If Pennie Customers Missed the Deadline to Enroll Because of COVID-19 Impacts – They Now Have Until January 31st to Enroll!

Pennie understands that many Pennsylvanians have been impacted recently due to the increase of COVID-19 cases. Because of this, we would like to offer Pennie customers a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) if they experienced any of the following: The customer, or a member of their household, tested positive for COVID-19 within the fifteen (15) days prior to, and including, the January 15, 2022 open enrollment deadline. The location where the customer accesses services necessary to enroll, such as a public library or a community center with internet access, was closed due to COVID-19 within the fifteen (15) days prior to, and including, the January 15, 2022 open enrollment deadline. The customer could not… Read More

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HHS Extends Public Health Emergency until April 16, 2022

On January 14, 2022, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) renewed the COVID-19 pandemic Public Health Emergency, effective January 16, 2022. This will once again extend the Public Health Emergency period for an additional 90 days and as a result, numerous temporary benefit plan changes will remain in effect. Download HHS Extends Public Health Emergency until April 16, 2022 – 012122R

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Expanding Coverage for COVID-19 Testing

On January 10, 2022, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury (together, the “Departments”) issued FAQ Part 51 requiring group healthplans to cover, without cost-sharing, over-the-counter (“OTC”) COVID-19 diagnostic tests obtained without the involvement of a health care provider. This provision iseffective for OTC COVID-19 tests purchased on or after January 15, 2022, and continues for the duration of the Public Health Emergency (currently set to expire January16, 2022 – however another 90-day extension is expected). Group health insurance plans (and health insurance carriers) must cover diagnostic OTC COVID-19 tests obtained without the involvement of a health care provider without cost-sharing, prior authorization, or other medical… Read More

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Pennsylvania Individual Open Enrollment Deadline

Please be advised the open enrollment period for individual coverage in Pennsylvania will end on 12/15/2021 for a January 1, 2022 effective date. As a reminder Emerson Reid must receive all individual applications by 2:00 PM EST on Tuesday, December 14, 2021. This deadline is necessary in order for us to submit them to the carriers and for the carriers to review and process them during this high-volume time. On-Exchange Enrollments submitted from now through 12/15 will receive a 01/01 effective date. Off-Exchange Enrollments submitted from now through 12/15 will receive a 01/01 effective date. Please be aware any applications submitted  after this time will not be guaranteed to receive… Read More

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Can Employers Ask for Proof of Vaccination?

From our partners at TOTAL HIPAA: As states reopen and companies invite employees back into the workplace, an employee’s vaccination status will become an important factor in minimizing workplace health risks and returning business to normal operations.  Can employers implement a mandatory vaccination program? What do laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and federal agencies like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have to say about this? Click the link below to read the rest at Total HIPAA… Can Employers Ask for Proof of Vaccination?

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Family Dental & Vision Plans

We have a number of stand-alone dental and vision plans from Davis Vision, VSP and Delta Dental. You can review, compare and enroll on plans in minutes! https://brokers.dentalforeveryone.com/?id=B3F52EA5-F0E3-40B4-B1DB-0F060AE09478

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What is Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI)?

The figure used to determine eligibility for premium tax credits and other savings for Marketplace health insurance plans and for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). MAGI is adjusted gross income (AGI) plus these, if any: untaxed foreign income, non-taxable Social Security benefits, and tax-exempt interest. Contact you Total Benefit Solutions health insurance specialist for assistance with calculating your MAGI. For many people, MAGI is identical or very close to adjusted gross income. MAGI doesn’t include Supplemental Security Income (SSI). MAGI does not appear as a line on your tax return. 

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What is Balance Billing?

When a provider bills you for the difference between the provider’s charge and the allowed amount. For example, if the provider’s charge is $100 and the allowed amount is $70, the provider may bill you for the remaining $30. A preferred provider may not balance bill you for covered services. Ask your health insurance experts at Total Benefit Solutions today how to avoid balance billing charges!

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PEOPLE RISK MANAGEMENT

Employees are usually a business’s biggest asset. Conversely, those same employees are also the biggest risk. If you have employees,you have employee-centric exposures, also known as people risks. These risks are rapidly increasing and evolving, and what were onceconsidered minor problems are now potentially disastrous for businesses.  Download HR Solutions

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