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One of the many highlights from this year’s bswift Idea Exchange, held May 2–5 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Miami, was Aetna Chairman and CEO Mark T. Bertolini and Aetna Vice President and Head of Public Policy, Bonnie Washington, joining us to discuss recent movements on federal health care reform.

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Meet Reed Smith, a Senior Vice President at CoBiz Insurance, a subsidiary of CoBiz Financial. Smith, recently named Benefits Selling’s 2016 Broker of the Year, has always been on a mission to empower his clients and their employees to make great benefits decisions with the help of the latest technologies, like the bswift platform.

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New regulations bar insurers from discouraging sicker people from enrolling through the practice of altering broker commissions for mid-year enrollments. The change should restore many of the benefits that large employer want to capture by offering COBRA alternatives.

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As enrollment 2016 cools down, 2017 planning heats up. It’s time to activate your initiatives to control benefits costs and meet your financial goals. Try our 6 marketing and promo tactics to drive engagement.

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The coming year will bring a new administration to Washington, D.C., and the future of the Affordable Care Act will be debated again. Regardless of the uncertainty about next year, employers still need to submit ACA reports for the 2016 tax year.

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bswift is thrilled to announce that we are launching an exciting ad campaign centered around the amazing “Unexpected Benefits” employers will gain by working with our powerful technology-enabled capabilities and strategic know-how. Here’s a sneak peak at some of the unexpected benefits you’ll find when you benefit more from your benefits with bswift.

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When it comes to the Affordable Care Act, it often seems like the more we learn about it, the more questions we have. In February, we covered some key ACA topics in a #bWebinar aptly titled, “ACA Regulatory Roundup: The Top 10 Things You Need to Know Now.” Since then, we thought of a few extra nuggets of information that could prove valuable as you plan your benefits strategies for the years ahead.

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Does your company know what it means to be “More Fun”? Then we want to hear from you! Click here to learn more about and enter to win the 2016 bswift Fun at Work Award! In addition to receiving a trophy and a $250 gift card to put toward future events (pizza party, anyone?), this year’s winner will be recognized on Friday, May 6 at the 2016 bswift Summit.

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A new report from the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology (ICIT), should capture the attention—and raise the concern—of all HR/benefits professionals. The organization’s Hacking Healthcare IT in 2016 reads that “among all of America's critical infrastructures, the health care sector is the most targeted [by] hackers, intent on exploiting vulnerabilities in their insecure and antiquated networks.”

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There is a lot of science and math behind leap years, like an average year is actually 365.2425 days, so every 100 years, we skip a leap day. All of that aside, we here at bswift appreciate the extra 24 hours we gain every four years. Every day is a gift, but every February 29 is especially special. We encourage you to take some time to develop your personal and professional self. Read on for some personal wellness tips to consider this LEAP day.

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We’re humbled and grateful that our clients have shared thoughts on the value they gain from our annual bswift Summit. Watch our latest video to learn more about the learning and networking opportunities at Summit, check out the Summit 2016 agenda and then register to join the fun!

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At bswift, we’ve always believed that benefits administration should be easy. Because of this, we’ve been helping companies all across the nation navigate the turbulent waters of ben admin for more than 15 years! To give you an idea of everything we’re capable of, we put together a fun video that sums up our services in three minutes… and we want you to be one of the first to see it!

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One of the most important factors in a successful benefits enrollment process is ensuring your employees are well-educated about their options. As Dennis Sladky, Vice President, Consumer Experience, puts it, “You might think your biggest hurdle at enrollment is introducing something new… but chances are your employees still don’t understand the basics.”

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Last month, just before the holidays, the IRS published Notice 2015-87, which outlines several key updates to how employer-sponsored insurance plans are administered. Fortunately, most of the new rules allow for a transition period to give employers adequate time to comply. To save you the time of reading all 31 pages of the Notice, we are providing you with five important highlights from the new rules.

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Late last month, as many of us finished up holiday gift buying, Congress offered up a gift of its own: Lawmakers passed a bipartisan funding bill to keep the federal government open, including a provision to put a two-year delay on the Cadillac tax under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The tax, originally set to go into effect in 2018, places a 40% levy on high-cost employer-sponsored health plans ($10,200 for individuals, $27,500 for families). It’s hugely unpopular among politicians, employers, insurance carriers—pretty much everyone except economists—so delaying it until 2020 easily won congressional support.

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Given the trend toward consumer-driven health and benefits plans, it’s important for employers to understand how employees are exercising their new ability to choose which options they think are best. Fortunately for you and your HR team, the bswift benefits technology not only automates the process for consumers but also provides insights into the choices they are making.

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In early 2016, employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees are required to submit new tax forms to employees and the IRS for the 2015 plan year. To help employers and HR professionals, Don Garlitz, Senior Vice President, bswift, recently sat down with Employee Benefit News to provide answers and clarification to questions surrounding the Affordable Care Act. In the video, Don provides explanations to key compliance questions including: Should taxpayers receive Form 1095 if they are not covered? What effects do employer wellness programs have on reporting plan affordability to the IRS? And more.

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It was a nice change of scenery (and temperature) to travel from Chicago to Los Angeles on December 4 for our roundtable discussion about the impact that technology can have on ACA compliance.

As a backdrop to the discussion, I shared several data points from our latest Benefits Study—specifically employer attitudes and adoption rates regarding defined contribution health care solutions and private insurance exchanges, high deductible health plans and workplace wellness programs. All of those plan designs and health promotion programs have grown year over year, not coincidentally, in tandem with increasingly complex ACA mandates.

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We’re pleased to see our client The Cheesecake Factory is among a handful of employers featured in a recent Wall Street Journal article article about how employees benefit from decision-support tools like Ask Emma.

It’s great to see our clients featured in the media; we bswifters feel privileged to play a part in their success, like when helping their employees make sound benefits choices.

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The keys to effective benefits communication are clarity, convenience and engagement. If you aren’t providing all three, your employees are likely missing valuable information. Fortunately, the bswift Video Solutions team can create customized videos to make sure your employees don’t miss a thing.

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