Can tossing dental insurance make you a better employer?

Apparently there is more than one way to clean, fill, or whiten a tooth. I just ran across a new service that give you access to deeply discounted dental care. Given the current state of health care insurance and dental options this may be a great way to augment what your employer is or is not already offering. seems to be a mashup of 1-800-DENTIST as their providers are "hand picked", OpenTable for booking, and anti-dental insurance discount plan. Not only are they o.k. with flying in the face of Delta Dental with this service model, that is the whole point. Personally, the idea of negotiated fees paid directly to the dentist sounds great. I'll love to see how their program stacks up against the typical plan offer by small business employers.

Given the confusing nature of health insurance rethinking or abandoning insurance all together in strategic areas maybe smart. Some questions about the's offering remain unanswered:

Are enough dentists accepting the plan to give consumers enough choice?
A list of 12 dentists were offered to me for my zip code here in Santa Monica.

How can I sell my current dentist on becoming a provider?

How long before they have enough users to leverage buying power comparable entrenched insurance providers?

Can the negotiated fees I pay to the dentist be paid out of my Flexible Spending Account?
This could turbo charge the value brings to the table.

Since the program is currently free to offer to my staff can fund a tax advantaged account on behalf of my employees?

Does offering to my staff help me meet by Affordable Care Act requirements in 2014?

I hope to hear directly from the folks at for more insight. Would you consider paying directly for you dental work if deep discounts where part of the deal?


Virtual Wellness Program- What?

Thanks for joining us on Wellness Wednesday. Today Darien Hawkins delivers part 2 of his thoughts regarding virtual wellness plans for you mobile workforce.

With more employees working away from the office due to advances in technology, your organization needs a health and fitness wellness program that can deliver services to these team members. It is quite possible that those team members who are on flex schedules or working from remote locations, will need a wellness program more than ever! Employees who have not developed disciplines to live healthier lifestyles may become less active and prone to more health risks. This could have a negative impact on your organizations bottom line and increase your organizations health care expenditures. The solution, virtual health and fitness wellness programs. 

Virtual wellness programs use the latest technology to offer health and fitness wellness initiatives that encourage their team members to live healthier lifestyles....where ever they are.

Some benefits of having a virtual wellness program are:
- Your team members can participate in the program at their own pace. 
- Employees have access to various virtual health and fitness wellness initiatives.  
- Team members that work from home or remote locations will be able to utilize and reap the benefits of the virtual wellness programs.
- Large organizations can reach more employees and offer tools and resources at their fingertips. 
-Cost effective and time saving by allowing many of the on site services to be just a click away.

To create a virtual wellness program first and foremost you have to gain support from senior management. When senior management is on board, you must develop a plan that addresses the program goals and who you want the program to reach. After you have established your programs objectives, then you should select initiatives that best fit your team members and organizations needs and interest. 

Now that you have your wellness programs road map, select which technology platform you want use and how you want to integrate the program into your office infrastructure. Upon selection of a technology platform, input the wellness information that the program is to cover, make an announcement of the programs kick off date and then begin the program. Get ready to enjoy watching your company's employees becoming healthier and your company's health care expense start to lower!

It's no secret that healthy workers make more cents!

Avoid tax penalties by choosing the right payroll partner

Choosing to partner with a payroll firm to take on the administrative functions that occur when you have employees is a smart move. Investing a few minutes to ask key questions will help you avoid loosing money and incurring the ire of the IRS.

A resent article in the Wall Street Journal "When Payroll Firms Implode" tries to point out the downside of working with small payroll companies, instead what the author highlights is the need to ask better questions. The company you hire to process checks and pay taxes on your behalf should be under the same scrutiny as an employee. To minimize your chances of ending up like the business owners in the article here are some questions to ask when evaluating a 3rd party firm to deposit tax money on your behalf.

How often and by what means do you notify clients about their ability to see that you have made tax payments in a timely manner?

As a business, once you register for an EIN or TIN you will automatically be enrolled in the IRS EFTPS. You can see all tax payments that have been made to your account with the IRS whether by you or a 3rd part agent remitting tax dollars for you. Your payroll company is required to notify you of this fact and provide information so that you can take a look any time you choose.

Do you have any insurance policies in place to protect me from you?

I am always surprised that more business owners don't ask questions like this. It is well worth the expense of a company to put clients at ease by have coverage for them. A policy covering client losses due to criminal activity of the firm or it's staff is a good place to start. In addition, insurance covering errors and omissions specific to tax payments made to a client's tax account with the Feds and State is in order. 

Do you handle your own tax filing for your clients?

You have outsourced your payroll administration to a company who further outsources the tax payment process to a 4th party that you have not clue about. If something goes wrong that just adds one more layer you have to weed through to get YOUR tax liability issue resolved. Even when everything is running smoothly and you have a tax question you will have to wait for the company you hired to get answers from the company they hired to make payments to the IRS and State collection agencies. No thanks, the buck should stop with the company you hire or finds someone else. 

What questions would you ask of a potential payroll provider as it relates to tax payments?