Showing posts from September, 2013

Tennessee Health Insurance Exchange Coverage

October 1st is less than two weeks away, and on that date adult U.S. citizens will be able to purchase health insurance from the Insurance Exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act.  If you live in Tennessee, however, it can be confusing as to how you enroll.  Here is a quick primer. Tennessee, like most Republican-led states, opted not to participate in the Exchange program.  There is no financial advantage to non-participation; actually not participating costs the state more money in the long run.  However the "anti-Obamacare" fever whipped up by Fox News and conservative talk radio made state participation tantamount to support of Healthcare Reform.  No Republican can survive a primary election if they are seen as supporting "Obamacare".  Instead these states, Tennessee among them, choose non-participation, which then requires the federal government to set up an Exchange for them. Since Tennesseans have to use the federal Exchange program let's look

Using Travel Company Loyalty Programs

If you travel for a living one of the perks of the trade is the ability to keep you "points" from airlines, hotels and rental car companies.  These once were a lot more generous than they are now, with almost all of them cutting back on benefits or devaluing their points during the Recession.  Once you get elite status and can board early, avoid bag fees, and get free weekend leisure rentals and rooms then losing that status feels punitive.  There is always a catch so you need to know the fine print. For instance after being Gold and then Platinum with American Airlines I took several trips on Southwest because their fare was lower.  I recently got on an American flight and found that I had dropped, without notice, all the way from Platinum to Schmuck in four months.  It didn't matter that I had been Gold with them since the 90's: you keep up your segments or board with the last group. I had a similar "catch" with Avis.  After having a Wizard number sinc

The Vocational Revolution: How the Best Jobs of the Next Decade Won't Require College

One way to look at the Great Recession of 2007 - 2012 is that it was one giant comeuppance for about three generations of Americans, mine included.  We have been "too good" to do blue collar work and have sent that message to our kids.  Now the Starbucks generations are facing a conundrum: long-term unemployment, long-term and low-wage under employment in fast food and retail, or a return to skilled trades. Starting in the 1980's college became the only acceptable route to success, and the skilled trades fell out of favor.  Working in manufacturing HR during the 1990s I recall the first signs of a critical shortage in tool and die makers and machinists, as more and more people flocked to college rather than vocational schools.  We have not turned out enough skilled trades graduates to feed the demand since the 1970's, but off-shoring of manufacturing and delayed retirements reduced demand and lessened or masked the problem.  No more. In trades all across the count

Obamacare 2013 and 2014: What You Need to Know Now

Earlier this year the Department of Health and Human Services announced a one-year delay in the implementation of key provision of the Affordable Care Act. Because of the highly politicized nature of this law there has been much said about the law "falling apart" and similar comments that would lead some to think that the whole act is on hold. Nothing could be farther from the actual situation so employers and employees must know what to do to keep in compliance. This law is already partially implemented and key provisions roll out this year and next. Here is where your company should be and what it should be preparing to do if it has 50 or more employees. 2013 Changes For the current benefits plan year, or for any plan year beginning during calendar 2013, health plans must execute the following changes: · Healthcare Flexible Spending Account (FSA) deductions are now capped at $2,500. · Women’s preventative health services now must be covered at 100%. ·