What is a Self-Insured Plan?

Type of plan usually present in larger companies where the employer itself collects premiums from enrollees and takes on the responsibility of paying employees’ and dependents’ medical claims. These employers can contract for insurance services such as enrollment, claims processing, and provider networks with a third party administrator, or they can be self-administered. Please contact your Total Benefit Solutions, Inc health insurance specialists today at (215)355-2121.

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What are HDHPs & HSAs?

One way to manage your health care expenses is by enrolling in a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) in combination with opening a Health Savings Account (HSA). How High Deductible Health Plans and Health Savings Accounts can reduce your costs: If you enroll in an HDHP, you may pay a lower monthly premium but have a higher deductible (meaning you pay for more of your health care items and services before the insurance plan pays). If you combine your HDHP with an HSA, you can pay that deductible, plus other qualified medical expenses, using money you set aside in your tax-free HSA. So if you have an HDHP and don’t… Read More

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Best Time to Buy a Medigap Policy

The best time to buy a Medigap policy is during the Medigap Open Enrollment Period. The Medigap Open Enrollment Period lasts for 6 months and begins on the first day of the month a beneficiary turns 65 or enrolls in Part B, whichever is later. Under 65 Medicare beneficiaries get a second Medigap Open Enrollment Period when they turn 65. The professionals at Total Benefit Solutions, Inc are here to help you understand your Medicare health insurance choices. Call us today at (215)355-2121.

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Premium Formulary Adoption Swells Among Large Group Clients

The Premium formulary is an option for large group clients wanting access to a formulary that manages traditional, non-specialty drug costs without compromising clinical outcomes. In many cases it saved early adopters nearly 10% per member per month on their plan’s traditional drug spend. Overall, members saved on drug costs without rigorous additional step therapies, prior authorizations, or other invasive utilization management strategies. Members transitioning to the Premium formulary will receive communications about the change, potential disruptions to their drug therapies, and clinically appropriate and cost-effective alternatives. Blue KC will continue to make quarterly updates to the Premium formulary and will send subsequent member communications about those changes and appropriate… Read More

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What is coinsurance?

Coinsurance is usually a percentage of the cost for a service that you would pay. For example, if your coinsurance is 20% for covered services, your plan would pay 80% of the covered charges, and you would pay the coinsurance of 20%. Call your Total Benefit Solutions, Inc health insurance specialists today at (215)355-2121.

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Independence Blue Cross: Care Cost Estimator

Did you know that you can estimate your out-of-pocket costs before you schedule a doctor’s appointment or medical procedure? You can, with the new Care Cost Estimator tool. It also lets you compare providers by price, based on your specific health plan. The Care Cost Estimator tool will display: Provider details Quality information, such as reviews Your estimated out-of-pocket costs for a wide range of common procedures and office visits Click here to learn how to get started with the Care Cost Estimator. As always, please contact your Total Benefit Solutions, Inc health insurance specialists with any questions or concerns at (215)355-2121.

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New Mandatory Preventive Items and Services, 2022 Updates

The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommendations have been updated and most plans will be required to cover new preventive items and services beginning later this year or in 2023 (depending on the plan year). These new items/services include ones related to condoms, double-electric breast pumps, suicide risk screening for adolescents, and diabetes screenings for certain populations. Non-grandfathered group health plans must provide coverage for in-network preventive items and services and may not impost any cost-sharing requirements (such as a copayment, coinsurance, or deductible) with respect to those items or services. Employers sponsoring non-grandfathered group health plans should review the various preventive care requirements effective for their upcoming plan… Read More

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What is the Employer Shared Responsibility Provision?

Under the Affordable Care Act, governments, insurers, employers and individuals are given shared responsibility to reform and improve the availability, quality and affordability of health insurance coverage in the United States. The estimator is specifically designed to help you determine if the employer shared responsibility provision (IRC Section 4980H) applies to you and, if it does, will help you determine the maximum amount of the employer shared responsibility payment that could apply to you under either section 4980H(a) or 4980H(b) based on the number of full-time employees that you report. The provision applies to employers called applicable large employers that employ on average at least 50 full-time employees (including FTEs)… Read More

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Medicare & Coronavirus

Medicare covers the COVID-19 vaccine at no cost to you. Medicare covers the vaccine for anyone who has Medicare due to their age, a disability, End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), or ALS (also called Lou Gehrig’s disease). Be sure to bring your Medicare card. To learn more about Medicare and the COVID-19 vaccine and boosters, click here. If you have Medicare and have a disability or face other challenges in getting to a location away from home for a vaccination, Medicare will pay a doctor or other care provider to give you the COVID-19 vaccine in your home. You may need to give them your Medicare Number for billing, but there’s… Read More

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What is a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP)?

A plan with a higher deductible than a traditional insurance plan. The monthly premium is usually lower, but you pay more health care costs yourself before the insurance company starts to pay its share (your deductible). A high deductible plan (HDHP) can be combined with a health savings account (HSA), allowing you to pay for certain medical expenses with money free from federal taxes. For 2022, the IRS defines a high deductible health plan as any plan with a deductible of at least $1,400 for an individual or $2,800 for a family. An HDHP’s total yearly out-of-pocket expenses (including deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance) can’t be more than $7,050 for an… Read More

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HHS Extends Public Health Emergency Until October 13

On July 15, 2022, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) renewed the COVID-19 pandemic Public Health Emergency, effective July 15, 2022. This will once again extend the Public Health Emergency period for an additional 90 days and as a result, numerous temporary benefit plan changes will remain in effect. Employers should continue to adhere to the national pandemic-related benefit changes and expanded timeframe for providing COVID-19 testing and vaccinations and other plan requirements. State and local emergency measures may expire at different times and could impact employee benefit plans (such as insured group health plans) and other state/or local programs (such as paid leave) differently than the timeframes… Read More

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What’s Not Covered by Part A & Part B?

Medicare doesn’t cover everything. Some of the items and services Medicare doesn’t cover include: Long-Term Care (also called custodial care ) Most dental care Eye exams related to prescribing glasses Dentures Cosmetic surgery   Acupuncture   Hearing aids and exams for fitting them Routine foot care To find out if Medicare covers a test, item, or service you need, click here. The professionals at Total Benefit Solutions, Inc are here to help you understand your Medicare Health Insurance choices. Call us today at (215)355-2121.

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How To Reconcile Your Premium Tax Credit

If you had a Marketplace plan and used advance payments of the premium tax credit (APTC) to lower your monthly payment, you will have to “reconcile” when you file your federal taxes. This means you will compare these two figures: the amount of premium tax credit you used in advance during the year. (This was paid directly to your health plan so your monthly payment was lower) and the premium tax credit you actually qualify for based on your final income for the year. Here is a step-by-step guide to reconciling you premium tax credit. As always, please contact your Total Benefit Solutions, Inc health insurance specialists with any questions… Read More

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Consolidated Appropriations Act Updates

In December 2020, Congress signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) into law. One section of the new law, referred to as the No Surprises Act, contains new requirements for cost transparency and provides protections for consumers against surprise medical billing. CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst) has implemented several changes in response to the No Surprises Act. For more information, click here. As always, please contact your Total Benefit Solutions Inc health insurance specialists with any questions or concerns at (215)355-2121.

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HHS to Extend Public Health Emergency Once Again

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has repeatedly renewed the public health emergency since it was originally declared in January 2020. The most recent extension was set to expire July 15. However, it will now be extended again, commencing on Friday, July 15. The administration will give states 60 days’ notice before ending the emergency to allow sufficient time to prepare for changes to certain programs and regulatory authorities. HHS last extended the public health emergency in May of 2022. The designation of a public health emergency allows regulators to clear the way for vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics for use against the coronavirus. Should the designation expire, people… Read More

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Time to Prepare for Medicare Part D Notice Requirements

An important deadline is approaching quickly – October 15 for the Medicare Part D notice requirement. The creditable-coverage notice must be given to all Part D-eligible individuals who are covered under, or apply for, an employer’s prescription drug benefits plan. This requirement applies to Medicare beneficiaries who are active employees and those who are retired, as well as Medicare beneficiaries who are covered as spouses under active or retiree coverage. Click here for a video explaining Medicare Part D notices. Please contact your Total Benefit Solutions Inc Medicare health insurance specialists at (215)355-2121 if you have any questions or concerns.

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New Mental Health Hotline

Starting July 16, 2022, the first nationwide three-digit mental health crisis hotline goes live. This hotline is designed to be easy to remember and by dialing 988, an individual in crisis will be connected to trained mental health counselors. This is a free service. The program will be funded by the federal government which has provided over $280 million, not only for the hotline but to help states create systems that will do much more, including mobile mental health crisis teams that can be sent to people’s homes and emergency mental health centers. The hotline is designed not only for individuals in crisis with thoughts of suicide but for all… Read More

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Aetna: Understanding the Evolution of Primary Care and What it Means for your Workforce

The evolutions of primary care has a great impact on employers and their workforce. As primary care looks to meet current consumer trends, employers and payers must think creatively to support their employees. Virtual, advanced, and multi-disciplinary sites are just the start. As always, please contact your Total Benefit Solutions Inc health insurance specialists with any questions or concerns at (215)355-2121.

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Horizon Grandmothering Extended into 2023 for Pre-ACA Plans

Horizon will once again enable Small Employer group customers that offer health plans that preceded the Affordable Care Act (“pre-ACA plans”) and renew between October 1 and December 31, 2022, to renew within those pre-ACA plans. Because we receive the highest volume of renewals during the fourth quarter, our decision to grandmother pre-ACA plans will ensure a smooth renewal process for our customers. As we near October 1, 2022, Horizon will communicate the details and dates for the renewal process. Until then, click here to learn more. As always, please contact your Total Benefit Solutions Inc health insurance specialists with any questions or concerns at (215)355-2121.

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COVID-19 Vaccines Now Available for Young Children

A recent CDC announcement recommends that children six months through five years of age should get an age-appropriate dose of the Pfizer‑BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Independence covers the cost of administering vaccines and booster shots with no cost-share (such as co-pays, deductibles, coinsurance) for members regardless of where the vaccine is given. For Medicare Advantage members, the cost and administration of the vaccine and booster shots will be covered by Original Medicare so long as the health care provider administering the vaccine participates in the Medicare program. Please click here to learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines and boosters. As always, please contact your Total Benefit Solutions Inc health… Read More

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Health Insurance Fee to be Reduced for 65% of the Self-Employed Insured

Health insurance fees for 5.61 million households, among the self-employed insured of the national health insurance, will be slashed by an average of 36,000 won per month starting September. On the other hand, 273,000 subscribers, including the elderly, who have been registered as the dependent of the employee insured and thus have not been paying health insurance premiums will have to start paying health insurance fee from September. The gist of the amendment of the health insurance scheme is to reduce the amount of health insurance fees the self-employed insured has to pay. There has been criticism that the self-employed insured has to pay a greater amount of health insurance… Read More

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Get The Most From Your Dental Benefits with Beam Benefit’s Carryover Policy

If you don’t use up your annual maximum, they don’t have to go to waste — you may be able to put them to use in the future! This means you’ll have more dollars at your disposal for dental procedures in the following years. Each year your benefits will cover a certain dollar amount in claims. When you use less than half of this maximum, a portion of it will “carry over” to the next year. This means it’s added to your annual maximum in future years. Have any questions or concerns about enrolling your group in Beam Benefit’s Dental Plan? Please contact your Total Benefit Solutions Inc health insurance… Read More

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Affordability of Health Coverage

Applicable Large Employers, those with 50 or more full-time employees in the prior year, must offer their full-time employees minimum essential coverage providing minimum value that is affordable. A plan is affordable if the premium for self-only coverage does not exceed a certain percentage of the employee’s household income. The IRS sets the percentage each year. The baseline percentage was 9.5%. In 2022, the affordability percentage is 9.61%. In 2021, it was 9.83%. A plan will be considered affordable if its premium for the lowest cost, single-only plan does not exceed the identified percentage of an employee’s household income. Since household income is not readily available, employers use one of… Read More

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Clarification of the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for Government Entity-Declared Disaster or Other Emergency

The memo clarified that the COVID-19 pandemic does not currently qualify for the SEP for Government Entity-Declared Disaster or Other Emergency (disaster SEP); however, it does qualify for the Exceptional Circumstances SEP. What you need to know: As a result of this guidance, do not submit enrollments for clients impacted by COVID-19 using the disaster SEP. Going forward, any new enrollments submitted for this reason will be declined.

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Delaware Enacts New Paid Family and Medical Leave Requirement

The Healthy Delaware Families Act was recently signed into law, which provides paid leave for three categories of leave: parental leave, medical leave and family caregiving leave. Employers with 10-24 employees are only subject to the parental leave provisions. Employers with 25 or more employees are subject to all leave provisions. Employers with fewer than 10 employees are not obligated to participate in the leave program, although an employer can opt-in for a 3-year participation period. Click here to download for more information. As always, please contact your Total Benefit Solutions Inc health insurance specialists with any questions or concerns at (215)355-2121.

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