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    Legal & Regulatory Updates, Human Resources & Payroll

    Update: San Antonio Paid Sick Leave Ordinance Postponed to December 1

    7/19/2019

    The San Antonio Paid Sick Leave ordinance that was scheduled to go into effect in San Antonio on August 1 has been postponed until December 1.  Read more...


     

    Employee Benefits & Insurance

    New Texas Laws: Targeting Surprise Medical Billing and Deceptive Practices

    6/20/2019

    The Texas Legislative session brought three new laws related to payments for medical care.  One bill, Senate Bill 1264, is intended to curb a practice called “surprise” or “balance” billing.  The other two bills—House Bills 2041 and 1941—target deceptive advertising used and high prices charged by some freestanding ERs.  This article contains a descriptive of these bills, which are newly signed into law and will go into effect September 1, 2019.  Read more...


     

    Legal & Regulatory Updates, Human Resources & Payroll

    Next Steps: Local Paid Sick Leave Mandates

    5/31/2019

    In our last installment, we discussed the status of action by the Texas Legislature to block local paid sick leave ordinances that have passed in Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas.  This legislation did not pass in the Texas House and therefore was not signed into law.  That means that local paid sick leave ordinances in San Antonio and Dallas will come into effect starting August 1, 2019, unless some other action is taken.  The latter part of this article will describe the ordinance in detail, but let’s start with who is affected and who is not.  Read more...


     

    Employee Benefits & Insurance

    Geo-Based AHP "Pause": DOL Files Appeal of AHP Ruling

    5/20/2019

    The Department of Labor has filed an appeal of a March 28 ruling by US District Judge John D. Bates.  In a lawsuit brought by 11 states and the District of Columbia, Judge Bates had ruled that two elements of the DOL’s rule on Association Health Plans (AHPs) were invalid.  Rather than file a stay, the DOL decided to appeal the decision and has requested an expedited hearing.  Read more...


     

    Legal & Regulatory Updates

    SSN No-Match Letters: What Should You Do if You Receive One?

    4/10/2019

    The Social Security Administration (SSA) has again started sending no-match letters, which indicate that a W-2 submitted by an employer does not match up with the name and social security number (SSN) that the SSA has on file.  The discrepancy could simply be the result of a typo, but it may also be the result of a more serious issue, such as identity theft.  Employers who receive these letters must try to resolve the error without taking any adverse action against the employee based solely on the letter.  Read more...


     

    Human Resources & Payroll

    Overtime Rules? A New DOL Proposal has been Released

    3/21/2019

    Earlier in March, the Department of Labor (DOL) released a new proposal on overtime for employees who are classified as “exempt.”  Much debate has occurred on this issue dating back to a proposal by the Obama administration in 2016, which was blocked by a US District Court in Texas just 9 days before the rule came into effect.  While this new rule may face similar legal challenges, it’s important for employers to develop a plan of action so they are ready if the new rule takes effect in January of 2020, as scheduled.  Please read on to learn more about the new rule.  Read more...


     

    Employee Benefits & Insurance

    We Can Help! New SA Chamber Association Health Plan

    2/6/2019

    The San Antonio Chamber of Commerce has announced they are now offering an Association Health Plan (AHP) with United HealthCare (UHC).  Although there has been some confusion, the plans are open to all members of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) through any licensed agent or broker.  Read more...


     

    Human Resources & Payroll

    E-Verify Website is Down: Government Shutdown & I-9 Requirements

    1/17/2019

    The Federal Government has been “shut down” since December 22, 2018.  As a result, the Federal Government’s electronic employment verification system—E-Verify—is unavailable.  What does this mean for employers who use E-Verify?  Read more...


     

    Financial Planning

    Market Thoughts in this Volatile December

    12/27/2018

    As we approach year-end, the market continues to drop. Plus, the major U.S. stock market indices are now in or approaching bear market territory (i.e., down 20 percent or more). As such, there is a real concern that this drawdown signals something even worse ahead. Worry levels are rising. And as the worry levels rise, the problem gets even worse.  Read more...


     

    Employee Benefits & Insurance

    Apple Watch Now Syncs with UHC Motion

    11/15/2018

    After November 15th, UnitedHealthcare Motion customers will be able to track their FIT goals using the Apple Watch.  UnitedHealthcare Motion is a wellness program offered through UHC.  Read more...


     

    Employee Benefits & Insurance

    Creditable Coverage Notice for Medicare-eligible Individuals

    10/4/2018

    Employers who sponsor group health plans should be aware that the annual deadline to provide notice of Creditable Coverage to Medicare-eligible employees is October 15Read more...


     

    Legal & Regulatory Updates, Human Resources & Payroll

    San Antonio Passes Paid Leave Ordinance

    8/17/2018

    On Thursday, August 16, 2018, by a 9-2 vote, the San Antonio City Council passed an ordinance requiring employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees.  San Antonio is following Austin, which passed a very similar ordinance in February of 2018.  One difference is that San Antonio’s ordinance will not be effective until August 1, 2019, almost a full year after Austin’s ordinance. Read more...


     

    Legal & Regulatory Updates, Human Resources & Payroll

    Update: San Antonio & Dallas Paid Sick Leave Mandates are Effective August 1

    7/15/2019

    While a court injunction still blocks the paid sick leave (PSL) ordinance in Austin, the San Antonio and Dallas ordinances are on track to become effective on August 1, 2019 for employers with more than 5 employees working within city limits.  The ordinance doesn’t require that an employer is based in San Antonio or Dallas, simply that an employee spends time working on behalf of the employer within those cities.  Do you have any employees who work 80 hours per year within Dallas or San Antonio?  Read more...


     

    Retirement Plans

    Legislative Update: New Federal Action on Retirement Plans

    6/13/2019

    In order to encourage retirement savings, members of the US Senate and House of Representatives have drafted legislation aimed at reforming some aspects of current retirement plan regulations.  This article contains a description of bills that are currently being evaluated.  Read more...


     

    Legal & Regulatory Updates, Human Resources & Payroll

    Paid Sick Leave Stands? Bills to Ban Local Ordinances Have Stalled in Texas Legislature

    5/22/2019

    Local paid sick leave ordinances have now passed in Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas.  Austin’s ordinance is on hold after an Appeals Court found it was unconstitutional and preempted by Texas’s minimum wage law.  That court remanded the case back to district court for further proceedings, and Austin may appeal that decision.  Many in the business community had hopes that Texas would pass legislation banning local paid sick leave ordinances.  Now, it seems like the proposed bills are stalled out in the Texas House and do not appear on the calendar to be voted on before the end of the Legislative Session.  Read more...


     

    Employee Benefits & Insurance

    Biometric Screening as part of Humana's Go365 Program

    5/1/2019

    Humana has announced several free biometric screening events, occurring from May to August, for their Go365 Wellness and Rewards Program members.  As an employer who may be eligible for premium discounts through Humana’s Go365 program, you may want to encourage your employees to take advantage of this quick and easy way to earn points and proactively manage their health.  Read more...


     

    Human Resources & Payroll

    Taxes on Employee Parking

    3/26/2019

    Some employers offer reserved parking as an added perk to their employees, either as a temporary award or more permanent assignment.  The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act amended Section 274(a)(4) of the tax law so that it “generally disallows a deduction for expenses with respect to QTFs [Qualified Transportation Fringes] by taxpayers to their employees,” meaning that providing a reserved parking spot to an employee may not be a tax deductible expense as of 2018.  Read more...


     

    Legal & Regulatory Updates

    Tax Reform Effects: Smaller Tax Refunds Reported

    2/15/2019

    Tax season has begun, and preliminary reports show that the average refund is down about 8% from the same time last year, from $2,035 to $1,864, causing speculation that consumer spending may be hurt due to refund reductions.  At the time of the report, approximately 16 million returns had been filed and 13 million were processed.  During the 2017 tax season, nearly 152 million returns were processed, and some argue that the small sample size so far this year may skew the data and not be a true indicator of the overall population.  The Internal Revenue Service provides filing season statistics every year, which will be needed to see whether these preliminary reports prove to be true.  In the meantime, what might cause this change in dynamics?  Read more...


     

    Human Resources & Payroll

    E-Verify is Up & Running: Employer Action Required by 2/11/2019

    1/30/2019

    During the shutdown, the Federal Government’s electronic employment verification system (E-Verify) was unavailable.  Now it is operational again, and employers who participate are required to take action by February 11, 2019.  Read more...


     

    Financial Planning

    Tax Reform May Bring a New Strategy for End of Year Giving

    12/27/2018

    Charitable giving may get a shot in the arm.  The new tax reform law has raised the standard deduction to $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for married couples and has reduced some itemized deductions.  Deductions for state, local, and property taxes have been capped at $10,000, leaving charitable giving as one of the remaining available deductions.  In addition, the limit on what people can deduct is increasing from 50% to 60% of adjusted gross income (AGI).  Read more...


     

    Compliance

    Yearend Checklist

    12/4/2018

    This year may feel like a blur, and it is quickly coming to a close.  The holiday season is upon us, and many of us are beginning to plan for next year.  Now is a great time to think about the goals we will be working on in 2019, from our sales and activity goals to our goals for our employee programs.  To help facilitate this process, we’re providing a list of reminders and common yearend tasks based on today’s regulations.  Read more...


     

    Employee Benefits & Insurance

    AHPs Arrive in Texas

    10/19/2018

    They weren’t born in Texas, but they got here as fast as they could!  UnitedHealthcare (UHC) has introduced three geographically-based Association Health Plans (AHPs) that are now available in Texas.  UHC is offering some of their most popular plans to associations that would like to set up AHPs, and they anticipate premium savings for certain groups compared to the ACA’s adjusted community rating structure.  If we are your benefits consultant, we will review all of your options, including involvement in an AHP, as part of your renewal.  If you have recently renewed, we are also comparing your recent renewal against the new geographical-based AHPs available with UHC and will let you know if it is worthy of your consideration.  Read more...


     

    Legal & Regulatory Updates, Human Resources & Payroll

    Austin Paid Leave Ordinance Temporarily Suspended

    8/24/2018

    In February, the Austin City Council passed an ordinance requiring employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees. The ordinance was set to go into effect October 1.  Read more...


     

    BFG in the News

    BFG's Website is Live!

    8/7/2018

    Our new website is live!  We included new features in response to client feedback.  Read more...