HR & Compliance

Add SBAM offers a full spectrum of human resources services to keep you compliant and help your business run more efficiently and profitably....


Human Resources Solutions

ASE LogoLooking for help with tough HR issues? 

SBAM partner ASE has the answers about hiring, firing, FMLA, ADA and more! Get access to a FREE HR hotline, affordable and cost-effective research consultation services, discounted employee handbooks and workplace posters, and more.


Section 125 Plan, FSA, HSA & HRA Administration

 

KUSHNER & COMPANY LogoLooking for ways to contain health care costs?
With the cost of health insurance continuing to rise, most employers require their employees to contribute to the cost of health insurance premiums. SBAM partner Kushner & Co. can help you put a tax-favored, consumer-directed plan in place that benefits you and your employees.

 


COBRA Administration

Personalized, affordable administration for your business. 

If you have 20 or more employees, your company is required by federal law to offer continued health insurance coverage via COBRA and will face huge fines if it's not administered correctly.  Let SBAM help you stay compliant for only $30 per month. 

Benefits Law Update

Michigan Enacts Health Care Claims Tax
Article provided by Clark Hill PLC

On September 20, 2011, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed into law the Health Insurance Claims Assessment (HICA) Act, which establishes a 1% tax on certain paid health care claims beginning January 1, 2012.  The HICA Act replaces the current 6% Use Tax on Medicaid managed care organizations.  The Michigan Legislature enacted the HICA Act based on anticipated action by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid offices prohibiting the Use Tax as a means of generating State revenue to be used as a match for federal Medicaid funds.

Who Pays the Tax?

Insurers and third-party claims administrators for self-funded plans will be directly responsible for payment of the tax.  Employers/plan sponsors, however, should be aware that the HICA Act will likely cause an increase in the cost of coverage as it is anticipated that insurers and third party administrators will pass the cost onto the plan sponsor.

What "Paid Claims" Does the Tax Cover?

The HICA Act defines "paid claims" as actual payments made to a health and medical services provider or reimbursed to an individual by a carrier (including an insurer, HMO or group health plan sponsor), third party administrator, or excess loss or stop loss carrier.  Paid claims include the following:

  • Payments under a service contract for administrative services;
  • Cost-plus or noninsured benefit plan arrangements;
  • Payments for health and medical services provided under a group health plan;
  • Claims for services in Michigan by a pharmacy benefits manager;
  • Individual, nongroup, and group insurance coverage for Michigan residents in Michigan that affect the rights of an insured in Michigan and bear a reasonable relation to Michigan, regardless of whether the coverage is delivered, renewed, or issued for delivery in Michigan.

Certain categories of payme

Federal Exchange Rules

Last week, Health and Human Services (HHS) released their much-anticipated rules on health insurance exchanges.  Comments are due Sept. 28, and the Small Business Association of Michigan, along with our Washington-based affiliate National Small Business Association, will submit comments which we will begin to draft in the coming weeks.  If you have comments that you would like to submit for consideration, please email them to scott.lyon@sbam.org.

In short: the rules provide significant flexibility for states to customize their own exchanges, and were far from the proscriptive 800-page document expected. Below are some of the key provisions in the regulations.

Creation/Certification of Exchanges

  • States will be allowed to partner to create regional exchanges, or maintain them within a state’s borders.  
  • State exchanges will be allowed to either be active purchasers (negotiators) or restrict their role to the creation of an open marketplace – the regulations don’t clarify this beyond what was in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
  • States that are shown to be working on creating an exchange are given some flexibility on the certification deadline of Jan. 2013 before HHS will step in and establish an exchange in that state.
  • The HHS approval process for exchanges would function much like that now used for Medicaid or CHIP state plans, but certification also would require that state exchanges operate a reinsurance program.

Small Business Health Options Plan (SHOP)

  • The rules do not specify a minimum participation requirement for participating in a SHOP exchange, it does seek comments specific to this.
  • SHOP Qualifies Health Plans (QHP) are only allowed to change rates at a uniform time and cannot change rates for an employer during a plan year.  
  • Exchanges are encouraged, but not required, to provide calculators that allow employees to calculate their premium share for particular plans after the employer contribution to aid employee choice.
  • SHOP exchanges enroll small employers, or, if a state elects after 2015, large employers.  Small employers have 100 or fewer employees, or at the election of a state prior to 2016, 50 or fewer.  Part-time as well as full-time employees are included in the count.  Employers must have at least one employee to qualify; sole proprietors do not qualify.
  • Qualified employers can either offer coverage to their employees only through the SHOP exchange that covers their principle place of business or through multiple SHOP exchanges covering the primary workplaces of their employees (for an employer with workers in multiple states).


Administration of Exchanges

  • The regulations do allow for a nonprofit entity to run an exchange, but it would have to be appointed and overseen by the state.
  • Exchanges can contract with other entities, including state Medicaid agencies, provided they are NOT insurance companies, to carry out some of their duties.
  • States will be allowed to have separate governing boards for the individual and SHOP Exchanges; however HHS will require coordination and information sharing.
  • With regard to insurers and brokers, the regulations assert that a majority of voting board members must not have a financial conflict of interest, and also that a majority of voting members must have experience relevant to health care financing or delivery or public health or health policy.  
  • Exchanges must have conflict of interest, ethics, and transparency standards and board members must disclose financial conflicts of inte

Are You a Small Business C-Corp? Be Cautious About Reorganizing Just to Take Advantage of the New Six Percent Corporate Tax Rate

From SBAM’s member-only Focus on Small Business magazine

Business tax reform, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, eliminates the job-killing Michigan Business Tax (MBT) and the MBT Surcharge, replacing it with a 6 percent corporate income tax on C-corps only.

If you are a C-Corp and a small business, you really need to talk to your CPA about the several strategies available to you, advises Angela McGarry, a Lansing-based CPA who testified in favor of business tax reform this spring before the State Senate.

“If your profit is going to be consistently over $50,000 a year then, you might want to consider an S-election or some other entity, but that also has its complications,” says McGarry. “You’re going to want to consult with a CPA to do the conversion from a C-Corp to an S-election. It’s important to get an appraisal, because if in the future your business becomes very successful and you want to sell you have to be careful of the built in federal gains tax. You’ll wish you had an appraisal if that ever happens. Again, it’s a complicated issue and you need to talk to your CPA.”

McGarry says she believes that overall, the new tax law changes are going to be very beneficial to small businesses. It will give them extra dollars to spend on labor or that extra piece of equipment they need in their business,” she says.

Lansing’s Old Town Commercial Association: Working with SBAM to Focus the Power of Small Business

In November of 2008, the Small Business Association of Michigan launched a new initiative to actively seek out regional and statewide business organizations who shared our vision in moving toward an entrepreneurial economy. Lansing’s Old Town Commercial Association was one of the first to see value in partnering with SBAM. We sat down with OTCA’s Executive Director, Brittney Hoszkiw, to talk about our partnership.

Old Town Commercial Association

Businesses that join the Old Town Commercial Association have a passion for and are committed to preserving Lansing’s only historical commercial district and influencing economic development. With a mutual goal of developing a more vibrant community, the actions of Old Town Commercial Association’s 100+ members are bringing real results.
“Members of the Old Town Commercial Association are automatically members of the Small Business Association of Michigan,” shared Hoszkiw. “Together, we work for the betterment of the Old Town neighborhood – and that’s made possible by these types of partnerships.” Focus had the opportunity to talk with Hoszkiw about Old Town’s partnership with SBAM:

Focus: What is the value of SBAM to Old Town?

Hoszkiw: For us, the different benefits that SBAM offers are often times thought to be available only through larger organizations. When our members, 50 percent of whom have one to three employees, realize what they have access to through their Old Town membership and consequently a membership in SBAM, they are thrilled. This partnership is a good example of a value-add situation where you’re providing extremely small businesses the tools to be successful. When working with a staff of one to two people, that value is exponential.

Focus: Why are partnerships important?

Hoszkiw: To improve Old Town and the Lansing region as whole, we need to look at partnering with other organizations and find ways to achieve the mutual goal of a more vibrant entrepreneurial community. Our partnership with SBAM, for example, has allowed us to work toward that goal by giving a small organization like ours the tools needed to strengthen our member businesses.

Learn more about the Old Town Commercial Association at www.iloveoldtown.org. For more information on SBAM’s strategic partnerships, contact Pierre LaVoie at pierre.lavoie@sbam.org.

Balancing Life and Social Media Usage

By Nipa Shah, president of Online Marketing Simplified. From SBAM’s member-only Focus on Small Business magazine.

As if it wasn’t difficult enough to balance work-life and family, now we have to balance work-life, family, and social networking. We are constantly “twitching” to share where we are, what we are doing, what we plan to do, etc. to our network.

But all this sharing is creating havoc in many lives. People are getting fired for posting inappropriate information. We hear of robberies stemming from status updates announcing vacation plans. And although reports about Facebook causing divorces and death announcements made online through Twitter may be laughable to some of us, the reality is that this is the world we live in today.

As business owners, we find ourselves in even more of a quandary. Do we focus on growing the business or do we spend time online, building larger networks to grow our visibility and branding?

Well, ideally, businesses should rely on marketing professionals to manage their social properties so that it can be done right and done in a comprehensive manner to generate the desired results. However, as a business owner, if you are in a chicken or an egg situation of whether to invest the money or the time doing it yourself, here are some baby steps to help you get started:

  • Create your personalized profile on no more than two or three social networks. I recommend two. You can choose from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Youtube.
  • Download Twitter and Facebook on your smart-phone (I assume you have a smart-phone. If not, get one pronto).
  • Until you get into the habit of it, put down a recurring event on your calendar to post at least once or twice a day on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Make your posts count. It’s okay to announce, “I’m at Starbucks” of course. But what’s the value of it? Why not post “Going to Starbucks to meet a prospective client” or “Getting coffee to wake me up before I get to work, anyone else feel like I do” is so much more interactive and enables engagement from others.
  • Create Google alerts for news items that are interesting and relevant to your business. Post those with a comment and you benefit by sharing ready-to-use content with others.
  • If sharing photos and videos, use the many tools that are available to do this sharing across multiple platforms through one single post.
  • Stay connected regularly through smartphones to maintain the momentum.
Out of sight is out of mind when it comes to online marketing. Social networking is here to stay. Sooner or later, you’ll have to get familiar and engaged online. But it doesn’t have to be at the expense of family and business. Leverage smart-phones, apps, and other tools to remain connected without sacrificing too much of your family or business time.
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