Insurance Benefits Companies Can Offer to Their Employees

There are many factors that we consider where we would like to work. Other than directly getting paid, the benefits they offer can be one of the greatest incentives to go work for a particular company. Benefits can help a company look more attractive to potential workers by lowering their expenses rather than offering higher pay. These are some of the insurance benefits you may come across with potential companies.

  • Health Insurance

In regards to insurance benefits, nothing is more common as an incentive than a company offering health insurance. It is tax deductible for the business and lowers costs for their employees. Everyone benefits.

  • Dental Insurance

Dental insurance is less common but highly sought after. Whether you have a high immune system or are constantly getting sick, everyone knows it is recommended to go twice annually for check-ups. Dental issues that go undetected and untreated can turn into major issues which is why this insurance benefit is seen as quite valuable.

  • Vision Insurance

As we get older, our eyesight begins to deteriorate. This can have a significant impact on our work. Even minor vision issues have been shown to slow work productivity by up to 20%, so this is an insurance benefit that can keep efficiency in the workplace high.

  • Life Insurance

The life insurance benefits companies offer is usually equal to a percentage of or equal to a year’s salary. This is the one benefit no one wants to cash in, but it is a considerable benefit to have some of those related costs be covered by the employer.

  • Short Term Disability & Long Term Disability

If you get hurt off the job and will need time off to recover, this is a benefit that will lessen the blow of not being able to work. Short term disability usually is offered for leaves lasting 3 months to a year and still offer around 70-80% of regular pay.

Long term disability can be offered for 1-3 years of leave with 60-75% of what you make. When you aren’t able to work, it can feel like you will lose control of your finances. This benefit from employers can make that seem much more manageable.

Easy Time Clock ™   is a cloud-based time and attendance system that provides a comprehensive, accurate, and affordable solution allowing employees to clock in and out with a computer, mobile device, or biometric reader.

The Skinny on Net Neutrality

Net neutrality has become a hot topic in the news in recent months as Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai repealed a 2015 decision to change how the internet was handled on the federal level. While this issue affects every internet user, many in the public do not fully understand what has happened and what state the internet is currently in.

What is Net Neutrality?

Net neutrality is the concept that internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all data equally. Under net neutrality, ISPs cannot slow down, also known as throttling, or charge internet users differently based on how they use their data or what services they use online. The FCC is the official government body that oversees this issue.

For example, in 2004 The Madison River Communications Company was fined by the FCC for restricting access to the website of rival company Vonage. This demonstrates a violation of net neutrality because the company was not allowing their users unregulated access to all websites.

Legal History

As the internet began surging in popularity in the late 1990s and into the 2000s, it was largely an unregulated wild west where ISPs could provide whatever services they saw fit. By default, the internet fell under Title I of the Communications Act of 1934, classifying it under general provisions. This classification is what left most internet regulation to the free market.

This changed in 2010 when the FCC issued the FCC Open Internet Order. This set a standard of four net neutrality principles:

  • Transparency, meaning consumers have the right to know basic performance characteristics of their network
  • No blocking, meaning an ISP cannot block websites discriminately
  • A level playing field, meaning websites cannot pay for higher web speeds from ISPs
  • Network Management, meaning networks are still allowed to offer different tiers of internet speed that still follow the universality of net neutrality

These would be watched by an internet advisory committee to make sure ISPs were compliant.

In 2014, the U.S. court of appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in favor of Verizon Wireless in a lawsuit against the FCC. The court found that the regulations under the Open Internet Order could not be applied to the internet because it was still under Title I. To enforce the provisions, the internet would need to be changed to be regulated under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, placing it under common carrier.

In 2015, the FCC made that change. By changing the internet’s classification to that of a public utility, the FCC could enforce their net neutrality regulations. The recent decision at the end of 2017 reversed that decision, causing the internet to revert back to Title I and leaving the majority of its regulation to ISPs. The internet is currently in the state it was prior to the 2015 decision.

Arguments for and against Net Neutrality

Supporters of net neutrality claim to want to ensure the FCC regulate the control of data ISPs have, maintain digital rights and freedoms for all, prevent blocking or throttling of certain websites (especially that of competitors), and ensure equal treatment on the internet for all.

Those against the regulations claim that they choke technological investments, deter competition by hindering the growth of small ISPs, and add unnecessary costs that are passed to the consumers that come from unnecessary regulation.

Conclusion

The internet is currently the same service we have immensely enjoyed the last couple decades. The internet did not come crashing down when these regulations were rolled away. Aspects of net neutrality still survive; the federal government is just much less able to regulate. It is now the responsibility of us as consumers to be cautious of internet service providers to ensure that the internet remain fair for all and that the level playing field be maintained.

Easy Time Clock ™   is a cloud-based time and attendance system that provides a comprehensive, accurate, and affordable solution allowing employees to clock in and out with a computer, mobile device, or biometric reader.

Sight Saving Still Shows 4 Years Later

My nephew, Phoenix, was born November of 2011 with terrible vision.  Through testing with Vizavance, formerly Prevent Blindness Oklahoma, we were able to get the right direction for Phoenix’s vision. Had we not done his screening and been diligent with his eye care, Phoenix would have gone blind in at least one eye by the time he was a teen.   Enjoy our journey video from 2014 and you can see from his picture below, Phoenix is all boy and excelling at life with great vision!

 

Easy Time Clock is a proud supporter of Vizavance! If you want more information on this sight saving program, check out their website at http://www.Vizavance.org

Best Practices: Managing Employer Health Insurance

In today’s working environment, offering a competitive employee benefit package is essential for companies who wish to recruit and retain high quality employees. However, it is also important that business owners control the costs associated with competitive healthcare packages. Business owners often experience difficulty settling on a package that offers the optimal balance of affordability and ambition. The following best practices will outline the ideal approaches for employers who wish to offer optimal healthcare packages to employees, while controlling the costs associated with those packages.

A Proactive Approach

The number of times that employees visit the doctor’s office is directly correlated with the cost associated with employer health insurance premiums. Employers can address this cost by encouraging employees to take a proactive approach toward their health. Employers can offer gym memberships or discounts on gym memberships, provide employees with healthy diet information or even provide healthy lunch options for employees.

Further, employers can address this issue within the structure of the healthcare package. Employers can limit the number of visits to health care providers that are not considered medical necessities. For instance, employers can limit the number of times that employees are eligible to visit chiropractors or other physical therapists within a given time frame. Addressing the structure of the package without altering the key coverage area standards allow employers to offer health care packages that adhere to the Affordable Care Act guidelines while still controlling cost.

Consumer Driven Health Plans

Many businesses are saving money by offering their employees consumer driven health plans (CDHP). CDHPs allow employees to maintain flexibility of their health coverage and shift much of the cost associate with employer health insurance to the employee. These plans are high deductible health plans with low premiums. Employees who choose these plans often pair the plan with a Health Savings Account (HSA). HSAs are savings accounts that employees, and their employers, make monthly contributions toward to pay for medical expenses.

The benefit of CDHPs with HSAs is that employees who take advantage of these options often give more consideration toward the treatment that they choose to receive. If employees are controlling the amount of money that they’re contributing to their medical care, they’ll be more considerate of the amount of money that they’re spending on treatment and, perhaps, more discerning.

By following these best practices, business owners can continue to recruit high quality employees by offering competitive healthcare packages and also controlling the costs associated with those packages.

Easy Time Clock ™   is a cloud-based time and attendance system that provides a comprehensive, accurate, and affordable solution allowing employees to clock in and out with a computer, mobile device, or biometric reader.

How to Receive a FULL Tax Deduction for Employer Health Insurance

Small business owners can receive a full deductible on their tax returns for health insurance premiums paid for employees or shareholders as opposed to having those premiums eliminated or limited as an itemized deduction. This can result in major income tax savings of up to 40% of premiums paid. However, it should be noted that the IRS rules and restrictions are stringent and small business owners must comply in order to receive a full deductible for premiums paid toward group health insurance. This article will outline some of the Do’s and Don’ts associated with the regulations imposed by the IRS that employers must adhere to in order to receive the maximum tax benefit.

DO’s

  • Acquire Qualified Healthcare Coverage- Small business owners can verify that they are receiving qualified health insurance by obtaining insurance through a reputable agency or by visiting the healthcare marketplace at www.healthcare.gov. Small business owners can avoid penalties by ensuring that they and their employees or shareholders are covered under a qualified health insurer.
  • Report Premiums Paid on W-2 form- Small business owners must report healthcare related expenses paid on their W-2 forms when filing taxes in order to receive a full deductible. Small business owners must also ensure that they’ve been paying premiums toward group insurance in order to qualify for the full deductible as opposed to having the payments severely restricted as an itemized deduction.
  • Disclose All Pre-existing Ailments and Conditions to Insurer- Disclosing all pre-existing conditions could cause a spike in the cost of premiums, however, by being upfront with insurers, small business owners can avoid cancellation of coverage and avoid large unexpected costs that they may otherwise face later on.

Don’ts

  • Reimburse Employees for Individual Health Insurance Premiums Paid- The IRS views this practice as a means of small business owners circumventing employer health insurance regulations. Business owners must offer group insurance to their employees and if employees decline that group insurance, employers may not reimburse employees for individual health plans. Doing so can result in massive penalties, for business owners, enforced by the IRS.
  • Don’t Discriminate- Small business owners with less than 50 employees are not legally required to offer health insurance to their employees. However, if a small business owner does choose to offer health insurance to any of his/her employees, then he/she must offer the same coverage to all employees.

Business owners who follow these practices should be able to safely avoid any tax penalties that they may otherwise be subject to as constituted by the rules set forth from the IRS. Those business owners may also qualify to receive a full deductible from the IRS.

Easy Time Clock ™   is a cloud-based time and attendance system that provides a comprehensive, accurate, and affordable solution allowing employees to clock in and out with a computer, mobile device, or biometric reader.

How Inferior Cyber Security Affects Small Businesses

Why Even Small Businesses Must Worry About Cyber Attacks

Everyone remembers the effect that security breaches have had on large corporations like Target and Home Depot. However, most small business owners don’t consider the potential impact that a security breach could have on them. Reports of small legal offices and online retailers being hacked has led many small businesses to the brink of bankruptcy. Most small business owners assume that they aren’t in danger of falling victim to cyber crimes because they assume that hackers wouldn’t want, or have use for, their data.

However, Most small business owners don’t recognize that they’re actually the perfect target in the eyes of many hackers. Personal information like social security numbers, credit card numbers, Tax Identification Numbers and other personal information can be uncovered by hackers and used to collect ransom from the affected small business. Ransomware is just one of the many forms of cyber crimes that affect small businesses and, in fact, Keeper Security estimates that 50% of small businesses were impacted by a security breach in 2016. Even further, The Huffington Post reports that 60% of small business owners impacted by cyber security attacks will fail within six months of the attack.

How to Prevent Cybersecurity Attacks on your Small Business

The ideal solution to this is to fortify your network as much as possible. Keeping your Antivirus software, firewalls and security features updated is the best way to protect your small business from cyber security attacks. Hackers are constantly evolving and coming up with innovative techniques for stealing your information and the only way you can hope to combat them is by keeping your security mechanisms up-to-date.

However, we all know that despite your significant investment in a state-of-the-art security system with the most updated security features; inevitably, an employee will open an email attachment which contains a virus that will infect your entire LAN. The only way to prevent these happenings is through regular cyber security training for your employees. Most small businesses don’t consider this a necessity, however it is, perhaps, the most proactive investment a small business owner can make toward protecting his/her SMB.

What to do if it Happens to YOU

So you’ve invested in premium cybersecurity for your small business, you’ve invested in cybersecurity training for your employees, you’ve done everything right and still, your business falls prey to a cyber security data breach. It happens. You wouldn’t be the first. What’s important is that you have a disaster-recovery plan in place so that you can respond as quickly and efficiently as possible. You must be prepared to shut down the infected device and potentially infected devices within the networks. You need to get in touch with your technical support quickly so that you can run a malware scan and quickly dispose of potential threats to your network. Being prepared to respond to a cyber attack can save your business money and limit the damage done by any hacker.

Easy Time Clock ™   is a cloud-based time and attendance system that provides a comprehensive, accurate, and affordable solution allowing employees to clock in and out with a computer, mobile device, or biometric reader.

Easy Time Clock CEO Awarded the 40 under 40 Award

 

Found on Page 2, CEO Alisha  Allen Gardner was awarded the 40 Under 40 award, a high achievement among Oklahoma City’s young innovators, entrepreneurs and creators.

 

Pictured to the left clockwise we have owners Chuck and Alisha with Sales and Marketing Director Beth Allen and Chief Officer of  Operations, Rob Allen.

 

 

The article states-

Alisha Allen Gardner is the co-owner of Easy Time Clock, which she purchased with her husband, Chuck, in 2016.

Since then, they redesigned the website, resulting in web traffic growing from 300 visits a monthly to 16,000. Gross revenue is up 30%.

In expanding, the couple developed a day care management product. “My husband and I overcame our fear, and we persevered in succeeding as business owners,” she said.

She helped organize Good to Grow, a health and wellness event for underprivileged children. At this year’s event, 17 health care and educational organizations provided free physicals, hearing and eye screenings, dental hygiene checkups and other services.

She serves on the Community Engagement Committee of the Northwest Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. She is active with Aspire, the Impact and Development Committee of the Oklahoma City Young Professionals.

She volunteers for Vizavance—Advancing Children’s Vision, an organization at which she worked previously. She received Vizavance’s Above and Beyond Recognition Award.

“Through her involvement over the years in multiple fund-raising events for our organization, she exemplifies a level of commitment that serves as a model for others,” Vizavance’s President and CEO Dianna L Bonfiglio said.

Allen Gardner also volunteers for the Piedmont Public Library and the Edmond Public Schools. Her company is a corporate sponsor for Family Builders.