HR Happenings

Updated COBRA Notices and the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
The Obama administration announced updates to model notices that employers
must provide to employees, informing workers of their eligibility to
continue health care coverage through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget
Reconciliation Act (COBRA).
The Department of Labor (DOL) released a new model general notice form
and model election notice form for providing COBRA notices to employees.
Additionally, a notice of proposed rulemaking on the COBRA notice requirements were published.
Federal agencies also released an updated model notice regarding premium assistance under Medicaid and
the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
The updated notices make it clear to workers that if they are eligible for COBRA continuation coverage
when leaving a job, they may choose to instead purchase coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s
(ACA) Marketplace.
Employees directed to the public exchange/Marketplace, where they may qualify for federal subsidies, are
less likely to feel they need to pay the full premium to continue with their former employer’s health coverage
through COBRA.
Workers and their families who are eligible for employer-sponsored coverage generally must be informed
of their right to COBRA continuation coverage at the start of employment. They must also be informed
of their right to purchase COBRA coverage when separating from a job. The proposed changes to the
model notices would offer information on more affordable options available through the Marketplace,
where workers and families may be eligible for financial assistance that would not otherwise be available
for COBRA continuation coverage.
The new COBRA notices offer an opportunity for employers to provide further encouragement and education
to plan participants about non-COBRA coverage options.
Employers are not required to use the model notices but plans that do use the model notice are presumed
to meet COBRA notice requirements. Employers that are covered under the COBRA Federal
regulation (more than 19 benefit eligible employees) should consider these revised model notices.
Potential Gap in Coverage
When a COBRA qualifying event occurs, coverage could be lost either immediately or, in many cases, at
the end of the month in which the event occurs (for example an employee terminates 5/25/14 and may
become COBRA eligible 6/1/14). Notice of COBRA rights (which will now explain Marketplace rules) is
not provided for weeks and, sometimes, a couple months after the qualifying event. At that point, there is
a gap between the loss of coverage and someone’s actual choice of COBRA or Marketplace coverage.
During that gap, individuals are at risk of significant claims if they need health care. The main purpose of
COBRA coverage is that it is retroactive to the date of the loss of coverage and is designed to fill that gap.
Volume 8, Issue 6 Latest in HR news and alerts
HR Happenings
Updated COBRA Notices and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (cont’d)
Marketplace coverage, however, applies prospectively only. Therefore, individuals will be faced with a
choice: (a) elect the more expensive COBRA coverage retroactively to make sure claims are paid but then
be forced to continue that coverage until the next annual enrollment period (or a special enrollment period
if earlier); or (b) take the cheaper Marketplace coverage but suffer the gap in coverage and be forced to
pay for the claims incurred without coverage.
The choices and risks between COBRA vs. Marketplace is not explained in the new model COBRA notices.
Perhaps future guidance will solve this problem by allowing individuals the choice to opt out of COBRA
coverage and into Marketplace coverage on more frequent intervals.
For additional information, the DOL published frequently asked questions related to the proposed changes
to model notices on their website:
Guidance on Background Checks
Employers conducting background checks should be sure to evaluate their policies
to make sure they are in compliance with varies regulations pertaining to their hiring
process and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Non-discrimination legislation
such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Genetic Information
Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) and Title VII Civil Rights Act all should be considered
when creating background check policy and procedures.
Any personnel or employment records you make or keep (including all application
forms, regardless of whether the applicant was hired, and other records related to
hiring) must be preserved for one year after the records were made or after a
personnel action was taken, whichever comes later. If the applicant or employee files a charge of discrimination,
you must maintain the records until the case is concluded.
Professional Note: Treat everyone equally. It’s illegal to check the background of applicants and employees
when that decision is based on a person’s race, national origin, color, sex, religion, disability, genetic
information (including family medical history) or age (40 or older). For example, asking only people of a
certain race about their financial histories or criminal records is evidence of discrimination, the EEOC document
can help you with these and other topics
Latest in HR news and alerts June 2014
Page 2
Kathy Coughlin, President

Do You Want to Buy or Sell a Midas Auto Center?

Midas has re-upped their commitment to Sunbelt Business Brokers Re-sales in a BIG WAY.

We recently executed new contracts with Midas on:

• Franchise Re-sales
• Franchise Referrals (1st time Midas is using a Franchise Broker!)
• “Matchmaker” Program !

Midas is the largest auto after-market repair franchise, Midas has over 2,900 locations operating in the World. However, there is still ample room to grow. In the recent history, finding real estate to put new shops has become Midas’ biggest challenge.

Our Matchmaker relationship with Midas allows your office access to their pre-qualified and highly motivated buyers…a terrific asset to both help you SELL your existing auto repair shop listings, and to PROSPECT for additional independent auto repair center listings as well. If a Midas buyer purchases your listing and converts the store to a Midas, you receive FULL RE-SALES COMMISSIONS AND A MATCHMAKER FEE on top!

Learn how you can sell some of your existing auto repair shop listings easily and quickly!

Please look at your roster of listings. If you have car repair facilities, please plan on joining us for the call, or invite your listing broker(s) to do so. If you recently had a car repair center listing expire, this is a great way to re-engage. If you have sellers on the fence, this program can help you secure the listing.

If you are seeking to buy or sell a Midas Auto Center or Other Brand Auto Center; call Cecil Dye, the Business Guy; 843.636.2475

Coaching for Buyers

Buyers should spend a few minutes and answer the following questions and send the answers to the broker or brokers they choose to work with in finding the Right Business.

Coaching for Buyers

1. Type Buyer: Owner Operator ____ Investor_____

2. BRS, Business Requirements Summary:
Industry/Segment: –
Submit resume of related experience:
Cash Flow Requirement:
Down Payment Available: – could be letter from your Attorney.

3. Buyer Actions:
Prepare BRS and send to any Brokers you are working with!
Contact SBA thru recommendations of your Broker, get prequalified.
Become familiar with and
Be prepared to sign an NDA on “each” opportunity.

4. Start “reading” about Business Valuations; good online sources.
5. Be familiar with Letter of Intent and Purchase Contracts so you will be prepared to make offers subject to contingencies.
6. All acquisitions are subject to a “Due Diligence” period usually 1-2 weeks.
7. Go direct to FSBO – For Sale By Owner – newspaper, bizbuysell, owners.
8. Bottom: Buy a Business You Will Love Being In! Money follows your Passion.

Call Cecil Dye, the Business Guy; a Certified Business Buyer Coach with Sunbelt Network; for an appointment.

Buyers Available

Wow, we have a lot of qualified Buyers looking for good businesses to acquire. If you are in the Charleston, SC area, own a business and are considering Retiring or need to sell; do yourself a favor; Call Cecil Dye, the Business Guy. We have qualified Buyers. We also have SBA bamks read to do loans on qualified businesses. Call me for details: 843.636.2475

Need to Turn Around My Business

Whether you are a start up or mature company; but you need someone with experience to help you turn around your company; give me a call. Cecil Dye, the Business Guy has turned around startups and mature companies.
It takes an outside perspective, void of the personal involvements and commitments. Someone who can look at the P&L and investigate the facts and tell the Owner/CEO you must do the following. Otherwise you will continue to fail.

Call me when you are in need of this experience and lets discuss your options.


Charleston Seminar April 24th & 25th How to Value a Small Business

Attend our Sunbelt Seminar on April 24th at the Marriott in Charleston, SC; we’ll be focusing on how to value Small “Main Street” Businesses and how to determine the real “Owner’s Benefit”.

The cost of the 2 day Training Seminar is $995 for Business Brokers; however,

Please see for this Seminar Information and for Buyer/ Seller Information

Call me; Cecil Dye, The Business Guy 843.636.2475 or email:

How Long Does It Take Executives to Find Their Next Job?

We are often asked, How long does it take executives to find their next job? There are too many individual variables to factor in, but you can be certain of one thing – it takes longer than you might think.

Why is this important? It means a lot actually – emotionally and economically. For someone making $175,000+ per year, a job search that takes one month longer means $15,000 or more in lost salary. So it’s important to keep ahead of the projected landing time because it can save you tens of thousands of dollars.

We routinely survey members about how long they think it would take them to make a job change from start to finish. We just completed a survey, and like in years past, they reported 6.4 months on average – a little shorter this year than during the recession.

We all like to think we are the exception to the norm. We’re effective and good at what we do, so naturally things should fall into place for us. Unfortunately, being a good executive doesn’t make you a good job hunter. Throw in the challenging job market and wishing to avoid relocation, and finding a satisfying, new role becomes a sizable challenge.

The truth is it always seems to take longer than one thinks. Members we talk to say the reasons are:
• “Age is more of an issue than I imagined. Companies seem to want younger, cheaper talent.”
• “Getting interviews. I’m qualified, but I am not getting many chances to sit down for real interviews to tell my story and how I can help solve a company’s problems.”
• “Job-specific criteria. Employers are unwilling to consider my highly transferrable skills.”
• “Networking my way to the decision-makers in companies where I don’t know anyone has been a huge obstacle.”
• “A lack of communication from recruiters and hiring companies. No one feels the need to provide status updates or closure.”
We find from experience that ending- up on the earlier part of the bell-curve is primarily about three things:
• Having an action plan that is more active than waiting for and responding to job postings
• Creating opportunity for yourself by “articulating and getting the word out” about what your value is
• Being well prepared to take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves
Executives like you often ask us why there’s a “no response black hole” in responding to job postings. It is because of tight specs, immediate volume of “equally qualified” competitors and a “value story” that doesn’t stand off the page.

Many executives are still learning to craft an effective “value story about their experience and passion” in terms of their value to their next employer versus their last,” says Don Weintraub, our Managing Director of Career Services, who counsels members every day.

Many executives are not comfortable in their outreach to peers outside their immediate circle and don’t build and maintain those contacts over time.

If you wish you were progressing faster in your search, get help today by sharpening your approach. We have a lot of insight and resources on our “members only” website and through our Member Services Teams to help.
Not a member? Get to more recruiters, hiring managers and jobs

To your next success!

When To Sell Your Business?

1. When it is doing well. Buyers want an Income they can live off of when searching for the ideal small business.
2. Obviously when you need to retire, or separate from a partner, or for health reasons.
3. Not so obviously, when you are bored with it and have that itch to start another business.
4. Finding a cash out buyer is unlikely, however, a good SBA Prime Lending Banker can cash you out with good terms for the buyer.
5. When you have time to transition the business to the new owner; particularly where it is a highly specialized business.

So business owners need at least a half page Exit Strategy, it should include:
A. Getting audited financials up to date.
B. Cleaning out dead inventory.
C. Bringing the appearance of the business up to best possible condition.
D. Meeting with an experienced Business Broker for a Confidential and Effective Game Plan to Market your Business.

Call Cecil Dye, the Business Guy 843.636.2475

Cell Phone Emergency Power and Other Key Functions

Cell Phone Functions

Claim: List details five little-known but useful functions associated with cell phones.



There are a few things that can be done in times of grave emergencies. Your mobile phone can actually be a life saver or an emergency tool for survival. Check out the things that you can do with it:

FIRST Subject: Emergency

The Emergency Number worldwide for Mobile is 112. If you find yourself out of the coverage area of your mobile; network and there is an emergency, dial 112 and the mobile will search any existing network to establish the emergency number for you, and interestingly this number 112 can be dialed even if the keypad is locked. Try it out.

SECOND Subject: Have you locked your keys in the car?

Does your car have remote keyless entry? This may come in handy someday. Good reason to own a cell phone: If you lock your keys in the car and the spare keys are at home, call someone at home on their cell phone from your cell phone. Hold your cell phone about a foot from your car door and have the person at your home press the unlock button, holding it near the mobile phone on their end. Your car will unlock. Saves someone from having to drive your keys to you. Distance is no object. You could be hundreds of miles away, and if you can reach someone who has the other “remote” for your car, you can unlock the doors (or the trunk). Editor’s Note: It works fine! We tried it out and it unlocked our car over a cell phone!”

THIRD Subject: Hidden Battery Power

Imagine your cell battery is very low. To activate, press the keys *3370# Your cell will restart with this reserve and the instrument will show a 50% increase in battery. This reserve will get charged when you charge your cell next time.

FOURTH Subject: How to disable a STOLEN mobile phone?

To check your Mobile phone’s serial number, key in the following digits on your phone: * # 0 6 # A 15 digit code will appear on the screen. This number is unique to your handset. Write it down and keep it somewhere safe. When your phone get stolen, you can phone your service provider and give them this code. They will then be able to block your handset so even if the thief changes the SIM card, your phone will be totally useless. You probably won’t get your phone back, but at least you know that whoever stole it can’t use/sell it either. If everybody does this, there would be no point in people stealing mobile phones.

And Finally…. FIFTH Subject:

Cell phone companies are charging us $1.00 to $1.75 or more for 411 information calls when they don’t have to. Most of us do not carry a telephone directory in our vehicle, which makes this situation even more of a problem. When you need to use the 411 information option, simply dial: (800) FREE 411, or (800) 373-3411 without incurring any charge at all. Program this into your cell phone now.


Skinny Health Plans Are Still an Option – Despite Penalty

‘Skinny’ Health Plans Are Still an Option – Despite Penalty By: Kathy Coughlin, President

As the implications of health care reform become more apparent, large employers
(more than 50 employees) are increasingly struggling with coverage options
to avoid the penalties and minimize cost at the same time.

There is an added challenge for employers with low wages and high turnover
that have traditionally not offered health coverage in the past.
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), employer-provided coverage is considered “unaffordable” if:
 It costs more than 9.5 percent of the employee’s W-2 wages, or
 It doesn’t cover an average of 60 percent of the employee’s medical expenses.

Once the ACA employer mandate takes effect in 2015, if an employer with the equivalent of 50 or more
full-time workers does not provide affordable coverage to full-time workers (based on a 30-hour work
week), those workers can shop for insurance through a public exchange and may qualify for a federal premium
subsidy or tax credit. An employer would face a penalty of $3,000 per each full-time worker who
receives a subsidy/credit.

Keep in mind, affordability penalty is separate from the “pay or play” employer mandate to provide health
coverage or pay a penalty of $2,000 per each full-time employee.

One option some employers are looking at is the offer of a “skinny” or non-minimum-value plan. This is a
group health plan that provides medical care but may not satisfy the 60 percent minimum actuarial value
threshold under the ACA, which mandates that plan participants pay no more than 40 percent of covered
medical expenses.

If an employer offers a plan that is not minimum value (“skinny”), an employee may apply for a federal subsidy
or tax credit for coverage purchased through a public health care exchange, and this could trigger a
penalty for the employer of $3,000 per each full-time employee that receives a subsidy/credit. But this
penalty would be lower than the penalty associated with not offering any health plan at all (the “play or
pay” $2,000 penalty times every full-time employee).

Many employers with low-wage/high turnover employees are considering a “skinny” health plan as a viable
alternative. It allows employers to satisfy the ACA’s “play or pay” coverage requirement and avoid the
larger penalty associated with that option. It, therefore, minimizes the risk financially. Also, if employees
accept the “skinny” plan, they will not themselves be penalized with the individual mandate’s tax penalty
currently in effect for not having coverage—in some respects, a win-win for both employee and employer.

A second strategy is to offer two plans: (1) a “skinny plan”, and (2) a richer option with a minimum actuarial
value over 60 percent and a premium contribution cost that just barely meets the ACA’s 9.5 percent
wage threshold, which few low-income employees are expected to take because of the cost. This strategy
enables employees to opt for the “skinny plan” that they can afford, while the offer of the richer option
protects the employer from the “play or pay” penalties.
Volume 8, Issue 4 Latest in HR news and alerts

HR Happenings
‘Skinny’ Health Plans Are Still an Option – Despite Penalty (cont’d)

A third strategy is to simply offer the richer option and allow it to be unaffordable. For example, the plan
could be offered on a fully contributory (i.e., employee pays all) or nearly fully contributory basis. This
strategy avoids the “play or pay” penalty, although the employer is still liable for the unaffordable penalty,
but only with respect to those employees that apply and are granted a premium subsidy or tax credit.
At this point no one really knows what the best approach is when the employer mandates take effect in
2015 as far as reducing cost and liability. The skinny plans may not provide sufficient coverage to satisfy
the “minimum essential coverage” criteria, which under current regulations seems a possibility. Eventually,
these plans may not be viable, but for now all options are being considered – especially employers in industries
with high-turnover and low wages.

Final Rule Limits Health Care Enrollment Wait to 90 Days
A final rule under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), published in the Federal Register
on Feb. 24, 2014, clarifies how to apply the 90-day maximum limit that employers
can impose before health coverage becomes effective. A new proposed rule
would extend the waiting period by an additional month for a bona fide employment-
based orientation period. The 90-day limit under the final rule is effective for
plan years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2015.

Under the final rule, after an individual is determined to be otherwise eligible for
coverage under the terms of the plan, any waiting period may not extend beyond
90 days, and all calendar days are counted beginning on the enrollment date, including
weekends and holidays.

The rule does not require the plan sponsor to offer coverage to any particular individual or class of individuals
(such as part-time employees); rather, it prohibits requiring otherwise-eligible individuals to wait
more than 90 days before coverage becomes effective.
Being otherwise eligible to enroll in a plan means having met the plan’s substantive eligibility conditions (for
example, being in an eligible job classification, achieving job-related licensure requirements specified in the
plan’s terms, or satisfying a reasonable and bona fide employment-based orientation period).
Kathy Coughlin, President

Other conditions for eligibility are generally permissible, such as meeting certain sales goals, earning a certain
level of commission or successfully completing an orientation period.
Latest in HR news and alerts April 2014
Page 2