Benefit Advisory Services

Our Team Approach…
Under the direction of our Benefit Advisors, clients will have a designated team suited to their needs, to assist and oversee solutions from implementation through ongoing service delivery.

Our teams of dedicated professionals create a detailed client partner project plan to transition clients onto Heffernan’s platform and into our optimal service delivery and compliance procedures. Our teams strive to become a seamless extension of the clients HR department, to maximize the engagement of the clients employees and their dependents, and to free up our clients to handle more important initiatives within each organization.

We implement a number of resource solutions to ensure we provide our clients and their employees with the information to best achieve your Group Benefits objectives. Examples include benchmarking, underwriting, account service plans, renewal planning, financial analysis, and alternative funding options and strategies.

Medical HSA     Read More

EEOC Guidelines for COVID Testing of Workers

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As businesses reopen, they must take stringent measures to keep workers and customers safe from the coronavirus. Common efforts might include signage to promote social distancing and the use of masks and sneeze guards – but some employers may be wondering whether they should also use testing.

Although virus testing seems like one of the most efficient ways to control the virus, it also brings up legal complications. Here’s what the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) advises.

The ADA Still Applies

The pandemic does not grant employers license to ignore the ADA or other anti-discrimination laws. However, the EEOC explains that employers should follow CDC guidelines for workplace safety.

Certain safety measures should be taken in light of the pandemic. According to the EEOC:

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Telehealth called a ‘silver lining’ of the COVID-19 pandemic. This time, it might stick

Telehealth use surged from 8% of Americans in December to 29% in May as primary care, mental health and specialists turned to remote care out of necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a UnitedHealth Group report.

Telehealth evangelists long have touted using high-speed Internet connections and a range of devices to link providers and patients for remote care. But regulatory hurdles and medicine’s conservative culturelimited virtual checkups to largely minor conditions like sinus infections or unique circumstances such as connecting neurologists to rural hospitals that lack specialized care.

Dr. Tiffany Link listens to a patient during a telehealth session in her spare bedroom in her home in Fort Collins, Colo. on Wednesday, May 20, 2020.

 

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2020/07/02/telehealth-soars-covid-19-shutdown-limits-doctor-visits/5355739002/

How COVID is Impacting Retirement Planning

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Many people are worried about the health impact of coronavirus, but if you’re planning your retirement, you have other issues to think about to as well. The pandemic has had a big impact on the economy and investments. Here’s what it means for your retirement plan.

What’s Happening with 401(k)s and Investments?

The economic shutdowns brought about by the pandemic have had a ripple effect on 401(k)s and other investments.

  • Some employers are ending employer matching. Employer match programs make 401(k) plans attractive to many employees, but some employers have paused matches amid the current economic problems. According to MarketWatch, at least 16 large companies had suspended employer match programs as of April 21.
  • Accounts are being raided. A provision in the CARES Act made is easier for people who have been economically impacted by the coronavirus to make early withdrawals of up to $100,000 from eligible retirement plans, including 401(k)s, 403(k)s and IRAs. According to the IRS, the 10 percent additional tax on early distributions does not apply to these withdrawals. Some people have taken advantage of this to raid their retirement accounts.

Should You Invest Now? The Pros and Cons

Another impact of the pandemic has been stock market volatility. This has prompted many people to question whether this is a very bad time – or perhaps a very good time – to invest.

As always, the situation isn’t straightforward. No one can know for certain how stocks will perform in the future, and how or whether you decide to invest will depend on your own appetite for risk.

Here are some of the reasons some people may not want to invest now:

  • We are in a recession. After a great deal of speculation that the pandemic would cause a recession, the National Bureau of Economic Research has announced that we are officially in a recession. According to CNBC, this marks the end of the longest economic expansion in U.S. history.
  • The pandemic may be far from over. Despite hopes that a vaccine will end the current crisis, some experts say that coronavirus might be an issue for a long time. According to Bloomberg, a report from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy warns that the pandemic may last for two years. The economic impact may be long-lasting, too.

And here are some of the reasons you may want to consider investing now:

  • Some stocks may perform well. Even during a down market, some individual stocks may perform very well. Investment strategies that focus on “boring” stocks may succeed even in difficult times – although, as always, there are no guarantees.
  • Prices may be low. Some stocks that took a hit because of the pandemic may now be available at an attractively low price. If you think the stock will rebound, this may be a good time to purchase.

If you have concerns about your retirement planning strategy, we’re here to help. Contact Heffernan Financial Services to learn more.

AB5 Update: California Rideshare Drivers Must Be Classified as Employees

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According to a June order from the Public Utilities Commission of the State of California, Uber, Lyft and other Transportation Network Company (TNC) drivers are now presumed to be employees in California. This is the latest development in an ongoing battle over the classification of gig workers, and the ramifications may not be limited to the two ridesharing companies or even to the state.

AB5 and Worker Classification

In explaining the justification behind the new order, the Commission described the impact of AB5 on TNCs. AB5 is a new California law that went into effect on January 1, 2020. It says that a worker should be considered an employee, and not an independent contractor, unless three conditions can be met:

A. The worker is free from the direction and control of the hiring entity.

B. The worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business.

C. The worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation or business that is of the same nature as the work being performed.

Some TNCs claim that they meet the three requirements of the so-called ABC rule. However, on May 5, 2020, a suit was filed against Uber and Lyft over misclassification.

According to the order, Uber and Lyft have gotten a measure that would exclude app-based drivers from AB5 on the November 2020 ballot. Nevertheless, the Commission asserted its right to enforce the current law, which it interprets as classifying TNC drivers as employees.

 

Continue reading “AB5 Update: California Rideshare Drivers Must Be Classified as Employees”

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