From the June 2012 issue of CeridianVoice.

June 2012 News Briefs

Links to important news and interesting articles on topics related to human resources and employee benefits.

Health care costs still rising, but at a slower rate

U.S. health care costs are expected to grow by 7.5 percent in 2013, according to a recent PwC report. This projection reflects a slower growth rate than in recent years, which reportedly results from a sluggish economy, a reduced use of services by more cost-conscious patients, and plan design changes by employers intended to contain expenses. 

"It seems as if strategies like consumer-directed health care and programs promoting employee health and wellness are beginning to make a favorable impact on medical inflation," said Ernie Harris, Ceridian's senior product manager for CDHC. For more information from SHRM, please read this article.

IRS releases W-2 reporting details for employers

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) requires employers to report the cost of coverage under their group health plans on 2012 Form W-2s. The IRS has posted additional information for employers about this requirement, including:

  • Frequently asked questions
  • Details on employer transition relief for this requirement
  • What types of coverage must be reported

Please read the IRS FAQs for more information.

Does workplace loyalty really matter anymore?

Retention is a big buzzword for employers today. We all know that it is more cost-effective to retain a good employee than to hire a new one. An interesting article we read on HR Morning discusses the changing roles of loyalty and engagement in employee retention, and also looks at what employees truly value in a job, such as clear expectations for their work, a solid benefits package and overall pride in the company or product.

House committee votes to ease FSA restrictions

The House of Representatives' Ways and Means Committee has passed two bills that would eliminate two controversial restrictions on Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). The bills would eliminate:

  • "Use-it-or-lose it": The rule that employees must forfeit any unused FSA funds at the end of the plan year
  • "OTC": The rule that excludes over-the-counter medications from the list of eligible items covered by FSAs and similar pretax health funds (without a prescription)

Each bill passed the committee by a wide margin and will be put before the full House next. To learn more please read the full story.

Study: HR slow to earn its seat at the executive table

According to new research by Hay Group, a global consulting firm, human resources departments are making slow strides in the effort to become strategic business partners within their organizations. Of the 1,400 professionals surveyed, 34 percent believe that they are making a significant strategic contribution to their organization, while 60 percent feel there is room for improvement. This study also names "employee engagement" as a top HR priority this year. For more details on the Hay Group study.