Alternatives to Health Insurance Benefits

 Sometimes clients offer other alternative benefits to their employees. The reasons for doing this are many but depending on the earnings of their workforce, offering a group medical plan will eliminate any health insurance subsidy. In those cases offering a group health insurance benefit can come off as a penalty for the employees. By offering alternative benefits our experts can help the employees enrolled on a subsidized health insurance plan and still get good if not great benefits from their employer!  ICHRA: with an ICHRA the employer can give the employees money towards their health insurance purchase.  The ICHRA allows the employer to do so with untaxed dollars and the… Read More

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Top 10 Questions to Ask Your Benefits Broker

Analyzing these ten critical questions in relation to your organization’s needs will help you make a more informed decision about your benefits broker

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What is Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI)?

The figure used to determine eligibility for premium tax credits and other savings for Marketplace health insurance plans and for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). MAGI is adjusted gross income (AGI) plus these, if any: untaxed foreign income, non-taxable Social Security benefits, and tax-exempt interest. Contact you Total Benefit Solutions health insurance specialist for assistance with calculating your MAGI. For many people, MAGI is identical or very close to adjusted gross income. MAGI doesn’t include Supplemental Security Income (SSI). MAGI does not appear as a line on your tax return. 

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What is a Qualified High Deductible Health Plan?

Qualified HDHPs Enrollment in a qualified HDHP is a requirement for establishing and maintaining a health savings account. The chassis for a qualified HDHP is the same as described in Chapter 1, but it must also conform to certain federal guidelines: A qualified HDHP must specify both a minimum annual deductible and a maximum annual out-of-pocket (OOP) expense limit, as set every year by the IRS. The minimum annual deductible is just that—the minimum amount that the insured must pay before the plan pays any benefit. The maximum annual OOP expense limit is the cap on the sum of the annual deductible and all out-of-pocket expenses the insured must pay for covered expenses under the… Read More

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What Is a Health Savings Account?

A health savings account is a special purpose financial account that allows a consumer to save and pay for medical expenses on a tax-favored basis. Funds deposited into an HSA are not taxed; the funds in the account grow tax free; and the money accumulated in the account can be withdrawn tax free to pay for qualifying medical expenses. In effect, an HSA owner uses the account in a manner similar to a checking account to cover his or her (or his or her family’s) medical expenses. There are no income restrictions or requirements on who may or may not open and contribute to an HSA. The HSA—the account and its funds—belongs… Read More

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Aetna Small Group (2-100) Insured & Small Group Aetna Funding Advantage FAQ
Health Plan options for business owners during COVID-19 pandemic

Aetna is mindful of the many challenges our small business customers and their employees are facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many are experiencing slower sales, reductions in hours, layoffs and more. The attached Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) includes our current responses to questions we know are top of mind for many of Small Group Insured and Small Group Aetna Funding Advantage Self-Insured customers. These responses will remain in effect until June 30, 2021 unless otherwise specified. We will continue to evaluate and update our responses as the situation evolves. Downlaod FAQ: Commercial Small Group COVID-19 FAQ

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Update on COVID-19 Vaccine and Vaccine Administration Cost

Update on COVID-19 Vaccine and Vaccine Administration Cost Medicare has increased and simplified its payment rate for administration of the COVID-19 vaccine to $40 per dose. This change may impact group health plans with respect to their payment rate to providers. Non-grandfathered group health plans are required to cover, without cost sharing, the COVID-19 vaccine. This obligation extended to coverage associated with administering the vaccine. The federal government continues to pay for the vaccine itself through funding authorized by the CARES Act.For vaccines administered in-network, plans will pay the rate negotiated with in-network providers, and that continues to be true. For vaccines administered out-of-network, however, group health plans must reimburse… Read More

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COVID-19 PPE Now a Qualified Medical Expense

On March 26, 2021, the IRS issued IRS Announcement 2021-7, which clarifies that amounts paid for certain personal protective equipment (“COVID-19 PPE”) used to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including masks, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes can be treated as amounts paid for medical care under § 213(d) of the Internal Revenue Code. Accordingly, because these amounts are expenses for medical care under § 213(d) of the Internal Revenue Code, these amounts can also be eligible expenses under a health flexible spending account (health FSA), health savings accounts (HSAs), health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) and Archer medical savings accounts (Archer MSAs). Note, that if the amount is paid or reimbursed under… Read More

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Heard of Reference Based Pricing Health Insurance?

Reference-based pricing is a payment system that replaces or enhances a health plan’s traditional “usual and customary” pricing for contracted claims. Rather than calculating the average charge of providers in a geographic area or a pre-contracted cost, a health plan utilizing reference-based pricing instead arbitrates its allowable amount for medical claims based on its chosen method (most commonly Medicare rates, or a certain percentage above those rates), which is a price that the payor deems reasonable. In other words the employer, the payor brings their rates with them into the health care agreement, not the other way around. This represents a much more independent framework for determining sensible health care… Read More

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How Does Level Self Funded Health Insurance Work?

We have received a lot of questions regarding the new level funding health benefit programs so we prepared this video to make it a little easier to understand. Ask us today if Level Funding your group’s health insurance might be a good for for your health plan! Contact your Total Benefit Solutions Account manager at (215)355-2121.

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Does Medicare Cover Oral Surgery?

From our partners at HealthLine: If you’re eligible for Medicare and considering oral surgery, you have options to help cover the costs. While original Medicare does not cover dental services that are required specifically for tooth or gum health, it may cover oral surgery for medical conditions. Some Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) plans also offer dental coverage. Let’s explore which types of oral surgery Medicare covers and why.   Click here for the full story. Questions about this story or Medicare coverages? Please contact your health insurance specialists at Total Benefit  Benefit Solutions, Inc (215)355-2121  

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ARPA Extends Open Enrollment for Individual Coverage in PA

Pennie (PA Individual Exchange) has communicated that they will be extending the open enrollment period from May 15 until August 15, 2021. This extension is to help consumers be able to take advantage of the benefits of the American Rescue Plan. Some of the key benefits of this plan are below: There is no longer a cap on who is eligible for Pennie’s income-based tax credits, which help reduce monthly premium costs. Previously only people whose household income was under 400% of federal poverty level (about $51,000 for an individual), could qualify for a tax credit. Now, anyone may be eligible for a tax credit. The size of the tax… Read More

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What is Minimum Essential Coverage or MEC health insurance?

The Affordable Care Act states that all individuals must have health benefits and all employers with 50 or more full-time employees must provide coverage to all eligible employees or they are subject to fines/penalties. This can be known as “pay or play” or employer shared responsibility. We offer Minimum Essential Coverage plans which both penalties are satisfied for the employee and the employer. MEC plans are substantially less expensive than traditional medical insurance and serve as a low-cost solution for most companies. To contain healthcare costs, many employers and other plan sponsors are considering Minimum Essential Coverage, or MEC, health insurance. MEC plans can keep your workforce healthier. Preventable diseases, gone… Read More

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Health Insurance: What Do You Pay for?

What Is a Monthly Premium? Your monthly premium is the set amount you pay each month to have your plan. You pay it even if you don’t receive any medical care that month. Like other bills, this premium can rise when it’s time to renew your plan for the next year. For individual ACA compliant plans, premiums are based on a pre-approved age based grid.  When you enter a age on the grid, your premium will increase on your bill. What Are Out-of-Pocket Costs? Out-of-pocket costs are what you must pay when you get care. These costs depend on how much care you actually get and if you have a… Read More

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Departments Issue Guidance Re: FFCRA and CARES Act

On February 26, 2021, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury (together, the “Departments”) issued FAQ 44 addressing health coverage issues related to COVID-19. Briefly, the new FAQs focus on diagnostic testing and coverage for testing and clarify previous guidance in FAQs.Background Section 6001 of the FFCRA requires group health plans (including grandfathered health plans) and health insurance issuers to provide coverage for certain items and services related to testing or the diagnosis of COVID-19 without any cost-sharing requirements, prior authorization or othermedical requirements. Section 3201 of the CARES Act amended Section 6001 of the FFCRA to include a broader range of diagnostic items and services… Read More

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Pandemic Aid Package Includes Relief From High Premiums

  From KHN: As President Joe Biden’s pandemic relief package steams through Congress, Democrats have hitched a ride for a top health care priority: strengthening the Affordable Care Act with some of the most significant changes to insurance affordability in more than a decade. The bill would spend $34 billion to help Americans who buy insurance on the marketplaces created by the ACA through 2022, when the benefits would expire. The Senate sent its relief package, one of the largest in congressional history, back to the House where it could come up as early as Tuesday. It is expected to pass and then go to Biden for his signature. Highlights… Read More

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Are you an applicable large employer, or not? That’s the question!

Calculating Your FTE Count Are you an applicable large employer, or not? That’s the question! To answer this question you’ll need to add up your full-time employees plus the full-time equivalent of part-time employees. For some businesses, this may have been simple, but not for all. This is how you determine your FTE count. Full-Time Employees: Any employee who works an average of at least 30 hours per week in a given month. Or at least 130 hours of service in a given month. Full-Time Equivalent: The full-time equivalent of part-time employees is the number of hours worked by all your part-time employees in a given month divided by 120. For example: two employees… Read More

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What is a Direct Primary Care plan?

Photo by CDC on Unsplash What is Direct Primary Care (DPC)? DPC is a non-insurance healthcare model where a flat monthly fee is paid for a defined set of primary care services. Direct Primary Care membership typically includes timely and unlimited access to your physician via in-office visit or over the phone. The model is structured to emphasize the patient-physician relationship to lower care costs, promote better employee health, and better patient experience. Benefits include: Increased Access to Healthcare. Breaks down the barriers to healthcare like confusing narrow networks, high deductibles and limited enrollment period. Detect Diseases and Treat Sooner. Encourages the early detection of illnesses, which reduces expenses for both… Read More

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What is a minimum essential coverage (MEC) plan?

The Affordable Care Act states that all individuals must have health benefits and all employers with 50 or more full-time employees must provide coverage to all eligible employees or they are subject to fines/penalties. This can be known as “pay or play” or employer shared responsibility. We offer Minimum Essential Coverage plans which both penalties are satisfied for the employee and the employer. MEC plans are substantially less expensive than traditional medical insurance and serve as a low-cost solution for most companies. To contain healthcare costs, many employers and other plan sponsors are considering Minimum Essential Coverage, or MEC, health insurance. MEC plans can keep your workforce healthier. Preventable diseases, gone… Read More

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Onboarding Employees with Total Benefit Solutions

This quick and simple video shows you how easy it is to enroll your employees onto your group health insurance and benefits when you are working with Total Benefit Solutions, Inc! Make it easier for you call us today at (215)355-2121  

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Review us on Google

 At Total Benefit Solutions we strive to provide our clients with the best service and support when shopping, enrolling and servicing their health insurance all year long. We appreciate having the opportunity and as always “We Work for Your Benefit”.  If you have worked with us, please help us get some feedback by  reviewing us on Google.  You’ll need to be logged in to your Google account to do so. Click here to rate us!

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What is my Max Out of Pocket?

In health insurance, you may have heard of the “maximum out-of-pocket  or MOOP.” Here’s a quick overview of how it works, including which costs count towards it, and what happens after your maximum out-of-pocket (MOOP)  is met. Max Out of Pocket Presentation

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CMS Expands the Extension of Needed Relief for Marketplace Enrollees Who Missed Medicare Enrollment

CMS is offering assistance to certain individuals enrolled in both Medicare Part A (and/or Part C) and the Exchange for individuals and families to drop their Exchange coverage and enroll in Part B without penalty. Further, CMS is offering assistance to certain individuals who dropped or lost their coverage from the Exchange and are paying a Part B late enrollment penalty from their subsequent enrollment into Part B. These eligible individuals can have their penalty reduced. Individuals can apply for the special enrollment and reduction in late enrollment penalties during a limited time – it is available now and ends September 30, 2018 Read Blog Post from MedicareRights.org CMS SHIP… Read More

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Critically Important: Insurance for Serious Illness

Good news: You’ve got health insurance (at least, all Americans are required to or pay a penalty). Bad news: It doesn’t cover everything. Especially if something really bad happens, like a heart attack or stroke. Yes, a decent major medical plan will cover many of the health-related expenses related to a serious illness. But you’d likely still be left with significant out-of-pocket costs for deductibles and copayments. Medical insurance also doesn’t usually cover other related costs, such as travel to treatment centers, child care during absences or recovery, home modifications or rehabilitation charges. And if you lose income while you’re unable to work, you could have a tough time paying… Read More

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