In Brief: Poster Ruling; ERRP Deadline; Knee Surgeries
A U.S. District judge has upheld a National Labor Relations Board rule that requires most private employers to display posters that inform employees about their rights to organize under a union. Judge Amy Berman Jackson affirmed the rule but limited how the board can enforce the requirement, noting that failure to post information alone isn't enough to prove anti-union action. The posters, which must be displayed by April 30, explain employees' collective bargaining rights and ability to participate in union-related activities.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is giving employers until the end of 2014 to use funds from the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program. The agency said it expects employers to spend it sooner but nevertheless set a final deadline for fund use for Dec. 31, 2014.
'KNEED' TO KNOW
Bundled payments for knee replacements can save employers between 5 percent and 10 percent, according to a new report by the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute Inc. (HCI3). The study revealed that those covered by commercial insurance paid an average of $3,200 more per procedure compared with Medicare patients, mostly because of higher costs related to complications. The average cost of a total knee replacement, including hospital stay and other medical services, was $22,611 for Medicare patients and $25,872 for those with commercial plans. In a bundled payment, an employer's plan would pay one sum for the entire prodedure rather than paying separately for individual tests and treatments. This payment procedure can help limit spending on avoidable complications because they "reduce the observed variation in the different components of the episode . . . that are currenlty paid on a fee-for-service basis," HCI3 said in a news release.
New research suggests younger workers are interested in critical illness coverage. A study by the American Association for Critical Illness Insurance and General Re Life Corp. found that 49 percent of men and 46 percent of women who purchased individual policies for critical illness insurance in 2011 were younger than age 45. Researchers noted that while most critical illness plans in the marketplace are supplied by employers, an increase in awareness is prompting more people to seek coverage individually if their employer doesn't offer it.
American workers are tightening their belts to save more for retirement, according to a new survey by Scottrade, Inc. The report found that 69 percent of respondents said they were spending less this year, compared with 63 percent in 2011. Sixty-seven percent are using coupons (compared with 59 percent last year), and 65 percent are aggressively shopping for deals (compared with 58 percent in 2011).
A recent report by CareerBuilder reveals the top flubs that managers see from job candidates. Poll respondents listed the most common mistakes they've seen in an interview, including:
- Answering their phone or text during the interview: 77 percent
- Appearing disinterested: 75 percent
- Dressing inappropriately: 72 percent
- Chewing gum: 63 percent
Because of the extended payroll tax cut approved by Congress, the IRS has revised Form 941, which will allow employers to properly report the tax cut. Under the law, employees will continue to pay a Social Security tax rate of 4.2 percent. The new form is available here:
A rough economy is driving more Americans to seek dental care in emergency rooms, according to the Pew Center on the States. The organization reports that more than 800,000 visits to the ER in 2009 were for toothaches and other avoidable dental problems.