Archive for the ‘Federal legislation’ Category
Key Affordable Care Act co-op operating in Illinois faces insolvency. Land of Lincoln Health, which believes it is the second largest provider of individual health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act (50,000 consumers enrolled), owes an eight-figure sum in risk adjustment payments based upon operations undertaken by the co-op and its competitors in 2015. The Illinois Department of Insurance has ordered the health insurance co-op to cease writing new insurance business. Acting Insurance Agency Director Anne Melissa Dowling has informed federal authorities that Land of Lincoln’s books need immediate action “to prevent an immediate liquidation” of the troubled insurer.
The Affordable Care Act contains complex provisions intended to both encourage and discourage new entries into the ACA insurance market. In particular, complex subsections of the law encouraged the setup of health insurance cooperatives in many regions of the United States. Other subsections of the law created a convoluted system of “risk adjustment payments” owed by some insurers to other firms. Risk adjustment payments are supposed to provide compensatory benefits to insurers who have sick patients and present costly diagnostic codes.
During the short period of time since the ACA went into full operation, the risk adjustment policy subsection of the ACA has extracted hundreds of millions of dollars in net payments from health insurance co-ops. More than half of the co-ops operating under the ACA (13 of 23) have gone under, and Land of Lincoln is one of the remaining 10.
|PRESIDENT||Hillary Clinton||Donald J. Trump|
|US SENATE||Tammy Duckworth||Mark Kirk*|
|IL COMPTROLLER||Susana Mendoza||Leslie Geissler Munger*|
|6||Peter Roskam*||Amanda Howland|
|8||Raja Krishnamoorthi (Schaumburg)||Peter DiCianni (Elmhurst)|
|11||Bill Foster* (Naperville)||Tonia Khouri (Aurora)|
|14||Jim Walz (Gurnee)||Randy M. Hultgren* (Winfield)|
|IL STATE SENATE|
|25||Corinne Pierog (St. Charles)||Jim Oberweis* (Sugar Grove)|
|35||—||Dave Syverson* (Rockford)|
|38||Christine Benson (Ottawa)||Sue Rezin* (Morris)|
|48||Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant* (Shorewood)||Michelle Smith (Plainfield)|
|IL STATE HOUSE|
|41||—||Grant Wehrli* (Naperville)|
|50||—||Keith Wheeler* (Oswego)|
|65||—||Steven Andersson* (Geneva)|
|70||—||Robert Pritchard* (Hinckley)|
|75||Martha Shugart (Morris)||John Anthony* (Plainfield)|
|81||Greg Hose (Downers Grove)||Ron Sandack* (Downers Grove)|
|82||—||Jim Durkin* (Western Springs)|
|83||Linda Chapa LaVia* (Aurora)||—|
|84||Stephanie Kifowit* (Aurora)||Mike Strick (Naperville)|
|97||—||Mark Batinick* (Plainfield)|
|Coroner||Tao Martinez||Rob Russell*|
|Board District 2||Theresa Barreiro*||—|
|Board District 4||Angela Clay Thomas||—|
|Board District 6||Brian Dahl*||—|
|Board District 8||Barbara Hernandez||—|
|Board District 10||Todd Zies||Susan Starrett*|
|Board District 18||—||Drew Frasz*|
In addition to the Presidential primary and convention delegate selection on Tuesday, March 15, there are a number of statewide and local primaries of importance to the region.
U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R) faces a challenge from James Marter. For the Democratic nomination, U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth faces challenges from State Rep. Napoleon Harris and Andrea Zopp.
In the sixth district, Congressman Peter Roskam (R) faces challenger Gordon Kinzler while Democrats Robert Marshall and Amanda Howland seek to challenge him in November.
Congressman Bill Foster (D) has no challengers in the primary, however Tonia Khouri, Herman White, and Nick Stella face each other next month for the Republican nomination.
Democrats Jim Walz, John Hosta, and Jesse Maggitt seek a primary win to challenge Congressman Randy Hutlgren (R-14) in the November election.
As for the General Assembly, no primary challengers have filed for local races. However, some local state legislators will face opposition in November:
|Senate 25||Jim Oberweis (i)||Corinne Pierog|
|Senate 35||Dave Syverson (i)|
|Senate 38||Sue Rezin (i)||Christine Benson|
|Senate 49||Michelle Smith||Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (i)|
|House 41||Grant Wehrli (i)|
|House 49||Mike Fortner (i)|
|House 50||Keith Wheeler (i)|
|House 65||Steven Andersson (i)|
|House 70||Robert Pritchard (i)|
|House 75||John Anthony (i)||Marth Shugart|
|House 83||Linda Chapa LaVia (i)|
|House 84||Mike Strick||Stephanie Kifowit (i)|
|House 97||Mark Batinick (i)|
To see if you are registered to vote – or to locate your primary location, visit the State Board of Elections website at https://www.elections.il.gov/infoforvoters.aspx.
Arkadiy Konyukhov, MD, has joined Advocate Dreyer in the neurology department. Konyukhov obtained his medical education at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit and completed his neurology residency and neurophysiology fellowship at Detroit Medical Center.
Jean Walsh, DO, has joined Advocate Dreyer in the family medicine department. Walsh completed her medical education and residency training in family practice at Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine in Downers Grove. She is board certified in family practice as well as in hyperbaric medicine which is used in wound care.
Better Transit for Fox Valley started last month which means traveling with Pace has gotten easier with later, more frequent service and routing designed to better serve passengers in the region. The streamlined network with more direct routes is easier to understand and simplifies transfers between routes. New destinations are included; most service now runs until 8:00 p.m. or later. A map of the restructured Fox Valley network may be viewed by clicking this link.
Congressman Bill Foster will be holding a panel discussion on dealing with emerging cybersecurity threats. With the advanced tactics used by hackers and new threats constantly emerging, it can be difficult for businesses to ensure their clients’ data is secure. Join Congressman Foster for a discussion on best practices to make sure your business is safe Tuesday, Nov. 10, from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. at 4245 Meridian Parkway, second floor, Aurora. To register for this event visit foster.house.gov/cybersecurity
Engineering Enterprises, Inc. has announced the addition of Christa L. Van’t Hul, EI, project engineer, to their environmental group. A graduate of Iowa State University, she holds bachelor’s of degree in civil engineering with an environmental emphasis and environmental studies. She brings previous environmental permitting and research work experience with her.
Join Digital Alliance for a Ribbon Cutting and Open House on Wednesday, Nov. 18, from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. with the ribbon cutting at 3:45 p.m. at 971 W. Industrial Dr. Aurora. Refreshments, raffles and tours will be held. Excited to be in Aurora, they look forward to sharing a creative experience with you and invite you to bring your family and friends and help celebrate. Digital Alliance is a turn-key creative branding agency with in-house production company capabilities. The Alliance is comprised of emerging media entrepreneurs who specialize in providing individuals and businesses with four principal services; in a rapidly evolving media landscape, Digital Alliance is an invaluable resource for clients that cuts the middle-man out of creative work and provides a custom, near “in-house” marketing experience.
On Wednesday, Nov. 18, Rep. Keith Wheeler welcomes NFIB/Illinois State Director Kim Maisch to Alarm Detection Systems to discuss the ongoing battle to reform Illinois’ economic and fiscal policies. There is no cost to attend the Nov. 18 event which will be held from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. at Alarm Detection Systems Training Center, 1115 Church Rd, Aurora.
Oswego School District #308 works hard to be a primary source of information for the communities it serves, and those efforts are paying off according to experts in school public relations. The school district recently won four awards from the Illinois Chapter of the National School Public Relations Association (INSPRA) for communication efforts with employees, parents, and the public.
SCORE Fox Valley will be holding a workshop on “Is Twitter Right for Your Business” on Tuesday, Nov. 10, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Illinois Institute of Technology, Wheaton.
VNA Health Care is seeking volunteers to provide assistance for its wellness programs at 400 N. Highland Avenue in Aurora. Volunteers are needed to make and deliver soup to homebound patients, lead walking clubs, teach fitness classes, and assist with administrative tasks at the wellness classes. VNA also needs a volunteer to assist with volunteer coordination and scheduling. Bi-lingual in English and Spanish is preferred. Volunteers will provide their own transportation to deliver the soup. A short training session is required to work in the kitchen. For more information, call (630) 892-4355, ext. 8058.
Weblinx, Inc. of Oswego, has received a Gold Davey Award by The Academy of Interactive and Visual Art to honor the firm’s work on the redesigned Chicago Meat Authority website. More than 4,000 entries were submitted, and 34 agencies were honored with gold awards in the website design category. CEO Andy Clements credited the firm’s creative team for the award-winning website. “We are honored that our work was selected by The Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts to receive a Gold Davey Award,” Clements said. “Our creative team deserves the credit for a successful launch of the redesigned Chicago Meat Authority website. Many thanks to the Chicago Meat Authority for partnering with Weblinx.”
It’s fair to say Illinois’ taxpayers are well-versed in the art of paying taxes, but how much does the state government collect in taxes per capita? And how do we compare to other states?
The Tax Foundation, a non-partisan research think tank, answered these questions by calculating how much each state collects in state taxes per person. While Illinois has the second highest property tax rate in the U.S., the Tax Foundation did not include property taxes in its analysis since they’re assessed and collected at the local level.
Even when local taxes are excluded, Illinois still rakes in more taxes per person than all of its neighboring states at $3,008 — the 14th highest in the U.S. It’s important to note the data used by the Tax Foundation is from fiscal year 2013, which is the most recent available and also when the 5 percent temporary income tax hike was in effect.
From the Tax Foundation:
Tax collections per capita is not a measure of tax burdens per se. (We look at tax burdens separately.) In a state with high per capita incomes, a higher per capita tax burden may work out to similar burden as a percentage of income as experienced in a state that is less well off. It does, however, offer us a window on the cost of government in any given state. If we think of each resident as a consumer of state services, per capita tax collections gives us the per person cost. Individual taxpayer liability will, of course, vary—especially if the state can export its collections.
Here’s how much Illinois and its neighboring states collect in taxes per capita:
- $1,846 per person
- No. 45 overall
- $2,465 per person
- No. 31 overall
- $2,522 per person
- No. 28 overall
- $2,583 per person
- No. 25 overall
- $2,717 per person
- No. 20 overall
- $2,880 per person
- No. 18 overall
- $3,008 per person
- No. 14 overall
As mentioned above, these figures don’t take into consideration property taxes nor state-local tax burdens. The latter measures the percentage of income taxpayers in each state pay in state and local taxes. Additionally, Truth in Accounting’s latest “Financial State of the States” report shows Illinois — at $45,000 — has the highest “Taxpayer Burden” in the Midwest and third highest in the nation.
More from the Tax Foundation:
State tax collections per capita can vary for a variety of reasons, and sometimes collections are modest in states with above-average state products. Lower taxes in some states may correlate with greater economic growth, and beyond that, states where the majority of residents are well-off may have fewer governmental expenses than those which need to dedicate more resources to anti-poverty programs, even after federal transfers are taken into account.
(Click to enlarge image)
Proposed DOL Changes Impact Small and Large Businesses Alike; Now What Do You Do?
The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) recently announced a proposed rule to increase the minimum salary requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act for exempt employees. Do you have employees that make under $50,000? Do they ever answer emails at night? If you answered yes, and the rule goes into effect, you may have to pay overtime for that email. Whether you have 10 or 10,000 employees the proposed changes will substantially impact the way you do business. The proposed rule sets forth guidance and requests comment on the following proposed changes:
- Set the minimum salary level to qualify for the white collar exemptions at 40% of the national weekly earnings for full-time salaried employees ($921 per week or $47,892 annually but expected to increase to $970 a week and $50,440 annually in 2016);
- Increase the minimum salary for Highly Compensated Employees to 90% of the national weekly earnings of full-time salaried workers ($122,148 annually);
- Establish a mechanism for automatically updating the minimum salary to meet the exemption on a yearly basis. While the proposed rule sets forth different types of mechanisms for calculating the automatic update (using a fixed percentile of wage earnings or using the CPI-U (an economic indicator for measuring inflation)) they do not identify which mechanism will be utilized.
The proposed rule is subject to a required comment period and will not go into effect until that period has ended. However, employers must be cognizant of the proposed salary increases and begin contemplating how this is going to affect your current workforce.
In light of the proposed regulations, employers should analyze the following:
- How many of your current employees will be affected by this new rule?
- Is a salary increase for those who do not currently meet the salary requirement a plausible financial decision to the required increases?
- Are there job positions that should now be reclassified as non-exempt?
- Analyzing current email and electronic communication practices to ascertain how often employee work at night and on the weekends.
- Reviewing handbooks and policies regarding exempt and non-exempt status.
- Reviewing benefits applicable to exempt and non-exempt employees and how a change in status may impact the benefits to your employees.
Employers have options regarding these Proposed DOL Changes; however, in order to determine which options are the most financially and operationally feasible, it is important to begin the review process now during the budgeting period and before end of the year reviews. The legwork now will save your pocketbook some heartache later.
Julie Proscia is an equity partner at SmithAmundsen who assists business owners and management with their Labor and Employment needs. For more information or assistance, please contact Julie.
The Illinois Senate has approved a bill, SB 2042, to appropriate the federal funds allocated to Illinois in FY16 for spending and use. Programs that operate senior centers, Women, Infants and Children supplemental nutrition efforts, adult education programs, and home weatherization assistance offices are among the programs funded by federal grants that are funneled through the State. These programs may be able to maintain some of their operations with the help of this bill.
SB 2042, as amended, is scheduled to be voted on by the Illinois House next week. Complex appropriations issues may make it necessary to further amend the measure in the House. These federal funds, which total nearly $5 billion, are separate from the money paid by Illinois taxpayers to the State. This State of Illinois “general funds” budget remains approximately $4 billion out of balance, with no solution to this section of the State’s budget woes in sight. The Senate voted unanimously (57-0-0) on Tuesday, August 4, to pass the bill. Action by the Illinois House would be required to further move this bill forward.