Insurance

Capstone Group Announces Partnership with the MidAtlantic Employers' Association (MEA)

Capstone Group Announces Partnership with the MidAtlantic Employers' Association (MEA)


Capstone Group formalizes strategic partnership with MidAtlantic Employers’ Association (MEA) to provide organizations with access to a comprehensive suite of Human Resources (HR) service

Not Even Dragons Can Ward Off Cyber Attacks: HBO Hacked

This week, HBO received a video letter from hackers threatening to release confidential internal documents, including emails and Game of Thrones materials such as scripts, the cast's personal information and even alleged possession of unreleased episodes. The hackers demand a ransom of several million dollars in bitcoin to prevent further release of the stolen data. 

The hack is akin to the crack of Sony's network in 2014, leaking "thousands of embarrassing emails and released personal information, including salaries and social security numbers, of nearly 50,000 current and former Sony employees." Though the chaos inflicted to HBO falls short of this breach, though the risk of the information leaking would impose a large liability for the network. In its efforts to prevent further leaks, HBO has enlisted "round the clock outside cybersecurity firms and law enforcement resolve the incident," to prevent further breach and the public release of this stolen information. 

Cybersecurity is an evermore important subject. From small businesses to large TV networks, the risk of a data breach is stronger than ever and it is important to take cautionary measures when handling sensitive data (especially when it may contain details on the latest conquests of Queen Daenerys and the King in the North). 

"The global cyber market is estimated to be worth $3 billion to $3.5 billion, according to Lloyd’s. PricewaterhouseCoopers, on the other hand, forecasts a potential value of $7.5 billion by 2020."

You can read more about the hack of HBO's network here and here. (No spoilers on the show, we promise.)

Photo source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/142314069@N04/28291657225

Obamacare and the Cadillac tax

The Cadillac tax is already proving to be a pressing concern for employers although it does not come into effect until 2018.

The Affordable Care Act, more commonly referred to as Obamacare, has been controversial since it was signed into law in March of 2010. The controversy has not stopped since its major provisions took effect last January, with criticism coming from both political parties, as well as businesses whose health insurance and benefits coverage were affected. 

The latest worry about Obamacare is the "Cadillac tax" that is to take effect in 2018. The point of the Cadillac tax is to generate revenue to fund the federal government's expansion of health care to all American citizens. This tax on health benefits is the first of its kind and is estimated to impact one in four employers when the tax begins in 2018, and that number will steadily grow with time. A big concern with this tax is about flexible spending accounts, which allow people to save their money for certain out-of-pocket health care costs completely tax free and their use has been encouraged by many employers because of the cost effectiveness. However, FSAs will most likely be one of the first benefits cut as companies scramble to avoid the 40% excise tax applied to benefits worth more than $10,200 for individuals and $27,500 for families. Besides the possible cut of FSAs, employees might also be hit with other cost-saving strategies by their employers such as a decrease in the number of available health plans, an increase in deductible limits, and a narrower selection of doctors and hospitals offered...an overall cutback in benefits.

Although the tax is not going to take effect until 2018, pressure to change it is already coming from both politicians and business owners. A coalition of public and private employers called "Alliance to fight the 40" has come together to urge the members of Congress to repeal the Cadillac tax. Even though the tax faces a good amount of opposition from Democrats, and is universally opposed by Republicans, changes will most likely have to wait until President Obama leaves the White House. 

Read more here!

For more information on Obamacare taxes