health insurance choices

2021 Second Quarter Compliance Bulletins Compilation

This document is a valuable resource, putting all of the latest health care reform news and updates in one location! 

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What is Blue Card PPO?

Many clients ask us about Blue Card PPO and how it works. Blue Card PPO is typically attached to our clients policies who are enrolled on an IBC Personal Choice PPO or National Network PPO or a Horizon Blue Cross plan with National Access. You can tell if you have this on your plan if your card has the PPO Traveling Briefcase ppo logo.   It’s important to note that members who have a Keystone HMO, Amerihealth or Horizon HMO or local EPO do NOT have Blue Card PPO.  How Does the BlueCard Program Work? BlueCard® PPO Medical Plan The BlueCard Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) medical plan gives you the freedom to… 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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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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PPE and Health FSA/HRA

The IRS announced that amounts paid for personal protective equipment such as masks, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes for the primary purpose of preventing the spread of COVID-19 are considered amounts paid for medical care under section 213 of the Internal Revenue Code. These items are now allowed to be reimbursed from a health FSA. The IRS notice recognizes all forms of PPE as expenses medical care and does not limit the PPE to just disposable or non-disposable items. Reimbursements are permitted for expenses incurred on or after 1/1/2020 and they must be properly documented for reimbursement. If plan terms do not allow the reimbursement of PPE but the plan… Read More

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Impact of Key Provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 COVID-19 Relief on Marketplace Premiums

there are millions of uninsured people who could be getting subsidized coverage on the ACA Marketplaces, but have not taken advantage of this financial help. In many cases, it may be that the financial help available to them is not sufficient to make the premium or the deductible affordable

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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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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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New COBRA Subsidy Begins April 1st under COVID Relief

Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“the Act”) on March 10, 2021 and it was signed into law on March 11, 2021. The Act includes a 100% COBRA subsidy available to certain COBRA qualified beneficiaries who lose group health plan coverage as the result of an involuntary termination or reduction in hours. This is different from the original House legislation, which included an 85% subsidy (with the COBRA beneficiary responsible for 15% of the COBRA premiums). Employers will be able to claim a credit against payroll taxes to reimburse the cost of the subsidy. The COBRA subsidy begins April 1, 2021 (the first day of the month… 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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Compliance Bulletin & Reform Center

Health Care Compliance and Reform Education Center A fundamental change in the way the United States handles health care has arrived. Benefit rules and coverage change faster today than they used to in ten years! Our Compliance and Health Reform Education Center is where we will keep a copy of our health care reform bulletins throughout the year, in an easy  to view format where you can download a brief summary or watch a short informative video. Click here to visit totalbenefitscomply.com Please contact your Total Benefit Solutions account manager at (215)355-2121 if you have any further questions.  

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2016 Compliance Year In Review Digest

2016 Compliance Year In Review Digest A complete digest of all our compliance bulletins for the entire year of 2016 from our business partners at Emerson Reid. A handy guide to all of the year’s updates and changes all in one place. Download your copy now and keep it for future reference.   Click to Download Compliance Digest 2016 Year in Review     As always please contact your Total Benefit Solutions Account Manager at (215)355-2121 if you have any questions or concerns.

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Health Reform: 4th Quarter 2016 Compliance Compilation

Download a digest of our fourth quarter compliance bulletins. This digest includes the following bulletins:  Transitional Reinsurance Fee Form Now Available 10/14/2016 Final 2016 Forms 1094-C and 1095-C Available 10/25/2016 November 2017 Cost of Living Adjustments 11/01/2016 Relief Extended for Premium Reimbursement Programs for Student Employees 11/02/2016 Updates Regarding the NJ Small Employer Health Benefits Program 11/07/2016 Election Results and the ACA: Preliminary Thoughts 11/10/2016 16 Extension of Deadline for 2016 Forms 1095-C 11/21/2016 Adjusted PCOR Fee for Fifth Filing Year Released 11/22/2016 December Beware of Phishing Email Disguised as HIPAA Privacy Audit Letter 12/13/2016   Click here to download the 4th quarter compliance compilation

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ACA: Important Implementations & Delays in 2016

As our third year of the ACA Open Enrollment Period arrived, it’s time to examine some of the new implementations in 2016. Some of the major components, especially those affecting businesses were delayed or deferred since the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. This year is considered to be a big year due to the “full implementation” of the employer mandate as well as a number of changes, repeals, and moratoriums on other sections of ACA. Some of the key changes are listed below: CHANGES AND IMPLEMENTATIONS Full implementation of the Employer Mandate Currently it is not mandated that employers provide health care to their employees. Moving forward, however, if… Read More

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FAQ Suggests Employers Include Marketplace Options with COBRA Notices

On June 21, 2016, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury (collectively, the “Departments”) issued the 32nd Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) FAQ describing information that may be appropriate to include with COBRA notices. Many wondered if it were appropriate to provide information and if so, what kind of information could be provided about the Health Insurance Marketplaces/Exchanges (“Marketplaces”) so that COBRA-eligible individuals could consider health coverage alternatives available through the Marketplaces and possibly investigate whether they may be eligible for premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions. Click the link to download the entire bulletin

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Think HR Comply: Small Business Support from Total Benefit Solutions

We are pleased to introduce to you a our sponsored client service—ThinkHR. If you are involved with employee issues, this will be a value-added benefit that will save you time and money. ThinkHR offers ThinkHR Live, a team of HR experts standing by to answer your questions or provide advice. This phone-based support service is available from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Central each business day. You also have access to ThinkHR Comply, an award-winning online resource center for all of your workforce issues. Download this brochure, it describes the scope of HR topics that are handled by the ThinkHR Live team. The service is provided to all Total Benefit… Read More

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Amerihealth NJ: No Longer Providing COBRA Administration

  AmeriHealth New Jersey has announced that they will no longer provide administrative services for the continuation of coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act (COBRA) and Retiree Billing services. AmeriHealth NJ will discontinue COBRA administration and Retiree Billing services in 2016 for customers on the following schedule: For customers renewing January 1 through July 31, COBRA administration services will end on December 31, 2016. For customers renewing August 1 through December 31, services will end on their 2016 renewal date. Approximately 30 days before COBRA administration services end, COBRA members will be notified that their COBRA plan is being transferred to another service provider, and their COBRA eligibility will continue uninterrupted.  … Read More

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Limited Benefit Medical Plans

Why Consider a Limited Benefit Medical Plan? When it comes to medical benefits, employers used to face two choices — comprehensive employer-paid medical plans or no insurance at all. However, with the inception of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the option not to offer medical insurance no longer exists for some employers. Limited benefit medical plans can be powerful tools for recruiting and retaining employees in situations where traditional medical benefits are not offered or affordable. These plans can also be useful in increasing productivity through reduced absenteeism due to illness, improving employee morale and as a means to provide the level of coverage required by law.… Read More

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Now Available: Health Advocate Member Advocacy

Total Benefit Solutions clients can now take advantage of enrolling on Health Advocate as a group or as an individual/ family! It’s part of our Benefit Aid packages and it’s so easy you can enroll today by clicking here or ask your Total Benefit Solutions account manager at (215)355-2121 for more information. This video will tell you all about the benefits of Health Advocate!  

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