All posts by Barbara Gobbi

Employee Benefit Trends for 2017

The new year is finally upon us, and with a new regime change in Washington, things are about to get stirred up. From healthcare reform to sweeping departmental overhauls, most experts anticipate plenty of changes afoot and that those changes will undoubtedly have ripple effects throughout the nation. Businesses owners and corporate HR personnel should particularly take note of the evolving political and corporate landscape and the following 2017 trends for employee benefits if they want to attract and retain top talent:

2017 Employee Benefits Trends

  • Customization. As wonderful as a company’s package appears to be, some benefits are more attractive to some than others. Where it used to not matter what cookie cutter benefit package got implemented, the improving job market means that employers will have to work harder in this upcoming year to appeal to those top, high-value employees. This goes doubly true if your target personnel are in the Millennial age bracket who place high value on personalized solutions that meet their more diverse needs.
  • Financial Wellness Targeting Student Debt. For many employees, regardless of age, finances are the leading source of their stress (and for the Millennial generation, the financial burden of compounding student loans can be nearly unbearable). One way businesses are making themselves more appealing is by zeroing in on financial stress and offering comprehensive financial wellness programs designed to alleviate that adversary. In addition to recruiting and retaining top performances, employers who implement these types of programs will likewise enjoy the side benefit of less-stressed employees for a more engaged and productive workplace.
  • Vision and Dental Coverage. While both of these health insurance specialties have been around for awhile, these employee benefits programs are expected to grow and trend this year. This is especially true if you’re courting Millennial generation employees as 60% of 18 to 34-year-olds wear either glasses or contacts, and experts believe sudden onset of vision issues could increase due to issues surrounding prolonged exposure to digital screens (from personal smartphones to work laptops). Additionally, more and more young professionals are looking for employer-offered orthodontic insurance that can assist with more elective procedures, such as teeth whitening and straightening to create a work/life confidence boost.

To learn more about these and other trending 2017 employee benefits packages, company offerings that will motivate your employees and help your company attract the top talent, contact Lewis and Palmer Benefits today.


Changes to the Minimum Wage Rate for 2017

The arrival of the new year signifies more than New Year’s resolutions. Those who work low-wage jobs have much reason to celebrate in 2017. Many states are boosting their minimum wage to compensate hard-working Americans. In total, 29 states plus the District of Columbia are hiking their minimum wage rates beyond the $7.25 required by the federal government.

Changes to the Minimum Wage

Changes to state minimum wage laws in 2017 will lift many hard-working Americans out of poverty. In fact, 22 of the 45 states with minimum wage laws on the books will hike their minimum wage in the new year. The overarching trend is toward increased compensation for workers who have been struggling to make ends meet. All-in-all, slightly less than 50 percent of states with minimum wage laws on the books will increase their minimum wage in 2017. This represents a considerable leap from the 33 percent of such states that hiked minimum wage pay rates last year.

A Look at Some Specific Changes

Florida’s minimum wage workers earned $8.05 per hour in 2016. This pay rate will climb just a bit in 2017 to $8.10 per hour. Employees who are eligible for tips will now receive a mandatory minimum wage of $5.08. Those who work low-wage jobs in California will enjoy a minimum wage hike to $10.50 per hour as long as they labor for an employer with at least 26 employees. Minimum-wage workers in the District of Columbia will be compensated with a minimum of $11.50 per hour until July 1, when compensation climbs to $12.50. Workers in Massachusetts and Washington will receive a minimum of $11 per hour beginning January 1.

FLSA, the Minimum Wage and Tip Credits

Organizations subjected to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are required to compensate employees with at least $7.25 per hour. This level of compensation is mandatory regardless of whether the state’s laws permit a lower pay rate. Several states are altering the maximum tip credits an organization can count toward employee hourly compensation. If the rules of the FLSA apply to an organization, it can apply a maximum tip credit of $5.12 per hour. Those doing business in states with tip credit maximums that exceed the federal tip credit’s maximum can apply a higher tip credit as long as the difference between the state credit and tip credit is at least $2.13.

For more information about complete payroll, human resources and benefits administration, call the professionals at Lewis and Palmer Benefits. We have Professional resources that can help you manage your employees and business.

Are you ready for Afforable Care Act Health Insurance Open Enrollment?

Enrolling for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) provides a number of benefits, particularly for low and middle-income families, as well as businesses. Doing so during the annual enrollment period is a sure-fire way to save money. It represents an opportunity to reconsider your healthcare coverage. As the 2017 enrollment season nears, it is the ideal time to begin planning.

Open Enrollment begins on November 1, 2016. Since last year’s enrollment period some changes have been applied that you need to know about.

Affordable Care Act Changes for 2017

As the regulatory framework for the Affordable Care Act continues to change, it brings a number key benefits to policyholders. As can be expected, 2016 ushered in its fair share of updates.

Some the changes include the following:

  • Health insurance tax waiver for 2017 – this leads to a significant reduction in premiums and overall costs (up to 3 percent).
  • Affordable Care Act reinsurance program discontinued for 2017 – the program conducted assessments on payers and distributed proceeds to insurance providers with non-group enrollees.
  • Changes to the SEP rules – aimed at addressing concerns by insurers when it comes to adverse selection from SEP enrollees.

How To Enroll In Obamacare

Enrolling in Obamacare is as easy as clicking your mouse. When you go online to enroll you will want to gather your family’s tax information, as well as your own. You will also need to provide relevant information about each of your family members that is obtaining health insurance. If you or anyone in your family already has health insurance you must provide pertinent information about it.

Why You Need Obamacare

Obtaining insurance through the marketplace will allow you to get proper healthcare for yourself and your family. It will give you peace of mind in knowing that your loved ones are taken care of.


Carefully reviewing your options during the open enrollment period will undoubtedly help you make a well-informed decision. Whether you take prescription medication or are planning to have a baby, it is vital to consider enrolling through an approved health insurance marketplace. Missing out on an open enrollment period can translate to tax penalties on your tax return for 2016.


Open enrollment to purchase health insurance is approaching

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly referred to as “Obamacare”, will open its enrollment period for coverage in 2017 from November 1, 2016 through January 31, 2017. The previous open enrollment period ended on January 31, 2016.

Those who have not obtained healthcare insurance coverage by the end of the upcoming enrollment period will not be allowed to enroll in an Obamacare health insurance plan unless qualified for the Special Enrollment Period. Only a handful of specific life events qualify one for enrollment in this extra period. The bottom line is that the uninsured should be making plans to obtain healthcare insurance right now.

Why You Need Healthcare Insurance in 2017

Those who fail to obtain healthcare insurance coverage either through an Obamacare exchange or a private health insurer will face a stiff tax penalty. Though these penalties do not apply to those who make so little money that they qualify for Medicaid, the fines have already put a serious dent in the budgets of countless Americans. Obamacare penalties have rapidly increased over the past few years. In 2016, uninsured individuals paid a fee of $695 per adult. Those age 18 and under were socked with a fee of $347.50. The fees maxed out at a total of $2,085 per family. This penalty will increase in 2017 and beyond.

The Lewis & Palmer Health Insurance Marketplace is Here to Help

If you are uninsured, do not assume that an Obamacare exchange will provide you with the cheapest and best healthcare coverage. It makes absolutely no sense to proceed uninsured and give the federal government even more of your hard-earned money in the form of a fine. Everyone needs and deserves healthcare coverage.

Lewis & Palmer’s approved health insurance marketplace offers extensive healthcare coverage that will provide you with an invaluable peace of mind. We offer individual health insurance as well as healthcare coverage for entire families. Our plans provide coverage that allows you to tap into an array of benefits, providers and deductibles. No matter what your budget looks like, there is an excellent chance you will find an affordable and suitable healthcare insurance plan through the Lewis & Palmer marketplace.

Do not go uninsured any longer. We invite all interested parties to browse through our health insurance plans. Be proactive and secure health insurance coverage today so you won’t have to worry about an accident, illness or health problem ruining your finances.


LP Benefits has Payroll Solutions to help you focus on what you do best

Every successful business owner knows that they need to focus on their own core competencies and those of their teams rather than ancillary business activities. Especially when just starting out, they really do not have the time, energy nor inclination to be distracted with things administrative functions such as payroll. Still, everyone must get paid.

At Lewis & Palmer Benefits, we understand this dilemma. In fact, our team has built a business around the administration of payroll and other HR functions for other companies. It is our core competency – we focus on nothing else. Here is how we can help you:

Payroll administration – At LP Benefits, we can coordinate your employee payroll. We are experienced with dealing with the tax implications of payroll on a municipal, state and Federal level. We can competently handle all administrative and reporting activities for your company and guarantee complete and timely compliance.

Benefits oversight – Similarly, the team at LP Benefits can oversee the administration of your employee and management benefits packages. We will ensure that the proper payroll deductions are made and can also act as a liaison between your employees, your company and the benefits provider. It is just one more way we can make your life easier in the running of your company.

Financial solutions – Not all compensation is based on salary. The experts at LP Benefits understand this fact and are prepared to help you and your executives manage such things as succession planning and retirement packages. We can explain everything from the initial calculations through the tax advantages to the final settlements.

There are many other factors that fall under the aegis of payroll administration. Ensure that your company is taking advantage of everyone. For further information on the benefits of proper payroll solutions for your company, please contact the experienced team at Lewis & Palmer Benefits. We can be found online at or reached directly at 954-308-7204.


Employee Benefit plans to motivate your team

Nowadays, dangling an attractive salary in front of a prospective hire doesn’t always guarantee his acceptance of the position. Numerous studies have shown that employees are interested in more than a high salary or a competitive wage. They desire employee benefit plans in addition to their take-home pay.

Group Dental, Life, and Disability Insurance

An employee benefit plan that provides group dental, life and disability insurance will set you apart from the pack. Imagine a prospective hire who is offered half a dozen positions. Your offer includes a competitive salary along with an extensive employee benefit plan including life insurance, dental insurance and disability insurance. These added benefits are the “icing on the cake” that makes the difference between the prospect accepting your offer and deciding to work for one of your competitors.

Group dental plans can be employer or employee paid. They provide access to a quality network with elite services. Group disability insurance is necessary to replace an individual’s pay in the event that he becomes ill or suffers an injury that does not have a causal relationship to his workplace activities. Group life insurance provides employees with a priceless peace of mind. It allows them to rest easy, knowing their loved ones will be financially sound in the event of a premature death or dismemberment.

401(k) and Retirement Plans

Few employees have faith in social security to remain solvent. Even if social security remains solvent, its measly payments will not allow for a fulfilling retirement. Offer your employees a 401(k) and/or retirement plans and they will be much more inclined to meet their workplace potential. Plenty of employers don’t offer these benefits, making those that do that much more appealing.

Health Insurance

Employees are tired of worrying about health insurance and whether an injury will obliterate their personal savings. You can make your company quite attractive to prospective employees and improve your employee retention rate by offering health insurance.

As time progresses, more health insurance companies are pulling out of the Affordable Care Act. Health insurance costs put a serious crimp in the average employee’s budget. Make their life simple by providing health insurance through an employee benefit plan. Such an affordable plan will provide employees with access to all sorts of medical benefits and providers. This is the perfect “carrot” to dangle when attempting to recruit talented employees who are likely to field multiple employment offers.