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Learn About Upcoming Pay Transparency Changes at Free Webinar Nov. 30

Starting Jan. 1, 2023, Washington state employers will need to ensure each job posting includes a salary range, benefits and more. Find out what this means to you at the free Chamber Briefing: Pay Transparency webinar from 11 a.m. to noon Nov. 30, 2022.

Join the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, Business Health Trust and HR and legal experts to:

  • Learn if your business must comply
  • Take away tactics and resources to help you, HR and your managers comply with the new law
  • Explore how transparency may impact recruitment

Business Health Trust Enhances Vision to Offer Six Plan Variations for 2023

Business Health Trust is keeping its focus on wellness for 2023 as it introduces new plan options that provide even more choices to small and growing businesses. Whether you have two employees or more than 100, we can help you create a benefits program that attracts talent and keeps your employees healthy and productive — at a budget you can afford.

For 2023, Business Health Trust is excited to offer six vision plan variations through VSP Vision Care Inc. with the introduction of the following additions:

  • Exam Plus plan is inexpensive and covers an annual exam plus discounted hardware.
  • Voluntary Vision plan that matches the existing Plan A in both benefits and price.
  • Computer VisionCare plan that covers an annual eye exam designed to detect eye health and vision issues caused by computer and digital device use, discounts on hardware and more.

Through its partnership with Delta Dental of Washington, Business Health Trust is also introducing a more inexpensive dental plan option — with a $750 annual maximum — that includes an annual exam, discounts on hardware and a $50 deductible.

Another valuable update for 2023 is the new Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through Behavioral Health Systems that you can read more about in earlier News & Insights post.

Tips to Prepare for Upcoming Changes to Paid Family & Medical Leave

As a resource to help small businesses navigate the complex word of health insurance and employee benefits, Business Health Trust would like to remind you about important changes coming up with Washington state’s Paid Family and Medical Leave benefits. To keep pace with more people using the program, and as required by law, the premium rate will increase in 2023, explains the Washington State Employment Security Department.

Starting Jan. 1, 2023:

  • The total premium rate will be 0.8%.
  • Employers will pay 27.24% of the total premium and employees will pay 72.76%.
  • Employers will continue to report each employee’s total gross wages, not including tips, and collect premiums up to the Social Security cap. Once an employee meets the Social Security cap, you must stop collecting premiums but continue to report their wages.
  • Businesses classified by the Employment Security Department as having fewer than 50 employees are not required to pay the employer portion of the premium. However, they must still collect the employee premium or pay the employees’ premiums on their behalf.

Next steps for employers

  • Notify your employees that you will start collecting the new rate on Jan. 1, 2023.
  • On Jan. 1, 2023, start collecting the new premium rate from your employees each pay period. Remember, you cannot retroactively withhold premiums from employees.
  • First-quarter premiums and reports are due by the end of April 2023.

Why the premium rate is changing

Premiums, collected from employees and employers through quarterly reporting, fund the Paid Leave program. By law, the Employment Security Department recalculates the Paid Leave premium rate annually on Sept. 30. The premium rate is adjusted based on contributions from premiums and benefits paid during the previous year.

Important details:

  • You can choose to withhold the entire 72.76% from your employee’s paycheck, or you can cover all or some of the premium on your employee’s behalf.
  • If you are using a voluntary plan for family or medical leave, your calculations may be different. Visit paidleave.wa.gov/voluntary-plans for more.
  • Premium withholdings are capped at the Social Security cap, which is updated annually. It will be $160,200 in 2023.

Business Health Trust Enhances Employee Assistance Plan for 2023

More than just insurance, Business Health Trust is dedicated to providing small businesses with resources to help keep their employees and their families healthy and well.

For the 2023 plan year, Business Health Trust (BHT) is excited to announce that a new and enhanced employee assistance program (EAP) through Behavioral Health Systems will replace Wellspring EAP. For groups enrolled in one of BHT’s Industry Health Trusts, all employees and dependents will have access to 4 in-person or virtual sessions per year at no additional cost. This expanded benefit is also available to Business Health Trust groups enrolled in the Small‑Group Community Rated Program or Non-Medical offerings at no change to the current rate for employers.

The BHT employee assistance program is a professional service providing short-term counseling and referral to appropriate treatment providers or programs when needed. EAP can be used for issues relating to marriage/family, stress, financial/legal, child/adolescent, eldercare and more. What you can expect:

  • There are never any claims to file and EAP visits are covered at 100 percent.
  • Your use of the EAP is completely confidential.
  • Convenient access to telehealth is available via computer, smartphones and tablets.

For more information about the new program, view the 2023 BHT Employee Assistance Program Flyer.

How to Find a Mental Health First Aid Training Course Near You

Are you looking for an opportunity to gain skills in Mental Health First Aid that could be helpful in a workplace setting? To provide resources to help employers be prepared for diverse challenges, Business Health Trust has reached out to the National Council for Mental Wellbeing to help members find valuable training courses based on your location.

Mental Health First Aid is a course that teaches you how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The training gives you the skills you need to reach out and provide initial help and support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem or experiencing a crisis.

You can locate upcoming Mental Health First Aid courses in your area by navigating to the following link: www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/cs/take-a-course/find-a-course. Enter your city and state and select the “Find Course” button. Please ensure you are selecting the appropriate city and state that populates from the dropdown menu. These courses cost $23.95 per participant but this price may vary depending on the instructor’s funding source. The maximum course size is 30.

Classes are added to the website daily, so check back often if you’re looking for a particular date or location.

To learn more about Mental Health First Aid, visit www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org.

Get Ahead of Open Enrollment with a Quote from Business Health Trust

Open enrollment for health insurance is still months away for many companies, but Business Health Trust wants to remind you that it’s never too early to benchmark your benefits and explore your options.

As a source to help small businesses navigate the complex world of health insurance and employee benefits, Business Health Trust is dedicated to providing small employers in Washington state the information and tools they need to design and manage a competitive employee benefits program.

Whether you have two employees or more than 100, Business Health Trust can help you create a benefits program that attracts talent and keeps your employees healthy and productive — at a budget you can afford.

Our comprehensive, affordable health insurance options offer more than 40 medical plans to choose from — all featuring robust virtual care services and a 24-hour nurse line — that you can pair with diverse employee benefits including:

Members also have access to a number of additional services and discounts at no additional cost, including an HR hotline and other HR resources through an exclusive partnership with Archbright. Check out our Business Savings Toolkit to learn more about our valuable discounts and savings for small businesses, including Passport Corporate membership, ORCA cards for employees, office supplies, technology and more.

To benchmark your benefits with a quote from Business Health Trust, fill out our Request a Quote form or email quote@businesshealthtrust.com.

Need COVID Tests? Access 10 Free Tests Each Month!

As a resource for small businesses and the community as a whole, Business Health Trust wants to help spread the word about access to 10 free COVID-19 tests each month through Say Yes, COVID Test. The test are provided through a cooperative effort from state and local health departments, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and community partners. From the website:

Say Yes! COVID Test offers households in selected communities across the nation access to free, rapid, at-home COVID-19 test kits. Along with vaccination, wearing a mask, hand washing, and physical distancing, frequent, at-home testing protects those most precious to us: our loved ones and families. Combined, these measures offer our best defense against COVID-19.

To request your 10 free COVID tests, visit safercovid.org/mytest/dtcorder.html 

Washington’s Paid Family Medical Leave Program Explained

As a resource to help small businesses navigate the complex word of health insurance and employee benefits, Business Health Trust strives to keep employers informed on policies that could impact their employee benefits.

With amendments to Washington state’s Paid Family Medical Leave (PFML) program going into effect this month, we are sharing this informative blog post from Davis Wright Tremaine on What Employers Should Know About Washington’s Paid Family Medical Leave Program in 2022.

Under Washington’s PFML program, eligible employees are entitled to up to 12 weeks of leave and partial wage replacement for their own serious health condition (medical leave) or for family care (family leave), up to 16 weeks of combined family and medical leave, and up to two additional weeks for certain pregnancy complications. Employees may also take leave for certain qualifying military exigencies.

Unlike federal FMLA where employees interact directly with their employers to determine eligibility, employees apply directly to the Washington Employment Security Department (ESD) to request leave, and the ESD administers the PFML program and determines employee eligibility.

The blog encourages employees to review and update their policies now to ensure continue compliance, and focuses on 10 key considerations to help Washington employers navigate PFML, including:

  1. Employers must notify employees of PFML rights.
  2. Employees must notify employers of the need for leave.
  3. Employers cannot designate PFML leave.
  4. The Employment Security Department notifies employers of PFML applications and approvals.
  5. PFML can be used on an intermittent basis.
  6. Employers can offer “supplemental benefits” to top off PFML benefits.
  7. Benefits continuation is required in some circumstances.
  8. Some employees may be entitled to job restoration.
  9. Retaliation is prohibited.
  10. Other leaves may run concurrently with PFML leave.

For more information, read the full blog post from Davis Wright Tremaine.

Ease Your Administrative Burden by Renewing Your Employee Benefits in July

Did you know that Business Health Trust offers flexible renewal dates that can help lighten your workload at the end of the year?

Now is the time to explore our employee benefits programs with medical from Premera Blue Cross that renew on July 1, which include:

  • Aerospace Industry Health Trust
  • Healthcare Industry Health Trust
  • Media Industry Health Trust
  • Tourism Industry Health Trust
  • Transportation Industry Health Trust

With a July 1 anniversary date, you can move the burden of open enrollment to a time that might be easier for both employers and employees.

As your source for employee benefits, Business Health Trust is focused on simplifying your administration and helping you cut costs. Whether you have two employees or more than 100, we can help you create a benefits program that attracts talent and keeps your employees healthy and productive — at a budget you can afford.

Learn more about the diverse selection of health insurance plans combined with other resources and discounts available through Business Health Trust on our What We Offer page. Questions? Contact info@businesshealthtrust.com or fill out our Request a Quote form.

Business Health Trust Offers Simplified Administration and Improved Data Security

Business Health Trust is dedicated to simplifying administration for its members so they can focus on what’s important: their business. We handle benefit plan administration for ultimate convenience, offering consolidated billing, online payment, and online access to benefits for easy enrollment throughout the year.

Through our partnership with third-party administrator Vimly Benefit Solutions, Business Health Trust members have access to the SIMON online benefits management tool. Accessible on any computer or mobile device, the platform provides a centralized location where an HR administrator can manage year-round benefits enrollment, have access to consolidated billing and payment, compliance support as well as a COBRA management solution.

SIMON’s state-of-the-art technology also allows for secure transfer of sensitive data, which can improve members’ data security while further simplifying administrative tasks. By utilizing SIMON, workloads and errors are reduced, and work gets done more quickly and efficiently.

To learn more about how to take advantage of the SIMON platform as a Business Health Trust member, contact info@businesshealthtrust.com.