Final Rules Adopt Administrative Changes to the No Surprises Act

On August 26, 2022, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury (together, the “Departments”) published final rules on the No Surprises Act, making changes to the administrative duties of insurance carriers, HMOs, third-party administrators, out-of-network healthcare providers, and certain other entities responsible for the Act’s implementation. The new rules, which take effect on October 25, 2022, are narrow in scope, and include the following changes:• During processing of claims under the No Surprises Act, if “down-coding” occurs (i.e., the group medical plan alters or replaces the medical billing codes chosen by the out-of-network healthcare provider, resulting in a lower claim payment), then the final rules impose… Read More

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Turning 26: Your Guide to Health Insurance

Turning 26: Your Guide to Getting Your New Health Insurance:https://totalbenefits.net/turning-26-your-guide-to-health-insurance/

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2022 MLR Rebate Checks to Be Issued Soon to Fully Insured Plans

As a reminder, insurance carriers are required to satisfy certain medical loss ratio (“MLR”) thresholds. This generally means that for every dollar of premium a carrier collects with respect to a major medical plan; it should spend 85 cents in the large group market (80 cents in the small group market) on medical care and activities to improve health care quality. If these thresholds are not satisfied, rebates are available to employers in the form of a premium credit or check. If a rebate is available, carriers are required to distribute MLR checks to employers by September 30, 2022. Click the link below to download the full bulletin.

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CMS Updates Medicare Enrollment Rules for 2023

On April 22, 2022, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed implementation of parts of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA) to simplify Medicare enrollment. According to Medicare.gov, these changes will go into effect January 1, 2023. Generally speaking, the new Medicare enrollment rules will allow for a more straightforward enrollment process that reduces potential gaps in coverage. They also allow for more Special Enrollment Periods and extend some Part B coverage to certain beneficiaries. But, what are the specifics? All facts and figures can be found in CMS’ fact sheet on the provisions, unless specifically linked elsewhere. Current Medicare Enrollment Rules Currently, when Medicare coverage actually starts after enrollment… Read More

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Additional Guidance on New Prescription Drug Reporting Requirement

As previously reported in 2021, Section 204 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (“CAA”) requires plan sponsors of group health plans to submit informationannually about prescription drugs and health care spending to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) on behalf of the Departments of Health and Human Services(“HHS”), Labor (“DOL”), and the Treasury (collectively, the “Departments”). The first deadline is December 27, 2022. CMS recently updated guidance related to this reporting requirement that provides some helpful clarification. Click the link below to download this bulletin. As always please contact your Total benefit Solutions, Inc health insurance specialist at (215)355-2121 if you have any further questions or concerns.

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New FAQ Addresses NSA and TiC Rules

he Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and the Treasury (collectively, “the Departments”) issued FAQ Part 55, providing guidance as it relates to certain aspects of the No Surprises Act (“NSA”) and the Transparency in Coverage (“TiC”) final regulations. FAQ 55 includes 23 questions and answers. The guidance is lengthy and very detailed. Below you will find some of the key highlights of the guidance. Please download the bulletin below for details and contact your Total Benefit Solutions, Inc health insurance specialists at (215)355-2121 with any additional questions or concerns.

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Additional Guidance Issued on Surprise Billing Protections

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 introduced numerous protections against surprise billing for plan participants that impact group health plans, health insurance issuers, & providers. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (CAA) introduced numerous protections against surprise billing for plan participants that impact group health plans, health insurance issuers, and providers. The federal Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury recently released a document discussing frequently asked questions (FAQs) about these surprise billing protections that provides clarity on a number of topics within the regulations. The key points from this guidance are outlined below. Application to Reference Based Pricing PlansIt has been unclear how the surprise billing rules apply to… Read More

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Inflation Reduction Act – Health Care Considerations

On August 16, 2022, President Biden signed the “Inflation Reduction Act” into law. The legislation includes key health care, tax, and climate change components. Click the link below to download the bulletin which highlights the health care changes ! As always please contact your Total Benefit Solutions, Inc health insurance expert with any additional questions, (215)355-3121.

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IBC: Understanding your network

The type of health plan you choose determines the network of providers you can visit. In-network providers are the doctors and hospitals in your plan’s network. You’ll save the most money by visiting network providers. Out-of-network providers are those not in your plan’s network. You may pay more for out-of-network services, and some services may not be covered at all. Know your options — before you need them When you need care and your primary care doctor isn’t available, remember you have other options that don’t involve a trip to the emergency room. Using virtual care, retail clinics, or urgent care centers can save you time and money. https://www.ibx.com/get-care/find-doctors-and-healthcare-providers/where-to-go-for-care Click here for links to your network and more… Read More

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Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids May Help People with Medicare

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently finalized a rule that will permit people with Medicare, and others, to purchase hearing aids online or in stores, at lower costs, and without a prescription. The long-awaited rule, which will go into effect in October, may make hearing aids more affordable for as many as 30 million adults who believe they have mild to moderate hearing loss, even if they have not had a hearing exam. Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized a rule that will permit people with Medicare, and others, to purchase hearing aids online or in stores, at lower costs, and without a prescription. The long-awaited rule, which will go into effect in October, may… Read More

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What employers or plans are subject to TEFRA and MSP ( Medicare as Secondary Payor) rules?

Employers with 20 or more employees for each working day in each of 20 or more work weeks in the preceding or current calendar year are subject to TEFRA and MSP rules. Full-time, part-time, union, and non-union employees are counted as one employee each. For the purpose of group size, employees are counted regardless of whether they are eligible or enrolled in the employer plan. Changing from non-TEFRA to TEFRA status occurs on the date that the employer has 20 or more employees for each working day in each of 20 or more work weeks in the preceding or current calendar year.  Whereas changing from TEFRA to non-TEFRA can only… Read More

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What is an excepted benefit HRA?

Businesses that offer an employer-sponsored group health plan to workers now have another way to save money while designing a health benefit package with more choices for employees – the Excepted Benefit HRA. The new EBHRA is a Health Reimbursement Arrangement designed to pay premiums and related expenses for eligible excepted benefits like dental and vision coverage. And, while an employer is required to offer a traditional group health plan, an employee can participate in the EBHRA even if they decline participating in the employer’s group health plan. That’s going to open up a lot of premium savings for workers who are eligible for coverage under a spouse’s or parent’s… Read More

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Celebrity Medicare Sales Pitches Are Toned Down After Scrutiny

Soaring complaints and aggressive sales efforts result in tighter rules from regulators From WSJ.COM: If it’s football season, you can count on seeing Joe Namath on television, along with William Shatner and Jimmie “J J” Walker. They are the most prominent pitchmen for what has become an annual fall selling frenzy for Medicare Advantage policies.  After a surge in consumer complaints, and stiffer government rules, the sales pitches will likely be tamer this year. If there is confusion, “we’ll change things so it satisfies everybody and eliminates the confusion,” said Mr. Shatner, best known for his role as Captain Kirk in the “Star Trek” franchise  The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services toughened its… Read More

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New Philadelphia Employee Commuter Transit Benefit Programs

On June 22, 2022, Mayor Jim Kenney signed the Employee Commuter Transit Benefit Ordinance into law (the “Ordinance”). The Ordinance adds new commutertransit benefit programs in Philadelphia that require certain employers to provide a mass transit and bicycle commuter benefit program, beginning on December 31, 2022. Who Does this Apply to?Covered Employers are employers that employ at least 50 Covered Employees. Covered Employees are those who work at least 30 hours per week within the geographic boundaries of Philadelphia for the same employer within the previous 12 months. Click the link below to download the bulletin. As always please reach out to your Total Benefit Solutions, Inc group benefit specialists… Read More

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Understanding the Coding of Health Plans from MEC to Metallic

Choosing the right insurance plan for you (and your family) is not an easy task. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has introduced major changes to the way carriers traditionally marketed their health plans to the public and introduced a volume of new terms, requirements and complexities, many of which may sound confusing to the general public. From terms like “minimum essential coverage” to the various metallic plan categories of Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum, a solid foundation of knowledge is essential in order to find the coverage required at an affordable price. The health insurance experts at Total Benefit Solutions Inc are well versed on these terms so when you… Read More

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Independence Blue Cross and Amerihealth: Behind on your health insurance payments?

Please do not assume that your payment is on the way or has been made and that the insurance company will handle it. Our health insurance specialists can assist you with a conference call. Getting reinstated after a cancellation is a long and difficult process and is not always available! If your payments are behind we need to ask for termination suppression BEFORE you are cancelled. First, Please always contact the Billing Department at 215-567-3357 or 1-800-444-6301. When calling, please have your group name, billing account number and address for verification purposes. The Billing Department will not approve an account for termination suppression due to checks mailed, promise to pay… Read More

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Medigap Guaranteed issue rights

Guaranteed Issue Rights (Also Called “Medigap Protections”) are rights you have in certain situations when insurance companies must offer you certain Medigap policies. In these situations, an insurance company: Must sell you a Medigap policy Must cover all your pre-existing health conditions Can’t charge you more for a Medigap policy because of past or present health problems In most cases, you have a guaranteed issue right when you have other health coverage that changes in some way, like when you lose the other health coverage. In other cases, you have a “trial right” to try a  Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C)  and still buy a Medigap policy if you change your mind.… Read More

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Aetna AFA now allows PEO Employers!

From Aetna: We’re now treating small businesses who use the services of a PEO ( Professional Employer Organization) the same as any other group. This excludes any group headquartered in California or New York, or any group currently on an Aetna PEO master health plan. Here are some important details: 1. We no longer require small businesses to terminate their PEO relationship or fill out extra forms for us during the new business process.2.The entire group must move to Aetna –small businesses can’t move some employees to Aetna and leave the rest on the PEO master health plan. What does this mean to groups? If your company is already part… Read More

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Alternative Funding Yields Big Savings

The Issue A firm we had worked with for several years had expressed a concern that the cost of their employee benefits package was threatening the financial stability of their firm. With a little over 150 employees, their annual benefits cost was exceeding $1.3 million and increasing at a rate of 8-15% each year. Even more concerning was that the benefits cost represented 32% of the company’s operating revenue. They had contemplated making plan changes including an increase in deductibles, copays and co-insurance limits, but they cared about the well-being of their employees and felt compelled to keep a competitive level of benefits. Our Solution We took the approach that… Read More

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What is a Qualifying Life Event or QLE?

There are 4 basic types of health insurance qualifying life events. (The following are examples, not a full list.) Loss of health coverage Losing existing health coverage, including job-based, individual, and student plans Losing eligibility for Medicare, Medicaid, or CHIP Turning 26 and losing coverage through a parent’s plan Changes in household Getting married or divorced Having a baby or adopting a child Death in the family Changes in residence Moving to a different ZIP code or county A student moving to or from the place they attend school A seasonal worker moving to or from the place they both live and work Moving to or from a shelter or… Read More

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Tower Financial Group

In July 2021 Total Benefit Solutions reached an agreement with the Tower Group to handle the client services for their brokers and accounts. Your Tower Group Representative, Stephanie has continued to work with Total Benefit Solutions, Inc. Please contact Total Benefit Solutions Inc at (215)355-2121 or Stephanie Spancake at (856) 403-8278 or stephanie@totalbenefits.net for any services you need. Thank you! Click here if you are not automatically redirected.

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