Blog Entries - tag: 'Benefits connection'

Self-Funded Health Plans Grow In Popularity

Posted on: February 12, 2018 11:00 am
Tags: Benefits connection, January/february 2018

As organizations begin to assess options for health coverage in 2018, new data could help provide some perspective. Employer premiums on health care plans rose higher in 2017 than they have in the past five years, according to a nationwide health plan survey, Benefits Pro reported.

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How To Get Help Paying Medical Bills

Posted on: February 12, 2018 11:00 am
Tags: Benefits connection, January/february 2018

According to a 2016 Kaiser Family Foundation and New York Times survey, 20 percent of working-age consumers with health insurance reported problems paying medical bills in the previous year. The situation is even more dire for the uninsured, with more than half reporting medical bill payment problems. However, health care consumers have a range of options when it comes to tackling medical debt.

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How To Ease The Transition To A New Doctor

Posted on: February 12, 2018 11:00 am
Tags: Benefits connection, January/february 2018

There are a number of reasons a person might switch doctors: a move may make it necessary; a change in insurance plans or carriers; the doctor may not be a good fit for the patient.

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Carrier Corner- KY, OH, TN

Posted on: February 12, 2018 11:00 am
Tags: Benefits connection, January/february 2018

Learn what is happening with carriers in Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio.

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“Cadillac Tax” And Health Insurance Industry Fee Delayed In Spending Bill

Posted on: February 12, 2018 10:00 am
Tags: Benefits connection, January/february 2018

President Trump signed into a law short-term spending bill to reopen and fund the federal government through February 8, 2018. Attached to the bill are delays or suspensions of three taxes under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and a six-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

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Partial Extension For 2017 ACA Reporting

Posted on: February 12, 2018 10:00 am
Tags: Benefits connection, January/february 2018

The IRS has extended the deadline by which applicable large employers (ALEs) and entities providing minimum essential coverage (MEC) must distribute Forms 1095-B and 1095-C to individuals for the 2017 reporting year. These forms were previously due to individuals no later than January 31, 2017. The extended deadline for providing these forms to individuals is now March 2, 2018.

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Carrier Corner

Posted on: June 27, 2017 1:00 pm
Tags: July 2017, August 2017, Benefits connection

Find out what is happening with carriers in Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

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2018 HSA Contribution & Coverage Limits

Posted on: June 27, 2017 12:00 pm
Tags: July 2017, August 2017, Benefits connection

The IRS announced new Health Savings Account Limits for 2018.

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CMS Issues Final Rule To Encourage Market Stability

Posted on: June 27, 2017 11:00 am
Tags: July 2017, August 2017, Benefits connection

CMS issued a final rule addressing a variety of issues.

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Keeping Fit At The Office

Posted on: June 27, 2017 11:00 am
Tags: July 2017, August 2017, Benefits connection

Working behind a desk provides more opportunity for exercise than you may realize. There is plenty you can do at work to improve— or maintain—your health.

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2017 Comparative Effectiveness Research Fee Due July 31

Posted on: June 26, 2017 12:00 pm
Tags: July 2017, August 2017, Benefits connection

The Affordable Care Act imposes an annual fee called the Comparative Effectiveness Research Fee on insurers and plan sponsors of self-insured coverage to help fund the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

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21st Century CURES Act

Posted on: February 13, 2017 12:00 pm
Tags: January 2017, February 2017, Benefits connection

In 2016, President Obama signed the 21st Century CURES Act into law. The CURES Act enables small employers with fewer than 50 employees Health Reimbursement Arrangements.

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Cold and Flu 101

Posted on: February 13, 2017 12:00 pm
Tags: January 2017, February 2017, Benefits connection

It's almost certain that you have or will come into contact with colds and the flu. Take the following measures to prevent catching them.

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Carrier Corner - KY, TN & OH Edition

Posted on: February 13, 2017 12:00 pm
Tags: January 2017, February 2017, Benefits connection

Learn what is happening with carriers in Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio.

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Trending: Telemedicine

Posted on: February 13, 2017 11:00 am
Tags: January 2017, February 2017, Benefits connection

Telemedicine can improve access to medical services that may not be available in rural communities. It can also be used to save lives in critical care and emergency situations.

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Medicare Consultations Are Necessary And Should Be Free

Posted on: February 13, 2017 10:00 am
Tags: January 2017, February 2017, Benefits connection

Becoming Medicare eligible presents a lot of problems for those who are either turning 65 or who have been on Social Security Disability for 24 months.

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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Recommendations on Harassment in the Workforce

Posted on: September 26, 2016 9:00 am
Tags: September 2016, October 2016, Benefits connection

Learn about the findings of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission study of harassment at the workplace.

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Final Regulations for Wellness Programs

Posted on: September 26, 2016 9:00 am
Tags: September 2016, October 2016, Benefits connection

Learn about final regulations issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as they relate to employer wellness programs.

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Carrier Corner

Posted on: September 23, 2016 4:00 pm
Tags: September 2016, October 2016, Benefits connection

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

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Four Fitness Flaws Affecting Oral Health

Posted on: September 23, 2016 3:00 pm
Tags: September 2016, October 2016, Benefits connection

Learn about the flaws associated with bottled water, sports drinks, energy bars, and not using a mouth guard. 

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Department of Labor Increases Penalties for Health Plan Violations

Posted on: September 23, 2016 12:00 pm
Tags: September 2016, October 2016, Benefits connection

On July 1, 2016 the Department of Labor issued an interim final rule that increases the civil penalty amounts that may be imposed under various federal laws. 

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Nondiscrimination In Health Programs And Activities

Posted on: June 7, 2016 4:00 pm
Tags: May 2016, June 2016, Benefits connection

The nondiscrimination rule under Section 1557 of the ACA serves protected classes of individuals whose health coverage may not be denied, cancelled, limited, or refused on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. The rule is effective July 18, 2016, but health plans that require changes in benefit design are required to comply on the first day of the plan or policy year beginning on or after January 1, 2017.

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ACA Regulations And Updates

Posted on: June 7, 2016 4:00 pm
Tags: May 2016, June 2016, Benefits connection

Network Adequacy Standards

The final rules have adopted several changes related to network adequacy requirements for plans sold on the Marketplace.

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Carrier Corner

Posted on: June 7, 2016 4:00 pm
Tags: May 2016, June 2016, Benefits connection

Find out what is happening with carriers in Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

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IRS Announces 2017 Limits

Posted on: June 7, 2016 4:00 pm
Tags: May 2016, June 2016, Benefits connection

The IRS has announced the 2017 contribution limits, deductible minimums and out-of-pocket maximums for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and high-deductible health plans (HDHPs).

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U.S. Drug Spending Climbs

Posted on: June 7, 2016 3:00 pm
Tags: May 2016, June 2016, Benefits connection

The Wall Street Journal reported that, according to IMS Health research, total spending on prescription drugs in the U.S. rose 12.2% to nearly $425 billion in 2015, fueled by the introduction of expensive new drugs for cancer and infections, as well as price hikes for older drugs.

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New FDA Nutrition Facts Labels

Posted on: June 7, 2016 3:00 pm
Tags: May 2016, June 2016, Benefits connection

The nutrition label on food packaging is about to change. Companies are required to use the new label by July 26, 2018 (manufacturers that make less then $10 million in annual food sales have an extra year).

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Carrier Corner: KY, TN, & OH

Posted on: April 12, 2016 5:00 pm
Tags: March 2016, April 2016, Benefits connection

Learn about what is happening with insurance carriers in KY, TN and OH.

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April Is Autism Awareness Month

Posted on: April 12, 2016 4:50 pm
Tags: March 2016, April 2016, Benefits connection

The aim of this month is to educate the public about autism. Autism is a complex mental condition and developmental disability, characterized by difficulties in the way a person communicates and interacts with other people. Autism can be present from birth or form during early childhood (typically within the first three years). Autism is a lifelong developmental disability with no single known cause.

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Engagement Strategies For Wellness Programs

Posted on: April 12, 2016 4:00 pm
Tags: March 2016, April 2016, Benefits connection

Learn more about engagement strategies for wellness programs based on generation information (i.e. Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1978), and Generation Y / Millennials (1979-1997)).

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‘Grandmothered’ Plans Receive Extension

Posted on: April 12, 2016 4:00 pm
Tags: March 2016, April 2016, Benefits connection

On February 29th, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the final Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for the 2017 coverage year and the final Letter to Issuers. In the final 2017 Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters, CMS announced that in states where “grandmothered” or “transitional” plans are still allowed, states and issuers will be able to continue to renew them at their option as long as these policies end by December 31, 2017. Previous guidance required these policies to terminate by October 1, 2017.

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Key Regulations In 2017 Benefit Payment And Parameters

Posted on: April 12, 2016 3:00 pm
Tags: March 2016, April 2016, Benefits connection

Learn about 2017 Out-of-Pocket Maximums, Marketplace Enrollment Period, Marketplace Automatic Reenrollment, Standardized Plan Options In The Individual Marketplace, and Changes To Federally Facilitated SHOP Plans.

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Carrier Corner- Tennessee Edition

Posted on: January 18, 2016 2:30 pm
Tags: January 2016, February 2016, Benefits connection

Learn what is happening with insurance carriers in Tennessee.

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‘Cadillac Tax’ Delayed For Two Years

Posted on: January 18, 2016 2:00 pm
Tags: January 2016, February 2016, Benefits connection

On December 18, 2015, Congress passed a two-year delay on the 40 percent excise tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health plans, also known as the “Cadillac Tax.” This delay was part of a year-end tax extender and government funding package, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, known as the “Omnibus.”

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IRS Extends Information Reporting Due Dates

Posted on: January 18, 2016 2:00 pm
Tags: January 2016, February 2016, Benefits connection

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced extended deadlines for 2015 Minimum Essential Coverage and Large Employer Shared Responsibility reporting required to be completed in early 2016.

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Wellness Program Success

Posted on: January 18, 2016 2:00 pm
Tags: January 2016, February 2016, Benefits connection

Whether you are thinking about implementing a wellness program or have had one up and running for years, you must build both strategy and coordinated efforts to empower employees to take control of their own well-being.

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Carrier Corner

Posted on: January 18, 2016 2:00 pm
Tags: January 2016, February 2016, Benefits connection

Learn what is happening with the insurance carriers in Kentucky and Ohio.

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IRS Releases Notice 2015-87

Posted on: January 18, 2016 1:00 pm
Tags: January 2016, February 2016, Benefits connection

The IRS notice addresses various issues that have arisen under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with respect to employer-sponsored coverage, focusing particularly on account-based employee benefits such as section 125 cafeteria plans and health reimbursement arrangements, reporting and defining hours of service. In addition, the IRS provided guidance regarding COBRA coverage and Health FSA carryovers.

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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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Carrier Corner TN

Posted on: October 1, 2014 3:00 pm
Tags: October 2014, Benefits connection

Check out what is new with carriers in TN.

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DEA Makes Official Change For Hydrocodone Combination Products

Posted on: October 1, 2014 2:00 pm
Tags: October 2014, Benefits connection

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) published a Final Rule moving hydrocodone combination products (HCPs), including but not limited to Lortab/Vicodin, Tussionex, Zohydro ER, Norco, Hycodan, Zydone, etc. from Schedule III to Schedule II in the federal register. This rule follows the recommendation by the Assistant Secretary for Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and is supported by the DEA’s own evaluation of clinical data.

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Carrier Corner

Posted on: October 1, 2014 2:00 pm
Tags: October 2014, Benefits connection

Find out what is new with different carriers.

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2015 HSA & HDHP Limits

Posted on: October 1, 2014 2:00 pm
Tags: October 2014, Benefits connection

The IRS has announced the 2015 contribution limits, deductible minimums and out-of-pocket maximums for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and high-deductible health plans (HDHPs).

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IRS Eases Access To Subsidized Marketplace Plans

Posted on: October 1, 2014 1:50 pm
Tags: October 2014, Benefits connection

The IRS has released new guidance that allows employees participating in non-calendar year group health plans (other than a health Flexible Spending Account) through a cafeteria plan to drop coverage mid-year and enroll in a Health Insurance Marketplace plan during the Marketplace open enrollment period.

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Medicare Part D Notice Due October 15

Posted on: October 1, 2014 1:00 pm
Tags: October 2014, 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. Medicare Part D, which became effective in 2006, is a federal program to subsidize the cost of private prescription drug plans.

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New Maximum Individual Mandate Penalty

Posted on: October 1, 2014 1:00 pm
Tags: October 2014, Benefits connection

For tax year 2014, the IRS has set the individual mandate penalty at the greater of either $95 per uninsured individual capped at 300% of the flat dollar amount for a family or one percent of income.

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Average ACA Premium Increase Will Be 8.2 Percent in 2015

Posted on: October 1, 2014 1:00 pm
Tags: October 2014, Benefits connection

The Huffington Post reported that according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, which has conducted the most thorough review to date, the average increase for ACA plans “will be 8.2 percent next year in 29 states and the District of Columbia where data about health insurance premiums for 2015 are available.”

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October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Posted on: October 1, 2014 1:00 pm
Tags: October 2014, Benefits connection

Early detection is one of the best defenses against breast cancer. Annual screenings, self-checks, and knowing some of the symptoms can help you stay ahead of breast cancer or catch it early.

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2015 HSA & HDHP Limits

Posted on: June 18, 2014 9:00 am
Tags: June 2014, Benefits connection

The IRS has announced the 2015 contribution limits, deductible minimums and out-of-pocket maximums for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and high-deductible health plans (HDHPs).

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IRS Releases Revised Form 720 - PCOR Fees

Posted on: June 18, 2014 9:00 am
Tags: June 2014, Benefits connection

The IRS has issued a revised Form 720 and instructions for filing the PCOR (Patient-Centers Outcomes Research) fees by July 31, 2014. Filers will enter covered-lives counts and applicable rates ($1 for plans years ending on or after October 1, 2013) in Part II of Form 720 (line 133) to calculate the amount owed.

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21 Simple Tips For Better Health

Posted on: June 18, 2014 9:00 am
Tags: June 2014, Benefits connection

For those of us who sit down at a desk most of the day, health and well-being aren't always easy to work into our lifestyles. Still, the facts show that we must be proactive about eating well and moving enough during the day in order to avoid weight gain, stress and flagging fitness.

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Carrier Corner: TN

Posted on: June 18, 2014 9:00 am
Tags: June 2014, Benefits connection

Find out what is happening with carriers in TN.

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Carrier Corner: KY, IN and OH

Posted on: June 18, 2014 9:00 am
Tags: June 2014, Benefits connection

Find out what is happening with the carriers in KY, OH and IN.

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What Is The Transitional (Grandmothered) Policy?

Posted on: June 17, 2014 4:00 pm
Tags: June 2014, Benefits connection

In November 2013, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a letter to State Insurance Commissioners outlining transitional relief for non-grandfathered health insurance coverage in the individual and small group markets (“Transitional Policy”). The small group market for the Transitional Policy is defined as small employers with fewer than 51 total employees.

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FSA Carryover

Posted on: June 17, 2014 4:00 pm
Tags: June 2014, Benefits connection

On March 28, 2014, the IRS released a memorandum clarifying that a member is disqualified from making contributions to a Health Savings Account (HSA) for the entire year solely as a result of carryover of unused amounts in an Flexible Spending Account (FSA) from the previous year, even if the FSA no longer has available funds.

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What ACA Means For COBRA

Posted on: June 17, 2014 4:00 pm
Tags: June 2014, Benefits connection

In a release dated May 2, 2014, the Department of Labor announced updates to model notices informing workers of their eligibility to continue health care coverage through COBRA.

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Self-funded Plans Required To Obtain Health Plan Identifier (HPID)

Posted on: June 17, 2014 4:00 pm
Tags: June 2014, Benefits connection

The Affordable Care Act included a provision called Administrative Simplification, which broadens existing requirements under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996. Administrative Simplification sets standards and operating rules for how insurance issuers and other covered entities interact with providers, particularly regarding electronic transactions of information.  The goal of these requirements is to ultimately reduce costs by streamlining transactions and making existing standards work more efficiently.

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New Law Repeals Health Care Reform's Annual Deductible Cap

Posted on: June 17, 2014 4:00 pm
Tags: June 2014, Benefits connection

Congress has passed, and the President has signed, the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 to postpone changes to the formula used to determine the amounts Medicare pays physicians for services.

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Pediatric Vision & Dental Coverage

Posted on: April 24, 2014 3:00 pm
Tags: April 2014, Benefits connection

Pediatric Dental & Vision benefits for small employer groups (2-50) vary between different insurance carriers. In some cases, the benefits even vary between plans within the same carrier. Below is an overview of coverage per carrier.

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Final Notices On 2015 Benefit And Payment Parameters

Posted on: April 24, 2014 3:00 pm
Tags: April 2014, Benefits connection

This article discusses the open enrollment, cost sharing limits, reinsurance assessment fee, federal marketplace user fee, and the Small Business Health Options Program for 2015.

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90-Day Waiting Period Limitation

Posted on: April 24, 2014 3:00 pm
Tags: April 2014, Benefits connection

The U.S. Departments of Labor, Treasury, and Health and Human Services have announced the publication of final regulations implementing a 90-day limit on waiting periods for health coverage.

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Allergy Season Is Upon Us

Posted on: April 24, 2014 3:00 pm
Tags: April 2014, Benefits connection

Spring is a beautiful time of year, but for allergy sufferers it’s not a time to “stop and smell the roses.”

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Carrier Corner- KY & OH

Posted on: April 24, 2014 3:00 pm
Tags: April 2014, Benefits connection

This article discusses what is new with carriers in Kentucky and Ohio.

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Carrier Corner- TN

Posted on: April 24, 2014 3:00 pm
Tags: April 2014, Benefits connection

This article discusses what is new with carriers in Tennessee.

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Information Reporting For Employers And Insurers

Posted on: April 24, 2014 2:00 pm
Tags: April 2014, Benefits connection

In March, the Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released final rules on two provisions: reporting health insurance coverage by large employers, and reporting minimum essential coverage by insurers and employers of self-insured plans.

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Need Help Signing Up For Individual Health Insurance? SHERRILL MORGAN Can Help

Posted on: March 7, 2014 4:00 pm
Tags: March 2014, Benefits connection

The April 1st deadline to avoid paying a penalty by being covered by a qualified health plan is quickly approaching. Many people are still struggling, not only to register on the exchange websites, but also with the complexity of the decision making process.

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Carrier Corner-KY & OH

Posted on: March 7, 2014 4:00 pm
Tags: March 2014, Benefits connection

This article discusses what is new with carriers in Kentucky and Ohio.

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Carrier Corner-TN

Posted on: March 7, 2014 4:00 pm
Tags: March 2014, Benefits connection

This article discusses what is new with carriers in Tennessee.

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The Dirty Dozen vs. The Clean Fifteen

Posted on: March 7, 2014 3:00 pm
Tags: March 2014, Benefits connection

Many consumers have become interested in buying organic produce in an attempt to reduce their amount of pesticide exposure. But buying organic can be expensive.

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Employer Mandate Final Regulations Issued

Posted on: March 6, 2014 3:00 pm
Tags: March 2014, Benefits connection

Employers with 50 to 99 full-time employees will not face penalties for not offering coverage to full-time employees and their dependents up to age 26 until the first plan year beginning on or after January 1, 2016.

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Final Contraceptive Regulations For Religious Organizations Issued

Posted on: August 20, 2013 4:00 pm
Tags: August 2013, Benefits connection

The Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury have issued final regulations about contraceptive coverage for religious organizations that object to covering contraceptive services. The final rule changes the effective date from plan years beginning on or after August 1, 2013 to plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2014.

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Myth vs. Fact: Affordable Care Act & Dental & Vision Plans

Posted on: August 20, 2013 4:00 pm
Tags: August 2013, Benefits connection

Myth: Employers must purchase dental benefits through a health insurance exchange.

Fact: Employers are not required to purchase dental benefits through an exchange.

Myth: Purchasing a medical plan that includes dental benefits is cheaper than purchasing separate medical and dental plans.

Fact: Combining medical and dental benefits in one insurance policy could mean a large combined deductible. In that case, children’s nonpreventive dental expenses are not covered until the medical deductible is satisfied. Most medical plans with pediatric dental and vision benefits do not include adult coverage.

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Minimum Essential Coverage: What Qualifies & Eligibility For Premium Tax Credit

Posted on: August 20, 2013 4:00 pm
Tags: August 2013, Benefits connection

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a final rule on what qualifies as minimum essential coverage and a notice on eligibility for minimum essential coverage for purposes of the premium tax credit.

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Reasons For Disability Insurance

Posted on: August 20, 2013 4:00 pm
Tags: August 2013, Benefits connection

The Need: Most American Workers’ Incomes Are Not Protected

About 100 million American workers are without private disability income insurance. And almost 70 percent of workers in the private sector have no private long-term disability insurance.

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"Employer Mandate" Delayed Until 2015

Posted on: July 17, 2013 11:00 am
Tags: July 2013, Benefits connection

On July 2, 2013, the Treasury Department announced that enforcement of the employer shared responsibility provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will be delayed by one year, until 2015. Compliance with the law’s information reporting provisions will be voluntary for 2014, but strongly encouraged.

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Essential Health Benefits

Posted on: July 17, 2013 11:00 am
Tags: July 2013, Benefits connection

The Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) issued guidance that gave states the responsibility for adopting state-specific Essential Health Benefits (EHB) plans (“state benchmark plans”), on which insurers must base their 2014 product offerings. Fully insured products will not have to exactly match the state benchmark plans and can differ as long as covered benefits remain “substantially equal” and actuarially equivalent to the state EHB package in those states that allow substitution.

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Early Renewal by Carrier

Posted on: July 17, 2013 11:00 am
Tags: July 2013, Benefits connection

Beginning January 1, 2014, due to PPACA regulations, carriers will no longer require medical underwriting by small groups in order to secure coverage. Carriers will be moving to a community rating system, which may have drastic impacts on small business renewals. Many carriers are offering their groups an Early Renewal Option, allowing them to renew December 2013, in order to delay the impact.

 

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Health Insurance Costs to Increase Significantly Under Affordable Care Act

Posted on: June 24, 2013 3:00 pm
Tags: July 2013, Benefits connection

The Ohio Department of Insurance released details of health insurance plans that insurers have submitted for approval to sell on the coming federal insurance exchange for Ohio.  The Department's preliminary analysis of the proposed plans for the individual market reveal that insurers expect the cost to cover health care expenses for consumers will significantly increase. 

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Carrier Corner: KY & OH

Posted on: June 12, 2013 10:00 am
Tags: June 2013, Benefits connection

Carrier Corner: What's New?

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Comparative Effectiveness Research Fee

Posted on: June 11, 2013 9:00 am
Tags: June 2013, Benefits connection

The first comparative effectiveness research payment put in place to support the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is due no later than July 31, 2013 for plan years ending October 1, 2012 through October 31, 2013.

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Preventive Services Highlights

Posted on: June 11, 2013 9:00 am
Tags: June 2013, Benefits connection

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently released a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) on preventive care, including U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations, out-of-network, services, women's health and immunizations.

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Proposed Rule Delays Part Of SHOP Exchange

Posted on: June 10, 2013 3:00 pm
Tags: June 2013, Benefits connection

In March, the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) published a proposed rule that would delay part of the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Exchange until 2015. SHOP is an exchange created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for small businesses and their employees. However, the proposed rule does not apply to the entire program.

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Proposed Regulations On Individual Mandate

Posted on: June 10, 2013 3:00 pm
Tags: June 2013, Benefits connection

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has issued proposed regulations related to the individual mandate provision of PPACA.

The individual mandate requires most individuals to have minimum essential coverage or pay a penalty beginning in 2014. The penalty is now called a “shared responsibility payment.’ Some individuals may qualify for an exemption so they will not be required to have coverage or pay a penalty.

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Guidance On Employee Notice Of Exchange Options

Posted on: June 10, 2013 3:00 pm
Tags: June 2013, Benefits connection

On May 8, 2013, the Department of Labor provided temporary guidance and model notices that employers can use to inform their employees about the Exchanges, which will be available January 1, 2014.

The original deadline for providing this notice to employees was March 1, 2013. The effective date has been changed to October 1, 2013 to coincide with the Exchange (or Marketplace) open enrollment period, which also begins on that date. Employers who want to start providing notices sooner can follow this temporary guidance and use these model notices. However, employers are not required to provide notices under this temporary guidance and can wait until formal guidance is provided later this year.

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