UCR vs MAC Dental plans. What’s the difference?

  When members use an OON (out-of-network) provider, the cost of their procedures may vary from that which they’d see INN (in-network). UCR (Usual, Customary and Reasonable) and MAC (Maximum Allowable Cost) determine how their dental insurance will pay for the procedures. UCR (Usual, Customary and Reasonable)If a member has a UCR-based plan, providers charge a fee that has been set as the most commonly charged amount for that procedurein that location. This reimbursed amount is determined by analyzing claims data in a specific geographic location. MAC: Maximum Allowable ChargeIf a member has a MAC-based plan, providers charge any fee that they have set for a procedure. The reimbursed amount… Read More

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HHS Extends Public Health Emergency until July 20, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic Public Health Emergency, scheduled to expire on April 21, 2021, was renewed. 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. Click to Download _HHS_Extends_Public_Health_Emergency_until_July_20_2021

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IBC: MLR Additional Rebates

Notice from Independence Blue Cross: Health insurance premium rebates for 2017 Small Group policyholders and 2018 Consumer policyholders As a result of a United States Supreme Court decision last year, Independence received additional payment from the Federal Government that impacted our Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) for 2017 and 2018. Beginning the week of May 17, Small Group policyholders from 2017 and Consumer policyholders from 2018 will receive checks that are a rebate for a portion of their health insurance premiums for that year. What is MLR? The Affordable Care Act requires that all health insurers spend a percentage of each premium dollar received towards paying claims, clinical services, and activities that improve health care quality for… Read More

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5 reasons you may want to switch Medigap policies

Switching Medigap policies 5 reasons you may want to switch Medigap policies You’re paying for benefits you don’t need. You need more benefits. You want to change your insurance company. You want a policy that costs less. Can I switch policies? In most cases, you will not have a right under federal law to switch Medigap policies, unless one of these applies: You’re eligible under a specific circumstance or guaranteed issue rights You’re within your 6-month Medigap open enrollment period You don’t have to wait a certain length of time after buying your first Medigap policy before you can switch to a different Medigap policy. Note As of January 1, 2020,… Read More

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BCBS Antitrust Litigation and Tentative Settlement –Impact on Group Health Plans

    BCBS Antitrust Litigation and Tentative Settlement – Impact on Group Health Plans   This material was updated on March 22, 2021, to include new information posted on the settlement website. Please refer to the BCBS settlement page and/or materials from the specific BCBS carrier for more information. Antitrust litigation that commenced against the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and member companies1 in 2012 appears to be coming to a settlement. In short, plaintiffs alleged that Blue Cross Blue Shield companies across the country entered into agreements not to compete with each other for customers of health insurance. On November 30, 2020, the court preliminarily approved a proposed settlement… Read More

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What is a Medicare Medical Savings Account Plan?

A Medicare Medical Savings Account plan (MSA) is a special type of Medicare Advantage plan (Part C). This type of plan may offer the freedom of choice for people who want more control over their health care dollars and decisions. And along with the autonomy come some responsibilities. There are two important parts to a Medicare MSA plan. A special bank savings accountA high-deductible health plan The Medicare Savings Account Plan Special Bank Savings Account The savings account part of a Medicare MSA plan is self-managed like any other bank savings account. One main difference is that the account is funded with money from Medicare versus by you. Medicare beneficiaries… Read More

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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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Indy Medicare Part D Health Plan Terminated

Indy Health Insurance Company, a stand-alone Part D plan in Arkansas, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Illinois, and Georgia has been terminated.

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Tax Advantaged Benefit Documents

The IRS Code has numerous provisions designed to help employers provide essential benefits to their employees tax-free. This saves the employee approximately 30% in income taxes on expenses they’re already paying for, and because the employees have reduced their taxable income, the employer realizes a reduced matching payroll tax liability of approximately 8%. Everybody saves money.    To take advantage of these tax deductions the IRS requires that the employer have a written plan document and the Department of Labor and ERISA law require that every employee receive a summary plan description (SPD) explaining the new benefit in easy to understand language.   This site is dedicated to providing employers… 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 Safe Is it to Return to Work Once You Are Vaccinated?

There are a lot of things we don’t know yet. Answer by Kara Govro, Senior HR Law Analyst With vaccines rolling out among select populations, can employers start to bring back vaccinated employees into the office? originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. As long as employers are complying with state and local law, they can bring employees back whenever they think is prudent… Click here for the full storyhttps://apple.news/A3Zt-q6uTReW37kaI3Z4O8A

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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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Can Employers Legally Mandate The COVID Vaccine To Return To Work?

Can employers mandate their employees get the COVID vaccine before coming back to the office? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.  Answer by Kara Govro, Senior HR Law Analyst, on Quora: With COVID-19 vaccinations underway and widespread availability in sight, many employers want to know whether they can require their employees to get the vaccine. Click here for the full story

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Independence to provide premium credits and other support to clients and members

From: Independence Blue Cross In our continued commitment to our clients and members throughout the COVID‑19 pandemic, Independence is offering medical and dental premium credits and other financial support to our fully insured clients. As a result of the COVID‑19 pandemic, Independence has experienced a lower volume of health care services being delivered to our members than was anticipated when current plan prices were set. Moreover, our members have been unable to access some types of routine health services — from preventive screenings to dental cleanings — and many elective procedures have been delayed or cancelled. We know many of our clients are having difficulties managing costs during this time when business has been interrupted, and… Read More

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Think You’re Covered With Original Medicare?

Medicare in 2020   Everyone has heard of Medicare and over the years, here at Total Benefit Solutions have posted numerous articles explaining how Medicare works. We even wrote out a post about the history of Medicare a little over a year ago (That post can be found here ). However, nothing in the Insurance World stays still and every so often we like to revisit this sector of the Insurance Market and explain how Medicare works with some updates. This way, whether you’re new to Medicare, or you’ve been on it for a while, you are up-to-date on how your Insurance Plan works! Original Medicare (Part A and Part… Read More

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Full Self-Service Compliance Center At No Additional Charge to You!

  We are very pleased to announce an exciting new offering from our partner Infinisource Benefit Services – myHRcounsel’s™ Compliance Center™.  This new offering provides you with a full self-service compliance center at no additional charge to you! You can now access myHRcounsel’s ™ Compliance Center™, which includes key employment, ERISA and corporate law documents, legal overviews, checklists and legal information on all Federal and 50 state employment laws, through the link provided below.  By using myHRcounsel’s™ Compliance Center™, you will now have important current documentation required to comply with federal and state laws.  Through our partner Infinisource, you also have the unique option to consult with the attorneys at… Read More

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If companies could give employees tax free money to buy health insurance on their own, how many would do so?

If companies could give employees tax free money to buy health insurance on their own, how many would do so?

We’re about to find out

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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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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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