What is vision coverage?

A health benefit that at least partially covers vision care, like eye exams and glasses. All the plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace include vision coverage for children. Only some plans include vision coverage for adults. If adult vision coverage is important to you, check the details of any plan you’re considering. If your plan doesn’t include adult vision coverage, you can buy a “stand-alone” vision plan to reduce your vision care expenses. The Marketplace doesn’t offer stand-alone vision plans. To shop for stand-alone vision plans, contact an insurance agent or broker, or search for plans online. You can also contact your state’s Department of Insurance. As always, don’t hesitate… Read More

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What is a stand-alone dental plan?

A type of dental plan offered through the Marketplace that’s not included as part of a health plan. You may want this if the health coverage you choose doesn’t include dental, or if you want different dental coverage. As always, please contact your Total Benefit Solutions health insurance specialists with any questions or concerns today at (215)355-2121.

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Blue KC: 2023 member guides and handbooks now available

The 2023 commercial and ACA member guides and Medicare Advantage member handbook are now available. Clients will receive these documents through a variety of touchpoints. Please keep them handy as a quick reference to Blue KC plan benefits and features and to share them with clients as needed. Employer/Group Medicare Advantage ACA Individual and Family Plans Have any questions regarding this notice? Don’t hesitate to contact your Total Benefit Solutions health insurance specialists today at (215)355-2121.

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Prescription drug list updates effective January 1, 2023

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) Medical and Pharmacy Management Committee has reviewed the Prescription Drug Lists (PDLs) and other pharmacy programs for drug safety, effectiveness, clinical outcomes, and cost. As a result, ACA small employer groups, non-ACA small employer groups (including level funded ASO) large employer groups, and ACA individual and family plan members will see the following formulary updates, effective January 1, 2023. Click here to read for more information. As always, please contact your Total Benefit Solutions health insurance specialists today with any questions at (215)355-2121.

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What is a Family Premium?

Under the Affordability for Employer Coverage for Family Members of Employees IRS rule, “family members” are individuals who will be on the same federal income tax return — so, an individual, plus their spouse if married and filing jointly, plus any dependents that they (and their spouse, if applicable) claim. The “family premium” is the premium for the lowest-cost employer plan that would cover all members of the tax household who are offered coverage by the employer. Have any questions regarding this notice? Please contact your Total Benefit Solutions health insurance specialists today at (215)355-2121.

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What is the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)?

Insurance program that provides low-cost health coverage to children in families that earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to buy private insurance. In some states, CHIP covers pregnant women. Each state offers CHIP coverage and works closely with its state Medicaid program. You can apply any time. If you qualify, your coverage can begin immediately, any time of year. As always, please contact your Total Benefit Solutions health insurance specialists today at (215)355-2121.

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What is a Qualified Health Plan?

An insurance plan that’s certified by the Health Insurance Marketplace®, provides essential health benefits, follows established limits on cost-sharing (like deductibles, copayments, and out-of-pocket maximum amounts), and meets other requirements under the Affordable Care Act. All qualified health plans meet the Affordable Care Act requirement for having health coverage, known as “minimum essential coverage.” As always, please contact your Total Benefit Solutions health insurance specialists today at (215)355-2121.

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What is a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) and what qualifies a consumer for an SEP?

A Special Enrollment Period (SEP) is a time outside the annual Open Enrollment period when individuals may enroll in or change qualified health plans (QHPs). Individuals qualify for SEPs based on certain life events. Note that consumers can also qualify for an SEP during Open Enrollment; in certain situations, such as an SEP due to the birth of a child, an SEP during Open Enrollment can allow qualifying consumers’ coverage to start sooner than it would have if they had enrolled during Open Enrollment without the SEP. Events that permit an SEP include: Loss of qualifying health coverage (Note: This SEP does not include loss of coverage due to nonpayment… Read More

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What is medical underwriting?

A process used by insurance companies to try to figure out your health status when you’re applying for health insurance coverage to determine whether to offer you coverage, at what price, and with what exclusions or limits. As always, please contact your Total Benefit Solutions health insurance specialists today at (215)355-2121.

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What is the Marketplace?

Shorthand for the “Health Insurance Marketplace®,” a shopping and enrollment service for medical insurance created by the Affordable Care Act in 2010. In most states, the federal government runs the Marketplace (sometimes know as the “exchange”) for individuals and families. On the web, it’s found at HealthCare.gov. Some states run their own Marketplace at different websites. Fill out a Marketplace application and you’ll find out if you qualify for lower monthly premiums or savings on out-of-pocket costs based on your income. You may find out if you qualify for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). You can shop for and enroll in affordable medical insurance online, by phone,… Read More

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Can consumers who qualify for COBRA continuation coverage opt out of it and get coverage through the Marketplace instead?

Consumers who qualify for COBRA coverage can opt out of it and enroll in Marketplace coverage. However, voluntarily terminating COBRA continuation coverage does not make a consumer eligible for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) based on loss of the COBRA continuation coverage. Note that all qualified enrollees eligible for COBRA continuation coverage can get the Marketplace subsidy, not just the employee who qualifies for the COBRA benefit, as long as they are not actually enrolled in the COBRA continuation coverage. Please contact your trusted Total Benefit Solutions health insurance specialists with any questions or concerns at (215)355-2121.

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What is a health insurance deductible?

The amount you pay for covered health care services before your insurance plan starts to pay. With a $2,000 deductible, for example, you pay the first $2,000 of covered services yourself. After you pay your deductible, you usually pay only a copayment or coinsurance for covered services. Your insurance company pays the rest. Many plans pay for certain services, like a checkup or disease management programs, before you’ve met your deductible. Check your plan details. All Marketplace health plans pay the full cost of certain preventive benefits even before you meet your deductible. Some plans have separate deductibles for certain services, like prescription drugs. Family plans often have both an… Read More

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Health Insurance Fee to be Reduced for 65% of the Self-Employed Insured

Health insurance fees for 5.61 million households, among the self-employed insured of the national health insurance, will be slashed by an average of 36,000 won per month starting September. On the other hand, 273,000 subscribers, including the elderly, who have been registered as the dependent of the employee insured and thus have not been paying health insurance premiums will have to start paying health insurance fee from September. The gist of the amendment of the health insurance scheme is to reduce the amount of health insurance fees the self-employed insured has to pay. There has been criticism that the self-employed insured has to pay a greater amount of health insurance… Read More

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Medicare Won’t Cover This Key Expense…

Dental costs can take a huge bite out of seniors’ finances, even if they have Medicare. And many Seniors have to tap into their Retirement Funds to cover treatment.

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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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“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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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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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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Trump Administration Expands Access To Short-Term Plans That Do Not Meet ACA Requirements

The New York Times  (8/4 Pear) reports that on Wednesday, the Trump Administration unveiled “a final rule…that clears the way for the sale of many more health insurance policies that do not comply with the Affordable Care Act and do not have to cover prescription drugs, maternity care or people with pre-existing conditions.” These new options “will help people struggling to afford coverage under the 2010 law, said James Parker, a senior adviser to” HHS Secretary Alex M. Azar II.         On its front page, the Washington Post  (7/31, A1, Goldstein) reports that these policies, which are intended “to fill brief gaps in coverage, will be available for 12 months at… Read More

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