Email Safety Tips – A Must Read for Every Employee

From MePush

See original article from MePush website.

EMAIL IS THE #1 THREAT

Hi, this is Andy Gritzer with MePush.  I just wanted to send out an email to assist with email safety.

Unfortunately, email has become the biggest concern regarding virus related incidents.  While there are measures in place to catch most viruses (spam filters and antivirus) the easiest way to prevent them is through proper handling of spam/malicious email.

I will assume that most of you receive spam email.  Spam filters will catch about 99% of spam that flows to your organization.  It’s the ones that get through that we need to worry about.  Below are some tips on how to avoid compromising your accounts, your computer, and your company’s network.  Really, all it comes down to is being aware and diligent.

Example of an organization’s spam filter statistics is in the below picture

 

 

NOTE:  I will use the terms “spoofing” and “phishing”.  Spoofing is a fraudulent practice in which an unknown source sends communication disguised as a known source.  Phishing is when an unknown source attempts to acquire information such as account credentials or credit card information.

Just because it says it’s from John Smith does NOT mean it is from John Smith.  You may receive an odd email from someone you have constant contact with.  Remember to look at the email address it is from and NOT just the name.  It might show John’s return address as “[email protected]” (just an example) when the reality his email address is [email protected]

That being said we are at the point where there are a lot of spam/fake/phishing emails being sent via “spoofed” addresses.  The name AND email address will look proper.  It will say it is from John Smith with an email address of [email protected]  But when you hit reply it goes to another account completely.  Anyone can spoof anyone.  Which makes it very difficult to determine what is legitimate or not.  Also, check to make sure the signature (if there is one) matches the sender.

 

 

I am not trying to scare you; just please assume anything that comes in with a link or attachment is NOT legitimate.  Make sure you cover your bases when opening attachments from known senders and especially UNKNOWN senders.

Were you expecting [email protected] to send you a document?  Does the document pertain to something you do at your workplace or a shared interest?  If not, do NOT open it.  Contact the sender and inquire about it to make sure before opening.  A lot of times the sender or the sender’s organization was compromised at one point and you might just be receiving spoofed emails.

You receive an email from Microsoft, Google, DocuSign, etc. asking you for your account credentials. These can look very legitimate.  No self-respecting company would every ask you provide your login credentials to them.  They have them already.  A dead giveaway is if you happen to click on the link and it takes you to a landing page asking to select what type of account (Microsoft, yahoo, google, adobe) and to enter your email address and password.  Also, ask yourself, do I even have an Office 365 account?  If not, then chances are it’s a scam/phishing email.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you oversee finances never make a requested wire transfer or open a random invoice.  These phishing experts target specific people/positions within companies.  They will get the name of the CEO, send an email that looks like it is from the CEO to the CFO requesting a money transfer.  Please check the language of the email.  If it sounds generic, chances are it isn’t valid.  We have had clients do this at great financial loss.

 

 

So please just keep this in mind when opening email.  Email has generally been the part of our jobs/home that takes very little effort.  You never really had to pay much attention when looking at your email.  Email was just, email.  Unfortunately, now we need to be very careful.  So, if something seems a little odd, chances are it might be.

I hope these tips were helpful!

Thank you, Andrew Gritzer

Reference-Based Pricing: A Unique Self-Insured Option for Employers

From ChamberChoice and Smart Business Pittsburgh

It’s no secret that health care pricing varies widely and has a direct impact to the bottom line for employers of all types and sizes.

As health care costs continue to increase, employers have sought innovative and creative strategies to lower expenses. One strategy, which has gained momentum, is referenced-based pricing (RBP). The RBP approach typically doesn’t involve a
traditional insurance company or provider network negotiating covered services for the health plan. Instead, RBP sets limits on the amount a plan will pay for certain medical services.

Smart Business spoke to Michael Galardini, director of sales at JRG Advisors, to break down how RBP works and whether it might be right for you. 

How does RBP work with health plans?

RBP sets limits on the amount a health plan pays for procedures or services performed in hospitals and free-standing surgical centers without the use of a PPO network. For physician charges, a national PPO platform is utilized. The limits are based on a percentage above the amount that Medicare pays, which is based on the cost that each facility files with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The limits are selected by employers in consultation with their benefits advisor, to provide a reasonable and fair profit to the provider. A good RBP model considers both Medicare reimbursement and the actual cost to deliver the service; and adds a fair profit margin for the provider.

If the employee is balance billed for the difference, the RBP provider assigns legal counsel to the employee, at no cost, including defending the RBP payment in court.

Employers often partner with a third party administrator (TPA) to establish the best limits for a given medical procedure. The TPA helps conduct market research and negotiate the most appropriate deals with providers. Finding a reliable TPA, which works well with your company and the RBP provider, is crucial for negotiating the best price for your employees.

What are the advantages of using RBP?

Because there is no assigned network for hospitals and surgical centers, covered individuals may seek treatment at any facility they desire. RBP generally provides anywhere from 60 percent to 70 percent savings from billed medical charges. Typical PPOs only provide 40 percent to 50 percent from billed charges.

Hospital billed charges are taken from a charge master that each hospital maintains. The charge master is a list of the retail price of services that the facility charges for patients without insurance, or network discounts. The charge master changes from time to time, however, generally the charges are about 800 percent to 1,000 percent above the amount that Medicare pays the facility. Even after PPO discounts are applied, employer health plans are paying 400 percent to 500 percent above the amount that Medicare pays.

Are there any drawbacks to RBP?

Given the complexity of RBP, employers and employees need to carefully consider a number of things and be properly educated on how RBP will work for their employees. It is vital to work with a trusted partner that is reliable and experienced in the RBP process.

Furthermore, not using an experienced partner (and its legal advocacy) could potentially leave you and your employees vulnerable to providers attempting to balance bills. While the potential for payment disputes between employers, participants and health care providers always exists over RBP, there has been little RBP litigation to date. Litigation is always a potential threat to both the employer and employees, but disagreements over these issues are typically resolved by negotiation.

RBP can be an innovative strategy for lowering health care costs. As the market continues to evolve, employers are seeking cost reductions. The RBP option is unique in its ability to potentially reduce costs and create informed consumers. Is your business ready to investigate this innovative approach?

Chamber Foundation Extends Thanks for Support of Educational Improvement Programs in Workforce Development

The Foundation of the Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce would like to thank the following Chamber members for their support of its educational improvement programs in workforce development:

First Columbia Bank & Trust

First Keystone Community Bank

PPL Electric Utilities

UGI

Funds were received through the PA Department of Community & Economic Development’s EITC program.  The Foundation will use these funds to support the programs of Tech Theatre, EVERFI Financial Literacy, STEM Magnet with Bloomsburg University, STEM competition at the Bloomsburg Fair, Classroom in the Hospital, Classroom on Main Street and Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week Scholarships.  Through these programs students from middle and high schools in Columbia and Montour Counties have opportunities to learn inside and outside the classroom, in a unique way not offered traditionally. To learn more about these programs, or other K-12 programs of The Foundation, contact Foundation director, Jeff Emanuel by email or at 570-784-2522.  Thanks again for your support!

Insurance Department Approves Workers’ Comp Filings That Reflect Protz Fix, Previous Data Error

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

The state Insurance Department recently announced its approval of “loss cost” filings that may result in workers’ compensation savings to Pennsylvania employers, effective Jan. 1, 2019.  The first of these filings from the PA Compensation Rating Bureau reflects the enactment of Act 111 of 2018, in which the legislature responded to the state Supreme Court’s decision in the Protz case with a legislative fix that reinstated the Impairment Rating Evaluation process to the state’s WC system.  An important cost-saving measure, IREs were previously used for more than 20 years as a fair and effective way for state-designated physicians to determine a patient’s level of impairment and whether wage benefits should be limited or paid indefinitely. The Court’s decision last year to throw out the IRE process led the PCRB to file a mid-year loss cost increase, which was estimated to increase workers’ comp costs by hundreds of millions of dollars. The PA Chamber led the successful charge in advocating for the legislative fix to this ruling, which resulted in Act 111 and this subsequent loss cost decrease. 

The second loss cost change approved by the Insurance Department was reflective of a data error uncovered in Nov. 2017 that was incorporated into rates set in April of this year.  In announcing the second change, Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman said, “it is possible some businesses paid higher rates than they should have … therefore, I am urging all workers comp insurers to determine as quickly as possible whether this is the case for any businesses they insure, and to reimburse any businesses which have overpaid as a result of the November 2017 filing.”

The PA Chamber had sent a letter to Commissioner Altman on Dec. 7 urging the Department to adopt this provision.

Member News – January 2, 2019

Member News

  • The United Way of Columbia and Montour County’s United in Recovery coalition will conduct free drug and alcohol treatment assessments this Friday, Jan. 4, from 3-6 p.m. at the Reliance Fire Company, located at 501 W. 3rd St., Berwick. No appointments are necessary and this event is open to residents of all counties. Medical providers specializing in addiction will be on hand to conduct assessments for anyone that does or may have an issue with drug or alcohol abuse. For more information or questions, please contact the United Way at 570-784-3134 or by email

 

  • For The Cause recently began a quarterly newsletter. Check it out and read more about this organization, which is dedicated to making the greater Berwick area a region of pride where those communities thrive as they live, work and play, and also read about its Teen Center and its programs, its involvement in an Eagle Scout project being undertaken by a local teenager to build a home for a homeless vet, its weekend food program and more. 

 

  • Service 1st Federal Credit Union employees collected over 100 toys for Toys for Tots at their annual holiday party.

    Chris Court, Vice President Accounting & Operations; Nicole Hoyes, Assistant Market Manager; Tom Rambo, Vice President Bloomsburg and Danville Markets; Bill Lavage, President/CEO.

    In place of a gift exchange, employees enjoy taking part in this very special tradition by bringing donations of new toys in hopes of brightening the holidays for local children. In addition to toys collected at the gathering, many Service 1st branch locations served as Toys for Tots donation sites for members and the community.