HHS Issues Guidance Addressing HIPAA & COVID-19 Vaccinations

The Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) issued guidance in the form of questions and answers addressing how the HIPAA Privacy Rule applies in regardto COVID-19 vaccinations. The guidance makes clear that HIPAA’s privacy rules are not an obstacle to an employer that would like to establish a vaccination requirement for itsemployees and customers. Click to Download HHS Issues Guidance Addressing HIPAA and COVID-19 Vaccinations As always contact your Total Benefit Solutions, Inc health insurance specialists if you have any further questions or concerns at (215)355-2121.

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Total Benefit Solutions Inc chosen as top health insurance agency in Philadelphia

We scored Philadelphia Health Insurance Agencies on more than 25 variables across five categories, and analyzed the results to give you a hand-picked list of the best. Total Benefit Solutions Inc chosen as top health insurance agency in Philadelphia by expertise.com

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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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CMS Extends Open Enrollment Period

On September 17, 2021, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized a series of provisions that follow through on President Biden’s commitment to build on the Affordable Care Act, expand health coverage access for Americans and advance health equity. The provisions are the third installment of the payment notice for 2022.   There are several important policy updates that Marketplace agents and brokers should be aware of prior to the beginning of the plan year 2022 Open Enrollment Period (OEP). These provisions include: An extension of the OEP from November 1, 2021, to January 15, 2022, annually for Marketplaces on the federal platform. Clarification for Special Enrollment Period… Read More

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What Are Medicare Guaranteed Issue Rights?

Guaranteed Issue Rights (Also Called “Medigap Protections”)  are rights you have in certain situations when insurance companies must offer you certain Medigap policies. In these situations, an insurance company: Must sell you a Medigap policy Must cover all your pre-existing health conditions Can’t charge you more for a Medigap policy because of past or present health problems In most cases, you have a guaranteed issue right when you have other health coverage that changes in some way, like when you lose the other health care coverage. In other cases, you have a “trial right” to try a  Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C)  and still buy a Medigap policy if you change… Read More

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Anthem Blue Cross: New agreement with Trinity Health System extends access through 2025

August 20, 2021 We notified you last month that the previous agreement with Trinity Health System ended August 1. They have reached a new agreement that will assure continued access to affordable healthcare at Trinity Health hospitals, physicians, and affiliated care providers through 2025. We will continue our collaborative work to serve the community and look for innovative ways to help solve challenges together. Questions? reach out to your Total Benefit Solutions group account manager at (215)355-2121 https://www.totalbenefits.net

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AmeriHealth New Jersey prepares to comply with new Transparency requirements

From Amerihealth NJ: Health care and health insurance are among the most regulated industries in the U.S., making compliance a crucial requirement for success. AmeriHealth New Jersey has a strong track record of compliance to local, state, and federal guidelines, and we are working to comply with the new Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) and Transparency in Coverage Rule (TCR) requirements. We have been focused on transparency for our members for years, and we are now further sharpening our efforts related to transparency and accountability pertaining to the recent legislation for which we have developed an enterprise-wide implementation program to ensure requirements are met. We have a cross-functional team that is… Read More

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HHS Extends Public Health Emergency until October 18, 2021

  On July 19, 2021, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (“HHS”), announced that the administration will renew the COVID-19 pandemic Public Health Emergency, scheduled to expire on July 20, 2021. This will once again extend the period for an additional 90 days and as a result, numerous temporary benefit plan changes will remain in effect. As previously noted, in a letter sent to state governors, HHS indicated that the agency expects that the Public Health Emergency will likely remain in place for all of 2021. While not formal agency action, it appears that HHS intends to continue to renew the Public Health Emergency through, at least, the end… Read More

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COBRA Subsidy Termination Notice Reminder

AEIs must be provided with a notice of expiration of the COBRA subsidy between August 16 and September 15, 2021. The notice must explain the date that the premium assistance will expire and that the individual may be eligible for coverage without any premium assistance through COBRA, a group health plan, the Marketplace, or Medicare/Medicaid.

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Royal Caribbean Travel Insurance Requirements – We’ve Got You Covered!

  Beginning August 1, 2021 and going through to December 31, 2021, Royal Caribbean Cruises departing from ports out of Florida will require unvaccinated passengers age 12 years and older to procure valid travel insurance prior to boarding. Coverage requirements include $25,000 per person in medical coverage and $50,000 per person for emergency medical evacuation with no COVID-19 exclusions. Don’t let this requirement halt your travel plans!  We have Trip Protection and global health insurance plans provide coverage that meet these requirements, as well as offering additional coverage like baggage loss/delay benefits and trip cancellation/interruption benefits. If you have any questions please contact your Total Benefit Solutions, Inc health insurance… Read More

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MHPNJ : Important Plan Cancellation Status Information

Affiliated Physicians and Employers Master Trust (“APEMT”) and Members Health Plan New Jersey (“MHPNJ”) want to take the time to let you know they value the support that you have provided them over the years. APEMT/MHPNJ (the “Plan”) is ceasing to write business and is beginning an orderly wind down of the Plan. The financial deficiency the Plan has been facing for the past several months has not been sufficiently cured in the time period prescribed by New Jersey law. Therefore, the Board of Trustees on behalf of the Plan is implementing an orderly wind down of the plan. Please be advised that you must terminate their coverage with the Plan and seek new… Read More

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Group Business: Independence Blue Cross and AmeriHealth NJ COBRA and Mini-COBRA Premium Assistance

  COBRA Premium Assistance Available to Eligible Group Members Through September 2021 Under the recently passed American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), eligible group members who elect COBRA (including state‑based “Mini‑COBRA”) continuation coverage due to an involuntary job loss or a reduction in hours within the past year may be eligible for 100 percent coverage of their monthly health insurance premiums. This temporary premium assistance will be provided at no cost to the employer or to the group member through September 30, 2021. Employers should consult the U.S. Department of Labor and IRS websites for more information. Obtaining Mini-COBRA Premium Assistance For groups subject to state continuation plans (referred to as Mini‑COBRA typically for those with 19 or fewer… 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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Independence: Using the e-bill feature

From Independence Blue Cross: There’s an easy way to simplify your administration and reduce costs —make secure eBill payments through our employer portal at ibx.com, anytime and anywhere… Download ebill bulletin    

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Achieve Well-being Rewards

Independence Blue Cross (Independence) offers a new way to help your employees achieve their health goals. Reward employees for completing activitiesNothing helps motivate action like the promise of rewards!*Achieve Well-being tools available on ibx.com and on the IBX mobile app create personalized action plans that make it easy for your employees to earn tokens and badges for completing their well-being goals.New for 2021, your employees can now receive a $150 gift card by completing the following required activities: Annual check-up with PCPFlu shotGet digitally engagedMember portal registrationMDLIVE.com registrationWell-being profileOpt-in to digital messaging at ibx.com Once your employees complete all six activities through the Achieve Well-being tool they can redeem a… Read More

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Supreme Court Dismisses Latest Challenge to the ACA

The “individual mandate” provision of the ACA as originally enacted in 2010 required most U.S. residents to obtain minimum essential health insurance coverage or pay a monetary penalty. The individual mandate penalty withstood a legal challenge in 2012 when the Supreme Court ruled itwas a valid exercise of Congress’ taxing power. However, Congress effectively eliminated the individual mandate penalty by reducing it to zero effective January 1, 2019. Download Supreme Court Dismisses Latest Challenge to the ACA

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SCOTUS Upholds Affordable Care Act Ruling

  The Supreme Court has dismissed a challenge to ObamaCare, leaving the industry as is for employers and individuals. By a 7-2 vote on Thursday, the justices left the entire law intact in ruling that Texas and two individuals had no right to bring their lawsuit in federal court. The Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments on November 10, 2020, as to the question of whether the Affordable Care Act’s Individual Mandate provision is constitutional. This case, California vs. Texas is the latest challenge against the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the second time the Justices addressed the constitutionality of the Individual Mandate portion of that law.… Read More

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New Mandatory Preventive Items and Services

  Most plans will be required to cover new preventive items and services beginning later this year, or in 2022 or 2023 (depending on the plan year), including ones related to Hepatitis B virus infection screenings and colon cancer screenings. Non-grandfathered group health plans must provide coverage for in-network preventive items and services and may not impose any cost-sharing requirements (such as a copayment, coinsurance, or deductible) with respect to those items or services. Click to Download New Mandatory Preventive Items and Services – 2021 Update

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Tax Advantaged Benefit Documents

This site is dedicated to providing employers with the tools they need to successfully establish these written plans with SPDs at the lowest cost possible.

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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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CMS Announces Medicare Plan Finder Improvements

Source: medicare.gov   This week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced plans to improve and update the Medicare Plan Finder (MPF) and the Health Plan Management System (HPMS). HPMS is the system that Medicare Advantage and Part D plans use to provide data about their plan offerings to Medicare, and the MPF is the online tool that allows beneficiaries to evaluate, compare, and enroll in those plans. The changes will be in place for the start of the Medicare Open Enrollment Period starting on October 15 for 2022 plans. Many of the forthcoming MPF changes reflect suggestions that Medicare Rights and other advocates have made over the years to increase the tool’s… Read More

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