All Your Group Insurance Needs in One Place

 

Medical Mutual is known for our comprehensive employee health plans. But what you may not know is, we also offer dental, vision and life & disability coverage for companies just like yours. With an all-inclusive benefits package, you can attract and retain talent, while keeping your employees and bottom line healthy. 

Here are some of the benefits of our various product offerings that you can enjoy as a COSE member:

Dental

• Access to one of Ohio’s largest dental networks – Our SuperDental network has grown by more than 60 percent, granting you access to the general practitioners, periodontists, prosthodontists, orthodontists and oral surgeons that you and your employees want and need. 

• Benefits starting right away – Forget about unforgiving waiting periods. With our dental plans, you and your employees’ benefits start as soon as your group is eligible. Once you sign with us, you’re covered.

• No “missing tooth” clause – This means that even if your employees have missing or damaged teeth before coverage starts, the procedure to fix them will still be covered under our plan when they become a member. This is a benefit not seen with most other carriers. 

• Adult orthodontia offered on a standard basis – Most dental plans only offer child orthodontia on a standard basis. With Medical Mutual dental plans, children and adults get standard coverage for procedure like braces, Invisalign and more.

Vision

• Access to one of the largest eye care provider networks – Medical Mutual partners with VSP® Vision Care to offer vision plans to groups of all sizes. The VSP network includes retail providers, private optometrists and ophthalmologists, even in your local Costco or neighborhood Pearle Vision and more.  

• Discount for COSE members – If you are a Medical Mutual/COSE enrollee and choose not to elect an insured vision benefit, you will still receive savings in the form of a VSP Vision Savings Pass. Save on out-of-pocket costs like eye care, glasses, contacts or more. 

Life & Disability 

• Benefits offered on both a group-sponsored or voluntary basis – Through Medical Mutual’s subsidiary, MedMutual Life, you and your employees loved one’s can have peace of mind and financial protection in the event of unforeseen circumstances. Here are your plan options as a COSE member:

a. Group-sponsored plan - If you choose a group-sponsored plan for your employees, you pay at least 25 percent of the cost of the insurance and meet a minimum enrollment based on the number of people you employ. The benefits that are offered with this plan are life and accidental death and dismemberment insurance (AD&D), dependent life insurance and both short- and long-term disability insurance. 

b. Voluntary plan – If you choose to elect a voluntary plan, it is fully paid for by your employees and does not have a minimum enrollment requirement. This plan offers life insurance and short-term disability insurance only. 

As with our health plans, all our other products grant you access to our Ohio-based Sales and Customer Care teams to offer you personalized and efficient service. Contact your broker or your Medical Mutual Sales representative to learn more about offering an all-inclusive benefits package to your employees. 

 

 

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  • Next up: An Employers Guide to Preventing Workplace Theft
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  • An Employers Guide to Preventing Workplace Theft

    As a business owner you may not be aware that even small thefts can have a large negative impact on your business. Have you ever had days where your cash register is a little short? Does it seem like you are replacing office supplies more often than usual? Maybe you’re finding materials or items missing? These are all examples of employee theft. Studies show that employee theft outpaces shoplifting by customers, by more than eight times!  It’s been reported that the median loss total for companies nationwide was $160,000. And, small businesses are even more susceptible to theft than larger ones due in part to the fact that small companies usually have fewer anti-theft measures, policies and procedures in place.

    As a business owner you may not be aware that even small thefts can have a large negative impact on your business. Have you ever had days where your cash register is a little short? Does it seem like you are replacing office supplies more often than usual? Maybe you’re finding materials or items missing? These are all examples of employee theft. Studies show that employee theft outpaces shoplifting by customers, by more than eight times!  It’s been reported that the median loss total for companies nationwide was $160,000. And, small businesses are even more susceptible to theft than larger ones due in part to the fact that small companies usually have fewer anti-theft measures, policies and procedures in place.

    Charging an employee with a crime can be very difficult, especially if the person is a trusted, long-time worker whose motive may be desperation or compulsion. As a business owner, you need to have policies and procedures in place to handle the situation without emotions, and deal with employee theft. This protects you and minimizes any potential liability.

    So what do you do if you suspect an employee is stealing? First, decide whether to conduct an internal investigation or to call in outside expertise. An internal investigation may cost less, but an important consideration is whether you have the resources and experience to conduct the internal investigation fairly and without bias. An outside firm may be better equipped to deal with the investigation. Remember, the word “theft” is a mine field all by itself.  Used in the wrong circumstances it could expose your company to litigation, a defamation claim or worse. It’s better to accuse the employee of “violating company policy” or of a “cash handling violation” than accusing them of “theft”. Either way, you must conduct an investigation and here are some specific tips to consider when dealing with suspected employee theft:

    • Have policies and procedures in place and make sure every employee knows them.  Let employees know that ANY theft will be dealt with seriously, severely and harshly, including immediate termination if that’s your policy, even if the infraction is small.
    • Do your due diligence before hiring employees.  Conduct a thorough background check to determine whether the applicant had trouble with past employers or has a criminal record. Follow up on all references and make sure that there are no character issues or concerns.
    • Always investigate claims of employee theft as thoroughly as possible. Let employees know that the issue is taken seriously and will not be tolerated. Interview all employees to determine what is known about a particular theft incident. Gather facts and corroborate any accusations. Don’t rely on the testimony of any one individual.
    • If employee theft has been documented, you must follow through with discipline. Whatever discipline system you establish, you must use it consistently to avoid any claims of discrimination. Review the employee’s past disciplinary record to see whether there have been other incidents and warnings. Evaluate the severity of the conduct and the likelihood that the employee will engage in similar behavior in the future.  Determine whether the employee poses a risk for retaliation or physical harm to you, your employees or to the business. If so, take steps to mitigate the risk.
    • Make sure your evidence is strong. Video is preferred, but witnesses can also work. Gather facts and compile documentation; audit computer files, financial records; preserve evidence, such as documents, computer files and e-mails; and maintain a chain of custody to prove the evidence wasn’t tampered with. Document all steps and summarize your interviews. The investigative report may be important in the event of any subsequent legal action. Evaluate whether to administer a lie detector test. The Federal Employee Polygraph Protection Act governs the use of polygraph exams in the workplace.
    • You will probably want to terminate the employee’s employment immediately. Make sure the method you use to document the termination follows your company policy and check to see if there are any issues that must also be addressed such as contracts, collective bargaining agreements, union representatives that need to be notified, etc.  In a union setting, an employee has the right to have a union representative or co-worker (not a lawyer) present during any interview that the employee expects could result in discipline.
    • Notify the police. If you have insurance covering employee theft, a police report will be needed.
    • Don’t deduct anything from the employee’s final paycheck. There may be state restrictions governing this.
    • Don’t discuss the situation with other employees or outsiders.
    • If your employee chooses to leave immediately while you are terminating them, have someone else contact the police. If you fear for your safety or the safety of your workplace, hire an outside firm who can be armed to escort them off premises.

    Prevention and preparation are important. You must have a policy in place that outlines procedures to be followed. Let employees know that any dishonest acts come with serious consequences. Advise employees that if they know of another employee’s dishonesty and fail to report it, they can be subject to discipline as well.

    Timothy A. Dimoff is founder and president of SACS Consulting and Investigative Services, Inc. a high risk security firm that specializes in security and vulnerability assessments and workplace violence issues. If you have any issues, SACS Consulting, Inc. can help you develop or modify your company policy / handbook.  Our personnel are professionally trained in employee theft, drug and alcohol at work issues, non-physical crisis intervention, verbal de-escalation, nonviolent confrontation management, and employee protection techniques, as well as assistance and training for management and supervisory personnel., Corporate headquarters is located at Canal Place, Suite 2516, 520 S. Main St., Akron, OH 44311. Telephone: 330-255-1101. Website:  www.sacsconsulting.com.  

    Our goal is always to reduce the potential threat of workplace violence and reduce potential liability to your business.

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  • Next up: An Innovative Approach to Workplace Wellness
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  • An Innovative Approach to Workplace Wellness

    In case you missed COSE’s webinar featuring the new workplace wellness program, Better You Better Ohio, from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, we’re bringing you the highlights and a chance to view the full presentation, which you will find if you scroll to the bottom of this article.

    John Wilton of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation gave an informative COSE WebEd Series presentation recently on the new Better You Better Ohio health and wellness program offered through the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (OBWC). Having launched February 1, this program is already impacting employers and employees in Ohio.

    Wilton shared a variety of statistics on the state of well-being in Ohio, including that 31.5% of people are obese, 29.5% of people are physically inactive and Ohio has one of the highest rates of drug-related deaths in America. It’s OBWC’s goal to help impact some of these numbers that are affecting employers and employees across the state.

    What is it and who is eligible?

    Better You Better Ohio is a comprehensive wellness program offered at no cost to employers or their workers and is a simple, paperwork-free process. This program is available for Ohio employers with 50 or fewer employees in the following industries:

    • Agriculture;
    • automotive;
    • construction;
    • firefighters;
    • healthcare;
    • manufacturing;
    • public employers;
    • restaurant and food service;
    • transportation and trucking;
    • trash collection;
    • wholesale and retail; and
    • police and public safety.

    The benefits of Better You Better Ohio

    Health and wellness programs have proven to positively impact well-being in the workplace. Some of the benefits include:

    • Early identification of an illness or issue before it strikes an employee;
    • prevention of an injury or increased speed of recovery from an injury;
    • lower workers’ compensation claims;
    • reduced healthcare and insurance costs of employees and employers;
    • increased morale within the workplace; and
    • reduced time away from work due to an injury or illness.

    The Better You Better Ohio program is innovatively designed and tailored to employees. It uses proven, effective wellness program elements, including:

    • Monetary incentives such as gift cards for participation;
    • the ability to do everything online and at the employee’s convenience; and
    • a private and confidential approach to collecting information and establishing appropriate well-being strategies with participants.

    How does the program work?

    The company running the program, ActiveHealth, is an experienced and nationally recognized health management company that collaborates with employers, health plans, governments and providers. They are currently working with over 32 million people to help them live their healthiest lives. Here’s a breakdown of how the program works in four easy steps:

    Step 1: Upfront testing. This is a two-part process that starts with an online risk assessment, which takes about 15 minutes for the participant to complete. The assessment is followed by a biometric screening that can be done by an outside company, your doctor, or through the use of an at-home kit.

    Step 2: Education plans. Once the information is collected from the assessment and screening, ActiveHealth can provide the participant with a tailored awareness, education and training plan.

    Step 3: Well-being resources. Participants will have access to personalized health coaching and a nurse advice line, as well as a plethora of online resources.

    Step 4: Lifestyle programs. Employees can earn additional incentives by participating in coaching calls and lifestyle and disease management programs to get a better understanding of their issues and establish specific strategies to improve their health.

    OBWC and Better You Better Ohio are here to help employers have a better workforce, and they want to partner with you to assist your employees in reaching their peak performance. In order to help spread the word about the program, OBWC can come out to speak to your employees directly. They will also provide online resources, articles and advice that employers can print and post in common areas in their business or send personally to their staff.

    The full recap of this webinar can be viewed below. Also, be sure to head over to COSE’s Events Page to discover other upcoming events that can help your business grow.


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  • Next up: Webinar: Anatomy of a Perfect Job Posting
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  • Webinar: Anatomy of a Perfect Job Posting

    From an enticing headline to a perfectly worded job description to the expert delivery of your ad, CareerBoard President Richard Padgett explains how to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to writing job ads.


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  • Next up: Anatomy of a Perfect Job Posting
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  • Anatomy of a Perfect Job Posting

    From an enticing headline to a perfectly worded job description to the expert delivery of your ad, CareerBoard President Richard Padgett explains how to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to writing job ads.

    From an enticing headline to a perfectly worded job description to the expert delivery of your ad, CareerBoard President Richard Padgett explains how to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to writing job ads.


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  • Next up: Answering 7 Questions About Non-Compete and Non-Disclosure Agreements
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  • Answering 7 Questions About Non-Compete and Non-Disclosure Agreements

    Non-compete and non-disclosure agreements are valuable business tools, but it’s important to understand the distinction between the two. Here are seven frequently asked questions that clarify how these agreements work and why they’re important.

    Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and non-compete agreements, also called a non-competition agreement or covenant not to compete, have distinct purposes. Both documents, however, are restrictive covenants that limit what an employee can say or do, and (often) where they can and cannot work. These documents are designed to protect proprietary information and the company itself if an employee were to leave the company to work for a competitor.

    Lately, NDAs and non-competes have been getting a bit of a bad reputation. A recent story in the New York Times argued these documents can “take a person’s greatest professional assets—years of hard work and earned skills—and turn them into a liability” for employees. The piece claims employers have come to assert ownership over their employees’ work experience as well as their work, and that noncompete agreements in particular can keep employees “stuck” at a company, because the employees fear they won’t be able to get another job.

    The truth is, non-compete agreements and non-disclosure agreements are valuable tools for business owners—not because they force people to stay with you, but because they offer legal protection over the work that makes your company different and special. Poorly drafted or unreasonable agreements probably will be deemed unenforceable, but a well-crafted NDA or non-compete should not be. These agreements will respect your right to keep proprietary information protected, and respect an employee’s decision to take his or her career in a different direction.


    Common NDA and non-compete agreement questions

    There are many reasons you might decide to require your employees to sign either an NDA or a non-compete. It is important to understand the differences between these two documents and how they are enforced. Listed below are seven common questions people ask about these agreements.


    Q: What is the purpose of a non-compete agreement?


    A: A non-compete is an agreement in which one party agrees not to compete against the other party. In an employer-employee context, this refers to an employee being the recipient of the prohibition on competition and an employer being the protected party, who is using the non-compete agreement to protect her specific business within a specified geographic area for a specified length of time. A non-compete typically restricts an employee from working for a competitor for the length of time and within the geographic area mentioned in the contract. The language of a non-compete is usually contained within the employment contract.


    Q: What is the purpose of a non-disclosure agreement?

    A: A non-disclosure agreement (also referred to as a confidentiality agreement) between an employer and an employee prohibits the employee from disclosing any of the employer’s proprietary information, business processes, intellectual property, or knowledge assets.


    Q: Are non-competes and NDAs enforceable in Ohio?


    A: NDAs are generally enforceable in Ohio, provided the confidential information to be protected is properly defined and constitutes the employer’s proprietary information. Non-competition agreements are enforceable in Ohio, provided they are “reasonable.” The Ohio Supreme Court has held that non-competition agreements are reasonable (and thus, enforceable) in Ohio, if the employer can show that:

    1) the restrictions are no greater than necessary to protect the employer’s legitimate business interests; 

    2) they do not impose an undue hardship on the employee; and 

    3) the restrictions would not injure the public.  

    There are several important factors the Ohio courts consider in deciding whether to enforce non-competes, including, but not limited to, the geographic area covered by the restriction, the duration of the of the non-compete, whether the employee possesses confidential information or trade secrets of the employer and the likelihood the employee can find other employment if the non-competition agreement is enforced.


    Q: Is it legal for an employer to require an existing employee to sign a non-compete and/or a NDA to keep their job?


    A: Employers generally may make signing a non-compete or a NDA a condition of employment or of continued employment. There might be exceptions for employees who are already covered by individual employment contracts or union agreements.


    Q: What is a reasonable length of time and a reasonable geographic scope for a non-compete agreement?


    A: Courts often consider factors such as geographic scope, length of time and the nature of the duties restricted in relationship to one another. A broad geographic scope might be enforced if the duration of the non-compete is as short as a month, but a broad geographic scope coupled with a long period of time is not likely to be enforced. A court generally will not enforce a non-compete that prevents an employee from working in a region where the employer is not doing business.


    Q: Is a non-compete or NDA valid after I fire an employee?


    A: It depends on the document. If the document addresses what happens after an employee is fired, then it might be valid.


    Q:  What are non-solicitation agreements?


    A: Another instrument that can be useful to employers who are looking to protect their business’ intellectual property is a non-solicitation agreement. Non-solicitation agreements restrict an employee from soliciting the employees or customers of a business. For example, a super-star sales manager who leaves your company would not be able to solicit other team members to leave with them, nor would they be able to poach your customers or clients if the departing employee signed a non-solicitation agreement.


    Why these documents are important

    A story in The Balance highlights the biggest challenge with non-competition, non-disclosure and non-solicitation agreements: enforcement. Once the trade secret has been divulged, the employee has been solicited to leave, or a former employee’s competition has ruined a business, it takes a lengthy, costly legal process to recover damages and put that proverbial genie back into the bottle. 

    The Columbus CEO discusses the vital importance of enforcement, quoting a study that revealed less than half of the organizations in the study said their organizations take action when workers take sensitive information. When an employee leaves your organization and starts a new job that potentially violates the agreements they have signed, you may choose to send a “cease-and-desist” demand to the former employee’s new employer informing them of your former employee’s non-competition agreement. 

    The intention of this blog post is to give you a rough outline of NDAs and non-competition agreements. Whether it is appropriate or necessary for you to use one or both agreements, and what details they should include, should be a topic of conversation with your business attorney.

    For more information on this topic, contact Alex Gertsburg at 440-571-7775 or ag@gertsburglaw.com. Get more legal tips for your business on The Gertsburg Law Firm blog, with new articles every week.

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