Serving over 200 companies and more than 2000 families since 1988

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Posts made in October, 2017

  Throughout most of 2017 we all watched anxiously as Congress and President Trump debated different methods of repealing or replacing the Affordable Care Act. Now October has arrived, a repeal plan never passed, there is no replacement, and Open Enrollment looms next month. The Affordable Care Act stands for now. But that doesn’t mean a lack of changes to the industry. The following events were already scheduled to occur, and so far it looks like everything will proceed as expected. Rates for children will change. Currently, a family plan covers you, your spouse, and all of your children (up to age 26). The premiums were the same no matter if your child was a newborn or 20 years old. In 2018, premiums will be based upon a family with children age 0 to 14. If you have children age 15 and up, premiums will be rated based on their ages, and might rise between 20 and 40 percent. A new tax hits insurance carriers. The Health Insurance Tax (HIT) was included in the Affordable Care Act as a form of “sales tax” on premiums, but Congress opted to delay it until 2018. Now, with 2018 rapidly approaching, health insurance providers will have to decide how to account for the tax. A 4-6% HIT on insurance plans sold. Many experts have estimated that the cost will be passed along to consumers, with the average cost of a family insurance plan increasing by 5,000 to 7,000 dollars over the next decade. Premiums for individuals may increase by over 2,000 dollars per year. New Medicare ID cards will be distributed. These cards will no longer display your Social Security number, due to concerns over theft and fraud related to widespread use of these numbers. You will now be issued a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) number. Your new card will be mailed to you automatically, so be very wary of anyone who calls and offers to “help” process your card. Fraudsters are sure to take advantage of the change, and attempt to gain access to your Social Security number via fraudulent calls or emails. We will continue to keep you updated on changes to the insurance industry. Remember that you can always call us with any questions or concerns, and we will help you determine which (and how) changes might affect...

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Are you an employer, providing group health benefits that offers prescription drug coverage? Are any of your employees aged 65 or older, or are any of their dependents disabled? Do you provide group healthcare benefits to retired employees, aged 65 or older? Are any former employees disabled, or on COBRA coverage? Okay, you need to pay very close attention to this notice. According to the Medicare Modernization Act, you must notify your Medicare-eligible employees, by October 15, as to whether their prescription drug coverage is “creditable coverage”. This rule applies to both employees who are eligible for Medicare, as well as their dependents, if any. So, who is “Medicare eligible”? We all become eligible for Medicare when we turn 65, so this notice applies to any of your employees who are currently age 65 or older. What is “creditable coverage”? It means that a particular healthcare plan is expected to pay (on average) at least as much as standard Medicare Part D coverage. This allows your Medicare-eligible employee to make a decision as to whether enrolling in a Part D plan might benefit them. If your employee has a lapse in “creditable” prescription drug coverage after turning 65, that lasts for more 63 days or longer, he or she could be penalized. They will also have to wait until the following October (the Annual Election Period) to join a Part D plan. So, your employees who are eligible for Part D really need to know whether their current coverage is creditable or not. This way they can make a decision regarding Part D coverage, without incurring a late enrollment penalty. You also must notify CMS. You must also notify the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Coverage (CMS) that you have sent these Part D notices to your employees. This notice is due within 60 days of the start of the plan year… So you don’t have to send it now, but it might be better to get it out of the way quickly, before end-of-year business distracts you. So, on that note, give us a call if you have questions about this Part D notice. We can help you understand what you need to do, so that you can comply adequately with the law. Remember, you must send this notice by October...

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