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The Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Texas Mutual Insurance Over Private Equity Companies

  Air ambulances became  available to citizens in the 1970s ; since then, they have become increasingly more common and important when saving someone’s life. However, this life-saving innovation also brought greed along with it. Large privately-owned companies were able to decide the cost of the flight, no matter the case. Since 2012, Texas Mutual Insurance along with the Attorney General and other insurance providers, fought against these large businesses to achieve a rate for air ambulances that is reasonable. Large companies such as  PHI Air Medical , naturally fought against the state of Texas to overturn a previously passed law that says PHI was to only receive fair and reasonable funds. Not the ones that they decide upon on their own. Texas workers’ compensation law prohibits medical providers from charging injured workers when they require medical treatment. "The issue has now been fully and fairly litigated," said Mary Nichols, senior vice president and general counse
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Texas Department of Insurance and the Texas A&M Forest Service Provide Insight on How to Protect Your Home From Wildfires

The Texas Department of Insurance and the Texas A&M Forest Service recently collaborated on a live stream covering wildfires and the impacts from the  historic freeze . The freeze has set plants and agriculture back a bit as we are not seeing the green of spring as much as we are accustomed to. Even with this setback, wildfires are still prevalent in Texas; it is important for homeowners to take easy, uncostly, steps to help prevent wildfires and protect their homes. Things as simple as: Cleaning out gutters Cleaning out plant beds Getting rid of vegetation that died Checking attic fence to make sure its properly screened in  Creating a defensible space around your home (30-foot space around your home) If you encounter a wildfire, safely evacuate your home and call 911 immediately. For information about active wildfires in Texas, visit  https://texashelp.tamu.edu/browse/by-type/naturally-occurring/fires-wildfires/ .  For more information about how to protect your home from wildfi

How Did the Pandemic Affect the Peo Industry?

The  National Association of Professional Employer Organizations  (NAPEO) released their annual White Paper Series last month to dive deeper into the status of professional employer organizations (PEOs). NAPEO provided a summary of the current state of PEOs after 2020 through certain key statistics. The numbers and statistics used were covered in a previous blog  last week. Though the past year presented many obstacles, statistics show that PEOs fared better than most industries during the pandemic.  A key statistic used showed that PEOs had seen a consistent growth rate of 7.6% when factoring growth  with  the pandemic and 8.3% without. These results show that the average PEO remained at the same size as it did in 2019. While that may not be the sexiest fact for PEOs, it is still positive when considering the state of the economy in 2020. Even though the average PEO remained the same size in 2020, “holding steady actually resulted in a substantial outperformance relative to external c

State of the Peo Industry Post 2020

The  National Association of Professional Employer Organizations  (NAPEO) released their annual White Paper Series this month to dive deeper into the status of professional employer organizations (PEOs). NAPEO provided a summary of the current state of PEOs after 2020; though the past year presented many obstacles, PEOs fared better than most industries during the pandemic. Research and statistics from NAPEO’s previous white papers show that PEO clients enjoy, “a better chance of survival, higher growth rates, lower employee turnover, higher employee satisfaction and they fared better during the COVID-19 pandemic.” These numbers are no surprise given that PEOs alleviate most internal headaches for small and mid-sized businesses through their HR expertise. The number of worksite employees (WSEs) continued to go up in 2020 as PEOs employed 3.97 million WSEs in 2020. This massive amount represents, “13.7 percent of all employment by private sector employers that have 10 to 99 employees (t

Benefits Buzz: Department of Labor Issues COBRA Subsidy Model Notices, FAQs

Benefits Buzz: Department of Labor Issues COBRA Subsidy Model Notices, FAQs   The Department of Labor (DOL) issued  FAQs and  model notices  for the COBRA premium assistance provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). In the FAQs and notices, the DOL provides guidance on: • Eligibility • Elections • Notice requirements and duration of the subsidy  The goal of the FAQs is to provide further insight into why the federal COVID-19 related relief for plan deadlines does not apply to notice or election periods. These provisions were set forth in the ARPA about the COBRA subsidy. Although, an individual may elect COBRA from an earlier qualifying event if the individual is eligible to make that election. This includes the extended time frames provided that relief. In addition, the DOL provided mental health FAQs covering the  Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA) . The CAA amended the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA) to provide more protections

National Work Zone Awareness Week 2021

National Work Zone Awareness Week 2021  National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) takes place this week, from April 26th – April 30th. This week of awareness is held each year to preserve the lives of those who work in these work zones. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) aims to remind the state’s motorists this week to proceed with caution when encountering one of the 3,400 active work zones in the state. Throughout 2020, more than 22,000 traffic crashes happened in work zones; these accidents lead to 186 deaths, with 680 people seriously injured. TxDOT has identified that the most common causes of accidents in work zones stem from: speeding, driver inattention and unsafe lane changes. Each of these causes are easily preventable and with the help of NWZAW, will hopefully be eliminated. To continue public outreach and awareness, TxDOT reminds drivers to adhere to the Move Over/Slow Down law. The state law requires vehicles to move over lanes and reduce its speed by at l

How Employers will Continue to Accommodate the Mental Health of its Employees post 2020

How Employers Will Continue to Accommodate the Mental Health of its Employees post-2020 One benefit of dealing with the year 2020 was the concentration on improving employee mental health from employers. The pandemic, social issues, elections, and general uncertainties played the largest roles in negatively impacting employee mental health. Because of these impacts, companies such as Fidelity HR began to perform research on how employees could be helped with their mental health. From this research, HR professionals were able to find issues that are still looming. Employees list these issues as reasons for why they believe their employers are not providing adequate mental care:  Care is too expensive Employees do not know of all available resources  Poor access to care  In addition, the perception of employees of how much their employers make an effort to speak about mental health differs from the employer’s view.  88% of employers believe that mental

Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986 (COBRA) now covered through the ARPA

Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986 (COBRA)  now covered through the ARPA On April 1st, 2021 the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) began to cover 100% of COBRA premiums through September 30th, 2021. What is COBRA? COBRA is an act passed in 1986 that requires group health plans by employers so that employees would still be covered under a group health plan when it was lost in certain circumstances. Such as: Reduction in hours Termination  Typically, individuals are allowed to keep their coverage for 18 months, but that can vary from state to state. Many people eventually decline coverage due to the fact the group health can require those to pay 102% of the premium to continue their health coverage. Under the ARPA, from April 1st – September 30th, 100% of the COBRA cost will be covered for individuals who are eligible for assistance. View this bulletin from HR Compliance for more information on who is eligible for COBRA coverage through the ARPA. 

Safety Training: Construction

Safety Training: Construction This training guide will help construction workers and those in manual labor jobs understand how to enhance their safety while on the job. By understanding and identifying the Focus Four, a worker can be better ensure their safety on the job site. The Focus Four refers to the four leading causes of fatalities in this industry, including: Fall: common hazards include roofs, wall opening/unfinished walls, holes in the floor, scaffolds with incomplete planking, ladders, and aerial platforms. By using fall protection like railings, harnesses, lanyards or anchorages can drastically improve your safety. Fall protection is required when working 6 feet or higher. Though fall protection helps, any height when working is dangerous. Death or serious injury could still occur at low heights. Stuck-by: common hazards include flying objects, falling objects, power tools falling, earthmoving equipment, and swinging objects. Preventions involve wearing high-visibility clot

Using Data & Analytics to Drive HR Decisions

Using Data & Analytics to Drive HR Decisions Data is becoming more prevalent in our everyday life than ever before. 2021 is no exception to that and promises to be the biggest year for businesses using data to drive their decisions to date. While HR companies begin to implement data for employee and employer decision-making, it is important they use the right metrics to gain an accurate representation of what they plan to assess. This article from ADP lists the six biggest HR data trends for 2021: Creating metrics of consequence  Bring data to life with storytelling Combine HR expertise with analytics Understand and identify bias in data Proper translation of data is vital  Get granular with skills data  The combination of these data practices will prove to be the measuring stick for usage in HR and business practices for years to come. For HR professionals, the sooner data becomes infused in your decisions, the sooner employees and businesses w

Building critical skills for employee development through HR practices

Building critical skills for employee development through HR practices  In 2021, companies are beginning to better assess the manner in which they select and develop their employees and practices. According to an article from gartner.com, the top priority for HR professionals this year should be building skills and developing their employees. This should come as no surprise considering the skills required for jobs are changing rapidly. Gartner’s research tells them that the skills needed in 2017 for a position, will not be needed in 2021. Such a rapid change in the workplace and skill development further demonstrates the need for HR professionals to aid the development of employee skills. One barrier in the way of skill development is teaching skills that employees will never use. As the fast-paced changing of skills will only increase, how will companies and HR professionals successfully implement professional development? Gartner was

Face Masks and Other Pandemic Necessities are Eligible as Deductible Medical Expenses

Face Masks and Other Pandemic Necessities are Eligible as Deductible Medical Expenses While there has been much debate about mandating masks in businesses and restaurants, one thing no one will debate is receiving money back from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  With the issue of Announcement 2021-7 , personal protective equipment (PPE) such as hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, and masks are deductible medical expenses since they are primarily used for combating the spread of COVID-19. Any amount paid for these items that are not covered by insurance is eligible for deductibles as long as the taxpayer’s total medical expenses exceed 7.5% of adjusted gross income. Under tax-favored accounts, the amounts paid for COVID-19 PPE can also be eligible to be reimbursed under: · Health flexible spending arrangements (FSAs) · Archer medical savings accounts (Archer MSAs) · Health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) · Health savings accounts (HSAs) If an amount is reimbursed