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HR’s Role in Preventing Cyberattacks

Cyberattacks are a growing concern for employers across the globe but especially for those in the United States. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, the number of reported U.S. data breaches rose 68% between 2020 and 2021, increasing to a record-setting 1,862 incidents. Of these breaches, 83% involved sensitive information, such as Social Security numbers.

These breaches targeted various organizations and industries, including those in manufacturing, utility services and finance. Essentially, any business that retains potentially valuable information could be a target; cybercriminals are frequently looking for the personal information of everyday citizens to sell or use to gain access to other systems.

Oftentimes, cybercriminals breach organizations via their own employees; all it takes is one employee clicking into a phishing email (i.e., a fraudulent message intended to trick recipients into compromising important data).

This is where HR comes in. HR teams are often tasked with communicating policy updates and workplace expectations. When it comes to cybersecurity, HR is naturally suited to partner with IT and provide basic educational resources. This article offers tips to help HR teams protect employees and their organizations from cyberattacks.

The Impact of Supply Chain Issues and Rising Inflation on Employers

The COVID-19 pandemic tipped off supply chain issues that may take years to reconcile. Due  to virus disruptions, global systems that seemed fine for years quickly proved untenable as operations deteriorated. Now, employers are left wondering how they might be able to stay afloat amid unprecedented market uncertainty.

This article outlines key factors contributing to the current crisis and explores how they may affect employers.

Tips to Save on Gasoline Costs

Gasoline prices have soared across the country, causing many motorists to feel the pinch as they fill up their vehicles. Fortunately, there are several steps that drivers like you can take to boost fuel efficiency and cut costs at the pump. Consider these tips to help minimize gasoline expenses.

Drive safely.Unsafe driving habits such as speeding, hard braking and idling can significantly reduce your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. As such, be sure to always obey speed limits and remove your foot from the gas pedal well before braking. Also, utilize cruise control when possible to maintain a consistent speed and turn your vehicle completely off instead of leaving the engine running while stopped for extended periods.

Check your tires. Poorly inflated tires can affect your vehicle’s handling and braking capabilities, increasing the risk of a blowout on the road and lowering overall fuel mileage. Make sure to check the pressure of your tires frequently and inflate them as needed.

Prioritize maintenance.Apart from keeping the tires inflated, having your vehicle serviced routinely can also help it run more efficiently.

Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual for recommended maintenance intervals.

Avoid drag. Excess weight in your vehicle can generate a drag on the engine, forcing it to consume additional gasoline. To avoid driving around with unnecessary weight and wasting fuel, check the back seat and trunk for any items that could be removed. Additionally, keep the windows up while traveling on the highway to further minimize drag.

Give the air conditioner a break. Running your vehicle’s air conditioner can also result in the engine using extra fuel. Try to limit your use of the air conditioner by turning it off five minutes before reaching your desti- nation and parking in the shade or a covered garage.

Combine trips. Instead of taking several short trips to run errands, consider combining these journeys to promote fuel efficiency and prevent your vehicle’s engine from having to warm up multiple times. If possible, don’t run errands during rush hour, as driving amid heavy traffic can waste gasoline.

Benefits 101 Video Series

Attracting and retaining employees is a constant struggle for organizations of any size. That’s why it’s critical for employers to tailor their benefits offerings in a way that attracts and retains the most employees.

Whether your business is getting started offering benefits or has a program in place we can help you better fit your offerings to your team’s needs.

Stay tuned for more helpful videos and let Employee Benefits Management Group help ensure your benefits offering is the best it can be. 

Video 5: Questions to Ask Your Doctor

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Video 4: Introduction to Group Health Insurance

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Video 3: How to Read a Medical Bill

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Video 2: Employee Assistance Program Basics

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Video 1: The Benefits of Health Insurance

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Balancing Work and Kids Going Back to School

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic makes it a school year like no other. Parents have had to make difficult decisions about whether to send their children back to school in person, enroll in virtual learning or opt for a combination of the two. Whether students are learning in a classroom or virtually, parents may find themselves having to balance work responsibilities with virtual learning or child care responsibilities at the same time.

Parents face a unique set of challenges as they attempt to balance the needs of their children—especially schooling—with their own concerns about work, finances and health. This article explores how to navigate pandemic stress and uncertainty, and how to build resilience throughout the school year.

Read the full article here.

BCBS Settlement of Antitrust Litigation

Blue Cross Blue Shield Association has reached a settlement in a class action antitrust lawsuit.

Many companies and/or their employees have or will receive either mailers or emails concerning the settlement. The total settlement is $2.67 billion, which will certainly catch anyone’s attention.

The class action lawsuit charged that the 36 independent and locally operated BCBS companies in the US had violated antitrust laws by entering into an agreement with each other to limit competition amongst themselves in selling health insurance and administrative services for health insurance. The BCBS companies have denied any wrongdoing.

Note that there are 36 BCBS companies nationwide and that the BCBS companies provide health insurance to 1 in 3 Americans across all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.  BCBS NC is just one of the 36 companies. Of the $2.67 billion, it is expected that $667.5 million will be applied toward legal expenses and $100 million toward Administrative Costs. The expected Net Settlement Fund will be $1.9 billion. Affected persons and companies (plan sponsors) are;

  • Individuals and fully insured groups (and their covered employees) with coverage (at any time) from February 7, 2008 through October 16, 2020 (12.5 years),
  • Self-funded groups and their employees with coverage (at any time) from September 1, 2015 through October 16, 2020 (5 years).

The court must still approve the Settlement but is expected to do so.

Please download from below the Long Form for action items and deadlines between today and November 2021. You may also download the full Settlement Agreement for review. Visit www.BCBSsettlement.com for more information and to file a claim.

Downloads:

Settlement Agreement (1.9mb)

BCBS Long Form (295kb)

Springtime HSA Eligible Expenses

Spring brings more sunshine, longer days and for many people, allergy problems. We’ve posted a list of HSA eligible expenses that you might be able to take advantage of now that Spring is in the air. 

Download the brochure here and let us know if we can help with any questions. 

 

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