From the February 2013 issue of CeridianVoice.

February 2013 News Briefs

Survey finds health perceptions and reality not in alignment

A new survey suggests that many American workers and their families have inaccurate perceptions about their health and health care, and these incorrect perceptions extend to cost. Total health care costs per employee were $10,522 last year, of which employers paid $8,318, according to the analysis. “These survey results,” says Helen Darling, president and CEO of the National Business Group on Health, “underscore the challenges employers face as they seek to engage employees and their families in health improvement as a means to better managing rising health care costs. It is critical for employers to bridge the knowledge gap evident in this survey.” Read more at EBA.

IRS announces increase to commuter reimbursement account contributions

The IRS has announced an increase in commuter reimbursement account contribution limits for 2013. The amount that can be excluded from gross income for qualified transportation fringe benefits (mass transit, van pooling and qualified parking) is $245 per month ($2,940 annually), up from $240 in 2012. Read more at IRS.gov.

 

Less than half of small businesses offer benefits

Less than half of U.S. small businesses currently offer benefits to employees, according to research from LIMRA. The firm finds that 47 percent of those with two to 99 employees offer benefits, the lowest level in 20 years. Family-owned business had a sharper decline in benefits offerings (47 percent down to 40 percent) than non-family-owned companies between 2005 and 2012. Female-owned businesses are also less likely to offer insurance benefits than male-owned companies (37 percent versus 50 percent), according to LIRMA’s findings. Census Bureau data reveal that 35 percent of the U.S. workforce is in small businesses, which account for 98 percent of American companies. Read more at EBN.

 

Changes to health plans could result in smaller networks

Limited network plans, which began a comeback among employers looking to slow rising premiums, are expected to play a prominent role in new online exchange markets, where individuals and small businesses will shop for coverage starting Oct. 1, 2013. That trend worries some consumer advocates, who fear smaller networks could lead to inadequate care or big bills for those who develop complicated health problems. Read more at Kaiser Health News.