Archive for June, 2016

Hays Experts’ New Publication

Congratulations to Bruce Hollcroft and Bruce Lyon, two of Hays Companies’ Risk Control Directors, on their recent textbook publication titled Risk Assessment, A Practical Guide to Assessing Operational Risks. The book was written by Hollcroft, Lyon and Georgi Popov, Associate Professor on risk assessment at the University of Central Missouri.


Risk Assessment, A Practical Guide to Assessing Operational Risks, teaches the fundamentals of risk assessment to students and those in the safety, health and environmental professions, who recognize the need to refine their personal risk assessment capabilities.


Risk assessments have begun to receive more prominence in operational risk management systems. This book fills a content gap in educational material about the growing field of risk assessment.


“Working alongside industry experts at Hays Companies has pushed me to continue developing my risk management skill set and knowledge base. This book is an accumulation of my expertise and similar outside education,” Hollcroft remarked. “I hope it will be a guide to others interested in the topic and help cultivate our future risk assessment leaders.”


The authors intend for this text to assist professors at a university level who sense the need for their students to gain knowledge and aptitude with respect to risk assessment. It will also serve as a primer for employed safety professionals, needing a practical guide on risk assessment techniques.


“I hope this book educates and motivates prospective risk management experts,” Lyon said. “More important than any publications or expertise on my end is the ability to pass this information on to young professionals. Hays Companies has helped me realize the incredible value in educating young learners to ensure the success of not just a company, but an industry and the clients it serves.”


Congratulations to Bruce Hollcroft and Bruce Lyon on the publication. They are proving once again that Hays employees truly are experts in their fields, devoted to educating others.


To purchase a copy of the book, click here.


For more information or to contact the authors directly, email Bruce Hollcroft at or Bruce Lyon at

Joe Williams Joins Hays Companies

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (June 27th, 2016) – Hays Companies announced Joe Williams has joined its San Francisco operations as Senior Vice President. He will be responsible for spearheading new business development, leading and managing the team and continuing to build Hays’ renowned workforce.

“We are delighted to have Joe on board at Hays,” said Michael Egan, President and Chief Operating Officer of Hays Companies. “His knowledge and experience will add considerable acumen to our employee benefits capacities.”

Williams’s has over eleven years of experience in the employee benefits industry and has held previous high-level leadership positions; he will play a key role in spurring growth and development for Hays at the San Francisco office.

Williams formerly served as the Senior Vice President of Employee Benefits of HUB International, as well as Vice President of BB&T Insurance Services. Williams’s experience includes extensive work with medical/dental/life/disability insurance, underwriting, consulting, as well as ACA compliance.

“I am excited for the opportunity to join such an illustrious company like Hays Companies. They have built a strong reputation in the past 20 years and I look forward to being a part of this fast growing, innovative organization,” said Williams.

Contact Williams via phone at 925.588.8015 or email at

Hays Companies is one of the fastest growing, privately-held risk management, insurance and employee benefits advisors in the country. Our philosophy of delivering the highest-quality, customer-focused service has led to significant growth for 20 years. Today, the company includes 700+ experienced professionals in more than 30 locations throughout the United States. For more information, contact Andrea Field ( or visit our website at

Let’s Play Whack-An-ACA-Rule!

WARNING: This is a whimsical look at the difficulty of combining several agency rules with compliance under the ACA. If you have any questions regarding the compliance issues raised in this piece, contact your Hays Team representative and we can provide more detailed guidance.

If you have ever been to a state fair or an arcade, you’ve probably seen the “Whack-A-Mole” game If you haven’t, the goal is for the player to hit the heads of as many pesky moles as possible before they pop down into their hole in the box. But, each time you whack one mole with the foam mallet, another pops up somewhere else. Other than the obvious thrill of playing and winning, why is a Compliance Director writing about this game? And what does this have to do with the Affordable Care Act (ACA)?

It seems we have all been playing “Whack-An-ACA-Rule.” For example, let’s consider the rules related to nondiscriminatory wellness plans. Maybe you decide to reward employees who meet certain biometric standards, such as lowering blood pressure, by giving them a 30 percent discount on their full healthcare premium. If a single-only premium is $600, the employee contribution is set at $200, and the employee satisfies the entire wellness program criteria, he or she gets a premium contribution discount of $180 (30 percent of $600). That employee’s actual monthly contribution is now only $20 and they are healthier. Wow! But wait…the ACA steps in and says, not so fast — is this “affordable?” Of course, you say — it’s $20! But the ACA says affordability must be calculated based on the full non-discounted premium. So, you hit one mole on the head by encouraging potentially healthier outcomes but the next mole — affordability criteria — pops up right behind you.

So, how do we “hit” the next mole? Maybe we reduce the starting single contribution amount to ensure that it is “affordable” under the ACA. But then, for financial reasons, you have to reduce the size of the wellness reward. Doing so may impact the employee’s motivation to work at lowering his or her blood pressure, which contradicts the point of the wellness program and runs counter to the ACA’s goals.

Head spinning? Let’s keep playing.

Next, you implement a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) so that employees can establish health savings accounts (HSAs). You are careful to make sure the maximum out-of-pocket (OOP) limits do not exceed limits established by the HSA rules. The HSA maximum annual OOP limit for family coverage is $13,100, but you set the family deductible at $10,000. This means the plan will not pay for covered services until the family, either collectively or even just one member, has incurred $10,000 in deductible expense. So far, so good. But wait, the ACA steps in and says, not so fast — the single allowable OOP max for an individual in 2016 is $6,850. OOP includes deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, and any other OOP expense. Therefore, you need to “embed” a single deductible of no more than $6,850 for any single family member. That’s yet another mole popping up through the hole.

You thought you complied with the rules and you did — just not all of them, unfortunately.

Ultimately, you have designed your wellness plan to be a little less well but a little more affordable, and your HDHP now has an embedded deductible for family coverage. Next, add one more plan design roadblock: although the HSA rules only consider in-network cost for OOP maximums, the current guidance suggests the ACA will take into account all costs next year, including out-of-network, so you need to be ready for that mole.

There is one way to beat the game: enlist your friends to help! In the case of the ACA, your friends are your Hays Team and our Research and Compliance department. We can help you hit all the current moles and anticipate the ones that may be just about to pop up.