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Understanding the $2 Trillion Stimulus Package, Managing Remote Employees and more…

opens in a new window03.27.2020 – Benefits Info COVID-19 Resources Newsletter

If you need help understanding the 2 Trillion Dollar Stimulus Package, you are not alone.  In this update we have included a document that provides an overview of the package, which is designed to provide financial assistance for those struggling as a result of the coronavirus (COVD-19) outbreak.  Another attachment contains answers to questions employees may have about those payments.

COVID-19 has caused many employers across the country to make significant changes to their standard procedures, including shifting their employees from working at the office to working from home. We have prepared a guide to serve as an introduction to managing remote employees which includes best practices for keeping employees engaged. It should be used for informational purposes only and not be considered as legal advice.  You will also find a Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) Poster. Applicable employers should post and/or send employees electronically no later than April 2nd.

Finally, carriers continue to schedule webinars and FAQ’s as they attempt to keep us all posted on changes as a result of COVID-19. Here are a few you may consider:

Aetna has provided the latest information on their response and steps consumers should take to stay healthy through their opens in a new windowfrequently-updated COVID-19 resource center.

Anthem will host their next session at 12:00 p.m. (CST) on Tuesday, March 31. They will cover a variety of relevant topics and look to address many of the most common questions they are receiving. opens in a new windowPlease click this link to register for the event and save to your calendar.

Cigna Group Insurance has updated their opens in a new windowFrequently Asked Questions sheet with new information.

We have included the schedule below for the next round of COVID-19 Update Briefings for UnitedHealthcare brokers, consultants and customers.  Due to the fluidity of this situation, replays are not available for the external calls. UnitedHealthcare is committed to keeping its brokers, consultants, and employers informed, and they encourage attendance to the live weekly calls., which are scheduled as follows:

As always, if you have questions we have not addressed, please do not hesitate to contact your Crane Agency team member.  We hope you have a great weekend!

Families First FAQ and the Coronavirus Relief Bill

opens in a new window03.25.2020 – Benefits Info COVID-19 Resources Newsletter

We hope this post finds you well… here are some of the latest updates related to COVID-19.

Under the opens in a new windowFamilies First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), covered employers must post a notice of the FFCRA requirements in a conspicuous place on its premises. The attached HR Compliance Bulletin includes frequently asked questions issued by the DOL on this notice requirement.

As business closures increase due to the COVID-19 pandemic, employers are faced with questions about compensation and health benefits coverage for their employees. Government relief measures may provide compensation for businesses and individuals in certain situations. In other cases, existing rules on employee rights will apply. The attached Compliance Overview provides a summary of the issues that employers may encounter when terminating or suspending employment due to COVID-19.

Please also be aware of a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) currently offered by the major medical providers.  UHC has published the details of their SEP which we have attached here.  Others have simply shared the range of dates.  In essence the medical carriers are affording plan administrators the ability to hold open enrollment for those who previously waived during the last open enrollment to join between now and early April (for example, April 3rd with Anthem or April 6th with UHC) to be effective April 1st.   Major medical carriers are also relaxing the requirement that eligible employees maintain 30+ hours per week to be eligible through at least the end of May for those who wish to maintain benefit eligibility.

If you have any questions, please contact your Crane Agency Service Team.  We are here for you and will keep you posted on major developments.  For the latest information and updates on COVID-19, please visit the  opens in a new windowCrane Agency Blog.  Be well.

COVID-19 Resources from Crane Agency

opens in a new window3.24.2020 Benefits Info COVID-19 Resources Newsletter 

Crane Agency continues to monitor the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) and we are doing everything we can to assist you during these difficult times.  First and foremost, we hope this finds you and your families all doing well, remaining healthy and adjusting to your new work environments for those who are now working remotely.  Here are some of the latest updates we have prepared in response to this fluid situation.   As we await word from Washington regarding the latest proposal for a COVID-19 Relief Bill, we will share some resources we have available now:

Upcoming webinars:

Resource Centers:

For the latest information and updates on COVID-19, please visit the opens in a new windowCrane Agency Blog.

Crane Agency – April Wellness Newsletter, HR Brief, Benefits Buzz & Compliance Updates

Welcome to our April Wellness Newsletter.  The opens in a new windowLive Well, Work Well newsletter opens PDF file is an employee newsletter that is produced monthly and covers topics like health, wellness, fitness, nutrition and personal finance.  This month’s issue provides information on how phlegm can help fight off illnesses, lists tips on how to monitor rice intake to minimize arsenic consumption and highlights the importance of getting enough calcium.

You will also find attached this month’s opens in a new windowBenefits Buzzopens PDF file and opens in a new windowHR Briefopens PDF file .  This month’s opens in a new windowBenefits Buzzopens PDF file provides an overview of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and its implications, and explains the most recent extension to the existing transition policy for certain noncompliant health care plans under the Affordable Care Act.  This month’s opens in a new windowHR Brief opens PDF file discusses best practices for retirement preparation, explains the value of health literacy and provides insight about millennial retention.

On March 24, 2017, Republican leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives withdrew the American Health Care Act – their proposed legislation to repeal and replace the ACA.  As a result, the ACA will remain in place at this time.  The attached opens in a new windowACA Compliance Bulletin opens PDF file provides an overview of the proposed legislation and the impact going forward.

Thank you for your continued confidence in the Benefits Department of the Crane Agency.  Please do not hesitate to contact your agent or service representative with any additional questions.

Crane Agency – One of St. Louis’ Largest Employee Benefits Firms

Did you know for the last two years, Crane Agency has been named one of St. Louis’ Largest Employee Benefits Firms by the opens in a new windowSt. Louis Business Journal?  Crane is your single-source solution for benefits consulting and cost management. We maintain strong relationships with all national and regional medical insurance companies, as well as all the major life, dental, disability, and voluntary worksite underwriters.  More importantly, we are committed to efficiency, transparency, and service. We don’t just manage your benefits—we serve as your advocate in an uncertain world.

Crane Agency – December Wellness Newsletter, HR Brief & Benefits Buzz

opens in a new windowDecember 2016 – Live Well Work Well Newsletteropens PDF file
opens in a new windowDecember 2016 – Benefits Buzzopens PDF file
opens in a new windowDecember 2016 – HR Briefopens PDF file

Please find attached your December Wellness Newsletter from Crane Agency.  The Live Well, Work Well newsletter is an employee newsletter that is produced monthly and covers topics like health, wellness, fitness, nutrition and personal finance. This month’s issue includes a summary of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Safe Sleep guidelines, information on how positive relationships with your co-workers can improve your health and tips for reducing holiday stress.

You will also find attached this month’s Benefits Buzz and HR Brief.  This month’s Benefits Buzz discusses the increased premium costs of the 2017 Marketplace, introduces the new flexible spending account (FSA) limits for 2017 and provides a brief overview of the 2016 election and its potential impact on compliance issues. This month’s HR Brief gives an overview of the IRS retirement updates, summarizes the report of decreasing workplace injuries and illnesses and offers suggestions on how to protect your business from cyber-crime.

Thank you for your continued confidence in the Benefits Department of the Crane Agency.  Please do not hesitate to contact your agent or service representative with any additional questions.

At Crane you are more than just a number…

At Crane you are more than just a number.  We value long term relationships with our clients, our employees and the communities we serve.  We also understand the needs of our clients because our organization was built by business owners and families just like you.  That is why our employees strive daily to exceed customer expectations with personalized service that is responsive and reliable.

We are excited to share the story of Sentinel Emergency Solutions and how Crane Agency’s Employee Benefits team partnered with UnitedHealthcare to form a winning partnership.  Please click opens in a new windowhere to view the video.

A very special thank you to Sentinel Emergency Solutions for their endorsement.