Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Plan Ahead to Avoid Impaired Driving

Impaired driving claims thousands of lives every year, or approximately one death every 48 minutes.

Scheduled to coincide with the holiday season, December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. If your gatherings involve alcohol, make plans so that you don't have to drive after drinking. For example:

• Prior to any drinking, designate a non-drinking driver when with a group.

• Don't let your family or friends drive impaired. Take their keys away if necessary.

• If you have been drinking, get a ride home or call a taxi.

• If you're hosting a party where alcohol will be served, remind your guests to plan ahead and designate their sober driver; offer alcohol-free beverages; and make sure all guests leave with a sober driver.

Stay safe as you gather with family and friends this holiday season.

Raleigh Office Holiday Party

The Raleigh office of Senn Dunn Insurance held their Holiday party December 18th.  As you'll see in the pictures everyone had a great time and the children had nothing but smiles on their faces all evening!















Friday, December 14, 2012

2012 Senn Dunn Insurance Holiday Luncheon

The 2012 Senn Dunn Holiday Luncheon was Thursday December 13th at the Greensboro Country Club.  All of the offices came together to celebrate the holiday season with great food and great entertainment.  The entertainment was provided by the new employees of Senn Dunn over the past year with a very entertaining version of "Let's Make A Deal."  

See the pictures below from the luncheon. 

We hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season!














IRS Releases Final Regulations on Comparative Effectiveness Research Fee to Fund PCORI; Guidance on Transitional Reinsurance Fee

Client Alert

December 10, 2012

On December 5, 2012, the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") released final regulations regarding the payment of fees by insurers and plan sponsors of group health plans to fund the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (the "Institute" or "PCORI"). The Institute was established by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("ACA") to conduct research to evaluate the effectiveness of medical treatments, procedures and other items or strategies that treat, manage, diagnose or prevent illness or injury. In order to fund the Institute, ACA imposes annual per-participant fees on issuers of specified health insurance policies and plan sponsors of applicable self-insured health plans, as further described in our client alert on the proposed regulations. The final regulations generally adopt the provisions of the proposed regulations with some changes, as discussed below.

In addition, the Department of Health and Human Services ("HHS") recently released proposed rules that provide guidance on several programs, including the Transitional Reinsurance Program, which becomes effective in 2014. While a fulsome discussion of the Transitional Reinsurance Program is beyond the scope of this alert, there is one item of particular interest to plan sponsors of self-insured group health plans. HHS estimates that the fee under the Transitional Reinsurance Program for 2014 will be $5.25 per member per month, which is $63 annually for each participant (i.e., $63 annually for each covered employee, spouse and dependent). HHS will require contributing entities (generally insurers and third party administrators) to submit enrollment information by November 15, 2014, and will notify them within a month of any contributions due, which must be paid within 30 days of such notification.

Read More...


HHS Releases First Round of Post-Election PPACA Guidance

Client Alert
December 7, 2012

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the first guidance issued on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) since the 2012 presidential election. The new rules provide guidance on several key provisions of PPACA scheduled to become effective in 2014 involving essential health benefits (EHB), cost sharing limits, actuarial value, and other market reforms including new premium rating rules for insurance companies.

The new rules are in the form of proposed regulations and were published in the November 26, 2012 Federal Register. HHS has extended a 60-day comment period, during which interested parties can comment on the guidance and recommend changes favorable to their position.

In addition to these regulations, HHS, the Departments of Labor (DOL) and Treasury jointly released proposed rules implementing provisions under PPACA that expand rewards available under outcome-based wellness programs (i.e., wellness programs that provide a reward for satisfying a standard related to a health factor). Our alert on the wellness plan regulations can be found here: http://www.proskauer.com/publications/client-alert/new-guidance-on-wellness-programs-issued/.




Monday, December 10, 2012

Scammers on the Move!

Some con artists work and travel in organized groups. These “travelers” descend on an area, scam as many local residents as possible, and move on. Groups of scammers from South Carolina and Virginia often travel through North Carolina on their way back home for the holidays.


The travelers usually begin their con by knocking on your door, offering to pave your driveway, fix your roof, paint your home, or make other repairs. In most cases, their repairs are unnecessary, overpriced and poorly done, if the scammers do any real work at all.


These teams of con artists are also known to use “distraction” scams, where one or two people keep a homeowner occupied while a third crook, who may pretend to be ill or pregnant, scours the place stealing cash, jewelry and other valuables.


Many of these firms and individuals are now prohibited from doing business in North Carolina after Attorney General Cooper took action against them in court. But the best protection against scammers is a well-informed consumer. Be very skeptical when someone knocks on your door offering to do work, no matter how convincing they may be.


If you spot travelers or other suspicious groups operating in your neighborhood, call local law enforcement. If you think you’ve been scammed, report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or filing a complaint online at www.ncdoj.gov.

This message brought to you on behalf of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.

Greensboro Office Tree Trimming Party

On Thursday December 6th, the Greensboro Office held their tree trimming party!  Please see below for pictures!










Friday, December 7, 2012

BCBSNC and UNC School of Medicine Collaborate to Benefit Veterans

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) and the UNC School of Medicine (UNC) are collaborating to create a physician assistant (PA) master’s degree program designed for returning military veterans with input from the United States Army Special Operations Command team at Fort Bragg, N.C.
The program aims to enroll its first class of students in 2015, and will build on the extensive medical training Special Forces Medical Sergeants receive during their service. 

For more information you can access the full press release from BCBSNC here.

Employee Benefits Webinar: COBRA for Employers


You are invited to join us for a Webinar on December 20:
1-2:30 p.m. Eastern
12-1:30 p.m. Central
10-11:30 a.m. Pacific

Reserve your seat EARLY – click this link now:
Please be sure to note the name of the firm (Senn Dunn Insurance) that invited you when completing your webinar registration. We are expecting a ‘full house’ and seats are limited!
Be sure to sign into the webinar early on Dec. 20.
Even with significant changes looming due to health reform, COBRA is not going away any time soon.  COBRA continues to create risk for employers if it is not handled properly.  Even employers that use a COBRA administrator must be involved in a variety of ways.  This session will focus on COBRA issues which require direct participation of employers and suggest ways that employers can minimize their risk.
• A review of COBRA basics
• Has the employer developed the allowed employee notice requirements?
• What notices and communications are employers still responsible for, even when using a COBRA administrator?
• Handling COBRA in the event of an employee divorce
• What we can learn from actual COBRA court cases

Please note: times for Assurex Global webinars vary and are listed for various time zones – find your local time above.
Presented by: Bob Radecki, President, Benefit Comply, LLC Bob Radecki has more than 30 years experience in the HR and employee benefits industry helping employers deal with difficult benefit and compliance matters. Previously, Bob founded and served as president of A.E. Roberts Company, a nationally-recognized compliance consulting and training firm.  He has served as the principal HIPAA consultant to a number of health insurance companies, and is recognized as an expert on a variety of benefit compliance issues including COBRA, FMLA, Health Reform and more.  Bob has been a featured speaker at numerous industry events and conferences, and has published a number of articles concerning various compliance issues.
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

High Point Office Tree Trimming Party

On Tuesday December 4th, the High Point office of Senn Dunn Insurance held their annual Tree Trimming party.  They got the tree up and ready for the holidays!  It was a lot of fun!







Congratulations!

This past weekend Kathy Thompson, one of Senn Dunn Insurance's Personal Insurance Consultants, got married! 

Congratulations Kathy!