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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What is a Qualified High Deductible Health Plan?

Qualified HDHPs Enrollment in a qualified HDHP is a requirement for establishing and maintaining a health savings account. The chassis for a qualified HDHP is the same as described in Chapter 1, but it must also conform to certain federal guidelines: A qualified HDHP must specify both a minimum annual deductible and a maximum annual out-of-pocket (OOP) expense limit, as set every year by the IRS. The minimum annual deductible is just that—the minimum amount that the insured must pay before the plan pays any benefit. The maximum annual OOP expense limit is the cap on the sum of the annual deductible and all out-of-pocket expenses the insured must pay for covered expenses under the… Read More

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Health Plan PCORI Fees Are Due July 31

From our partners at Think HR: Do you offer coverage to your employees through a self-insured group health plan? Do you sponsor a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA)? If so, do you know whether your plan or HRA is subject to the annual Patient-Centered Research Outcomes Institute (PCORI) fee? This article answers frequently-asked questions about the PCORI fee, which plans are affected, and what you need to do as the employer sponsor. PCORI fees for 2018 health plans and HRAs are due July 31, 2019. What is the PCORI fee? The Affordable Care Act (ACA) created the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to study clinical effectiveness and health outcomes. To finance the nonprofit… Read More

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HSA/HDHP Limits Increase for 2020

On May 28, 2019, the IRS released Revenue Procedure 2019-25 to announce the inflation-adjusted limits for health savings accounts (HSAs) and high deductible health plans (HDHPs) for 2020. These limits include: The maximum HSA contribution limit; The minimum deductible amount for HDHPs; and The maximum out-of-pocket expense limit for HDHPs. These limits vary based on whether an individual has self-only or family coverage under an HDHP.  The IRS limits for HSA contributions increase for 2020. Eligible individuals with self-only HDHP coverage will be able to contribute up to $3,550 for 2020, while eligible individuals with family HDHP coverage will be able to contribute up to $7,100 for 2020. The HDHP… Read More

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The Future of Employee Benefit Offerings: Student Debt Repayment Assistance

When looking for a job, the benefits offered to an Employee are definitely a big factor in consideration of accepting an offer of employment. Most people are willing to choose a company with a slight pay decrease if the benefit package compensates for the lost wages. With unemployment the lowest it has been since 2000 in the United States, attracting new talent isn’t as easy as it used to be and Employers are looking for ways to snatch up qualified applicants. When you think of benefit packages, you usually think of the basics: Health Insurance (with possibly an HSA, HRA, or FSA included), Dental and Vision coverage. “Good” benefit packages… Read More

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Why Offer an HRA to Your Employees?

Healthcare Reimbursement Arrangement, typically referred to as an HRA, can be utilized by employers to reduce their overall healthcare costs without placing additional financial burden on their employees. An HRA allows the employer to pay for eligible expenses with pre-tax dollars. The employer decides what expenses are eligible, within the IRS guidelines, leaving a lot of flexibility in plan design. Typically an HRA is coupled with a High Deductible Health Plan and the HRA pays for either the entire deductible or a portion of the deductible. With this type of a plan the premium savings often outweigh the potential claims that the employer would have to pay if every employee… 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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“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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Common Questions: Rules For Your HSA After Becoming Medicare Eligible

Medicare and Your HSA In 2017, over 22 million Americans have a Health Savings Account. Each year that number goes higher and higher as High Deductible Plans become more popular with Individuals and Employers. Once you turn 65 and enroll in Medicare, you can no longer open an HSA or deposit money into it, but what if you already had one with a balance? You don’t have to worry about a “Use It Or Lose It” clause. That money can still be used towards out-of-pocket costs! Here are some very common questions about how you can continue to benefit from your HSA and why keeping funds in it for your… 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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House Passes Legislation to Change HSAs

The House of Representatives passed two pieces of legislation that, among other things, purport to improve and “modernize” health savings accounts (“HSAs”). While the bills call for significant changes to the current rules affecting HSAs, the specific details are very different. Both pieces of legislation have been sent to the Senate for consideration. Whether the Senate will take up these bills, let alone approve them “as is,” remains uncertain. There appears to be some bi-partisan agreement to loosen the current HSA rules, which means it is possible that we may see changes to these arrangements, which could be effective as early as January 1, 2019. When more information is available, we will… Read More

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IRS reverses decision on 2018 HSA limits

The IRS reversed its March 5 decision to decrease the 2018 contribution limit for family coverage only. The new contribution limit is back to $6,900 (previously adjusted to $6,850). To review the official IRS announcement, visit the Internal Revenue Service press release (published April 26, 2018). This means individuals who have already contributed $6,900 are fine and do not need to return any money. And those individuals who have automatic contributions that would have exceeded the earlier $6,850 limit in 2018 are fine. No changes need to be made as long as they do not exceed the $6,900 family contribution maximum. If you have questions, please contact your Total Benefit Solutions, Inc.… Read More

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IRS cuts 2018 family HSA contribution limit

Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the 2018 contribution limit for family coverage in a health savings account will be $6,850—not $6,900, as previously announced by the IRS. The Society for Human Resource Management reports that the IRS has recalculated the limit because the tax law applies the so-called chained consumer price index to increases in HSA contribution limits, as well as to a few other employee benefit contribution limits. Internal Revenue Bulletin No. 2018–10, released March 5, clarifies not just that change but others as well. While the annual tax-deductible HSA contribution limit for tax year 2018 will remain at $3,450 for HSA account holders with self-only coverage through a high-deductible… Read More

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2018 Inflation Adjusted Amounts for HSAs

The IRS released the inflation adjustments for health savings accounts (HSAs) and their accompanying high deductible health plans (HDHPs) effective for calendar year 2018. All limits increased from 2017 amounts. Click to download the bulletin below and as always contact your Total Benefit Solutions account manager at (215)355-2121  if you have any questions or concerns regarding this notice.   Click Here to Download 2018 Inflation Adjusted Amounts for HSAs

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IBC: Effective January 1, 2015, HIPAA Certificates of Creditable Coverage are no longer required

On February 24, 2014, the United States Departments of Health and Human Services issued a final rule that addressed the requirement to provide HIPAA Certificates of Creditable Coverage (HIPAA Certificates) under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As the ACA prohibits pre-existing condition exclusions, the new rule eliminates the requirement to provide HIPAA Certificates beginning December 31, 2014. What does this mean for members?  Previously, when coverage was terminated for a member or his/her dependents, Independence Blue Cross (Independence) issued a HIPAA Certificate. Because the ACA prohibits the application of pre-existing condition exclusions, which applies to both grandfathered and non-grandfathered health plans, these certificates are no longer required. Effective January, 1,… Read More

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