September 2023 HR Newsletter

30.08.23 01:26 PM By Forsite Benefits
Oct. 15 Deadline for Medicare Part D Coverage Notices
Employers must notify Medicare-eligible policyholders if their prescription drug coverage is credible or not.

The Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) requires entities (whose policies include prescription drug coverage) to notify Medicare-eligible policyholders whether their prescription drug coverage is creditable, (which means that the coverage is expected to pay, on average, as much as the standard Medicare prescription drug coverage) or non-creditable. 

Who Must Comply
The disclosure requirements in this section apply generally to employers sponsoring group health plans that offer prescription drug coverage to Medicare-eligible individuals.

Information Required 

Notifies Medicare-eligible individuals whether the plan's prescription drug coverage is creditable coverage, meaning the coverage is expected to pay, on average, as much as the standard Medicare prescription drug coverage.

Note: Individuals who do not maintain creditable coverage for 63 days or longer following their initial enrollment period for Medicare Part D may be required to pay a late enrollment penalty. Accordingly, this information is essential to the decision to enroll in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.

Who it must be provided to
  • Medicare-eligible active employees and their dependents 
  • Medicare-eligible COBRA individuals and their dependents 
  • Medicare-eligible disabled individuals covered under the prescription drug plan 
  • Any retirees and their dependents

Who it must be provided by
Employers who sponsor group health plans that offer prescription drug coverage to Medicare-eligible individuals

 When it is Due
  • Prior to the annual enrollment period for Medicare Part D that begins on Oct. 15th 
  • Prior to an individual's initial enrollment period for Medicare Part D 
  • Prior to the effective date of enrolling in the employer's prescription drug plan and upon any change that affects whether the coverage is credible 
  • Upon request by the individual 

Online disclosure to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is also required annually, no later than 60 days from the beginning of a plan year, within 30 days after termination of a prescription drug plan, or within 30 days after any change in creditable coverage status. 


Model notices/templates

These model notices may be used to satisfy this requirement, issued by the
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. 

        • Medicare Part D – Creditable Coverage Disclosure Notice Template - [View]
      • Non-Creditable Coverage Disclosure Notice Template - [View]
Addressing the New Normal of Talent Shortages

As talent shortages persist across industries, an increasing number of employers are grappling with the need to adapt to the “new normal” to address this challenge effectively. Employers are consistently finding an inadequate number of qualified candidates or insufficient resources (e.g., budget and staffing) to meet the high demand for talent. 

Addressing Ongoing Talent Shortages

In an uncertain hiring market, employers should focus on what they can control: their strategy. HR teams should consider the following popular ways to address and combat the new normal of talent shortages:

  • Prioritize skills-based hiring. While specific qualifications may be valuable for some roles or industries, HR professionals may consider candidates based on desired skills rather than experience or education.

  • Support internal mobility. Employers shouldn’t forget about their current workforce. Many employees are willing to transition to job roles within the organization for higher compensation, better work-life balance or new learning opportunities.
  • Focus on retention. A renewed focus on retention can help employers avoid having additional open positions to source or recruit for. Championing current employee skills and focusing on learning and development programs are good retention strategies to start with. 
  • Leverage technology. HR professionals can use technology like artificial intelligence and online recruiting platforms to streamline complex, tedious and time-consuming processes and workflow and expand recruiting reaches. 

Given the widespread, ongoing talent shortages, it’s critical that employers explore alternative hiring approaches. 

Employee Referral Programs for Small Businesses​

As small businesses compete amid ongoing talent shortages, often with fewer resources than large companies, they may need to get creative in their attraction and hiring efforts. 

As such, employee referral programs are growing as a popular strategy. These programs are generally successful because employees tend to carefully consider possible referrals since they feel accountable to the organization and the person they refer.

Additionally, high performers tend to refer other high performers, which benefits employers. This article explores the benefits of referral programs for small businesses and strategies for creating and maintaining successful programs.

Employee Referral Program Benefits

Employee referral programs allow existing employees to recommend candidates for open positions. Current employees can provide information about the company to referred candidates, giving candidates a good idea of what working for the organization would be like before being called in for an interview. 

In this aspect, referral programs can help save HR professionals, hiring managers and the organization time and money; since the employee knows both the company and the person they refer, this typically leads to a good match for the employer and new employee. Referral programs can reduce hiring time by half compared to traditional hiring methods. 

Further, since referred employees are faster to hire, organizations save money on internal labor costs or outsourcing.

Strategies for Small Businesses

An effective employee referral program can save small businesses time, money and other resources during hiring. It can also help support an organization’s reputation as an employer. 

Employers can consider the following strategies for establishing and maintaining such programs:

  • Make submitting referrals easy
    Clear communication is necessary so that employees know how to submit referrals. This process should be simple, allowing employees to send a resume, provide an email and phone number, or submit a standard form to start the referral process.

  • Incentivize employee referrals
    To enhance the appeal of referring friends and family to the company, employers may provide monetary rewards, paid time off or other gifts to current employees who refer quality candidates for open jobs.

  • Leverage technology
    Small businesses may be short on staff, but technology can help manage programs and automate referral processes.

  • Keep employees informed
    It’s best for employers to keep employees in the loop about the status of their referrals to avoid frustration and increase transparency.

  • Acknowledge good referrers
    Public recognition can go a long way with employees, so small businesses should consider awards or public praise to let employees know they appreciate their effort in sending referrals.

  • Think beyond employees
    Referral programs don’t need to rely solely on employee referrals. Companies can also decide to open referral opportunities to additional stakeholders, such as retirees and customers.

Employee referral programs can be a cost-effective strategy to attract and retain talent and hire workers faster.

ICHRA Explained: Advantages & Potential Pitfalls

Have you heard of the term ICHRA? (Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement)

What is a ICHRA?
ICHRA is a form of providing insurance to employees without aligning with a health insurance carrier. Instead of choosing a carrier for a group offering, an employer gives a financial allotment to employees to purchase their own individual health insurance plan. 

Since the inception of the ICHRA legislation in 2020, Forsite Benefit has been evaluating their viability. In some instances, particularly organizations with lower wage earners, an ICHRA may be an option to consider.

Advantages to offering an ICHRA plan
  • Fixing health insurance budget to a set dollar amount per employee (similar to defined contribution)
  • Employee choice in carrier and plan
  • Getting out of the carrier selection process annually
  • Low wage earners working for small employers could benefit from subsidies

While this may be intriguing, employers need to also fully understand the pitfalls of offering an ICHRA in lieu of a group sponsored plan. 

Potential Pitfalls of offering an ICHRA
  • Potential financial penalties up to $4,460 per employee if not properly structured
  • Plan selection can be confusing to employees if not properly educated. 
    • (Ask your Forsite rep about our proprietary BenIQ healthcare literacy training)
  • Higher income households may be adversely affected
  • Individual plan benefits and networks are generally not as comprehensive as group plans

You can rest assured that Forsite fully reviews all market options which include ICHRA’s, QSEHRA, HRA, Level Funding and many more other strategies. With many plans renewing January 1st, your Forsite representative will be prepared to discuss with you all of your options to ensure you are providing the best possible plan to employees in the most efficient manner possible. 

If you wish to learn more about this topic sooner, please contact a member of your Forsite Team.

The content herein is provided for general information purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or other advice or opinions on any matters. This information has been taken from sources which we believe to be reliable, but there is no guarantee as to its accuracy.

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