Can Employers Pay Medicare Premiums for Active Employees?

Companies with fewer than 20 employees that offer group health coverage that pays secondary to Medicare (those not subject to the MSP rules) may be able to pay for the Medicare Part B, Part D, and Medicare Supplement Insurance premiums for their active employees. This is known as a Medicare Premium Reimbursement Arrangement. However, this is not an option for companies with 20 or more workers that are subject to the Medicare Secondary Payer provisions. All companies, regardless of size, can pay the health insurance or Medicare premiums for their retired employees, but no company can payfor individual health insurance coverage for their active employees . Our best practice: A… Read More

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Court Strikes Down Association Health Plan Rules

On March 28th, 2019, a Federal District Court in the District of Columbia struck down significant portions of the Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Association Health Plan (AHP) Final Rule. Specifically, the Court found the DOL “failed to reasonably interpret” ERISA when issuing these rules: • expanding the definition of “employers” to include disparate groups of employers with no other commonality of interest other than geographic location; and • bringing working owners without employees within ERISA’s framework. This ruling effectively eliminates the expansion of AHPs to certain employers and working owners who do not meet the original parameters to be a part of an AHP. Click below to download the complete… Read More

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IBC to Reach Agreement with Providers in Our Area!

We are pleased to share that Mercy Health System, St. Mary Medical Center, Saint Francis Healthcare and Independence Blue Cross (Blue Cross) anticipate coming to an agreement on a new, long-term contract this week, meaning there should be no interruption to your care or coverage at the following facilities: Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital Mercy Philadelphia Hospital Nazareth Hospital St. Mary Medical Center Saint Francis Healthcare in Delaware We thank you for your continued support and patience throughout this process, and apologize for any anxiety or inconvenience this negotiation may have caused you or your family – that was never our intention. We look forward to continuing to provide you the care… Read More

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Benefit Notices By Company Size: Your Cheat Sheet

Ever wonder exactly which benefit notices your company was required to distribute to employees? Ever notice that some of them are only needed when your business is a specific type of business or organization or size? Wonder no more thanks to our partners at HR360! Download your complimentary copy of the 2-19 employee guide below that includes links and descriptions to all of your required notices for employers between 2-19 employees! Have more specific needs or a cheat sheet for a larger organization? Ask us today how partnering with total benefit solutions and HR360 can deliver this type of powerful information that you need, when you need it. Stay ahead… 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 might be a good for for your health plan!

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Important News From Independence Blue Cross: Trinity Health termination

February 11th 2019: For the past several months, we have been negotiating the terms of our agreements with Trinity Health (Trinity), which includes the following entities, as well as their professional providers, subsidiaries, affiliates, and divisions: Mercy Health System of Southeastern Pennsylvania, including Mercy Fitzgerald, Mercy Philadelphia, and Nazareth hospitals St. Mary Medical Center, including St. Mary Rehabilitation Hospital, Saint Francis Healthcare, including Saint Francis Hospital, Wilmington, Delaware. We continue to engage in good‑faith negotiations, but we want to explain how customers and members could be affected if we are unable to reach a new agreement by March 31, 2019. How members would be affected If we are unable to reach a new agreement, Trinity will no longer be… Read More

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Walgreens agrees to pay $269 million in fraud accord

Walgreens Boots Alliance agreed to pay $269.2 million to settle U.S. claims that the drugstore chain defrauded a federally funded health care program over insulin drugs and a consumer-discount initiative. The two settlements, announced Tuesday, cover allegations over improper billing. In the first one, the company agreed to pay $209.2 million to resolve claims it billed Medicare, Medicaid and other programs for hundreds of thousands of insulin pens it distributed to people who didn’t need them. In the second, Walgreens said it would pay $60 million for overbilling Medicaid by not disclosing lower prices it offered in a discount program. To read more, click here.

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Beware of Phishing Email Disguised as HIPAA Privacy Audit Letter

The Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) of the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) has posted an alert warning employers, and others, of a fake communication involving the OCR audit program under HIPAA. The email falsifies HHS departmental letterhead and the signature of the OCR Director and directs individuals to a non-governmental website marketing the cybersecurity services of a firm that is not associated with HHS or OCR. This phishing email originates from the email address OSOCRAudit@hhs-gov.us and directs individuals to a URL at http://www.hhs-gov.us. This is a subtle difference from the official email address for the real HIPAA audit program, OSOCRAudit@hhs.gov Phishing is a scam typically carried out… Read More

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If companies could give employees tax free money to buy health insurance on their own, how many would do so?

If companies could give employees tax free money to buy health insurance on their own, how many would do so?

We’re about to find out

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Change of Income? When and How to Notify the Marketplace.

One of the benefits of getting your Health Insurance through the Marketplace is the tax credit applied to your premium, which makes your costs much more affordable. However, when determining how much your tax credit will be, you use an estimate on your income for the following year. Life is always changing, so if your income changes, if your Family size changes or even being offered Healthcare in some other way it is IMPORTANT to alert the Marketplace of these changes or you may end up owing money back to the Government when you file your taxes at the end of the year. Here we will talk about which types… Read More

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How To Find a Doctor You Trust

How to Find a Doctor You Trust Get a list of in-network providers: Call your insurance company or look at their plan materials for a list of doctors in their network. You’ll usually pay less to see a doctor in your network than a doctor who’s out-of-network. You can also call your Broker and they can help assist you in getting the names of Doctors near you that accept your plan. Do your research: Ask friends and family if they recommend their doctors. You may even be able to read online reviews for doctors in your area. Online reviews are a great way to gauge things such as bedside manner and wait… Read More

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“I’m paying for Health Insurance I don’t even use!”

You hear it all the time: “I’m paying for Health Insurance I don’t even use!” But, Health insurance isn’t only for when you’re sick!  You can use it to maintain your healthy status, you can use it for Preventative Care and you can also use this time to learn how your coverage works before you get sick. Also, many Health Insurance Plans offer things such as discounted gym memberships and rewards for healthy lifestyle choices (such as quitting smoking). Some plans even offer vision or dental benefits, so you can take advantage of an eye screening or 6 month dental check-up. Take advantage of free insurance benefits anytime Get preventive services,… Read More

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There are two new HRA options to offer Employees!

The Departments of Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services (collectively, the “Departments”) issued proposed guidance that, if finalized, creates a mechanism for employers to offer Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) in connection with individual health insurance coverage. The proposed regulations add two new HRA options for employers to consider: • HRA integrated with individual health insurance coverage. Beginning with the first plan year on or after January 1, 2020, permit integration of an HRA with individual health insurance coverage provided certain conditions are met. • Excepted Benefit HRA. Beginning with the first plan year on or after January 1, 2020, employers that offer traditional group health plan coverage may consider offering… Read More

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Ways to Save Money on Your Prescription Drugs

Prescriptions costs are skyrocketing. We all know that. But did you know that there are several ways for people to save money on their monthly medications? As health insurance plans are becoming more catastrophic in nature, that means that people will need to become better health care consumers. Sometimes that means using the tools that the insurance company offers at no charge. Sometimes it means using discounts and other resources that are available outside the health plan. Here are a few ways, some already widely known and others not so much, to help drop down your costs at the Pharmacy. While this is not a comprehensive list of money-saving ideas, it is… Read More

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Important Info! HSA Limits for 2019

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What is an HRA and How It May See A Major Change Soon..

Before we get into how rules for HRAs may be changing, we should discuss what an HRA is and how it works. A Health Reimbursement Account (sometimes referred to a Health Reimbursement Arrangement) is an employer-funded group health plan that reimburses employees, tax-free, for qualified medical expenses up to a certain amount per year. This type of policy does not replace Medical Insurance and is usually coupled with a High-Deductible policy. Unlike an Health Savings Account (HSA), the Employee can not help to fund the account.  Like HSAs though, there are maximum allowed contributions. In 2018, an Employer can fund an HRA up to $5,050 for a Single Employee and $10,250… Read More

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“Can I use my HSA for…….?”

Health Savings Accounts and You Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) aren’t new. They’ve been around since late 2003. Initially they were created along with the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act  to replace the Medical Saving Account System. Initially these plans were designed to help with Drug Costs under Medicare policies; However, as Insurance Premiums increased, more and more Employer and Individual Policies offered High-Deductible Plans to help curb costs. Due to that, HSAs were thrown into the spotlight as a way to use Pre-Tax Dollars to cover out-of-pocket Medical costs. In 2017, a reported 22million Americans have an HSA. Each year, that number continues to climb. Many people still have a… Read More

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President Trump Signs Prescription Drug Gag Clause Legislation

President Trump Signs Prescription Drug Gag Clause Legislation On Wednesday, President Trump signed into law S. 2553, the Know the Lowest Price Act, and S. 2554, the Patient Right to Know Drug Price Act. The legislation was passed by the House and Senate last month with bipartisan support and will ban “gag clauses” that prevent pharmacists from telling customers when they can save money on their prescriptions by paying out of pocket for the retail price of the drug, rather than using their insurance and making the co-payment. These bills comprise portions of President Trump’s “America First” prescription drug initiative that were released as part of a blueprint to lower drug prices in May.… Read More

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IBC 2019 Member Renewal Notices

October 25th: Independence Blue Cross Member Renewal Letter details Due to the subsidy disruption in some counties, Independence will be sending renewal notices in 2 waves. On October 25th 2018: • Members who do not receive a subsidy will receive their renewal notices for 2019. The notice will include benefit and premium updates for 2019 and provide a personalized URL for a website that enables them to renew plans as-is (EZ Button), or make a change to their current plan. • Members who have a subsidy will receive a letter advising that Independence is waiting for more information from the federal government regarding their subsidy dollars. Upon receipt of this information, the renewal notices will be sent.… Read More

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Medicare Part D Notification Requirements

Employers sponsoring a group health plan with prescription drug benefits are required to notify their Medicare-eligible participants and beneficiaries as to whether the drug coverage provided under the plan is “creditable” or “non-creditable” prior to October 15th, 2018. Please follow this link for more information:   Medicare Part D Notification Requirements       As always, if you have any questions or concerns about this notification or your specific policy, please contact us at 215-355-2121

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5 Affordable Self-Employed Health Insurance Options When You’re on a Budget

5 Affordable Self-Employed Health Insurance Options When You’re on a Budget When you are self-employed, finding affordable health insurance options isn’t easy. There are more types of insurance policies now more than ever; However not all of those choices are affordable.  So, how can you find good coverage when you’re on a budget? Continue reading below for some great options to make sure you get the benefits you need at a price you can afford!   1. Telemedicine Services and Secure Doctor Consultations A budget-friendly health insurance alternative that’s gaining popularity are Telemedicine Services.  Telemedicine services are just like they sound, it’s a medical service that allows you to speak to… Read More

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The History of Medicare

  A brief history of Medicare in America Landmark social program now covers 58.5 million Americans By Steve Anderson Discussion about a national health insurance system for Americans goes all the way back to the days of President Teddy Roosevelt, whose platform included health insurance when he ran for president in 1912. But the idea for a national health plan didn’t gain steam until it was pushed by U.S. President Harry S Truman.On November 19, 1945, seven months into his presidency, Truman sent a message to Congress, calling for the creation of a national health insurance fund, open to all Americans. The plan Truman envisioned would provide health coverage to individuals, paying for such typical expenses… Read More

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New Medicare Card Mailing Update!

Check the Status of Your New Card *Cards have finished mailing to American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and to people who get RRB benefits.   Three Things To Know Your new card will automatically come to you. You don’t need to do anything as long as your address is up to date. If you need to update your address, visit your My Social Security. Once you get your new Medicare card, destroy your old Medicare card and start using your new card right away. Your new Medicare Number is a unique combination of numbers and letters. Your new number uses numbers 0 thru 9. The letters S, L, O,… Read More

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