Blog Entries - 2015

Final Regulations Issued On Several Provisions

Posted on: December 10, 2015 3:20 pm
Tags: November 2015, December 2015, Benefits connection

On November 13, the Departments of Health & Human Services (HHS), Labor and Treasury issued final regulations regarding several provisions of the Affordable Care Act. These regulations apply to individual and group health plans for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2017. The interim final rules for these provisions have been in effect since 2010.

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The Flu And You

Posted on: December 10, 2015 3:00 pm
Tags: November 2015, December 2015, Benefits connection

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost everyone age 6 months and up should get a flu shot.

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Proposed Regulations On 2017 Benefit And Payment Parameters

Posted on: December 10, 2015 3:00 pm
Tags: November 2015, December 2015, Benefits connection

On November 20, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued proposed regulations that address a wide range of Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions that will be effective for 2017 plan years.

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Staying Healthy During Holiday Travel Season

Posted on: December 10, 2015 3:00 pm
Tags: November 2015, December 2015, Benefits connection

It’s holiday season - the most popular travel time of the year. The holidays are also popular for spreading germs and sickness. There are many ways for protect yourself from getting sick.

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December Is Safe Toys And Gifts Month

Posted on: December 10, 2015 3:00 pm
Tags: November 2015, December 2015, Benefits connection

Prevent Blindness America encourages everyone to consider if the toys they wish to give suit the age and individual skills and abilities of the individual child who will receive them.

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Carrier Corner

Posted on: December 10, 2015 3:00 pm
Tags: November 2015, December 2015, Benefits connection

Learn what is happening with insurance carriers.

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Carrier Corner: TN

Posted on: October 12, 2015 4:00 pm
Tags: September 2015, October 2015, Benefits connection

Learn what is happening with insurance carriers in Tennessee.

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Carrier Corner: KY & OH

Posted on: October 12, 2015 3:20 pm
Tags: September 2015, October 2015, Benefits connection

Find out what is new with insurance carriers in Ohio and Kentucky.

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Exempt Employee, Independent Contractor Definitions

Posted on: October 12, 2015 3:00 pm
Tags: September 2015, October 2015, Benefits connection

Recently, the Department of Labor updated its position on a couple of topics relating to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

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Medicare Part D Notice Due October 15

Posted on: October 12, 2015 3:00 pm
Tags: September 2015, October 2015, Benefits connection

Employers whose health care plans include prescription drug benefits must notify Medicare-eligible employees by October 15 of each year whether their drug benefit is “creditable coverage,” meaning that it is expected to cover, on average, as much as the standard Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.

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Cadillac Tax Notice Issued

Posted on: October 12, 2015 3:00 pm
Tags: September 2015, October 2015, Benefits connection

The Cadillac Tax is a 40% tax scheduled to take effect in 2018 to reduce health care usage and costs by encouraging employers to offer cost-effective plans that engage employees in sharing the cost of care.

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Ohio Legislative Changes

Posted on: October 12, 2015 3:00 pm
Tags: September 2015, October 2015, Benefits connection

The state of Ohio recently passed House Bill 201. As a result, changes have been made regarding dependent age and full-time status.

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PACE Act Impacts Small Group Definition

Posted on: October 12, 2015 2:00 pm
Tags: September 2015, October 2015, Benefits connection

On October 1, 2015, the Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees (PACE) Act was passed by the House and Senate. President Obama signed the bill into law on October 8, 2015.

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Increased Penalties And New Electronic Filing Steps

Posted on: August 3, 2015 10:00 am
Tags: July 2015, Benefits connection

On June 29, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015, which significantly increases potential penalties for insurers and employers that fail to comply with the new Affordable Care Act (ACA) Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) and Large Employer reporting requirements first due in 2016.

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Subsidies Will Continue For Federal Marketplace Coverage

Posted on: August 3, 2015 10:00 am
Tags: July 2015, Benefits connection

The Affordable Care Act provides that subsidies are available to consumers enrolled in “an Exchange established by the State.”

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Five Habits That Can Harm Your Gums

Posted on: August 3, 2015 10:00 am
Tags: July 2015, Benefits connection

Maintaining your gums is one of the most important parts of taking care of your oral health. It is important to know what is good and bad for them, and there are certain harmful habits that can be avoided.

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Supreme Court Decision On Same-Sex Marriage

Posted on: August 3, 2015 10:00 am
Tags: July 2015, Benefits connection

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court declared that all couples have a fundamental right to marriage, regardless of gender. Same-sex couples may now exercise the right to marry in all states, regardless of what state law says. In addition, a state may not refuse to recognize a lawful same-sex marriage performed in another state.

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Carrier Corner

Posted on: August 3, 2015 10:00 am
Tags: July 2015, Benefits connection

Learn what is new with carriers in KY, OH, and TN.

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Carrier Corner TN

Posted on: June 12, 2015 11:00 am
Tags: May 2015, June 2015, Benefits connection

Find out what is new with insurance carriers in Tennessee.

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Proposed Wellness Program Rules

Posted on: June 11, 2015 10:00 am
Tags: May 2015, June 2015, Benefits connection

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued proposed rules about wellness programs included in group health plans and the guidelines that must be followed if the program asks employees to answer disability-related questions or take a medical examination.

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Reporting Requirements for Employer and Individual Mandates

Posted on: June 11, 2015 10:00 am
Tags: May 2015, June 2015, Benefits connection

Large Employer Reporting (IRS Code 6056)

This requirement impacts all employers subject to the employer mandate. Employers with 50 or more full-time employees and/or full-time equivalents must report to the IRS on the medical coverage they offer all full-time employees and their dependent children in compliance with the employer mandate.

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New Summary of Benefits and Coverage Template Delayed

Posted on: June 11, 2015 10:00 am
Tags: May 2015, June 2015, Benefits connection

In March, the Department of Labor announced that the new Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) template are delayed until 2016. However, some changes to the regulation will apply in 2015, as planned.

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2015 Patient-Center Output Research Institute (PCORI) Fee

Posted on: June 11, 2015 10:00 am
Tags: May 2015, June 2015, Benefits connection

The IRS has revised the Form 720 and the instructions for the 2015 PCORI Fees.

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2016 HSA Contribution and Coverage Limits

Posted on: June 11, 2015 10:00 am
Tags: May 2015, June 2015, Benefits connection

The IRS has announced the 2016 contribution limits, deductible minimums and out-of-pocket maximums for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and high-deductible health plans (HDHPs).

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CMS Clarifies Cost Sharing Limits for HDHPs

Posted on: June 11, 2015 10:00 am
Tags: May 2015, June 2015, Benefits connection

CMS has clarified that high deductible health plans (HDHPs) cannot impose cost sharing for any individual covered by the HDHP that exceeds the individual cost sharing limits established under health care reform. For 2015, the individual cost sharing limit is $6,600.

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Carrier Corner

Posted on: June 11, 2015 10:00 am
Tags: May 2015, June 2015, Benefits connection

Find out what is happening with insurance carriers in KY & OH.

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BlueCross BlueShield: Anthem Data Breach

Posted on: March 18, 2015 2:40 pm
Tags: March 2015, Benefits connection

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee was notified by Anthem, Inc. that an unauthorized person accessed their data warehouse. Once the issue was discovered, Anthem made every effort to close the security vulnerability, contacted the FBI and began fully cooperating with their investigation. Anthem also retained Mandiant, one of the world’s leading cybersecurity firms, to evaluate their system and identify solutions based on the evolving landscape.

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Carrier Corner TN

Posted on: March 18, 2015 2:00 pm
Tags: March 2015, Benefits connection

Learn more about carrier updates in Tennessee.

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Request For Information On The Cadillac Tax - taken from CIGNA's Informed On Reform

Posted on: March 18, 2015 1:50 pm
Tags: March 2015, Benefits connection

On February 23, the IRS issued a notice covering a number of issues concerning the 2018 Cadillac Tax, or excise tax, and requested comments on the possible approaches that could ultimately be incorporated into proposed regulations. 

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Anthem Data Breach

Posted on: March 18, 2015 1:00 pm
Tags: March 2015, Benefits connection

Anthem was recently the target of a very sophisticated, external, cyber attack. The attackers have obtained personal information from their current and former members such as names, birthdays, member ID/Social Security numbers, street addresses, email addresses and employment information, including income data. There is no evidence that banking, credit card or medical information were targeted or compromised.

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Ohio Update

Posted on: March 18, 2015 1:00 pm
Tags: March 2015, Benefits connection

H.B. 511 has passed the Ohio House and Senate and was signed into law by Governor Kasich. After several failed attempts to pass H.B. 511, it was incorporated into H.B. 201. H.B. 201 makes changes relative to satisfaction of mortgages, and also includes all the provisions of H.B. 511.

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Carrier Corner OH & KY

Posted on: March 18, 2015 1:00 pm
Tags: March 2015, Benefits connection

Learn more about the latest carrier updates in OH and KY.

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Special Enrollment Period: Federally-facilitated Marketplace

Posted on: March 18, 2015 11:00 am
Tags: March 2015, Benefits connection

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have announced a special enrollment period (SEP) for individuals and families who did not have health coverage in 2014 and are subject to the fee or “shared responsibility payment” when they file their 2014 taxes in states which use the Federally-facilitated Marketplaces (FFM).

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Minimum Essential Coverage And The Individual Mandate Penalty -

Posted on: March 18, 2015 11:00 am
Tags: March 2015, Benefits connection

Tax returns in 2014 will be asking a new question about minimum essential coverage (MEC). The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued Publication 5187 to help taxpayers understand new terminology and requirements related to the Affordable Care Act and their tax return. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has also published two documents to assist taxpayers: “3 Tips About Marketplace Coverage & Your Taxes” and “No Health Coverage? What That Means for Your Taxes”.

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Benefit And Payment Parameters - taken from CIGNA's Informed On Reform

Posted on: March 18, 2015 11:00 am
Tags: March 2015, Benefits connection

On February 20, the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS)issued final regulations on the 2016 Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters. The regulations address a variety of ACA benefit provisions for 2016 affecting both the group and individual markets.

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Carrier Corner TN

Posted on: January 12, 2015 3:40 pm
Tags: January 2015, Benefits connection

Learn about updates from carriers in Tennessee.

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Minimum Essential Coverage

Posted on: January 12, 2015 3:10 pm
Tags: January 2015, Benefits connection

In November, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued final regulations related to the requirement for individuals to maintain Minimum Essential Coverage to meet the Individual Mandate. The regulations clarified the definition of minimum essential coverage for certain types of medical assistance and addresses general areas for determining affordability of employer-sponsored coverage.

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Hardship Exemptions From Individual Mandate

Posted on: January 12, 2015 3:00 pm
Tags: January 2015, Benefits connection

In November, the IRS provided a list of all hardship exemptions from the Individual Mandate that may be claimed on an individual’s federal income tax return without obtaining a hardship exemption certification.

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Proposed Changes For The Summary Of Benefits And Coverage

Posted on: January 12, 2015 3:00 pm
Tags: January 2015, Benefits connection

HHS and the Departments of Labor and Treasury have proposed changes to the Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC). The proposed regulations clarify when and how a plan administrator or insurer must provide and SBC, shorten the SBC template, add a third cost example, and revise the uniform glossary.

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Changes Affecting Group Health Plans

Posted on: January 12, 2015 3:00 pm
Tags: January 2015, Benefits connection

Learn what changes will be affecting group health plans in the future.

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Carrier Corner

Posted on: January 12, 2015 3:00 pm
Tags: January 2015, Benefits connection

Learn about different carrier updates.

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