2018 Individual Health Insurance Open Enrollment: PA Independence Individual Consumer Plans and Rates

  Individual Health Insurance Open Enrollment 2018! Don’t do it yourself! Our dedicated professionals are here to help you take the fits out of the benefit planning process!  One mistake and you could be stuck with a bad plan all year! We work with all available plans both on the healthcare.gov marketplace and off! Have your own expert help you! Our experts are trained to help you Choose between on and off exchange options Maximize any subsidy eligibility. Help you understand the cost sharing subsidies Help you choose the plan that is the best fit for you Explain the differences between the plan design and your out of pocket expectations Fill… Read More

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Recent Developments Regarding the Employer Mandate

Applicable large employers (ALEs) may be resting easy, having had no notification from the IRS of 2015 or 2016 assessments under the Employer Mandate of the Affordable Care Act (the ACA) and having reasonably expected that the Republican-led administration would limit or choose not to enforce this mandate. With the status of health care reform uncertain, the IRS has taken additional steps regarding the mandate, once again updating its website with FAQs on Employer Mandate penalties that build on information released in January (before the change in administration). Briefly, the guidance is included in the bulletin. Download the bulletin here

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Independence speaks out on PA Premium Tax, Treat No Transport, and recently introduced bills

Independence speaks out on PA Premium Tax, Treat No Transport, and recently introduced bills Updates from IBX Government Affairs including the proposed PA premium tax changes, Treat No Transport reimbursement, scope of practice for nurse practitioners, and proposed bills on drug transparency and prior authorization… Download the Bulletin See IBC’s breakdown of the proposed budget impact here. 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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House Passes Bill to Repeal ACA

Just six weeks after the House leaders failed to muster the votes to pass an earlier version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the House Republicans narrowly passed their health care bill to repeal and replace Obamacare with a 217 to 213 vote on Thursday… Click the link below to download the bulletin with important points: Download House Passes Bill to Repeal Obamacare

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Video: Our New Online Enrollment System

Watch this short video to get a quick overview of our new employee enrollment system with Ease Central!   As always please contact your Total Benefit Solutions account manager at (215)355-2121 if you have any questions about our new enrollment system with Ease Central!

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Breaking News: CMS Announces Open Enrollment Dates and More

CMS issued final rule to increase choices and encourage stability in health insurance markets for 2018 The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the final Market Stabilization rule to help lower premiums and stabilize individual and small group markets, and to increase choices for Americans. Individuals obtaining coverage in the Marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act have faced double-digit premium increases, fewer plans to choose from, and a market that continues to be threatened by insurance issuer exits.*  The CMS rule is designed to provide some relief for patients and issuers now. “CMS is committed to ensuring access to high quality affordable healthcare for all Americans and… Read More

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GOP Pulls AHCA Before Vote

On Friday, March 24, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives pulled the American Health Care Act (“AHCA”) from consideration after not receiving enough Republican support to pass the bill. The AHCA was President Trump’s first attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (the “ACA”). The AHCA, among other things, would have eradicated the penalties associated with the individual and employer mandates, and replaced the ACA subsidies with refundable tax credits. Download GOP Pulls AHCA Before Vote

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Small Businesses May Be Able to Keep Existing Health Coverage Through Calendar Year 2018

Small Businesses May Be Able to Keep Existing Health Coverage Through Calendar Year 2018   A previously extended transitional policy which allows health insurance issuers, at their option, to continue group coverage that would otherwise be terminated or cancelled has been extended further—to policy years beginning on or before October 1, 2018, provided that all policies end by December 31, 2018. Health insurance issuers that renew coverage under the extended policy are required to provide standard notices to affected small businesses for each policy year. Extended Transitional Policy At the option of the states, issuers that have renewed policies under the transitional policy continually since 2014 may be permitted to… Read More

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MEDICARE PART D: CMS NOTIFICATION REMINDER

Employers sponsoring a group health plan need to report information on the creditable status of the plan’s prescription drug coverage to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Watch a video overview   Download a bulletin

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Human Resources: Tours of Duty

Human Resources: Tours of Duty From our friends at DeNovo HR Consulting:   In September of 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released updated employee tenure stats.  I think we all predicted what they would reveal:  the median number of years that the average employee stays with a company is 4.2, which is down from 4.6 years when last published in 2014. Employees in professional occupations and management roles have the highest median tenure of 5.1 years.  On the other side of the coin, workers in service occupations have the lowest median tenure of 2.9 years, with those specifically in the food service industry coming in at only 1.9 years.… Read More

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Examining The House Republican ACA Repeal And Replace Legislation

On March 6, 2017, the House Republican leadership introduced Affordable Care Act repeal and replacement budget reconciliation bills in the Ways and Means (W&M) (summary) and Energy and Commerce (E&C) (summary) committees. The bills, collectively titled the American Health Care Act, are the committees’ responses to the instructions they received in the Budget Resolution passed by both houses of Congress in mid-January to prepare budget reconciliation legislation to repeal the ACA. What The Two Bills Do, And What They Don’t Like the leaked bill analyzed here earlier, the two proposed bills do not repeal the ACA. They leave in place the ACA’s titles affecting Medicare, quality of care, program integrity,… Read More

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Trump’s First Executive Order Addresses the ACA

  Trump’s First Executive Order Addresses the ACA On January 20, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order to minimize the economic burden of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). This Order identifies the new administration’s policy for addressing and enforcing the ACA while Congressional Republicans craft legislation to repeal and replace it. The Order directs the agencies responsible for administration and enforcement of the ACA to exercise the authority and discretion available to them: Download Trump’s First Executive Order Addresses the ACA As always please contact your Total Benefit Solutions account manager at (215)355-2121 if you have any additional questions or concerns.

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Trump Issues Executive Order To Curb Some Parts Of ACA.

Trump Issues Executive Order To Curb Some Parts Of ACA. The New York Times  (1/20, Davis, Pear, Subscription Publication) reported that on Friday, President Donald Trump issued an executive order  to government agencies directing them “to scale back as many aspects of the Affordable Care Act as possible, moving within hours of being sworn in to fulfill his pledge to eviscerate Barack Obama’s signature health care law.” According to the Times, the one-page order “has symbolic as well as substantive significance, allowing Mr. Trump to claim he acted immediately to do away with a health care law he has repeatedly called disastrous, even while it remains in place and he… Read More

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Update on the Status of the ACA

Update on the Status of the ACA With the impending inauguration, recent actions by the Senate and some confusing media reports, we wanted to provide a short Q&A to help you understand current events and what to expect as we head down the health care reform road in 2017… What’s the latest news? Download the bulletin for an update: Download Update on the Status of the ACA   As always please contact your Total Benefit Solutions, Inc. account manager at (215)355-2121 if you have any questions or concerns.

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Relief for Small Employers with HRAs

On December 13, 2016, President Obama signed into law the “21st Century Cures Act” which allows small employers without group medical plans to reimburse individual premiums and other medical expenses of employees under health reimbursement arrangements (“HRAs”), effective with the 2017 plan year, and provides relief from penalties to all small employers reimbursing individual premiums of employees for earlier plan years. In addition, the Cures Act provides a medical innovation package that funds medical research, accelerates cutting-edge treatments for rare diseases, and makes significant reforms to the mental health system. The Issue An employer cannot offer employees cash to reimburse the purchase of an individual policy, without regard to whether… Read More

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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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New Law Exempts Certain Small Employer HRAs From ACA Market Reforms

New Law Exempts Certain Small Employer HRAs From ACA Market Reforms Gaddiel Gonzalez-Brown & Brown Consulting President Obama has signed into law the 21st Century Cures Act, which, among other things, allows small employers to offer new “qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangements” to reimburse employees for qualified medical expenses, including individual health insurance premiums, for years after December 31, 2016. Small employers are defined as those with fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees who do not offer a group health plan.   Background Under prior agency guidance, stand-alone HRAs (except for retiree-only HRAs and HRAs consisting solely of excepted benefits) and HRAs used to purchase coverage on the individual… Read More

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IRS has provided a limited extension of time for employers to provide Forms 1095-C

  The IRS has provided a limited extension of time for employers to provide Forms 1095-C (and carriers to provide Forms 1095-B) to individuals (but NOT to the IRS). Rather than January 31, 2017, the new deadline will be March 2, 2017.  Download Extension of Deadline for 2016 Forms 1095-C

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BREAKING NEWS: Texas Court Issues Injunction Blocking New December 1st Overtime Regulations

  On November 22, 2016, a federal district court in Texas granted a preliminary injunction that temporarily blocks the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) from implementing and enforcing its recently revised regulations on the white collar exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The regulations, which were released in May and scheduled to go into effect on December 1, would more than double the minimum salary requirement certain executive, administrative, and professional employees must receive in order to be exempt from overtime. Click here to read the rest

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Health Reform: Cost of Living Adjustments, Individual Penalty, HSA limits & more for 2017

    On October 25 and 27, 2016, the IRS released cost of living adjustments for 2017 under various provisions of the Internal Revenue Code (the Code). Some of these adjustments may affect your employee benefit plans. These adjustments include but are not limited to the following: Cafeteria Plans Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefits Requirement To Maintain Minimum Essential Coverage (Individual Penalty) Highly Compensated Non-Grandfathered Plan Cost-Sharing Limits H.S.A. Annual contribution limitation, catch up contribution and minimum deductibles Key Employee   Click here to download the bulletin   As always if you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact your dedicated Total Benefit Solutions, Inc. account manager at (215)355-2121.

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Health Reform: IRS Extends Due Date for Furnishing Form 1095-B/C.

IRS Extends Due Date for Furnishing Form 1095-B/C. As applicable large employers and employers with self-funded health plans are working on their Affordable Care Act compliance preparations, the IRS announced an extension of a key ACA deadline. Notice 2016-70 extends the due date for furnishing Form 1095-B and Form 1095-C from January 31, 2017 to March 2, 2017.  The Notice also extends transition relief from penalties if an employer makes a “good faith effort” to comply with reporting requirements. This relief is welcome news for employers who are still working on their compliance approach. A copy of the notice can be downloaded here.

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Election Results and the ACA

With the outcome of the 2016 elections now official, the Republicans will hold the majority in both chambers of Congress and control of the White House beginning in 2017. Since President-elect Trump ran on a platform of “Replace and Repeal” of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), we anticipate that acting on this campaign promise will be one of the top priorities of the new Trump administration. We anticipate there will be significant disruption for individuals, employers, brokers and carriers across the country. Click here to read the latest bulletin

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IBC: Plans to remove exclusions for gender reassignment surgery coverage

  In a July Independence Edge article, we shared that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had issued a final rule for the nondiscrimination provision (section 1557) of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While the nondiscrimination provision itself is not new, the final rule provides expanded clarity on coverage for gender reassignment surgery and related services. In addition, it provides guidance on treating individuals consistent with their gender identity, and not denying or limiting health services usually only available to individuals of one gender. Beginning with renewals on or after January 1, 2017, the exclusion for gender reassignment surgery has been removed from all commercial plans. Members… Read More

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Individual and Family Open Enrollment-2017 Important Updates

As many people know by now there are many big changes with individual and family plans for open enrollment 2017. For anyone who is currently enrolled on one of the following your plan will NOT be renewed for 2017 and you will have to pick a new plan and/or a new insurer: Aetna: all plans cancelling  in PA/NJ/NC/FL  Aetna plans only remain in Delaware in our service area United Healthcare: All ACA plans cancelling. Short term plans are still available Oscar: All plans in NJ cancelling Health Republic: All plans in NJ cancelling Highmark and Capitol Blue Cross: No longer paying broker compensation Geisinger: No longer paying broker compensation Independence Blue… Read More

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