide variety of jobs in healthcare, but with two important items in common, fairly low education and skill requirements and often highly repetitive job duties. A notable exception to this generalization that lower skills equate to lower pay, is in the field of Social Work. According to the 2011 ERC Non-Profit Benefits Survey, one way organizations often look to counteract this low market valuation of Health and Human Services positions such as Social Workers is to offer a unique array of other non-cash benefits that serve to enhance the total rewards package employees in these positions receive.

Additional Resources

ERC Non-Profit Compensation & Benefits Surveys
ERC, in partnership with United Way of Greater Cleveland, has created compensation and benefits surveys to help non-profits in Northeast Ohio gauge their compensation and benefits practices. Through this exclusive partnership, United Way Agencies that participate in these surveys will receive the survey results for no cost. Participate in our Compensation and Benefit Surveys by clicking here.

*The average median base salary figure for each occupation was calculated using data excerpts from the following surveys conducted by ERC: 2012 ERC Salary Survey, 2012 ERC Wage Survey and 2011 ERC Non-Profit Compensation Survey. Please note that the salary figure reported for each occupational category is an average of median salaries across applicable job titles from entry level up through management level positions.