5 Things You Should Do After Open Enrollment

| posted in Blog

Open enrollment is over! Time to take a breather after the chaos, right? Not so fast. There are still a lot of tasks on your plate. Research shows that people who like their health plans are more likely to stay with the company. But, many people do not understand the coverage that they have. To help them better understand the benefits that they have available, put this post open enrollment plan into place. 1. Write an email explaining special enrollment periods and when they might apply to employees. In most cases, employees can only enroll in new health coverage during…
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5 Tips You Can Use for Open Enrollment Success

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Open enrollment for the new year’s health insurance plans can be one of the most hectic times of year for you and your human resources department. This is the one chance many employees have to make healthcare decision that will affect them all year long. You want to do everything you can to make your enrollment a success for the people who work for you. 1. Start early. The earlier you begin, the smoother your open enrollment process will be. Begin by reviewing your current insurance offerings with your broker, network partner and third-party administrator to assess your current plan’s…
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Help Your Employees Save Money on Pharmaceuticals

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

Most employers are doing all they can to keep their employees’ health insurance and health care outlays to a minimum. And while most of those efforts are focused on the upfront cost of insurance, copays and deductibles, some employers are taking it a step further to help their employees control the very costs they actually have the most control over – and one of those areas is medicine. Helping your workers become wise consumers of health services can also cut your overall insurance costs, as well as help your employees conserve more of their own funds if they have high…
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Number of Employers Offering Coverage Grows

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

The number of companies offering health insurance to their employees has risen for the first time in a decade, according to new research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute. In 2017, almost 47% of private-sector employers offered health insurance, up from 45.3% in 2016. The percentage had previously been dropping steadily since 2008, when more than half (56.4%) were providing coverage. The trend continues that the larger the company, the more likely it is to offer coverage, with 99% of firms with 1,000 or more employees offering health benefits. Interestingly, the pre-Affordable Care Act numbers are higher than the post-ACA…
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New Rules Allow Short-term Plans to Last up to Three Years

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

The Trump administration has taken another step in its effort to roll out short-term health insurance plans by extending the amount of time such plans can be in effect. Under the new rule, which was issued August 1, short-term plans can be purchased for up to 12 months and policyholders can renew coverage for a maximum of 36 months. These controversial plans, though, do not have to comport with the Affordable Care Act. A few examples include not covering the ACA’s “10 essential benefits” or pre-existing conditions – and they can even exclude coverage for medications. Possible Impact As a…
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Employers Rethink HDHPs as More People Struggle with Medical Bills

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

As the number of employers offering high-deductible health plans continues growing, the spotlight recently has highlighted an inconvenient truth: some employees are going broke and filing bankruptcy because they cannot afford all of the out-of-pocket expenses and deductibles they must pay in these plans – just like the bad old days in the 1990s and 2000s. Besides being in plans with high deductibles, many employees are also paying more for coverage as employers have shifted more and more of the premium burden to their staff. Making matters worse, studies are showing that many people with HDHPs are forgoing necessary treatment…
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IRS Announces 2019 HSA Contribution Limits, Changes for HDHPs

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The IRS has increased health savings account contribution limits for 2019, along with changes to the out-of-pocket expenses for HSA-qualifying high-deductible health plans (HDHPs). The 2019 HSA contribution maximum will be $3,500 for individual coverage, from $3,450 this year. The contribution maximum for family coverage will increase to $7,000 from the current $6,900. Individuals age 55 or older not yet enrolled in Medicare may make a catch-up HSA contribution of up to $1,000 – an amount that remains unchanged from last year’s catch-up limit. This most recent set of limit adjustments fits the pattern of previous years, with the IRS…
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Telemedicine Improves Outcomes, Saves Money

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Recent studies have shown that telemedicine can yield significant savings for group health plans and covered employees – but only if the employees actually use it. While telemedicine has penetrated the ranks of large employers (96% say they make it available to their employees), 20% of employers say that less than one-tenth of their workers actually use it. The main thrust of telemedicine is to give workers the option to talk to a health care provider over the phone or by video link about a health issue they may be having. Maybe waiting for an appointment slot to open with…
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New Rules Issued for Small Group, Individual Plans

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released its final rules on giving states more power to regulate individual and small group health insurance markets. The new rules are part of the Trump administration’s effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act after numerous GOP efforts to repeal the law failed in 2017. The rules give states more control over which essential health benefits plans must offer, scrap rules that require all rate hikes to be reviewed by regulators, and allow exchanges to grant more waivers for having to purchase health coverage. The move will have varying effects depending…
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