IRS Derails Use of MV Plans Without Hospitalization

As you may know, in order to avoid penalties under the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), large employers must offer their full-time employees coverage that is affordable and meets minimum value (“MV”). Some vendors exclude certain core benefits, such as in-patient hospitalization and/or physician services from their plans (referred to as “Narrow MVPs”) and use the MV Calculator to determine that the Narrow MVPs meet MV under the ACA. The vendors claim the Narrow MVPs insulate employers from penalty exposure and preclude employees from accessing subsidies in the Marketplace. There has been much controversy as to whether the Narrow MVPs do, in fact, satisfy the MV requirement. On November 4, 2014,… Read More

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IBC: Individual customers will receive a communication to prepare for open enrollment this week

  From Independence Blue Cross & Amerihealth: Individual customers will receive a communication to prepare for open enrollment this week Independence Blue Cross (Independence) will be sending letters to individual customers to remind them about 2015 Open Enrollment dates, inform them how they can prepare now, and let them know we will send additional details in the coming weeks. Each letter will include a list of upcoming health insurance meetings they can attend, along with a card that will make it easier for them to keep track of their enrollment information. These letters will include the agent’s name and phone number, and encourage individuals to contact their agent with questions.… Read More

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Health Reform: Network Adequacy Standards

Health Reform: Network Adequacy Standards For QHP certification, a plan must have an adequate provider network available to its enrollees. A QHP must: Offer a network with a sufficient number of providers, including mental health and substance abuse providers, to ensure access to all services without unreasonable delay Include a sufficient number and geographic distribution of essential community providers to ensure reasonable and timely access to care for low-income and medically under-served populations in the QHP’s service area   The Marketplaces offer only health insurance plans that are certified as qualified health plans, or QHPs. These QHPs must be licensed and meet certain transparency requirements. To become certified, a QHP… Read More

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What is Small Group Defined Contribution-Private Exchange Solution?

What is Small Group Defined Contribution-Private Exchange Solution? With health care reform now being implemented, many employers large and small will consider this arrangement to offer their employees a quality, flexible, easy to use  and competitive benefit package. Simply, the employer decides what dollar amount they will provide to each employee. The employee then uses that dollar amount as a “voucher” of sorts. With the voucher or credit in hand, each employee can choose a plan that best suits their needs from a menu of health plans.  In the past, small group employers had to juggle the challenge of affordability and providing a quality benefit that worked for their entire… Read More

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Health Reform: SHOP Marketplace Changes for 2015

Health Reform: SHOP Marketplace Changes for 2015 In 2014, small businesses that offer coverage through an FF-SHOP Marketplace are able to offer their employees a single qualified health plan (QHP). In 2015, small businesses that offer coverage through an FF-SHOP Marketplace may be able to offer their employees a choice of QHPs and qualified dental plans (QDPs). To qualify for an FF-SHOP, a business must: Be located in an FF-SHOP’s service area (generally a state) Have at least one eligible common-law employee on payroll Have 50 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees on payroll This methodology includes part-time employees, but not seasonal employees (those working fewer than 120 days per… Read More

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Health Reform: What is a Special Enrollment Period?

Special Enrollment Periods Under certain circumstances, individuals may enroll in a QHP or change QHPs outside of the annual open enrollment period. These SEPs are based on certain triggering events or special circumstances. Events that permit an SEP include: Gaining or becoming a dependent through marriage, birth, adoption, placement for adoption, or placement in foster care Gaining status as a citizen, national, or lawfully present individual Loss of coverage (e.g., loss of Medicaid eligibility, QHP no longer available), except if enrollment is terminated based on failure to pay premiums, fraud, or enrollee initiated termination Determination that an individual is newly eligible or ineligible for advance payments of the premium tax… Read More

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IRS: Further Guidance on Employer Payment Plans

New Guidance on Employer Payment Plans The IRS issued an FAQ addressing the potential consequences of an arrangement where an employer reimburses employees for the purchase of individual health insurance premiums on a tax-favored basis (referred to as an “employer payment plan”). For this purpose, individual health insurance premiums includes individual coverage purchased either inside or outside of the Health Insurance Marketplace. The FAQ follows up on earlier guidance describing these types of arrangements (Notice 2013-54). Click the link for more information: 060214_P_ERC_Employer_Payment_Plans (1)

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Total Benefit Solutions to partner with ThinkHR

        In another effort to enhance our client experience and bring value to our small business clients, Total Benefit Solutions is proud to announce that we have entered into an agreement to provide Think       HR. Soon our clients will get an introductory e-mail with instructions on how to access their complimentary ThinkHR account. We expect to have this resource available to our clients in September 2014, just in time for this year’s open enrollment period!   Think HR will help our clients: Stay up to date with the latest news and resources Remain compliant with best practices from HR professionals Build tools like job… Read More

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What is Critical Illness Insurance?

Why Critical Illness as a “wrap” plan Because: They’re more affordable than you might think. They’re available for employer  groups, individuals and seniors. They make selecting a health plan easier. They provide peace of mind against a catastrophic event and large out of pocket expenses. They’re person and portable, it doesn’t matter where you get your health insurance from, having your own critical illness plan makes it better. Many clients have asked how they can supplement their employees coverage when they get enrolled through the affordable care act healthcare.gov marketplace. Employers are permitted to offer wrap plans that consist of “excepted benefits”, meaning they are not regulated by the affordable… Read More

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Health Care Reform Updates: Updated Model COBRA Election Notice

    Updated Model COBRA Election Notice Includes Information Regarding Health Insurance Exchanges Revised Notice Informs Individuals of New Coverage Alternatives A revised Model COBRA Election Notice  is now available for group health plans to inform eligible employees and dependents of the right to continuation of coverage under federal law and how to make an election when a qualifying event occurs. The updated model notice includes information regarding coverage alternatives that will be available through the new Health Insurance Exchanges (also known as Marketplaces).   COBRA Election Notice Requirement COBRA (the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) generally applies to group health plans sponsored by employers with 20 or employees (including both full-… Read More

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Comparative Effectiveness Fee Reminder

The Comparative Effectiveness Research Fee is now known as the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Fee. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the Act) imposes a new Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) fee, formerly the comparative effectiveness research fee, on plan sponsors and issuers of individual and group policies. The first year of the fee is $1 per covered life per year, the second year the fee adjusts to $2 per covered life and then it’s indexed to national health expenditures thereafter until it ends in 2019. Click here to download this bulleting regarding the timely payment of the fees.   Purpose of the Fee The assessed fees are to… Read More

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19th Set of FAQ’s Released on Affordable Care Act

Frequently asked questions (“FAQs”), prepared jointly by the Departments of Labor (“DOL”), Health and Human Services (“HHS”), and the Treasury (collectively, the “Departments”),were issued with respect to various Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) requirements, including their effect on COBRA and CHIPRA notices…Topics Include:   Updated COBRA And CHIPRA Notices Out-Of-Pocket Maximum Requirements Generic Drugs Balance Billing Reference-Based Pricing Coverage Of Preventive Services Health FSA Carryover And Excepted Benefits Effect of Carryover on Excepted Benefits Determination Summary Of Benefits And Coverage   Click here to download the bulletin from our partners at Emerson Reid.  

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Informal Guidance Clarifies Rules HSA Eligibility and Health FSA Carryovers

Near the end of 2013, the IRS issued Notice 2013-47 that permits a cafeteria plan to provide for the use of up to $500 of any unused amount remaining in the health FSA in the immediately following plan year (the “carryover” provision). This provision is optional, requires a plan amendment, and cannot be offered if the cafeteria plan allows a grace period. One of the outstanding questions around the carryover provision is the effect it has on HSA eligibility. Recently, the Office of Chief Counsel for the Internal Revenue Service issued a memorandum that informally addresses the interaction of the carryover on HSA eligibility and provides some solutions that may allow an individual retain… Read More

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Aetna: Important updates to our Pennsylvania Small Group eligibility guidelines

This briefing is applicable to all brokers writing Pennsylvania based employers We have updated our eligibility guidelines as it relates to sole proprietors, owners, partners, W-2 employees and husband / wife groups for 2014. These updates have been made to maintain compliance with state and federal requirements. Please review the updates we have outlined below. We thank you for your continued collaboration. The following applies to Small Group Pennsylvania new business and renewals: The definition of an employer is now one W-2 common law employee. This accommodates an owner with at least one “enrolling” W-2 common law employee who is not a spouse and not an owner. Sole proprietors, owners… Read More

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IRS: HSA Contributions and limits for 2015 Released

The IRS has released the 2015 cost-of-living adjustments affecting HSAs and HDHPs. The 2015 IRS HSA limits are increasing for 2015. Click to download the bulletin

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SHOP Rules Finalized, Enrollment Forms Simplified

The Small Business Health Options Program’s (SHOP) place along the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) timeline. It’s now being packaged for mass consumption and soon will be stocked on store shelves across all 50 states. Click here to read more…

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New Guidance on SBC’s

Under health care reform, plan participants and beneficiaries must be provided a 4-page summary of benefits and coverage (“SBC”) and uniform glossary. This requirement is effective for open enrollment periods that begin on or after September 23, 2012. For participants and beneficiaries who enroll in group health plan coverage outside of open enrollment (e.g., newly eligible individuals and special enrollees), the SBC must be provided beginning on the first day of the first plan year that begins on or after September 23, 2012. This requirement is an ongoing one and, as open enrollment season approaches, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Treasury have issued updated guidance and… Read More

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