2021 MLR Rebate Checks Recently Issued 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 carriercollects 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 activitiesto 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, 2021. Click here to download this bulletin: 2021 MLR Rebate Checks Recently Issued to Fully… Read More

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How is COBRA health insurance affected if I am disabled?

  In certain circumstances, if a disabled individual  and non-disabled family members are qualified beneficiaries, they are eligible for up to an 11-month extension of COBRA continuation coverage, for a total of 29 months.  The criteria for this 11-month disability extension is a complex area of COBRA law.  We provide general information below, but if you have any questions regarding your disability and public sector COBRA, we encourage you to email us at phig@cms.hhs.gov. In general, the COBRA qualifying event must be a termination of employment or a reduction of the covered employee’s employment hours.  Second, the covered employee must be determined under title II or title XVI of the… Read More

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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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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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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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IRS Guidance Clarifies DCAP Relief

The IRS released Notice 2021-26 to address taxation of Dependent Care Assistance Programs (“DCAPs”) as it relates  to the relief afforded under Section 214 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (“CAA”) and the increased DCAP limit under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARPA”).

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What is Balance Billing?

When a provider bills you for the difference between the provider’s charge and the allowed amount. For example, if the provider’s charge is $100 and the allowed amount is $70, the provider may bill you for the remaining $30. A preferred provider may not balance bill you for covered services. Ask your health insurance experts at Total Benefit Solutions today how to avoid balance billing charges!

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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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What are Commuter or Transit Benefits (Section 132)?

Commuter or Transit Benefits (Section 132) Parking & mass transit expenses may be paid for with pre-tax dollars through a commuter plan. This plan is a straightforward way for participants to reduce their commuting costs and for employers to gain additional payroll tax reductions. Some states, like NY and NJ have mandated the inclusion of commuter benefit plans over the last few years. A commuter benefit plan is typically offered as one component of a Flexible Spending Account (Section 125) What expenses qualify as commuter/transit benefits? Commuter highway vehicle: A commuter vehicle is any highway vehicle that seats at least 6 adults (not including the driver). In addition, you must reasonably… 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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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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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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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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HSA/HDHP Limits Increase for 2020

On May 28, 2019, the IRS released Revenue Procedure 2019-25 to announce the inflation-adjusted limits for health savings accounts (HSAs) and high deductible health plans (HDHPs) for 2020. These limits include: The maximum HSA contribution limit; The minimum deductible amount for HDHPs; and The maximum out-of-pocket expense limit for HDHPs. These limits vary based on whether an individual has self-only or family coverage under an HDHP.  The IRS limits for HSA contributions increase for 2020. Eligible individuals with self-only HDHP coverage will be able to contribute up to $3,550 for 2020, while eligible individuals with family HDHP coverage will be able to contribute up to $7,100 for 2020. The HDHP… 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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Why Offer an HRA to Your Employees?

Healthcare Reimbursement Arrangement, typically referred to as an HRA, can be utilized by employers to reduce their overall healthcare costs without placing additional financial burden on their employees. An HRA allows the employer to pay for eligible expenses with pre-tax dollars. The employer decides what expenses are eligible, within the IRS guidelines, leaving a lot of flexibility in plan design. Typically an HRA is coupled with a High Deductible Health Plan and the HRA pays for either the entire deductible or a portion of the deductible. With this type of a plan the premium savings often outweigh the potential claims that the employer would have to pay if every employee… Read More

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Top Five Reasons for ER Trips on Thanksgiving

The Top 5 Reasons for ER Trips on Thanksgiving   Thanksgiving is almost here! It’s a wonderful day spent together with your family and loved ones. People across the Country will be spending hours and hours perfecting their feasts after weeks of careful planning. Family from near and far gather together to give Thanks for the little (and big) things in life. The meaning behind it all is beautiful. So what’s the worst thing that can happen as everyone prepares to enjoy the delicious food? Someone getting hurt. And not just a little hurt, hurt enough to have to go to the ER. Knowing what the top reasons are can… Read More

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Total Benefit Solutions featured in the Southampton Spirit

Total Benefit Solutions: A Committed Team Focused On ‘Clients First’ For Health Insurance by Tianna Grosch Looking for affordable health insurance but not sure where to start? Seeking the correct health insurance with benefits fit to your needs can be a daunting task, one that you should leave in the hands of caring and compassionate professionals. Total Benefit Solutions, Inc. (TBS) is the right place to get the advice and assistance you need in order to make the best enrollment decision whether you’re a family, senior or company. Ed and Kathleen MacConnell began this agency inspired by their own difficulties in receiving insurance coverage for their daughter Katelin, who was… Read More

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