Partner Resources

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one month ago
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Along with a third round of direct payments, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) includes several provisions that will impact employee benefits plans and require employers to notify individuals of some of the changes.

To account for loss of employee-sponsored health coverage due to COVID-19, ARPA provides a 100% premium subsidy for COBRA enrollment options until September 30, 2021. Family members may also be entitled to the subsidy if they qualify under the expanded rules.

The provision requires that anyone whose COBRA coverage or eligibility period includes the months from April to September must be notified of the subsidy and notified when it is about to expire. The notices must be sent no later than May 31, 2021. Templates are available.

The plan more than doubles the standard annual limits for Dependent Care Account (DCA) contributions. The increase is optional; employers who wish to adopt the provision will need to amend their Section 125 Plan.

Small and midsize private employers that choose to provide paid time off for COVID-19-related reasons in accordance with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act are now eligible for tax credits under ARPA.

Read American Fidelity’s blog post for more details on how this legislation impacts your employee benefits plan.

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2 months ago
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COVID-19 ushered in obvious health threats and practical difficulties as well as a subtler pandemic of individual and collective uncertainty that has affected people of all ages and walks of life with physical and emotional stresses. 

While a certain amount of uncertainty can be good—keeping decision-making skills and resilience sharp—when stakes are high with potentially negative outcomes for a prolonged time, this stress can affect sleep and health, and even become paralyzing. Studies indicate that people with a lower tolerance for uncertainty are more susceptible to depression, generalized anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other cognitive impairment.

The good news is that there are effective ways to cope with the stresses of uncertainty.

Taking small steps to manage stress can go a long way toward creating ease and contentment in the mind and lowering stress hormones. Movement, fresh air, healthy foods, and sufficient sleep are powerful contributors to well-being, even in tiny doses. Maintaining and supporting physical health lays a solid foundation for mental health.

Other ways to ease the strain of uncertainty include creating a plan—daily or weekly goals that you can track and achieve; limiting media exposure that contributes to the stress; and making time for enjoyable activities that allow you to become absorbed in a “flow state,” directing attention to the moments at hand.

Read Equitable’s article on easing uncertainty to learn more about lessening the stresses of these unpredictable times for yourself and others.

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3 months ago
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Even before the pandemic, employee retention has been a growing problem with educators leaving the profession due to financial pressure. A study of health and well-being concerns among K–12 employees in the United States shows that, in the wake of COVID-19, educators are thinking more critically about health and privacy issues and becoming increasingly aware of benefit gaps in their profession.

The survey indicates nearly 27 percent of educators are considering leaving or taking a leave of absence due to COVID-19. Educators expressed a heightened awareness of risks to their own health and that of their family members when considering a return to in-person learning. Nearly half of those surveyed said they were uncertain they could afford to get sick under their current health insurance and leave policies.

School districts can help to address some of these concerns and improve retention by ensuring educators fully understand their medical benefits and requirements, sharing options to narrow benefit gaps, and providing confidential real-time assistance with specific health and financial questions. Download Horace Mann’s health and well-being study to learn more.

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4 months ago
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8 months ago
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8 months ago
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8 months ago
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8 months ago
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8 months ago
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8 months ago
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