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Companies can be held liable if they breach their fiduciary duties in managing employee benefit programs such as pensions, profit sharing, health care and 401(k) plans. This risk remains even if you hire a third party to manage your plans. “A lot of companies have hired these outside consultants to manage 401(k) and other pension plans in an attempt to mitigate exposure. In reality, they still have liability because they chose the consultant,” says Peter Bern, CEO of Leverity Insurance Group. Smart Business spoke with Bern about what fiduciary liability insurance covers and how it fits with other business insurance…
Missouri Senate Bill 287, which becomes effective Aug. 28, puts the state on equal footing with others that have been popular domiciles for captive insurance companies. “It changes certain capital requirements for pre-existing types of captives, as well as provides additional flexibility by allowing segregated cells, also known as shared captives or rent-a-captives,” says Alan J. Fine, CPA, JD, member in charge, Captive Insurance Advisory Services practice at Brown Smith Wallace. Smart Business spoke with Fine and William M. Goddard, CPCU, principal, Captive Insurance Advisory Services practice at Brown Smith Wallace, about the new law and why companies should consider…
It was the late C. Everett Koop, a former U.S. surgeon general, who once famously said: “Drugs don’t work in patients who don’t take them.” That’s a simple way to look at a costly and complex problem — medication non-adherence — where the failure to take drugs on time in the dosages prescribed is both dangerous for patients and costly to the health care system. “There are a number of reasons that people either don’t take their medication or stop taking it before they should,” says Chronis Manolis, RPh, vice president of pharmacy for UPMC Health Plan. “But what it…
Thursday, 01 August 2013 12:00

How to make sense of the individual mandate

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Your entire employee population — even those part-time, seasonal and currently not eligible for benefits — will be increasingly impacted by health care reform. Beginning in 2014, a key provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) known as the “individual mandate” will require most individuals to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty. The requirement to maintain coverage applies to all ages, even children. Smart Business spoke with Craig Pritts, sales executive at JRG Advisors, the management arm of ChamberChoice, about how the individual mandate may impact your employee population.What are the penalties for not following the individual mandate? The…
With so many provisions and mandates under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it is not surprising some things have changed or been delayed along the way. In fact, on July 5 the Obama administration released a 606-page document with final regulations on some of the ACA’s key provisions and mandates. In addition to providing new details about how the health insurance marketplaces will operate beginning Oct. 1, the document included changes that will impact the way employers shop for insurance. Separately, on July 2, the U.S. Treasury issued guidance delaying the penalties to be imposed on large employers that fail…
Businesses with many variable-hour and part-time employees are developing new strategies to address the employer mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Although implementation of the mandate has been delayed until 2015, companies continue to work on ways to avoid penalties when enforcement kicks in, says Daniel Meracle, a partner at Benefitdecisions, Inc. “We’re seeing four variable-hour strategies that employers are using,” Meracle says. “Some may be against the spirit of what Congress intended when they passed PPACA, but they are within the guidelines of the law.” Smart Business spoke with Meracle about these latest strategies for…
When the news came out July 2 that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) employer mandate — the enforcement of the shared responsibility requirement — would be postponed until 2015, you may have felt relief. But for many large-group employers, it’s not so simple. “This is not a reason to put your head back in the sand,” says Mark Haegele, director of sales and account management at HealthLink. “Keep your eyes open. See what’s going on. Run some cost benefit analyses of different scenarios of offering different levels of coverage, or not offering. The bulk of the health care reform law…
Thursday, 15 August 2013 08:42

Five proven habits to take control of stress

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“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” — William James, American philosopher and psychologist In an increasingly stressful world, William James’ remarks are just as accurate and relevant today as they were when he said them more than a century ago. We face countless stressful forces, most of them beyond our control — changing market conditions, economic uncertainty, new laws and regulations, and competition, to name just a few. Confronted with circumstances and situations that we can’t change, our only hope is to affect what we can — our own thoughts and actions.…
No matter what type or size of a business, health care tends to be one of the leading employer costs. Although the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was intended to reduce costs, businesses are finding themselves on the receiving end of double-digit rate increases each year. “Because of these hefty increases, employers are searching for more creative ways to reduce costs, while ensuring their benefits package remains competitive in the employment sector,” says Mary Policky, assistant vice president at Momentous Insurance Brokerage, Inc. Smart Business spoke with Policky about how to reduce or restructure health benefits offerings in tough times. When…
Imagine it’s a hot day. You’re thirsty and hungry, but don’t want anything unhealthy. There aren’t many options available to meet all those needs. In the early ’70s, the concept of the smoothie was born out of this unmet need. Opened in 1973, Smoothie King Franchises Inc. was the original smoothie brand. In 2001, Wan Kim had this same urge to find a healthy option to quench his thirst and satisfy his hunger. He had his first experience with a Smoothie King smoothie while studying at University of California at Irvine. The high quality, healthy product had him hooked immediately.…
Wakefulness is not the first trait you may think of for effective leadership. Empathy and reflection aren’t typically considered strategic business values. And that emotional intelligence should be a factor in hiring is foreign. However, corporate America should be about more than just the bottom line — a stakeholder approach with social responsibility is key, says Joan F. Marques, Ph.D., Ed.D., assistant dean of the school of business, chair and director of the BBA Program, and an associate professor of management at Woodbury University. “Effective leadership consists of a mix of hard and soft skills,” she says. “A major part…
Thursday, 15 August 2013 07:30

Doug Clark: Why you need to consider outsourcing

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There’s a good reason why the old adage, “a jack-of-all-trades, master of none,” has remained in our lexicon hundreds of years after it was coined. It’s because we recognize that almost no one — especially those of us in the world of business — can maintain an equal level of excellence across every single business function without some outside help. That’s why the world’s leading corporations, even those with hundreds of thousands of employees, have embraced the concept of outsourcing many of their key business processes to cut costs, reduce overhead, conserve capital resources and focus on their core activities.…
SS&G recently announced the promotion of Jim Dannemiller, CPA, to managing director of its Akron office. Dannemiller will focus on growing the Akron office, mentoring new staff, building the firm’s presence in the community and will continue to serve clients. He will be co-managing the office with Mark Goldfarb, CPA. Dannemiller joined SS&G in 1993. SS&G’s Akron office also welcomes Ilona Aronov as a senior associate in the tax department. Prior to SS&G, Aronov worked as a tax associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. SS&G has also announced three new employees to its Cleveland office. Courtney Ockenden joins as a senior associate…
Michael Catanzarite is friends with a lot of people in Strongsville. As he sat amongst those friends on a Friday night back in 2001 to watch a Strongsville High School football game, he could not help but notice the decaying structure that the team called home. “It was probably the worst stadium in all of Ohio,” Catanzarite says. “Horrible.” Taliak Field was nearly 50 years old and its day had come and gone. Catanzarite lives in Strongsville and is CEO of the Strongsville-based company Darice Inc., founded by his father Pat Catan. “I said we should organize a group of…
John Dewine looks out his window on the ninth floor of the Standard Building in downtown Cleveland at the construction project he has been leading — The Global Center for Health Innovation (GCHI) and Cleveland Convention Center (CCC). Dewine, a Turner Construction Co. vice president and construction project executive, is no stranger to construction as a 37-year Turner veteran, and no stranger to Cleveland either, as he worked on both the Key Tower and Quicken Loans Arena projects. Turner Construction, a design/build contractor, brought Dewine to Cleveland to head the project, which the firm completed three months ahead of schedule…
If you had any doubt about the recession being in the rearview mirror, consider this tidbit from the ERC/Smart Business Workplace Practices Survey. In the last 14 years, only two years — 2009 and 2010 — have returned results with Northeast Ohio companies reporting the poor economy as their toughest challenge. For the 11th year, companies in 2013 are reporting that their biggest challenge has been hiring and retaining talent. The survey, which has been a collaborative effort between ERC and Smart Business since 2001, is aimed to let you know what companies in Northeast Ohio are doing to drive…
Thursday, 15 August 2013 06:58

Pat Perry: In pursuit of a better workplace

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Workplace practices and policies ranging from innovative flexible work arrangements to the debate over the Affordable Care Act (ACA) were topics of this year’s ERC/Smart Business Workplace Practices Survey. Watching the discussions around these events unfold serves to reinforce the fact that the decisions we make as employers have the ability to significantly impact the well-being of both our individual employees and our organizations. Now in its 14th year, the 2013 survey collaboration between ERC and Smart Business aims to shed light onto how employers in the region are effectively applying these practices, enhancing their workplaces and ensuring that they…
California’s health care exchange may see a flood of customers when it opens in 2014 — not only from people who have been uninsured but also many previously covered under employer-sponsored plans. “What the policymakers are saying is different from what we’re hearing from businesses,” says DeVon Wiens, a partner in the Health Care Practice at Moss Adams LLP. “Policymakers don’t anticipate a big shift among employers away from providing coverage and toward letting employees go to the exchanges to purchase their own insurance.” That’s likely true for larger employers with 1,000 employees or more who have enough critical mass…
Angie Hicks is pleased to note that new categories get created all the time on the eponymous website Angie’s List, where consumers go to find reliable and recommended local service professionals in fields from home improvement to health care. In fact, she lists one category that is particularly representative. “There are categories today where services didn't even used to exist,” she says. “My favorite is the pooper-scooper industry — someone to come and clean up after your dog. There was no such thing in 1995 when Angie’s List was launched.” But that is only the tip of the iceberg that’s…
In his autobiography, famed filmmaker Frank Capra wrote, “If you have to think about it, forget it.” The idea that one’s gut instincts were the best guide to success certainly served the man who made such timeless classics as “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” I’m a firm believer in that notion. Because I’m in the business of consumer products, I try to look at things from the customer’s perspective — from concept to delivery. What do they want or need? How will they use the product? What can make it more appealing or useful? What…
Dr. Thomas “Tim” Stover admits it hasn’t been easy paddling upstream, and he’s been doing it for years in the health care industry. Stover has been trying to convince hospital staff, doctors and the public that the solution to the health care crisis isn’t to spend less to treat sick people, but to help them not to get sick in the first place. Stover, president and CEO of the 5,200-employee Akron General Health System, has spent considerable time, effort and money trying to change its mission to a different side of the health care continuum — the prevention and wellness…
Marcia Taylor isn’t your run of the mill CEO. She’s a soft-spoken matriarch, who transformed Bennett International Group, LLC, from a small, five-truck contract carrier into a $266 million logistics and freight services powerhouse. Taylor attributes her early success to fostering a family-oriented culture and deliberately sidestepping head-to-head battles with conventional competitors. “We grew organically by adding services to meet the unique needs of our customers,” Taylor says. “We were positioned outside the mainstream, so we were used to competing against just four to five firms.” Riding the coattails of customers helped the company expand beyond long haul trucking into…
Friday, 19 July 2013 14:26

Healthcare Reform Seminar

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2013 Healthcare Reform Seminar In mid-July, Smart Business held the 2013 Healthcare Reform Seminar, presented by SummaCare, and sponsored by Rea & Associates, Sequent, Roetzel & Andress, The Greater Akron Chamber, and hosted by Firestone Country Club. More than 200 people heard insight, advice and strategy from a panel of experts on what employers need to know about healthcare reform. Download a copy of the presentation Contact these insightful panelists to learn more: Kevin Cavalier, vice president of sales, SummaCare Bill Hutter, founder & CEO, Sequent Paul Jackson, partner, Roetzel & Andress Joseph Popp, tax supervisor, Rea & Associates Marty…
For 27 years, Ernst & Young has championed the entrepreneurial spirit of men and women pursuing excellence in their businesses, teams and communities. Ernst & Young founded the Entrepreneur Of The Year Program to recognize the passion of entrepreneurs and to build an influential and innovative community of peers. We received more than 1,680 national entries for this year’s program, from the country's most deserving entrepreneurs. Their triumphs stand as a testament to the role they play as visionaries and leaders. Entrepreneurs change the world and make it a better place to work and live. We honor them for their…
Without question, entrepreneurship is the hottest thing going today. Rarely will you pick up a paper or magazine that does not either feature a fabulously successful entrepreneur or talk about some of the literally hundreds of programs or courses being offered to help you become that entrepreneur. But, what is it really? In part the interest is a reaction to today’s younger generation – 75 percent of high school seniors do not want to work for a large organization. This is a reaction to the re-engineering of American business that has taken place during the past 20 years. These young…
Health CareFINALISTDr. Stephen C. Vogt CEO and founder BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy Services Inc.It was just a gift from a neighbor, but it sparked in Dr. Stephen C. Vogt a passion for science that continues to this day. The gift was a chemistry set, and it set Vogt forth on a career path of innovation and success that would have a sustaining impact on the world of science.After finishing pharmacy school, Vogt found his calling as not only an aspiring pharmacist, but as a thriving entrepreneur in the medical practice. He was one of the first pharmacists to be recognized as…
Health CareFINALISTDr. Matt LeavittCEO and founderAdvanced Dermatology & Cosmetic SurgeryHe lives to find innovative solutions that he can bring to the masses to help solve problems in their lives. This mindset makes him a valuable asset for his clients at Advanced Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery, where Leavitt manages the country’s largest dermatology practice consisting of more than 70 clinics.Despite this significant responsibility, Leavitt still sees his own patients and provides the same high level of care he expects of all his practitioners. The business was built with patient care and provider excellence as the primary pillars and Leavitt wants every…