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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Your New Medicare Card is on the way! Watch out for scams!

Watch out for scams Your new Medicare card is on the way, so if someone calls and says you need to give them your personal information or money to get the new card, hang up! It’s a scam. Medicare will never call uninvited and ask for personal information or money for you to get your new Medicare Number and card. Learn what to do if you get a suspicious call like this. If you haven’t gotten your new Medicare card yet, don’t worry. Mailing cards to each group of states takes at least a month, so you might get your card at a different time than friends or neighbors in your area.… Read More

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Your Medicare Card Is Changing!

  The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015 requires that Social Security Number-based Health Insurance Claim Numbers (HICN) be removed from Medicare cards by April 2019; this is in an effort to lessen the current risk of beneficiary medical identity theft. A unique Medicare number, called the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier or MBI, will replace the current HICN. Beginning in April 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will begin the process of mailing new Medicare cards and will meet the statutory deadline for replacing all cards by April 2019. Educational Resources:  CMS Transition to New Medicare Numbers and Cards – Fact Sheet CMS Website –… Read More

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CMS publishes updated 2018 Medicare cost-sharing amounts

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently published updated cost-sharing amounts for 2018 which are outlined below. 2018 Medicare Costs at a Glance Standard Part B Premium Most people pay $134 each month Medicare Part B deductible (Medical deductible) $183 per year Medicare Part A deductible (Hospital deductible) $1,340 for each benefit period Beneficiaries will pay $134 (or higher depending on income) if they: • Enroll in Part B for the first time in 2018, or • Are directly billed for their Part B premium, or • Are dually eligible for Medicaid and have their premium paid by state Medicaid agencies pay an income-related premium Some beneficiaries who were held… Read More

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Can I Work and Have Medicare?

Some individuals, maybe even you, will still be actively employed upon becoming eligible for Medicare. Can you enroll in Medicare while you’re still in the work force, and if not, will you get a penalty? If the employer has fewer than 20 employees, you’ll probably want to enroll in Parts A, B, and D upon becoming eligible for them. In this situation, Medicare usually becomes your primary coverage. If the employer has 20 employees or more, you may want to delay Parts A, B, and/or D if you have sufficient group coverage and know you won’t incur late enrollment penalties. Medicare usually pays second to group coverage from larger employers.… Read More

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Medicare Exclusions-Who Pays First?

Medicare primary payer rules are complicated. Especially when it comes to different employer sizes and special circumstances like End Stage Renal Disease and disabilities.  Coverage issues can be significantly complex when mixing Medicare and employer coverage, or individual coverage for those who are early Medicare enrollees. Chances are, if you are already enrolled on Medicare, AND you are getting bills from providers, you are already experiencing these problems, or you are encountering a coordination of benefits issue. It’s always best to speak to a professional when encountering these problems, most especially a health insurance professional. If at all possible, before getting enrolled on Medicare. The documents below may help provide… Read More

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Take Advantage of Medicare’s Free Preventive Services

  Many seniors are unaware that preventive tests, screenings and counseling sessions are now available for free, with no copays or deductibles, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. More than 60 million people took advantage of these services, at no cost to themselves, during the first three years after the services became free in 2011, according to government reports. Click the link below to download a list from Medicare for Dummies of Medicare preventative services. Medicares-preventive-services-chart13   Questions about Medicare eligibility, open enrollment, supplements, health plans or PDP drug cards? Total Benefit Solutions, Inc.  has a dedicated team of Medicare health plan professionals who are trained, annually re-certified, licensed and… Read More

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If an employee turns age 65 this month and enrolls in Medicare Part A, can he still receive/contribute funds into an HSA?

Question: If an employee turns age 65 this month and enrolls in Medicare Part A, can he still receive/contribute funds into an HSA until the end of the year or must he enroll in a different plan now? Answer: If an employee is enrolled in Medicare, then beginning with the first month the employee is enrolled in Medicare, he can no longer contribute to the health savings account (HSA). However, the money that is already there is still his. Note that whether or not the employee is eligible to make new HSA contributions, existing HSA account funds are not affected. Even if the employee is no longer HSA-eligible, he or… Read More

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2014 Compliance Bulletin Compilation

Download our 2014 Compliance Bulletin Compilation, featuring all of our released compliance bulletins for the entire year!  Topics include, Health Savings Accounts, The Individual Mandate, Employer “pay or play” mandate, exemptions, FSA carryovers and much, much more. All of the bulletins are in an easy to search format for your convenience. 2014 Compliance Compilation – Download As always please contact your Total Benefit Solutions account manager at (215)355-02121 if you have any further questions or concerns.

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Medicare Update: Medicare is no longer prevented from recognizing same-sex marriages

Medicare is no longer prevented from recognizing same-sex marriages Special Update: As a result of the June 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling invalidating part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denied federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples,Medicare is no longer prevented from recognizing same-sex marriages for determining entitlement to, or eligibility for, Medicare. The Social Security Administration is now processing requests for Medicare Part A and Part B Special Enrollment Periods, as well as reductions in late enrollment penalties, for certain eligible individuals in same-sex marriages.  Click here for more information.

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19th Set of FAQ’s Released on Affordable Care Act

Frequently asked questions (“FAQs”), prepared jointly by the Departments of Labor (“DOL”), Health and Human Services (“HHS”), and the Treasury (collectively, the “Departments”),were issued with respect to various Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) requirements, including their effect on COBRA and CHIPRA notices…Topics Include:   Updated COBRA And CHIPRA Notices Out-Of-Pocket Maximum Requirements Generic Drugs Balance Billing Reference-Based Pricing Coverage Of Preventive Services Health FSA Carryover And Excepted Benefits Effect of Carryover on Excepted Benefits Determination Summary Of Benefits And Coverage   Click here to download the bulletin from our partners at Emerson Reid.  

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IBC: Tobacco Status Important Questions and Answers

Why does IBC collect member-level information about tobacco use? Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), premium rates for health insurance coverage in the individual and small group markets may be based on family size, geography, age and tobacco use. In order to follow with this guideline and accurately rate each group, Independence Blue Cross (IBC) collects member-level tobacco use information to create group premiums for new and renewing group customers. Click the link below to download the IBC document that covers the most common questions about rating tobacco users in small group in PA. Tobacco Status For Small Group Customers Flyer

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Health Reform:Legislative Update-Relief for Small Groups Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

On Monday, Congress and President Obama together repealed one of the Affordable Care Act’s most onerous provisions, which prohibited so-called “small groups” (mostly groups with less than 50 employees) from offering health plans with deductibles higher than $2,000 for single coverage and $4,000 for family coverage. This comes as very welcome news to small businesses, who are frequently the most in need of additional options and flexibility when it comes to offering employees comprehensive, affordable health insurance via higher deductibles and other cost-sharing mechanisms. It is also great news for employers wanting to couple their insurance plans with health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), which federal agencies previously rejected as permissible ways… Read More

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Ed MacConnell earns Voluntary Benefits Certification

We are pleased to announce that Edward T MacConnell, President of Total Benefit Solutions has earned the certification of Certified Voluntary Worksite Professional from the National Association of Health Underwriters. Voluntary/Worksite products are not new to the employee benefit industry. However, the surge of interest in these products has accelerated as employers seek ways to help attract and retain talent. The industry has responded swiftly with new products, new features, new enrollment technologies and many changes to the underwriting rules of these products. This has created new responsibilities for agents, brokers and consultants as advising clients in this area will differentiate their value to the consumers they serve. Certified Voluntary Worksite… Read More

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IBC: Medicare as Secondary Payer

Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) requirements determine when Medicare is the primary insurance payer. If your company has 19 or fewer full- and part-time employees, Medicare is almost always primary. If your company is larger, various rules apply to determine whether your group plan is the primary or secondary payer. MSP requirements also apply for Medicare-eligible employees who are disabled or have endstage renal disease. The following information provides a summary of the MSP requirements. This information may help you to correctly target benefits for your Medicare-eligible participants and avoid potentially costly penalties and litigation. You should, of course, also refer to the actual laws and regulations with the assistance of your own legal counsel. Click… Read More

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