Can consumers who qualify for COBRA continuation coverage opt out of it and get coverage through the Marketplace instead?

Consumers who qualify for COBRA coverage can opt out of it and enroll in Marketplace coverage. However, voluntarily terminating COBRA continuation coverage does not make a consumer eligible for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) based on loss of the COBRA continuation coverage. Note that all qualified enrollees eligible for COBRA continuation coverage can get the Marketplace subsidy, not just the employee who qualifies for the COBRA benefit, as long as they are not actually enrolled in the COBRA continuation coverage. Please contact your trusted Total Benefit Solutions health insurance specialists with any questions or concerns at (215)355-2121.

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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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What Insulin Drugs are Covered Under the Part D Senior Savings Model?

Part D sponsors are required to include at least one vial and pen dosage form for each of the different types of Model insulins, where available – rapid acting, short-acting, intermediate-acting and long-acting – at a maximum $35 copay for a one-month supply through the deductible, initial coverage, and coverage gap phases of the benefit. Part D sponsors are encouraged to include additional insulin formulations, such as concentrated insulins, at the same $35 copay for a one-month supply. The Model doesn’t affect the cost sharing of insulin covered under Part B. For a full list of the insulin drugs covered by each plan, as well as which drugs are covered… 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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Prescription Drug Provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act

For the first time, requires the federal government to negotiate prices for some top-selling drugs covered under Medicare Requires drug companies to pay rebates if prices rise faster than inflation for drugs used by Medicare beneficiaries Eliminates 5% coinsurance for catastrophic coverage in Medicare Part D in 2024, adds a $2,000 cap on Part D out-of-pocket spending in 2025, and limits annual increases in Part D premiums for 2024-2030 Limits monthly cost sharing for insulin products to $35 for people with Medicare Expands eligibility for Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidy full benefits Eliminates cost sharing for adult vaccines covered under Medicare Part D and improves access to adult vaccines under… Read More

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Open Enrollment Tips!

As always, please contact your Total Benefit Solutions health insurance specialists at today at (215)355-2121.

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Understanding the Health Care Provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act

The Inflation Reduction Act includes several landmark health care provisions that would lower prescription drug costs for people with Medicare, reduce Medicare drug spending and extend enhanced subsidies for Affordable Care Act marketplace coverage. On Thursday, August 11, a panel of KFF experts held a web briefing to explain these provisions and how they would affect people and federal health spending, followed by a Question and Answer session. Click here to open article and view Web Event video. The legislation for the first time would require the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate directly with drug manufacturers over the price of some high-cost drugs in the Medicare… 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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Further Guidance Issued on Contraceptive Coverage

On July 28, 2022, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and the Treasury (collectively, “the Departments”) issued FAQ Part to clarify protections for contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act (the “ACA”). In January 2022, the Departments had issued guidance on the ACA Preventive Care Mandate, including contraception. The Departments issued FAQ Part 54: In response to reports that individuals continue to experience difficulty accessing contraceptive coverage without cost sharing; To clarify application of the contraceptive coverage requirements to fertility awareness-based methods and to emergency contraceptive; and To address federal preemption of state law. Employers sponsoring non-grandfathered group health plans should review the various preventive care requirements effective… Read More

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IRS Announces 2023 ACA Affordability Indexed Amount

The IRS recently announced in Revenue Procedure 2022-34 that the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) affordability indexed amount under the Employer Shared Responsibility Payment (“ESRP”) requirements will be 9.12% for plan years that begin in 2023. This is a notable decrease from the 2022 percentage amount (9.61%) and below the original 9.5% threshold. Rev. Proc. 2022-34 establishes the indexed “required contribution percentage” used to determine whether an individual is eligible for “affordable” employer-sponsored health coverage under Section 36B (related to qualification for premium tax credits when buying ACA Marketplace coverage). However, the IRS explained in IRS Notice 2015-87 that a percentage change under Section 36B will correspond to a similar change… Read More

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New Prescription Drug Reporting Requirement

As previously reported in December 2021, Section 204 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (“CAA”) requires plan sponsors of group health plans to submit information annually 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. Employers with fully insured or self-funded (includes level funded) group health plans, including grandfathered plans, church plans subject to the Internal Revenue Code, and governmental plans. The term “group… 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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Case Study Library

We present a few case studies to illustrate how we have helped our clients solve their complicated employee benefit challenges. Click here to learn more!

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Horizon BSBSNJ to Withdraw HMO Plans From Individual and Small Employer Markets

Horizon has announced a change to their product portfolio and have elected to withdraw their HMO plans from the Individual and Small Employer Health Benefits Plan (SEH) markets. The New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance (DOBI) has given its approval for Horizon to withdraw its HMO plans from the markets under the authority of N.J.S.A 17B:27A-6 and N.J.A.C. 11:20-18.5 (for Individual plans) and N.J.S.A. 17B:27A–23e and N.J.A.C. 11:21-16 (for small employer plans). This withdrawal will affect Individual members enrolled in the Horizon HMO Gold plan, and group clients and their employees who are enrolled in the Horizon HMO Platinum plan. Brokers with affected small group clients, and those affected… 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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ACA Employer Penalties Increased for 2022

The IRS penalty amounts for non-compliance of the ACA’s Employer Mandate are again increasing in 2022.  4980H(a) Penalty For the 2022 tax year, the 4980H(a) penalty amount is $229.17 a month or $2,750 annualized, per employee. The IRS issues the 4980H(a) penalty when: An employer doesn’t offer Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) to at least 95% of its full-time employees (and their dependents) for any month during the tax year, and  At least one full-time employee receives a Premium Tax Credit (PTC) for purchasing coverage through the Marketplace. Here’s an example of how the IRS calculates the penalty: If an organization in 2022has 300 full-time employees, and one of these employees receives a PTC for 12 months, the cost of this penalty would be $742,500.The per-employee penalty applies… Read More

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Mental Health Conditions Can Trigger FMLA

The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor released a Fact Sheet related to mental health conditions and the Family and Medical Leave Act, clarifying what constitutes a serious mental health condition. 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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Health Insurance Nondiscrimination Rules Small Business Owners Need to Know

Group health plans and tax-favored accounts—including health savings accounts (HSAs), health flexible spending arrangements (health FSAs), and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs)—are subject to numerous nondiscrimination provisions under federal law. The most common nondiscrimination provisions are described. Please download the entire bulletin for details. As always please contact your Total Benefit Solutions, Inc group account manager at (215)355-2121 with any questions or concerns. This bulletin covers the following topics: Overview General Rules Section 125 Nondiscrimination Rules for Cafeteria Plans Section 105 Nondiscrimination Rules for Self-Insured Plans HIPAA Nondiscrimination Rules Nondiscrimination Rules Related to Medicare-Eligible Individuals Other Nondiscrimination Rules Additional Information

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INFLATION NOW TOPPING LIST OF EMPLOYER’S PANDEMIC CHALLENGES

Employers have faced many challenges since the start of the pandemic, and now wage inflation may be at the top of the list. Using the law of supply and demand, as the supply of talent decreases, candidates can demand more money. The good news, according to the Department of Labor, the unemployment rate fell to 4.6% in October 2021, a new pandemic low. Click the link below to download the full bulletin. As always please contact your Total Benefit Solutions, Inc group account manager if you have any further questions or concerns.

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Aetna: Transparency in Coverage Rule Update

The Transparency in Coverage rule requires health plans and insurers to disclose pricing information via MRF by July 1, 2022. Health plans must generate two MRFs that contain Negotiated rates for in-network providers Billed charges and allowed amounts paid for out-of-network providers  We’ll publish this information on Aetna.com on July 1, 2022 for fully insured (51-100) and small group Aetna Funding AdvantageSM (2-100) groups. By posting the MRFs for small small group Aetna Funding Advantage clients, we’re taking work off their plate. Aetna will update the files each month and this link will remain active with the most up-to-date information.

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Download the latest guide to COBRA and Mini COBRA

COBRA can be confusing for small and larger employees alike. Our quick guide to COBRA is here to make it easier. it’s simple and free to download! COBRA is not only an employer mandate but can also effect people on the health insurance marketplace! Take a look and then ask your Total Benefit Solutions, Inc health insurance specialists how COBRA effects you or your group.

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6 Questions to ask your Benefits Broker

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