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Confused About Wearing Masks Indoors? Public Health Has Answers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that fully vaccinated people can resume activities they did before the pandemic without wearing a mask or socially distancing, and meanwhile all counties in Washington state are in Phase 3 of the COVID-19 Roadmap to Recovery with a full reopening expected June 30.

But what does that all mean exactly, especially for business owners who want to keep their employees and their customers safe?

Indoor Mask Directive Guidance for Businesses

If you have questions, Public Health — Seattle & King County has answers.

Check out this Indoor Mask Directive — Guidance for Businesses, to help you decide how to implement indoor mask guidelines.

Because there is no easy way to check vaccination status at this time, King County’s Local Health Officer Directive strongly urges businesses to continue implementing mask mandates for all employees and customers in indoor settings.

For companies that choose to allow fully vaccinated employees and customers to remove their masks, the directive suggests:

  1. Verify the vaccination status of everyone.
  2. Create a system of process to monitor that unvaccinated people continue to wear a mask.
  3. People who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated must wear a mask and maintain physical distancing at all times.

For more details, please download the Indoor Mask Directive — Guidance for Businesses.

Gov. Jay Inslee also offers industry-specific information on the website COVID-19 Reopening Guidance for Businesses and Workers, including an overview of COVID-19 Workplace Safety and Health Requirements based on requirements from the Department of Labor and Industries.

How to Register for a COVID-19 Vaccine with Kaiser Permanente

Are you eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine or about to become eligible and wondering where to start?

As of April 15, 2021, all Washingtonians age 16 and older will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and Business Health Trust partner Kaiser Permanente is offering tips to help both members and non-members register for the vaccine at one of their facilities.

For Business Health Trust members enrolled in Kaiser Permanente, it’s easy to sign up for your vaccine online at kp.org/wa. Once you’ve logged in, click on “COVID-19” and complete the “COVID-19 vaccination” e-visit to confirm your eligibility, then you can schedule an appointment for your first shot.

For members who do not have internet access or for non-members, you can make an appointment by calling 1-800-352-3610.

For more information, download the flyer Getting Vaccinated with Kaiser Permanente.

U.S. Senate Votes to Extend PPP Program to May 31

On March 25, 2021, Congress extended the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Second Draw deadline until May 31, giving eligible businesses and non-profits extra time to submit applications and work with lenders to secure this critical aid.

The U.S. Senate voted 92-7 in favor of the extension, giving small businesses and non-profits two more months to secure a forgivable PPP loan once the bill has been signed by President Biden.

This important update from the Washington Economic Development Association notes that WA employers have secured 54,471 loans, totaling over $4.6 billion in 2021 alone.

For more information, SmallBizHelpWA.com offers valuable information and links to help small businesses find funding, get help and find a lender, among other resources as Washington state continues to grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

BHT Introduces New 401(k) Plan for Businesses that Dream Big

Offering a 401(k) plan can be costly and time-consuming – and when you’re growing a business, you need to manage your resources wisely. As your source for employee benefits, Business Health Trust is proud to expand on its solutions by introducing the EVOLVE 401(k) plan for small businesses that dream big.

More than insurance, Business Health Trust is a resource, offering small employers in Washington the information and tools they need to design and manage a competitive employee benefits program. EVOLVE is the ideal 401(k) solution for businesses that want to offer full-service retirement benefits and keep costs in check.

Learn more about the plan in our Q-and-A with ABD Retirement Services, the team of professionals who handle the details so you can stay focused on growing your business:

How can adding a 401(k) program help a small business grow and succeed?

Offering a 401(k) plan gives your business a competitive advantage to attract and retain quality employees. In addition, a retirement plan at work addresses one of the main financial wellness concerns employees have and can help you increase loyalty and productivity.

How is EVOLVE different from other 401(k) plans?

EVOLVE is specifically created to address the challenges small businesses face when deciding to offer a retirement plan, including:

  • Fee Transparency – EVOLVE has no hidden fees
  • Simplicity – EVOLVE offers plan options that minimize employer tasks
  • Liability Protection – EVOLVE offers investment oversight by an independent fiduciary limiting your liability for plan investments
  • Employee Focus – EVOLVE is designed to make saving and investing easy for employees

EVOLVE offers large plan features to small employers. It’s for businesses that dream big!

Is EVOLVE only for companies that don’t already have a 401(k) plan?

EVOLVE is for any employer, including those with an existing plan. Contact the EVOLVE team to compare your current plan with EVOLVE plan options. You will get unbiased guidance to evaluate your options.

How does EVOLVE make it easier for small businesses to set up a 401(k) plan that meets their budget while satisfying employees’ needs?

EVOLVE uses a simple questionnaire to gather essential data that will help you setup your plan. The EVOLVE team provides guidance to make sure the plan is a good fit to your business. The simplified plan types that are offered by EVOLVE are designed to reduce operational burden on the employer. The easy-to-use website and app combined with low-cost investments help employees use the plan effectively.

What resources are available to help employees wisely invest in their future?

EVOLVE focuses on what matters. The platform is designed to assist employees making the two major decisions required for successful retirement outcome:

  • How much should I have?
  • How should I invest what I’m saving?

The platform has web-based tools that will guide employees in making these two key decisions. Keeping it simple helps keep cost low while helping employees make the right decisions. The EVOLVE platform can also automate the employee decisions with automatic enrollment and annual adjustments.

Is EVOLVE suitable for employers with complex needs or on a fast growth track?

Yes. EVOLVE is a solution, not a one-size-fits-all package. The EVOLVE team has experience working with a range of clients from startsups to publicly traded global companies. Reach out to us for free consultation at info@businesshealthtrust.com.

Stay Up-to-Date on COVID-19 Vaccine with 2 Partner Webinars Next Week

The COVID-19 vaccine is all over the news, but many questions remain.

Our Business Health Trust partners are ready with answers to help you navigate the next normal of COVID-19 at the following free webinars:

Kaiser Permanente: COVID-19 Vaccine Update and Mental Health Resources

Thursday, December 17, 2020
3 – 4 p.m.

Learn about the scientific realities of coronaviruses and COVID-19, control measures, the human impact, and Kaiser Permanente’s response, including:

  • COVID-19 updates and trends — Insights on the current state of the pandemic, including treatment and testing
  • Emerging vaccine developments — Relevant information regarding the development, FDA review, and distribution of recently approved COVID-19 vaccines
  • Mental health resources

Speakers are Dr. Lisa Jackson, Senior Investigator and Internist, and Jessica Sandhu, Flu Campaign Manager.

Seattle Chamber’s #WeGotThisWA Series: Update on the COVID-19 Vaccine

Thursday, December 17, 2020
11 a.m. to noon

Hear the latest on the COVID-19 vaccine from Public Health – Seattle & King County. Francesca Holme, Flu Coordination Technical Specialist, will share the most recent COVID-19 data for King County and provide an update on the plans for vaccine rollout in the region.

The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce is the plan sponsor of Business Health Trust. Its ongoing #WeGotThisWA Webinar Series is designed to provide timely and accurate information and resources on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stay Safe and Stay Open with Free Sanitizing Supply Kits for Small Businesses

Business Health Trust aims to be a resource to employers by providing affordable and comprehensive employee benefits. As our economy continues to open up, we want to ensure small businesses across our region have the supplies they need to keep their employees and customers healthy and safe this holiday season.

To support this goal, Business Health Trust has partnered with King County to offer Sanitizing Supply Kits at no cost to qualifying businesses in December. Each kit contains:

  • Hand sanitizer station with automatic dispenser and refill
  • Pump bottle of hand sanitizer
  • Disinfectant approved by EPA to kill COVID-19
  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Disposable masks
  • Posters and resources to promote employee safety

These will be provided on a first-come-first-served basis to businesses that meet the following criteria:

  • Under 50 employees
  • Revenue is $2 million or below
  • Has a public-facing business where the primary service delivery is face-to-face in King County
  • Has experienced financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Has not received grant funds to purchase these items previously
  • Operates in the following industries
    • Retail and/or grocery
    • Tourism
    • Childcare facility
    • Personal services

To learn more, download the Stay Safe and Stay Open flyer. For additional resources, Business Health Trust has compiled a list of local PPE suppliers.

Virtual Care Appointment

BHT Introduces New Virtual Plus Plans Through Kaiser Permanente

With its focus on providing high-quality, affordable employee benefits, Business Health Trust is proud to announce the new Virtual Plus HMO plans available to members enrolled in medical through Kaiser Permanente.

Starting in 2021, the Business Health Trust Small-Group Program will include two new options that feature fully covered virtual care visits: Virtual Plus Silver and Virtual Plus Gold plans.

These unique plans are a good option for employees who want affordable care and the convenience of starting most care online. Available in King, Pierce, Snohomish, Spokane, Kitsap and Thurston counties, the new Virtual Plus plans feature the following highlights:

  • Low monthly premiums.
  • No charge or referral needed for virtual care, first in-person primary care visit, and all preventive care.
  • Get virtual care through 24/7 Care Chat online messaging or nurse phone line, scheduled video visits and phone appointments, e-visits, or email for nonurgent questions.*
  • Virtual visits are with Kaiser Permanente doctors and clinicians — the same ones you’d find in our medical facilities.
  • Fill the first prescription for a new medication at an in-network pharmacy or mail order. Get most refills and maintenance medications through mail order. Delivery is free and usually takes 1 to 2 days.
  • Includes worldwide in-person emergency and urgent care coverage.
  • Care at Kaiser Permanente walk-in clinics is not considered urgent care and requires a referral in order to pay a lower out-of-pocket cost.

The Business Health Trust Small-Group Program is available to employers with up to 50 employees, offering scalable, competitive benefits for even the smallest companies. To learn more or to get a quote, contact info@businesshealthtrust.com or fill out our Request a Quote form.

*When appropriate and available.

Open Enrollment Resources to Help You Find the Right Health Plan at the Right Cost

Business Health Trust offers more than health insurance — we are also a resource, offering small employers in Washington state the information and tools they need to design and manage a competitive employee benefits program.

With open enrollment now under way for many businesses around the state, Business Health Trust strives to help you stay informed with resources from our partners at Washington Health Alliance.

Need help selecting a health plan that attracts talent and keeps your employees healthy and productive — at a budget you can afford? The Washington Health Alliance’s following video on Getting the High-value Care you Deserve is a great place to start.

For more resources, consider articles such as:

Learn more at ownyourhealthwa.org.

Video chat with male doctor

BHT Expands Virtual Care Access Through Premera Blue Cross in 2021

Business Health Trust (BHT) is making it even easier to visit with a doctor in 2021 with expanded access to virtual care for members enrolled in medical through Premera Blue Cross.

Instead of planning your life around provider access, take advantage of this reimagined network that significantly increases access to primary and hard-to-get specialized care.

No matter where you are, you can get the right care quickly through the following integrated virtual care offerings for BHT members enrolled in medical through Premera:

  • 98point6: Text-based primary/urgent care from a doctor, 24/7.
  • Doctor on Demand: Video and phone-based primary/urgent care and mental health therapy.
  • Talkspace: Video and phone-based mental health therapy.
  • Boulder Care: Treatment for opioid use disorder and alcohol use disorder. Video visits and messaging with a therapist.
  • Workit Health: Treatment for opioid use disorder and alcohol use disorder. Live chat and video with a therapist.

Business Health Trust’s 17 different medical plan designs through Premera Blue Cross come with a variety of value‑added benefits, including embedded life/AD&D insurance and employee assistance program (EAP), which offers additional access to virtual counseling through BetterHelp.

To learn more or to get a quote, contact info@businesshealthtrust.com or fill out our Request a Quote form.

Important Employment Law Update Available from Archbright

With our focus on helping small businesses navigate the complex word of health insurance and employee benefits, Business Health Trust would like to share an important resource from our partners at Archbright:

Free Webinar Recording: Pacific Northwest Employment Law Update 

Each year brings changes in employment and labor laws affecting employers, which is perhaps the only way 2020 is a typical year.

In this recorded webinar, Erin Jacobson, Director of Legal & HR Advice, and Joy Sturgis, Content Manager, review employment and labor law updates in 2020 at the federal level and those relevant to employers in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

Learn more and register at Archbright.com.

This valuable opportunity is available free of charge, and a great way to discover how Archbright’s HR, safety and legal advice could complement your business.

Through our exclusive partnership with Archbright, Business Health Trust members receive free access to Archbright’s online resources, as well as discounts on upgraded subscriptions.

For more information on Business Health Trust or how to access your Archbright membership, email info@businesshealthtrust.com.