Help Diversified Group Support Operation E.L.F. for the Holidays

Diversified Group is happy to be collecting donations for Operation E.L.F. (Embracing Lonely Families) again this Christmas season. Operation E.L.F. is an organization that assists military families whose loved ones are overseas for the holidays.

12196362_1111921568825671_3251173012153062686_nWe will be taking donations through Monday, December 10th. Donations can include new, unwrapped toys and clothing. Please drop off items under the tree in our lobby. Gift cards are also welcome and can be placed in the basket inside our lobby. Volunteers are asking if you give clothing to please leave the tags still on and please remember to keep the gift card receipt with any gift cards given.

Military families in Connecticut receive these holiday gifts at a time when they may be unable to provide for their children as much as they would like to. Diversified Group is so grateful for everyone’s generosity and we are proud to help make Christmas a little brighter for these families.

To learn more about Operation E.L.F., please click here: https://www.facebook.com/ConnecticutOperationELF/.

 

Diversified Group Named One of Connecticut’s Healthiest Employers of 2018

This announcement from the Hartford Business Journal was published on December 3, 2018.

Meet CT’s healthiest workplaces

Hartford Business Journal’s first-ever Healthiest Employers Awards recognize organizations dedicated to employee health and safety in addition to their efforts to implement wellness programs.

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The awards program was done in partnership with the Healthiest Employers Group, which determined the finalists and winners using a scoring methodology managed by Springbuk, a privately held technology and data research firm.

Companies that participated in the awards program had to complete an hour-long online assessment. Companies were then ranked based on their performance on the following six measures: culture and leadership commitment; foundational components; strategic planning; communication and marketing; programming and interventions; and reporting and analytics.

CATEGORY: 0-150 CT EMPLOYEES

1st Place | Antea Group

2nd Place | FM Global

3rd Place | Gallagher

4th Place | Diversified Group

5th Place | Safelite AutoGlass

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Photo Source: Hartford Business Journal

Diversified Group

4th Place | Category: 0-150 CT employees

Industry: Employee benefits

CT Headquarters: Marlborough

CT Employees: 64

When Diversified Group (DG) started its fitness program back in 1985, it basically consisted of a boot camp-style fitness contest.

But over the years, commitment to health and wellness among employees has intensified to where DG now has a wellness department staffed by six certified health coaches, personal trainers and registered dietitians. The wellness team is responsible for spearheading the company’s wellness program.

DG has also maintained a modest fitness facility on its grounds, and within the last five years, certified instructors have been stopping by on a weekly basis for cycling, strength and yoga classes.

DG also hosts regular meditation workshops giving workers access to guided meditation sessions to decompress and recharge.

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It’s PCORI Filing Time Again!

IRS ACA Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Fees Due July 31st.

For 2018, the annual fee to fund the federal Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), paid by employers that sponsor self-insured health plans and by commercial group health insurance providers, will go up by about 10 cents per employee or dependent enrolled in the health plan. The fees are due by July 31. The chart below shows the fees to be paid in 2018, which rose slightly from the fees owed in 2017.

The chart below shows the fees to be paid in 2018, which rose slightly from the fees owed in 2017:

Jan. 1, 2017, through Sept. 30, 2017 $2.26 (up from $2.17) per Covered Life (including spouse & children)
Oct. 1, 2017, through Dec. 31, 2017 (including calendar year plans) $2.39 (up from $2.26) per Covered Life (including spouse & children)

For self-funded plans, the self-insured employer is responsible for submitting the fee and accompanying paperwork to the IRS. PCORI fees are reported on IRS Form 720, Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return. On page two of Form 720, under Part II, the employer needs to designate the average number of covered lives under its applicable self-insured plan. Although the fee is paid annually, employers should indicate on the Payment Voucher (720-V)—located at the end of Form 720—that the tax period for the fee is the second quarter of the year. Failure to properly designate ‘2nd Quarter’ on the voucher will result in the IRS’s software generating a tardy filing notice.

The PCORI fee will not be assessed for plan years ending after Sept. 30, 2019, which means that for a calendar-year plan, the last year for assessment is the 2018 calendar year.

ATTENTION DIVERSIFIED GROUP CLIENTS:

Clients who have elected to have Diversified Group assist with PCORI fee calculation can expect an email by June 25th that will include a copy of the completed Form 720 along with the PCORI calculation worksheet with supporting documentation. Clients will need to file Form 720 with payment by July 31, 2018.

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Participate in the Camphill Village 5K Coming up on May 12th

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Diversified is proud to be a sponsor of the Camphill Village 5K Trail & Fun Run again in its 3rd season and we’d love to have YOU be a participant! The event takes place on Saturday, May 12th and there are three running options…

  • Run virtually from home! No matter where you participate, take to Facebook and Instagram to share photos and your reason for participating leading up to and during the run. Be sure to use the hashtag #Camphill5K, and they’ll feature your posts on their website and share them on social media. If you send your address, they will also send you a gift from their event to show their thanks.
  • Sponsor a runner or sign up to personally run the 5K Trail Run through the Camphill Village scenic woods and pathways.
  • Sponsor a participant or sign up to leisurely walk, jog or stroll around Ring Road at the Village in the Fun Run. (Kids 12 & under run the Fun Run for free!)

See – it’s easy for just about anyone to participate and support this wonderful cause. Through sponsorships, donations and registrations, this 5K and Fun Run will help to provide the programs and services that make Camphill Village the very special place it is for adults with special needs.

At Diversified Group, we’re helping to raise awareness of this event and this cause and hoping to make virtual participation even larger! The Camphill Village 5K has attracted virtual runners from all over the country and raised more than $40,000 to benefit the lives of people who call Camphill Village their home.

To run virtually, all you have to do is click below to visit the website, go to Runner Sign Up and be sure to select “Outside of the Village” when registering.

About Camphill Village

Camphill Village in upstate New York is 615 acres of wooded hills, gardens and pastures. Adults with special needs and long- and short-term service volunteers live and work together as equals in extended family homes throughout the area. We are a non-profit organization dedicated to our mission of being an integrated community where people with developmental differences are living a life of dignity, equality and purpose. Through sponsorships, donations and registrations, this 5K and Fun Run will help to provide the programs and services that make Camphill Village the very special place it is for adults with special needs.

Dust off Your Running Shoes: Participate Virtually in the 2nd Annual Camphill Village 5K

camphillvillage5kDiversified Group is proud to sponsor the 2nd Annual Camphill Village 5K and we want YOU to participate!

Last year, runners joined in virtually from coast to coast, Maine to Nevada, on treadmills and pavement alike. Participants came to the Camphill Village 5k website and shared their own reasons for running and posted comments and photos on social media using #camphill5k.

This year, we would like to make virtual participation even larger – but we need your help! Join us virtually and run any place of your choosing by simply selecting the “Outside Camphill Village” race location option when registering. Registration is available at camphillvillage5k.org.

Where

Via Social Media – You can run anywhere!

What

A casual or competitive run/walk – this 5K can be completed as competitively or as leisurely as you would like!

Registration

Camphillvillage5k.org

When

Saturday, May 20th, 2017 – Virtual Start Times Vary

About Camphill Village

On 615 acres of wooded hills, gardens, and pastures in rural upstate New York, Camphill Village is a place where adults with special needs and long and short-term service volunteers live and work together as equals in extended family homes.

The founding of Camphill Village in 1961 was part of a transformative movement in the United States to reform how society treats those with special needs. This non-profit organization is dedicated to their mission of creating an integrated community where people with developmental differences are living a life of dignity, equality, and sense of purpose.

The purpose of the 5K event is to bring awareness of the village and the lives being shared here.

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How to Get Employees to Use Their Preventive Care

The article below was published on July 21, 2016 by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, written by Brenda Hofmann.

Preventive care is vital to keep your employees healthy. The more employees take advantage of available preventive care, the more cost-effective their care becomes. They stay healthy, you save on health care costs—It’s a win-win for employees and employers.

You know that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that health plans cover recommended preventive services at no cost to the individual, but do your employees? If you’re not already doing so, consider communicating to your workforce the free preventive care benefits that are available to them.

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You may want to adjust the language to best fit your plan or workforce, but here are some samples of communication to get you started:

Take Advantage of Free Preventive Care

Who: You! Men, women and children are all covered.

What: Depending on your age, you may have access to—at no cost to you—preventive services such as:

  • Blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol tests
  • Many cancer screenings, including mammograms and colonoscopies
  • Counseling on topics such as quitting smoking, losing weight, eating healthfully, treating depression and reducing alcohol use
  • Regular well-baby and well-child visits, from birth to age 21
  • Routine vaccinations against diseases such as measles, polio and meningitis
  • Counseling, screening and vaccines to ensure healthy pregnancies

See the full list at Healthcare.gov.

When: Now. These preventive services are already covered under our plan.

Where: Preventive services are free when delivered by an in-network doctor.

Why: Preventive care screening can detect disease in the early stages when it is most treatable. Following preventive care guidelines, along with the advice of your doctor, can help you stay healthy.

How: Know what’s considered preventive care and review the guidelines. For example, although a colonoscopy is a preventive care screening, it’s only covered for people aged 50 or older. Additionally, colonoscopies that are done to evaluate specific problems are usually classified as diagnostic procedures (not screenings) and are not covered.

Avoid unexpected costs by clearly stating when you make your appointment that your visit is for a covered preventive care service. For example, if you’re making your well-woman visit on the phone, say “I’m making an appointment for my free preventive care well-woman visit.”

Also, medical complaints aren’t preventive. If you discuss other issues with your doctor, the visit is no longer preventive and you’ll be charged a fee. For example, if during your well-woman visit, your doctor does blood work for thyroid problems you are having, these additional services won’t be covered under free preventive care. Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor whether screenings he or she recommends will cost you.

OUTSIDE the Beltway

outside-broadway2SIIA Members are Effective Advocates in Many Ways, From Testimony, to Lobbying Resources, to ‘Pyramid’

Written by Dave Kirby

Continuing the series of articles on SIIA government relations activities among the states.

Dring the summer lull in legislation among the states, SIIA government relations staff took time to review some lessons learned while While legislative results were mixed, the increased level of volunteer advocacy by SIIA members was gratifying.

“SIIA members have stepped up their participation in various ways, including direct personal influence with high-level government officials, multiplying their efforts through outreach to their own business and professional networks and even sharing lobbyists to gain the best influence in specific jurisdictions,” said Adam Brackemyre, director of state relations in SIIA’s Washington, DC, office.

A few SIIA members joined in a virtual panel discussion on the subject of their motivation for involvement in political issues:

Robert P. Madden, benefit consultant of broker Lawley Service Inc. of Buffalo, NY, offered a succinct reason he takes time for political advocacy: “It’s important to provide a living for my family.” SIIA’s efforts to preserve stop-loss insurance availability for New York groups of 51-100 that would have been prohibited in 2016 were successful in gaining a two-year extension for existing plans while the state studies the issue.

Madden reached out to several layers of contacts to gain support for continuing stop-loss coverage for the affected plans. “We contacted our clients to express their support for SIIA’s bill and urged them to relay the message to their own clients,” he said. “One of our clients is a major accounting firm that I believe relayed the urgency of the issues on to their many clients.”

Madden agreed that the multi-level communications effort was a kind of pyramid scheme. “In a good way,” he added. “Our clients have been particularly responsive. In our programs for them, they know that the less state constraint, the better.”

Catherine Bresler, counsel and vice president of government relations for The Trustmark Companies, relies on her national business and professional networks to leverage up interest and support in issues affecting their own businesses or those of their clients. From her base in Chicago she initiated strategically valuable contacts that served SIIA’s interests in the far-flung states of Maryland and New Mexico.

“Currently, SIIA is the only self-insurance trade association representing stop-loss carriers specific to the interests of employee health benefit plans,” is how she explains her continuing involvement in SIIA legislative and regulatory issues.”

In Maryland, her network contacts were the basis of communications to brokers and their clients to oppose legislation that would have hampered stop-loss programs with inordinately high attachment points. That bill was scaled back to a compromise level and existing stop-loss plans may be maintained at current levels. A state study of stop-loss insurance that will include SIIA members’ input is due for completion next year.

In New Mexico, Catherine was instrumental in enlisting an influential local business leader who helped head off a regulation that would have required self-insured plans to meet all ACA coverage mandates.

“Government relations is at best a matter of teamwork,” Bresler says. “Nobody has to act alone. It’s invaluable to have local employers testifying and meeting with government figures and to utilize local lobbyists.”

Philip Healy, president of the Automobile Wholesalers Association of New England, was influential in helping to end a New Hampshire legislative threat that would have raised stop-loss insurance attachment points. His letter to the chairman of the pivotal New Hampshire House committee aided the favorable result of the bill’s withdrawal.

Healy, a member of the SIIA PAC governing committee, believes the organization could be even more effective in state capitals as well as Washington if it could bring a greater number of self-insuring employers into grassroots advocacy.

“Actual employers of representatives’ constituencies will have far greater effect than our industry’s service providers,” he said. “It’s fine to have our current members testify on bills and issues but it would be even more effective to bring the benefits managers of soft drink companies and auto manufacturers.”

Brooks Goodison, president of The Diversified Group TPA, became involved in political advocacy when Connecticut first required state licensing for TPAs. “Then we were on their radar screens,” he says. At present, Brooks says the state has followed a confusing strategy of looking to TPAs as a tax revenue source while also treating them as a threat to the ACA exchange.

“At the end of the day the most frightening thing is that legislators generally don’t have an idea what we do or how we serve the business community,” he says. “If no one is there to express the contrary view they just go ahead with free rein to establish unfair and damaging laws.”

SIIA shared in working with Diversified’s lobbying firm on the New York stop-loss bill, benefiting from its local position and knowledge of the issue. “SIIA has been huge in stepping up its government relations activity on the state level,” Goodison notes, adding that the more people who get involved in grassroots advocacy, the better. “We can only hope that examples by the activists stimulate people to do their part in their own backyards.”

Jay Ritchie, senior vice president of HCC Life, a medical stop-loss insurance company, has the benefit of the long view of SIIA government relations. He has been active for more than a decade including former leadership of the Government Relations Committee and the SIIA PAC and now sits on the Board of Directors. He believes the increased participation and effectiveness of members’ political advocacy is a reflection of SIIA’s momentum in the political arena.

“The SIIA brand has gained in significance and people want to be part of that,” he said. “Our members are saying ‘we want the organization to lead and we’ll help,’ rather than asking what SIIA can do for them.

“A big part of that momentum is SIIA’s increased credibility that members’ money will be put to good use. That radiates from the staff ’s continual gains in knowledge and effectiveness – it’s a real example of maturity of an advocacy organization.”

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