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BHT News June

June E-News: A Safe Return to the Workplace and the Great Outdoors

With much of Washington state and the rest of the nation moving toward reopening, Business Health Trust wants to make sure you have the resources you need to safely head back to the workplace.

Our June Healthy Living with Business Health Trust e-news offers resources to help you get stocked up with our new health and safety supplies website, and keep you informed with our updated COVID-19 Resources for Employers site. We’ll also help you head outdoors with 10 breathtaking Washington hiking trails, just be sure to follow safe social distancing practices.

Click here to see the June edition.

Click here to see past editions or to subscribe to Healthy Living.

Screenshot of BHT PPE Site

COVID-19 Health and Safety Supplies Now Available Via New Business Health Trust Site

In its ongoing efforts to help small businesses obtain resources while the state struggles with the impacts of COVID-19, Business Health Trust has partnered with PrintNW to help the public purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) and other COVID-19 health and safety supplies.

The new website BusinessHealthTrust.GearNW.com features PPE including face masks, gloves and safety glasses, along with signage that can help companies encourage social distancing and other safety practices.

“We are dedicated to providing resources to companies across Washington,” said Sarai Childs, executive director of Business Health Trust. “In this time, we know that businesses are looking for supplies and signage to help support re-opening, which is why we are excited that PrintNW has put together an easy site for businesses to access these items.”

Business Health Trust offers health insurance and other employee benefits, and is also a source to help small business navigate the complex world of health insurance and employee benefits.

To read more about how Business Health Trust has been reaching out to members throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, please see the article, “What Does Your Health Insurance Do for You?

To learn more or get a quote, contact info@businesshealthtrust.com or 425.201.1972.

Business Health Trust Offers Flexible Timelines for Your Employee Benefits Renewal

Business Health Trust is your source for employee benefits, offering a diverse selection of health insurance plans combined with other resources and discounts to create an incomparable benefit program for small businesses in Washington state.

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.

With Business Health Trust, you also have the flexibility to choose a program timeline that best suits your business needs. For many companies, open enrollment falls in November, while many of your employees are busy with the holidays and closing down the fiscal year.

Looking for a better time of year to plan your employee benefits program? How about now?

Business Health Trust offers three distinct timelines that aim to better accommodate your distinct business:

  • July 1 Anniversary Dates through 11 Industry Health Trusts
    For up to 200 employees
  • Rolling Renewal through the Small-Group Community-Rated Product
    For groups with 1-50 employees
  • January 1 Anniversary Dates through 13 Industry Health Trusts
    For up to 200 employees

This unique solution is key to our mission is to help Washington’s business community thrive by providing the high-quality, affordable employee benefits growing companies need to be competitive.

To learn more, please fill out the Request a Quote form or email info@businesshealthtrust.com.

WeGotThisWA Logo

Listen to Recordings of the #WeGotThisWA Webinar Series

As a trusted resource for the small business community in Washington state, Business Health Trust is playing a key role in the #WeGotThisWA Webinar Series focused on helping employers and employees members navigate questions during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in a timely and accurate manner.

You now have access to listen to the entire series, and view recaps along with updates to individual episodes via the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber Commerce, which is presenting the series and is the endorsing sponsor of Business Health Trust.

To listen to the following recorded #WeGotThisWA episodes, click the “Listen to the Webinar” link on the right (webinars work best in Chrome, not Internet Explorer):

Navigating State Unemployment in a Pandemic

March 23, 2020: Focus on Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) and information on how to navigate these benefits, especially if your workforce includes part-time workers who are getting automatic denials as ESD works to update its system to reflect new emergency rules.
Featured speaker: Kris Bowen, Lead Policy Analyst, Washington State Employment Security Department

Stay Home, Stay Healthy

March 27, 2020: Highlights more information on what Washington’s #StayHomeStayHealthy order means for families and businesses, how King County is supporting this effort, and a look at the federal stimulus package that was working through Congress.
Featured speakers: Rachel Smith, Deputy Executive of King County; Tony Williams, Partner and Chairman at Washington 2 Advocates

Hear from Healthcare

March 31, 2020: Highlights facts on COVID-19, including what to do if you think you are sick or have been exposed, steps medical professionals are taking, some workplace safety tips, and how Kaiser Permanente is keeping its community informed.
Featured speaker: Dr. Deb Friesen, Kaiser Permanente

Managing Business Expenses

April 2, 2020: Highlights best practices for businesses talking to their landlords and banks about options for easing monthly payments during the coronavirus outbreak.
Featured speakers: Rachel Marshall, Rachel’s Ginger Beer; Jimmy Ng, KeyBank; Kerri Schroeder, Bank of America; Paul Suzman, OfficeLease

Employee Engagement and Communication

April 7, 2020: Highlights creative tactics that foster healthy and effective communication and camaraderie to keep employees engaged, productive and healthy during the coronavirus outbreak.
Featured speakers: Jane Billbe, Senior Vice President of Operations at the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce; Alicia Teel, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Economic Impact Analysis

April 9, 2020: Highlights an overview of the COVID-19 Economic Impact Analysis, which the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Business Health Trust commissioned from Community Attributes. The initial analysis is a snapshot in time in a rapidly evolving situation. It also features an overview of what the Chamber is doing to support the community at this time.
Featured speakers: Chris Mefford, Community Attributes; Diana Birkett Rakow, Board Chair of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce

Federal Stimulus Package

April 10, 2020: Highlights the federal stimulus bills and explores areas such as the Small Business Administration’s lending programs and expanded unemployment assistance, as well as looking what could be ahead in a potential future bill.
Featured speakers: Kimberly Ellis, T.A. Hawks; Matt McAlvanah, Monument Advocacy

Unemployment Update and Paid Leave Requirements

April 14, 2020: Highlights updates that have been made to unemployment benefits programs in the past few weeks, timelines, plus any additional rules that have been added. Also features new requirements around paid leave that were passed at the federal level, including how these requirements overlap with unemployment benefits.
Featured speakers: Kris Bowen, Lead Policy Analyst at the Washington State Employment Security Department; Davis Wright Tremaine

What Every Business Should Know about PPP Loan Forgiveness

April 21, 2020: Highlights how business owners can set themselves up to best utilize their PPP funds – including tips and tricks to navigating this new program and best positioning your business.
Featured speakers: Lewis Horowitz and Eric Kodesch with Lane Powell

PPP Frequently Asked Questions

April 23: Answers follow-up questions from April 21’s webinar on PPP loan forgiveness.

Planning for What’s Ahead

April 28: Highlights what immediate steps organizations need to start planning for – and taking – that will help in the long run.
Featured speakers: Barie Carmichael, Tim Smith and Kelly Stepno with APCO Worldwide

Safe Work Planning Checklist

April 30: Highlights recommendations for businesses to consider as part of re‑opening, including how to support effective screening, tracking and tracing, and how to support employees.
Featured speakers: Charlie Davis and Justin Vincent with Boston Consulting Group; Teresa Hutson with Microsoft

#WeGotThisWA Series: Work from Home Tips for Physical Well-Being

May 8: Ergonomic advice, stretches and health tips to keep you feeling good while working from home.
Featured speaker: Kerry Field, PT, DPT, a physical therapist with Peak Sports & Spine Physical Therapy

#WeGotThisWA Series: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Considerations for Businesses

May 12: How business owners and operators should be thinking through what personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies they’ll need as they prepare for a new normal.
Featured speaker: Rachel Smith, Chief of Staff for the King County Executive Office

#WeGotThisWA Series: Back to Work Toolkit

May 14: Highlights the Back To Work Toolkit was designed in partnership with the Seattle Met Chamber to help save entrepreneurs and founders time in figuring out the “how” of reopening businesses.
Featured speakers: Costco Wholesale’s Patrick Callans, Alaska Airlines’ Tiffany DeHaan, Madrona Venture Group’s Katie Drucker, Boon Boona Coffee Efrem Fesaha, and Teresa Huston.

Woman handing a check

Which COVID-19 Financial Assistance Program is Right for Your Small Business?

Business Health Trust knows that many small businesses are needing help as the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID‑19) pandemic continue to develop. The CARES Act provides much-needed relief at this critical time, and as your source to help your small business navigate the complex world of health insurance and beyond, Business Health Trust also is here to help you find the best options.

If your small business is in need of financial resources — to pay rent, keep your employees on payroll and insured, among other needs — consider your options with help from Davis Wright Tremaine’s Comparison between SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and SBA Paycheck Protection Program Loans (PPP).

You can learn more about some of the assistance programs that are available to small businesses through the CARES act with the following easy-to-follow guides and overviews:

Business Health Trust has additional resources on its dedicated Coronavirus/COVID-19 Resources for Employers page, along with earlier posts on the above programs:

Hand sanitizer

What Does Your Health Insurance Do For You?

Business Health Trust is more than just insurance. We are a source to help your small businesses navigate the complex world of health insurance and employee benefits — and our dedication to that task has never been more important than in these challenging times.

Immediately after Washington state became the site of the first U.S. deaths related to coronavirus (COVID-19), Business Health Trust took on a leadership role aimed at sharing best practices and streamlining communications, then started doing just that for members enrolled in Business Health Trust.

Since then, valuable information focused on supporting small businesses has been emailed to Business Health Trust members as quickly as possible, starting with a campaign to help small businesses obtain free or discounted cleaning and sanitizing supplies while they are in short supply, followed by a survey to find out what other needs members have.

Members have received helpful flyers such as 5 Ways to Avoid the Flu and Protect Yourself from Flu & Coronavirus: Handwashing, while the dedicated COVID-19/Coronavirus Resources for Employers page offers useful information to help employers find resources to keep their employees safe, including information on how to apply for a small business loan and unemployment information.

As the CARES Act (the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) has continued to develop, Business Health Trust has kept members up-to-date with FAQs, forms, links and other resources to help small businesses and individuals take advantage of its Paycheck Protection Program. The program is available to businesses with 500 or fewer employees to help with payroll, rent, utilities, healthcare costs and more, which you can learn more about in the following Business Health Trust articles:

Business Health Trust’s valued partners also have stepped up to offer even more to members: For instance, Archbright has enhanced the free online membership that already is available to Business Health Trust members to offer even more of its HR resources at no additional cost, including access to the HR hotline.

Meanwhile, Business Health Trust is also taking a leadership role in the free #WeGotThisWA Webinar Series offered through the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, the endorsing sponsor of Business Health Trust. For more information or to register, go to the Seattle Chamber’s events page.

Why? Because We Care

Business Health Trust understands that a healthy company provides the foundation for a healthy workforce. That’s why we are dedicated to doing more than offering comprehensive, affordable employee benefits to small and mid-size businesses in Washington state.

We are also a resource for small employers, offering the information and tools they need to keep up-to-date on policy issues that affect small businesses in the state. To do that we also advocate for small business insurance needs in Washington, so that small businesses and non-profits can offer their employees the health benefits they need to stay competitive, providing health insurance for groups that might not otherwise be able to afford coverage.

These are the values we abide by every day. Because we are Business Health Trust. We are here for you.

To learn more or to enroll today to get access to these great resources, contact 425.201.1972 or email info@businesshealthtrust.com.

Small Business Resources: Emergency Loans, Unemployment and More

Business Health Trust’s core value is to be a resource to employers, and that’s especially important now as we navigate the impacts of COVID-19 on our small-business community.

We’d like to share new information related to our previous post on the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

Last week, the U.S. Congress passed and President Trump signed into law the CARES Act (the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act). As a part of the new legislation, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has created a nearly $350 billion loan program called the Paycheck Protection Program. This program is available to businesses with 500 or fewer employees to help with payroll, rent, utilities, healthcare costs and more. The SBA has also expanded a number of their existing programs, including the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

The federal government is currently finalizing the details and protocols about how and when different programs and relief will be implemented, and how financial institutions will help facilitate the execution of these programs.

Find out if your small business is eligible and what other questions you need to know before you apply in the CARES Act Q-and-A.

Additional preparation tips include this list of documents your bank may request when you apply for the loan.

CARES Act Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Please be aware that the CARES act also includes two separate unemployment provisions, one which applies to individuals already eligible for unemployment compensation under state law, and another that creates a temporary, federally funded “Pandemic Unemployment Assistance” program, which provides benefits to individuals who would otherwise be ineligible for benefits under state or federal law.

For more information, please see the Summary of CARES Act Unemployment Insurance Benefits.

 

 

Roundup of COVID-19 Webinars from Business Health Trust Partner Associations

Looking for resources to help stay informed on the developing COVID-19 outbreak? With our core value to be a resource to employers, Business Health Trust would like to share how our partner chambers are working to stay connected with members.

Although all in-person events have been canceled for the coming weeks, our partners are utilizing their robust networks to host webinars featuring the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 among other resources. The below list is still preliminary, so please be sure to keep an eye on the different Chamber websites or sign up for alerts:

Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
#WeGotThisWA series – free, registration required

Bellingham Regional Chamber of Commerce

Economic Alliance Snohomish County
Keeping the Lights On: A Business Resiliency Webinar – free, registration required

View upcoming webinars and sign up at https://localsnoco.com/educational-resources/

Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce
Webinar on COVID-19; free and open to all; join at https://zoom.us/j/843841095 or click below times to learn more or for more accessibility options:

Thurston County Chamber of Commerce
Thurston’s Business Leaders Share What You Need to Know; free and open to all; click below to register or learn more:

Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce
Free informational videos can be viewed on the following topics:

SBA to Provide Disaster Loans for Coronavirus-Related Economic Disruptions

Business Health Trust is more than just your source for employee benefits. We advocate for small business insurance needs in Washington state, and are vigilant about staying on top of changes in the small business health insurance market.

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to impact small businesses in Washington and nationwide, we would like to offer resources in light of an announcement from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) that it will provide economic injury disaster loans for coronavirus-related economic disruptions.

Please view the SBA’s Fact Sheet as the loans pertain specifically to the COVID-19 impact in Washington state.

To determine whether your small business might qualify, the SBA’s Three-Step Process PDF outlines steps to apply and other details. You may download the following forms to apply for the loan:

For additional detailed information, please view a PDF presentation from the SBA.

More information also is available on the SBA’s Disaster Assistance website.

Tips to Stay Focused and Efficient While Working from Home

In the gig economy, working from home is already the norm for many Americans. But for workers more accustomed to a scheduled 9-5 office job, it can be a challenge to find work-life balance from a home office.

Whether you’re working on a laptop or a home computer, it’s important to create a space that puts you into work mode. It may be obvious that means turning off the TV and finding activities in advance for your kids, but your home likely offers a wealth of distractions you haven’t even thought of.

If you’re among the many Washington residents — and soon possibly the entire nation — in search of normalcy from your new home office, we’ve put together a few resources to help you remain focused and efficient when you’re on the clock.

Start with a Clean House

With both spring and potentially COVID-19 in the air, you’ll want to prioritize your annual spring clean if you haven’t already.

To properly clean and disinfect surfaces, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work, or you can make a bleach solution with 5 tablespoons bleach per gallon of water, or an alcohol solution of at least 70 percent alcohol.

Once your household is spic and span, try to keep it that way so cleaning doesn’t turn into a distraction during work hours. In the article 5 spring-cleaning tips for a healthier home, Kaiser Permanente recommends you set a schedule for upkeep so you can limit your tidying to a few minutes a day.

Get Up, Get Ready and Go

It may be tempting to throw on some sweats and grab a cup of coffee before plopping in front of your computer, but maintaining your normal morning routine also triggers a working mindset that can help improve productivity.

That means going to bed and waking up at a reasonable hour, and dressing appropriately for the workday, especially if there’s the potential for videoconferencing.

Be sure to also prepare any snacks or meals in advance so you’re not distracted by your growling stomach throughout the day!

Take a Break

If you’re the kind of person who has a hard time stepping away from your computer, find balance by setting a schedule that includes regular breaks from your desk and especially your screen.

Your eyes will thank you for taking a 20-second break to look at something at least 20 feet away every 20 minutes, also known as the “20-20-20” rule, as described in the VSP Vision Care Inc. article on Computer Vision Syndrome. And if you need help staying on track, of course there’s an app for that: Eye Care 20 20 20.

And when your lunch break rolls around, resist the temptation to continue working and be sure to take a break, maybe even go for a walk if that is an option. Maintaining your health is a priority during these uncertain times, and giving your brain and your body breaks is an important part of your overall health.

Commute Time Now Means You Time

Remember traffic? Now that you have the time back that you used to spend commuting, consider sharing these additional precious moments with your loved ones.

With schools closed for the foreseeable future, this means extra time with your kids while you’re not on the clock to help better manage this new version of work-life balance.

And for loved ones who aren’t in your household, be sure to pick up the phone and check in regularly on them. Premera Blue Cross reminds us that social distancing doesn’t mean mentally isolating, and recommends live video or video chat conversations to keep in touch with friends and family.