What is an expected benefit Health Reimbursement Arrangement?

An excepted benefit Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) allows employers to finance additional medical care, like vision or dental coverage, coinsurance and copayments for individual health insurance coverage, short-term limited-duration insurance, or other health care costs not covered by their primary group plan. Excepted benefit HRAs cannot be used to reimburse individual health insurance coverage premiums, group health plans premiums (other than COBRA or other group continuation coverage), or Medicare premiums. However, an excepted benefit HRA can be used to reimburse premiums for individual health insurance coverage or group health plan coverage that consists solely of excepted benefits. This type of HRA, like the individual coverage HRA, allows rollover of unused… Read More

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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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What is copayment?

A fixed amount ($20, for example) you pay for a covered health care service after you’ve paid your deductible. Let’s say your health insurance plan’s allowable cost for a doctor’s office visit is $100. Your copayment for a doctor visit is $20. If you’ve paid your deductible: You pay $20, usually at the time of the visit. If you haven’t met your deductible: You pay $100, the full allowable amount for the visit Copayments (sometimes called “copays”) can vary for different services within the same plan, like drugs, lab tests. and visits to specialists. Generally plans with lower monthly premiums have higher copayments. Plans with higher monthly premiums usually have… 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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What are HDHPs & HSAs?

One way to manage your health care expenses is by enrolling in a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) in combination with opening a Health Savings Account (HSA). How High Deductible Health Plans and Health Savings Accounts can reduce your costs: If you enroll in an HDHP, you may pay a lower monthly premium but have a higher deductible (meaning you pay for more of your health care items and services before the insurance plan pays). If you combine your HDHP with an HSA, you can pay that deductible, plus other qualified medical expenses, using money you set aside in your tax-free HSA. So if you have an HDHP and don’t… Read More

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COVID-19 Vaccines Now Available for Young Children

A recent CDC announcement recommends that children six months through five years of age should get an age-appropriate dose of the Pfizer‑BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Independence covers the cost of administering vaccines and booster shots with no cost-share (such as co-pays, deductibles, coinsurance) for members regardless of where the vaccine is given. For Medicare Advantage members, the cost and administration of the vaccine and booster shots will be covered by Original Medicare so long as the health care provider administering the vaccine participates in the Medicare program. Please click here to learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines and boosters. As always, please contact your Total Benefit Solutions Inc health… Read More

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IRS Announces Medical Mileage Rate Increase

To offset high gas prices, on June 9, 2022, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced an increase in the 2022 standard medical mileage rate for the final six months of 2022. Effective July 1, 2022, the new rate for when an automobile is used to obtain medical care is 22 cents per mile for the remainder of 2022, which is an increase from the rate of 18 cents per mile effective January 1 – June 30, 2022. Mileage to and from a medical service is generally an eligible expense under a Healthcare Flexible Spending Account, Health Reimbursement Arrangement, or Health Savings Account. Click here to learn more. As always, please… Read More

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Change of Income? When and How to Notify the Marketplace.

One of the benefits of getting your Health Insurance through the Marketplace is the tax credit applied to your premium, which makes your costs much more affordable. However, when determining how much your tax credit will be, you use an estimate on your income for the following year. Life is always changing, so if your income changes, if your Family size changes or even being offered Healthcare in some other way it is IMPORTANT to alert the Marketplace of these changes or you may end up owing money back to the Government when you file your taxes at the end of the year. Here we will talk about which types… Read More

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How To Find a Doctor You Trust

How to Find a Doctor You Trust Get a list of in-network providers: Call your insurance company or look at their plan materials for a list of doctors in their network. You’ll usually pay less to see a doctor in your network than a doctor who’s out-of-network. You can also call your Broker and they can help assist you in getting the names of Doctors near you that accept your plan. Do your research: Ask friends and family if they recommend their doctors. You may even be able to read online reviews for doctors in your area. Online reviews are a great way to gauge things such as bedside manner and wait… Read More

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“I’m paying for Health Insurance I don’t even use!”

You hear it all the time: “I’m paying for Health Insurance I don’t even use!” But, Health insurance isn’t only for when you’re sick!  You can use it to maintain your healthy status, you can use it for Preventative Care and you can also use this time to learn how your coverage works before you get sick. Also, many Health Insurance Plans offer things such as discounted gym memberships and rewards for healthy lifestyle choices (such as quitting smoking). Some plans even offer vision or dental benefits, so you can take advantage of an eye screening or 6 month dental check-up. Take advantage of free insurance benefits anytime Get preventive services,… Read More

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Quick Update: Retirement Plan Contribution Limits and ACA Reminders & Numbers

                                 Important Open Enrollment Information While we highly suggest those of you applying for Healthcare Coverage through the Marketplace speak with a Trained and Licensed Broker to make sure you are getting the right coverage for your particular situation, we know some of you prefer to apply directly. So with that in mind, we wanted to send out a reminder that every Sunday from 12am until 12pm during Open Enrollment (Except December 9th), scheduled maintenance will happen on the Healthcare.gov site. This means during those periods you may not be able to access the site to… Read More

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Ways to Save Money on Your Prescription Drugs

Prescriptions costs are skyrocketing. We all know that. But did you know that there are several ways for people to save money on their monthly medications? As health insurance plans are becoming more catastrophic in nature, that means that people will need to become better health care consumers. Sometimes that means using the tools that the insurance company offers at no charge. Sometimes it means using discounts and other resources that are available outside the health plan. Here are a few ways, some already widely known and others not so much, to help drop down your costs at the Pharmacy. While this is not a comprehensive list of money-saving ideas, it is… Read More

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Important Info! HSA Limits for 2019

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What is an HRA and How It May See A Major Change Soon..

Before we get into how rules for HRAs may be changing, we should discuss what an HRA is and how it works. A Health Reimbursement Account (sometimes referred to a Health Reimbursement Arrangement) is an employer-funded group health plan that reimburses employees, tax-free, for qualified medical expenses up to a certain amount per year. This type of policy does not replace Medical Insurance and is usually coupled with a High-Deductible policy. Unlike an Health Savings Account (HSA), the Employee can not help to fund the account.  Like HSAs though, there are maximum allowed contributions. In 2018, an Employer can fund an HRA up to $5,050 for a Single Employee and $10,250… Read More

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“Can I use my HSA for…….?”

Health Savings Accounts and You Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) aren’t new. They’ve been around since late 2003. Initially they were created along with the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act  to replace the Medical Saving Account System. Initially these plans were designed to help with Drug Costs under Medicare policies; However, as Insurance Premiums increased, more and more Employer and Individual Policies offered High-Deductible Plans to help curb costs. Due to that, HSAs were thrown into the spotlight as a way to use Pre-Tax Dollars to cover out-of-pocket Medical costs. In 2017, a reported 22million Americans have an HSA. Each year, that number continues to climb. Many people still have a… Read More

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President Trump Signs Prescription Drug Gag Clause Legislation

President Trump Signs Prescription Drug Gag Clause Legislation On Wednesday, President Trump signed into law S. 2553, the Know the Lowest Price Act, and S. 2554, the Patient Right to Know Drug Price Act. The legislation was passed by the House and Senate last month with bipartisan support and will ban “gag clauses” that prevent pharmacists from telling customers when they can save money on their prescriptions by paying out of pocket for the retail price of the drug, rather than using their insurance and making the co-payment. These bills comprise portions of President Trump’s “America First” prescription drug initiative that were released as part of a blueprint to lower drug prices in May.… Read More

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IBC 2019 Member Renewal Notices

October 25th: Independence Blue Cross Member Renewal Letter details Due to the subsidy disruption in some counties, Independence will be sending renewal notices in 2 waves. On October 25th 2018: • Members who do not receive a subsidy will receive their renewal notices for 2019. The notice will include benefit and premium updates for 2019 and provide a personalized URL for a website that enables them to renew plans as-is (EZ Button), or make a change to their current plan. • Members who have a subsidy will receive a letter advising that Independence is waiting for more information from the federal government regarding their subsidy dollars. Upon receipt of this information, the renewal notices will be sent.… Read More

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Social Media Drive Winner Announcement!

  Back in August we announced an End of Summer Social Media Drive Contest. The rules were very simple: If you left us a review, you were eligible to be entered into a drawing for an Amazon gift card valued from $25-$100… For each review you left us on one of our platforms (Google, Yelp, Facebook, Angie’s List, Linkedin, etc) you earned $25 towards that giftcard (up to four review max per person). The contest ran from August 1st, 2018 until September 30th, 2018, but today we finally got our winner. Our Front Office Coordinator, Samantha, joined me for the  random drawing. Please watch the short video below to find… Read More

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How to Protect Yourself from Medical Bankruptcy

According to a CNBC report, an estimated 2 million people were adversely affected by bankruptcies due to medical costs. In 2009, President Obama declared that someone files bankruptcies every 30seconds (or  about 1million people are affected per year!). A popular Facebook meme, shown to the left said the number was 643,000 people a year. Healthcare costs make any of these stats seem realistic, but why are they so different? One reason is that people gather information from different studies made during different years. Even though most of the information comes within the last decade, there are tons of factors that affect our economy. In 2007, 822,590 consumer bankruptcies were filed, but for 2010,… Read More

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Medicare Part D Notification Requirements

Employers sponsoring a group health plan with prescription drug benefits are required to notify their Medicare-eligible participants and beneficiaries as to whether the drug coverage provided under the plan is “creditable” or “non-creditable” prior to October 15th, 2018. Please follow this link for more information:   Medicare Part D Notification Requirements       As always, if you have any questions or concerns about this notification or your specific policy, please contact us at 215-355-2121

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5 Affordable Self-Employed Health Insurance Options When You’re on a Budget

5 Affordable Self-Employed Health Insurance Options When You’re on a Budget When you are self-employed, finding affordable health insurance options isn’t easy. There are more types of insurance policies now more than ever; However not all of those choices are affordable.  So, how can you find good coverage when you’re on a budget? Continue reading below for some great options to make sure you get the benefits you need at a price you can afford!   1. Telemedicine Services and Secure Doctor Consultations A budget-friendly health insurance alternative that’s gaining popularity are Telemedicine Services.  Telemedicine services are just like they sound, it’s a medical service that allows you to speak to… Read More

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The History of Medicare

  A brief history of Medicare in America Landmark social program now covers 58.5 million Americans By Steve Anderson Discussion about a national health insurance system for Americans goes all the way back to the days of President Teddy Roosevelt, whose platform included health insurance when he ran for president in 1912. But the idea for a national health plan didn’t gain steam until it was pushed by U.S. President Harry S Truman.On November 19, 1945, seven months into his presidency, Truman sent a message to Congress, calling for the creation of a national health insurance fund, open to all Americans. The plan Truman envisioned would provide health coverage to individuals, paying for such typical expenses… Read More

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Prevent Osteoporosis with Screenings

10 Facts About Osteoporosis By Kathleen Hall This silent disease significantly raises your risk for fractures and disability. 1. Losing bone density is a normal part of aging. We reach peak bone mass between ages 25 and 30, and then slowly lose begin to start losing bone mass at age 40. For women, reduced levels of estrogen after menopause accelerate bone density loss. “Women lose 1.5 to 2 percent of their bone density per year in the first 10 years after menopause,” says Laura Ryan, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine in the division of endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus. 2. You don’t lose… Read More

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New Medicare Card Mailing Update!

Check the Status of Your New Card *Cards have finished mailing to American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and to people who get RRB benefits.   Three Things To Know Your new card will automatically come to you. You don’t need to do anything as long as your address is up to date. If you need to update your address, visit your My Social Security. Once you get your new Medicare card, destroy your old Medicare card and start using your new card right away. Your new Medicare Number is a unique combination of numbers and letters. Your new number uses numbers 0 thru 9. The letters S, L, O,… Read More

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