Calculator May Help Small Businesses Determine SHOP Eligibility

Calculator May Help Small Businesses Determine SHOP Eligibility   The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has developed a Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Employee Calculator to help small employers determine whether they qualify for the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP).   Background SHOP is available as an option for qualified small employers to purchase employee health coverage. The federal government is running the program in states that chose not to operate their own SHOP Marketplace (Exchange). For 2014, employers are generally eligible to purchase health coverage through the federally-facilitated SHOP Marketplace if they have 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees (FTEs), including part-time employees. (For example, 2 part-time employees… Read More

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Aetna: Important updates to our Pennsylvania Small Group eligibility guidelines

This briefing is applicable to all brokers writing Pennsylvania based employers We have updated our eligibility guidelines as it relates to sole proprietors, owners, partners, W-2 employees and husband / wife groups for 2014. These updates have been made to maintain compliance with state and federal requirements. Please review the updates we have outlined below. We thank you for your continued collaboration. The following applies to Small Group Pennsylvania new business and renewals: The definition of an employer is now one W-2 common law employee. This accommodates an owner with at least one “enrolling” W-2 common law employee who is not a spouse and not an owner. Sole proprietors, owners… Read More

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IBC: Special Care program ending

As you may already know, the Independence Blue Cross Special Care SM* health care plan will terminate on June 30, 2014. Because the Special Care plan is ending, the individuals who are currently enrolled in this plan will be eligible for a special enrollment period to sign up for a plan that is compliant with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Special Care members qualify for a special enrollment period All Special Care members will be eligible for a special enrollment period , which will allow them to enroll in an individual or family health plan. Members will have from May 1 to August 29, 2014 to enroll in a health plan… Read More

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Healthcare.gov Users Prompted To Change Passwords Because Of Heartbleed Risk.

The CBS Evening News (4/20, story 8, 1:55, Glor) reported Sunday night that “visitors to the to Affordable Care website are being advised to take steps to protect themselves” from Heartbleed, the online security flaw. Mark Albert reported over the weekend, healthcare.gov made the move to “reset everyone’s account password.” Saturday evening, the NBC Nightly News (4/19, story 7, 0:25, Holt) reported that people “with accounts on healthcare.gov are being told to change their passwords after review found that the website was vulnerable to the security breach bug.” The Hill (4/19, Wilson) “Hillicon Valley” blog reported that the call to change log in information for the site were “out of… Read More

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SHOP for Small Group Customers Buying a plan through SHOP versus direct

SHOP for Small Group Customers Buying a plan through SHOP versus direct   Buying plans through the Small Business Health Options Program, or SHOP, provides an advantage only for employers with fewer than 25 employees that are eligible for a tax credit provided by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). If customers are not eligible for this tax credit, there is no advantage to purchasing a plan through SHOP. This is because… Click here to download the SHOP bulletin

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Healtcare Reform Law

Health Reform: New Guidance Clarifies Rules on Health FSA Carryovers

Near the end of 2013, the IRS issued Notice 2013-47 that permits a cafeteria plan to provide for the use of up to $500 of any unused amount remaining in the health FSA in the immediately following plan year (the “carryover” provision). This provision is optional, requires a plan amendment, and cannot be offered if the cafeteria plan allows a grace period. Click here to download the bulletin  

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IBC: Tobacco Status Important Questions and Answers

Why does IBC collect member-level information about tobacco use? Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), premium rates for health insurance coverage in the individual and small group markets may be based on family size, geography, age and tobacco use. In order to follow with this guideline and accurately rate each group, Independence Blue Cross (IBC) collects member-level tobacco use information to create group premiums for new and renewing group customers. Click the link below to download the IBC document that covers the most common questions about rating tobacco users in small group in PA. Tobacco Status For Small Group Customers Flyer

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Health Reform: Law Repeals Deductible Limits for Small Group Plans

The Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014, legislation extending the “doc fix” for Medicare payments, also includes a provision that repeals the maximum deductible limits applicable to many small group health plans. As you recall, deductible limits for non-grandfathered small group plans are capped under the ACA at $2,000 for single coverage and $4,000 for family coverage effective for the first plan year on or after January 1, 2014. This legislation repeals the deductible limits as of the date health care reform was enacted (March 23, 2010). Click here to download the bulletin

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Ed MacConnell earns Voluntary Benefits Certification

We are pleased to announce that Edward T MacConnell, President of Total Benefit Solutions has earned the certification of Certified Voluntary Worksite Professional from the National Association of Health Underwriters. Voluntary/Worksite products are not new to the employee benefit industry. However, the surge of interest in these products has accelerated as employers seek ways to help attract and retain talent. The industry has responded swiftly with new products, new features, new enrollment technologies and many changes to the underwriting rules of these products. This has created new responsibilities for agents, brokers and consultants as advising clients in this area will differentiate their value to the consumers they serve. Certified Voluntary Worksite… Read More

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HHS to Extend Marketplace Enrollment Deadline

The Washington Post has reported that HHS has released regulations extending the Marketplace open enrollment deadline to around mid-April for individuals who began, but did not complete, a Marketplace application. The extension appears to be based on a self-certification (honor) system, in which individuals attest that they could not timely complete the Marketplace application before the March 31 deadline. This extension may have an impact on employer-sponsored plans to the extent individuals have more time to elect Marketplace benefits and therefore may decline employer-sponsored coverage at the next OE. Keep in mind that IRS cafeteria plan rules currently do not recognize enrollment in a Marketplace plan as a qualified status… Read More

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My Experience with Obamacare: A Freelancer Applies for Health Insurance

Our friends at Zane Benefits recently shared this comic and I enjoyed it so much I thought you might like it too: Click here to see the rest of the comic on zanebenefits.com                                                                         Click here to see the rest of the comic on zanebenefits.com

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The Truth Agents/Brokers & FFM Navigators The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

The Truth Agents/Brokers & FFM Navigators The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Shared with permission from B. Ronnell Nolan, HIA, CHRS-President/CEO – HAFA Financial Media Group, LLC, Centennial, CO, compiles this information annually. There are approximately 1.2 million licensed insurance agents nationally. The 1.2 million does not include the staff of licensed agents employed throughout the United States. After adding the staff, imagine the millions of people that Agents represent, educate and protect on a daily basis! With the passing of the ACA, Health Agents for America, Inc. was formed to create a tool box for Agents to use in educating the citizens of their local communities. HAFA is known to… Read More

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Feds: Navigators don’t need E&O coverage

Enclosed in the 279 pages of proposed rules released Friday by the Department of Health and Human Services for the public health insurance exchanges is an answer, sort of, to a question brokers have raised for more than a year — who will be liable for navigators’ mistakes? n the section of the rules discussing navigators, the Obama administration’s document says “a state or an exchange must not require that all navigators be agents or brokers or carry errors and omissions coverage.” Further, the rule says that if navigators were to be required to carry E&O insurance, this would disqualify them from being considered a “community and consumer-focused nonprofit group.” Federal law… Read More

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IBC: Small Group Metallic Plans Mapping

Upon renewal in 2014 small groups will be automatically “mapped” to a new ACA compliant metallic plan. Find your new recommended 2014 Blue Solutions plan using the chart below. To make your renewal even easier we’ve identified the plan that most closely matches your current plan. Or you can choose from among 36 other options to suit your needs. More comprehensive coverage Blue Solutions health plans now cover Essential Health Benefits like pediatric dental and vision. Your health plan also continues to cover doctor visits, hospital admissions, emergency room treatments, maternity care, lab tests, X-rays, prescriptions, and vision benefits for both children and adults. Click the link below to download the… Read More

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Health Reform: Regulations Issued on Waiting Periods

For plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2014, a group health plan and an insurance carrier offering group health insurance coverage may not apply any waiting period that exceeds 90 days. This rule applies to both grandfathered and non-grandfathered plans. It should be noted that nothing in the Affordable Care Act requires a group health plan or carrier to have a waiting period  Click here to download the bulletin

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IBC: July 1 rate increase for individual medically underwritten plans

IBC: We want to let you know that the monthly rates for our individual medically underwritten plans will increase in July 2014. We are notifying members muchearlier than is required to give them the opportunity to enroll in a plan that is compliant with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The reason for the rate increase. We understand that it can be difficult to afford quality health insurance coverage. While we continue to work hard to keep costs down, the cost of health care continues to rise along with our member utilization. This is why it’s necessary for Independence Blue Cross (IBC) to implement an 11.5 percent rate increase. Click the link below to read… Read More

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Client Testimonial: Aaron G

We love making our clients happy! I received this email just the other day and I wanted to share. This client had an abundance of trouble enrolling through the healthcare.gov website until we got involved: Dear Jennifer – thanks so much for everything! I’m so happy to be insured and I couldn’t have done it without you! Aaron G

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Total Benefit Solutions Makes Enrolling Easier

In an effort to meet the enrollment challenges that many are facing under healthcare reform,  Total Benefit Solutions Inc has designed a custom form for our clients to use. Using this form and submitting it to Total Benefit Solutions Inc  will enable our Marketplace trained and certified licensed independent brokers to assist you in the enrollment process from the registration right through the enrollment! Remember as your independent broker we always work in your best interests,  not an insurance company. We represent you, our client and not an insurer or government agency. Click the link below to open the form and get started!  When completed, just click the link to… Read More

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Humana-When to Enroll: Important Deadlines under the Affordable Care Act

Have you enrolled? Open enrollment is ending soon! Do you know when? Watch this video from Humana and learn more, then call your Total Benefit Solutions Advisor at (215)355-2121 and get enrolled without any further delay!  

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Total Benefit Solutions Now Offering Online Enrollment with Consult-A-Doctor PLUS

Healthcare… the way it should be! Are you tired of waiting multiple weeks to go see your doctor, only to find yourself taking time off work so you can drive through traffic and sit in the waiting room for what seems like forever? Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the stress and anxiety of a difficult life situation and wished you had someone you could trust to hold your hand and walk you through to the other side?  Then welcome to CADRPlus, an innovative new health care program that gives you unlimited, 24/7 access to doctors and other industry professionals from the comfort and convenience of your phone or computer,… Read More

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Relief for Vision, Dental and EAP Benefits and New Wraparound Coverage

The Departments of Labor, Treasury and HHS issued a proposed rule that provides helpful guidance regarding certain excepted benefits, including vision benefits, dental benefits, employee assistance programs (EAPs) and certain wraparound programs. Click the link below to download the bulletin. Relief for Excepted Benefits-012414R

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Video: Who can help me enroll?

Who can help you enroll on a new affordable care act plan? Remember an independent broker like Total Benefit Solutions Inc can still help you enroll on a plan on the Federal Healtcare Exchange or off at no additional cost to you. Your independent broker is still truly your healthcare advocate! Another simple yet educational video from Humana:  

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Husband & Wife 2 Person Groups No Longer Eligible for Group Coverage

Effective January 1, 2014 for new business and as existing groups renew thereafter, Husband and Wife only and Partner only businesses are no longer eligible for Small Group coverage. There are differences on how each state* will handle immediate family members who are also employees. Sole Proprietors Sole proprietors, owners and their immediate family members forming a business are not considered employees and may only buy insurance through the Individual Marketplace. Sole proprietors reporting on Schedule C cannot form a group health plan without having at least one non-spouse common-law employee.** * The FFM states (e.g., NJ, PA, DE) will abide by the above within the SHOP (Small Group Exchange Marketplace). In… Read More

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