combsandco


How CARES Act Impacts Employer Health Plans

Curious how the CARES Act will impact Employer Health Plans? Check out this great video from colleague, Chelsea Whalley of J Donovan Financial.

On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) into law to provide $2.2 trillion in federal funding to address the COVID-19 crisis. The CARES Act makes a variety of changes affecting health plans. These changes include:

1. Expanding the types of coronavirus testing that all health plans and health insurance issuers must cover without cost-sharing (such as deductibles, copayments or coinsurance) or prior authorization

2. Accelerating the process that will require health plans and issuers to cover preventive services and vaccines related to COVID-19

3. Allowing telehealth and other remote care services to be covered under a high deductible health plan (HDHP) before the deductible is met, without affecting the HDHP’s compatibility with health savings accounts (HSAs) (applicable for HDHP plan years beginning on or before Dec. 31, 2021)

4. Treating over-the-counter (OTC) medications, along with menstrual care products, as qualified medical expenses that may be paid for using HSAs or other tax-advantaged arrangements, such as health flexible spending accounts (FSAs) or health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs)



4 Ways to Keep Health Coverage

Here are 4 quick ways to keep your health insurance coverage by our Combs & Company friend, Chelsea Whalley of J Donovan Financial.

This is for employees who have lost coverage through an Employer Sponsored Plan.

1) COBRA- Contact your Benefits Administrator. Remember, there is no employer contribution so this is an expensive option.

2) Spouse Plan- This Qualifying Life Event (loss of coverage) creates a window of opportunity to join your spouse’s health plan. Contact your spouse’s Benefits Administrator for pricing.

3) Medicaid- A severe loss of income may qualify you for Medicaid at http://www.medicaid.gov

4) Healthcare.gov – The QLE allows you 60 days to enroll in an individual plan on the marketplace.



Paycheck Protection Program Forgivability Explained

Looking for an easy digestible explanation for how the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) works? Check out this great video from colleague, Chelsea Whalley of J Donovan Financial.

PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM
  • Total Loan Value: Lesser of 10 million or 2.5x the average monthly total payroll incurred in the one year period prior to the loan start date.
  • Forgivable Portion: 8 weeks from the loan start date used for payroll, interest on mortgage, rent and utilities. At least 75% to payroll.
  • Main Point: The FORGIVABLE portion of the loan is tied DIRECTLY to Employees being paid- if you decrease wages or terminate, the forgivability is threatened.
  • *This loan is designed specifically to connect employees back to their employers.
  • * Loan Application: https://home.treasury.gov/system/file…
  • Find Approved Lenders: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/…

 

 



Small Business Exemptions for Paid Sick Leave Explained
Looking for an easy digestible explanation of the exemptions for companies under Paid Sick Leave? Check out this great video from colleague, Chelsea Whalley of J Donovan Financial.
DOL Clarifies Exemptions to Coronavirus Paid Sick Leave Laws
– Less than 50 employees
– Leave is requested because the child’s school or place of care is closed due to COVID-19 related reasons
– An authorized officer of business has determined that at least one of the 3 conditions described below have been met:
1) The provision would result in small business’s expenses and financial obligations to exceed available business revenue and cause business to cease operating at minimal capacity
2) The employee requesting leave has a specific set of skills and knowledge that without it, the business’s financial and operational health is severely threatened
3) There are not sufficient workers who are able, willing and qualified to perform duties of person requesting leave and this would not allow business to operate at minimal capacity.
DOL is encouraging employers and employees to work together to find a solution during this time that allows the business to be maintained as well as the safety of employees.

 

 

 



New Jersey Specific Loans/Grants for Small Businesses

COVID-19 RESOURCES FOR NEW JERSEY SMALL BUSINESSES

Thanks to our good friend, Michael Futterman, Partner at McCusker, Anselmi, Rosen & Carvelli, P.C.* for the below helpful information for our Jersey clients and friends!

New Jersey’s Economic Development Authority recently approved a $40M program which will provide grants and loans or guarantee private bank loans to small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The EDA package includes a half dozen programs for New-Jersey based businesses including the following:

  1. The smallest businesses, those 10 or fewer full-time equivalent employees, can receive grants between $1,000 and $5,000. The grants specifically target companies in retail, personal-care, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, food service, laundry and repair services. In order to receive money, businesses will have to attest that they need this money to tide them over and won’t cut any employees or will make every effort to rehire laid off or furloughed staff.
  2. The EDA also has set aside $10 million to make loans up to $100,000 each to mid-sized businesses with less than $5 million in annual revenues to help them meet payroll. The 10-year loans would have zero interest for the first five years and the interest rate would be capped at 3 percent for the second half of the loan.
  3. Two more programs, $15 million in total, will be run through community development financial institutions to make available low-interest loans to small businesses that may not be able to tap into traditional bank borrowing. The NJ Entrepreneur Support Program targets start-ups with less than $5 million in revenue and fewer than 25 employees by providing 80 percent loan guarantees to entrepreneurs.

The $5 million in small business grants will open for applications at 9 a.m. TODAY. Other programs will be out in the coming weeks.  Application window opens TODAY at 9am, application here, https://www.njeda.com/pdfs/NJEDA_COVID-19_Economic-Response-Package-Initial-W.

*Attorney Advertising: The foregoing is a summary of the laws discussed above for the purpose of providing a general overview of these laws. These materials are not meant, nor should they be construed, to provide information that is specific to any law(s). The above is not legal advice and you should consult with counsel concerning the applicability of any law to your particular situation.



Financing and Loan Options to Weather Covid-19 Crisis

moneyAs we know there is so much information out there right now.  If you are looking for different ways to find funding during the Covid-19 Pandemic, please read below for a helpful article written by Sally Anne Hughes of Hughes Klaiber.

 

Over the past few days, we have been gathering information on financing and loan sources to help companies weather the COVID-19 crisis. Here are some general thoughts and recommendations. We will add to this as more information becomes available.

1. Banks.

Unlike 2008, banks currently have strong balance sheets. Therefore they are potentially well positioned to help businesses with liquidity issues.

  • First step, call your existing banks and lenders.  Your existing banker may be the best option for access to additional credit, to extend or reinstate a line of credit. If you have not already done so, call your banker.
  • If you have any existing debt, and your business has been impacted by COVID-19, you may be able to defer payments. Most major banks are offering deferrals on debt for 90 days. On March 21, Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order stating that banks (those subject to the jurisdiction of the NYS Department of Financial Services) must grant a forbearance to any person or business facing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic for 90 days. If they do not, it would be deemed “an unsafe and unsound business practice.”
  • The bank is going to want a story as to how you plan to come out of this. Put together a plan now.
  • Here are sites for various banks on the Coronavirus response, numbers to call, etc.:

2. State, local and community loan programs.

  • NYC has a range of programs: click here
  • Here is an option for certain NYC neighborhoods:  click here
  • There is also a program for business in Philadelphia: click here
  • Los Angeles micro loan program: click here

3. Small Business Administration (SBA).

  • In normal times, SBA loans (including 7(a) and 504 loans) are issued by banks, and the loans are guaranteed by the SBA if the borrower defaults.
  • An SBA disaster loan is issued directly by the SBA, for counties that are declared disaster zones, which includes all of NYC and most surrounding areas. Here is the site for the SBA disaster loan application. https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/  You may want to access the site during off-off hours, it has been slow and down for maintenance. Rates are 3.75%. Disaster loans are capped at $2 million. They cannot be used to acquire fixed assets or to pay back shareholder loans. TBD how long a disaster loan will take to get approved. The SBA is supposedly rolling out a new processing system with a large mortgage processor on Monday, March 30, that will take application time down to 3-5 days. The SBA is also providing daily webinars on how to apply. Check here.
  • The relief package passed by the Senate on March 25 2020), the CARES Act, includes major modifications to the 7(a) loan program, designed to help small businesses meet their ongoing expenses and keep employees on payroll. The portion of the loan that is used for payroll and debt obligations may be forgiven, subject to reductions if number of employees is reduced compared to last year. Funds used for other purposes must be repaid.
  • The maximum amount available under this program is the lesser of a) 2.5x the average monthly payroll total; or b) $10 million.
  • This legislation still needs to go to the House and be signed by the President.
  • TBD what provisions will be included to support business owners who have a previously issued SBA loan.
  • There is a provision in the act that provides payment deferment relief on 7(a) loans for a period of not more than one year. TBD how this will play out.
  • This program will administered through bank lenders, not directly through the SBA. Another reason to call your banker.
  • Every impacted business owner who thinks they may need to access this program can prepare now by setting up a data room with all of the typical information a bank will need, so that you can quickly provide it to your banker when the program is up and running. Information to pull together should include a description of how their business has been impacted in terms of revenues, current cash position, detail of costs you have been able to or are trying to cut (rent included), detailed schedule of the monthly expenses of the business, payroll information, plus three years business tax returns, 12/31/2019 year end financials, business debt schedule, entity documents, and copies of leases.
  • You may not be able to get BOTH a disaster loan and a 7(a) loan if they are both to be used for payroll purposes.

4. Facebook Small Business Grants Program: Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits to businesses experiencing disruptions as a result of COVID-19. The application is not yet live, but you can sign up to receive information here.

5. Factoring. Several factor companies are currently providing accounts receivable and purchase order financing. Although fees will vary, the cost associated with factoring is likely to be significantly higher than most other type of financing. However, you may be able to get financing in 5-7 days, with less paperwork. Find out if you can pick and choose which accounts to sell and which invoices to finance, and if there are minimum size requirements.

Please contact us at info@hughesklaiber.com for any help, updates and introductions to lenders we know and have worked with. Please bear in mind that this information is evolving. Please check with us or your banker for any recent updates and changes to this information.



Carrier Benefits Coronavirus (Covid-19) Chart
syringe and pills with petri dish

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

As we have been getting several clients that have been reaching out and asking on what would be covered under their health insurance in terms of testing and treatment we wanted to share this helpful chart identifying what the Fully Insured carriers will be doing that our General Agent, Savoy Associates published.

Feel free to reach out with any questions, and remember….WASH YOUR HANDS!

Carrier Benefits Coronavirus Chart

 



ShowMe the money: How to charge fees in a commission-based practice

pexels-photo-259027.jpegBack in college, I worked for the University of Missouri, and to this day, the coolest job I’ve ever had was working as an event manager for the Hearnes Center. This is where the magic happens when it comes to concerts and sporting events. During that time, I got to work with some amazing people, one of whom happened to be Bob Dylan. And as Bob once said, “For the times they are a-changin.” As benefits professionals, boy, don’t we know it!

I’ve had a lot of great role models in my life and one of my most incredible ones has been my mother. Like me, she was an entrepreneur. She owned a Merle Norman Cosmetics Studio and a travel agency in my hometown of King City, Missouri. My mom had worked for a number of years in the travel industry with American Airlines and Auto-Train (later sold to Amtrak) in Washington D.C., before relocating to Missouri with my father and working for a small travel agency. She later opened her own, and I remember that she saw a major shift taking place in the industry when the airlines decided that they were no longer going to pay travel agents fees on airline tickets. She made the decision to start charging fees and I remember her telling me, “If you don’t value your time, no one else will.”

Click here to keep reading!

 



What’s the good news, ladies? March Madness edition

 

March Madness is upon us!  This is one of my favorite times of year!  It sounds like bracketology will be interesting this year, as there really aren’t any major standouts, so anyone can be Cinderella at the ball!  I’ve been also gearing up for speaking season and looking forward to heading out to Denver to speak at the WIFS / NAIFA event. I will then be heading to San Diego for the BenefitsPRO Broker Expo and I’m looking forward to making some new friends from around the country!

This month, I’m very excited to introduce you to my new friends, Paula, Allison and Cerrina!  These women are doing fantastic things in the industry and I’m very happy to have them be part of the WTGNL Crew!

Click here to read about Paula, Allison and Cerrina!

 



Wonder Woman Wednesday: What’s the Good News, Ladies?

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This is a special edition of “What’s the Good News, Ladies?” because I get to toot my horn a little and highlight some great women!  Last month, I mentioned I was getting ready to go to the Women in Insurance & Financial Services (WIFS) National Conference and I’m ecstatic to report that I was awarded the organization’s highest honor: the Woman of the Year award!  I was beyond thrilled and honored to be selected by my peers for this prestigious award from an organization that’s mission is to attract, develop and advance women in our industry.

While I was there, I got to meet Christine, Claudia and Kate. These fine women were the three finalists for the WIFS Fast & Furious session, where they are given 45 seconds to share their best business practice that has helped take their business to the next level.  Click here to continue reading and to be inspired!