Articles tagged 'Health Care Benefits'

Benefits, HR News & Trends

Small Businesses Drop Health Coverage Due to Obamacare Alternatives

health care reform

For two decades Atlanta restaurant owner Jim Dunn offered a group health plan to his managers and helped pay for it. That ended Dec. 1, after the Affordable Care Act made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

Health-law subsidies for workers to buy their own coverage combined with years of rising costs in the company plan made dropping the plan an obvious – though not easy – choice.

“I had a lot of regrets going into it,” Dunn, who owns three Italian Oven restaurants in suburban Atlanta, said of his decision. “I don’t think I have as many now — only because I’ve seen the affordability factor for my managers improve.” Read more…

Benefits, HR Management

The Challenges an Employee May Have Switching to a Spouse’s Insurance

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If a married couple who each have health insurance through a job want to switch coverage from one employer to the other, usually it’s a snap.

During the fall open enrollment period the husband, for example, can simply drop his on-the-job coverage for the new year and his wife can add him to her plan Jan. 1.

Since many companies have calendar year coverage periods, that’s the way it typically works. Read more…

Benefits, HR Management

Big Changes For Workplace Health Plans: 6 Pitfalls to Watch For in 2015

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You don’t get a pass this year on big health insurance decisions because you and your employees are not shopping in an Affordable Care Act marketplace.

Employer medical plans — where most working-age folks get coverage — are changing too.

Rising costs, a looming tax on rich benefit packages and the idea that people should buy medical treatment the way they shop for cell phones have increased odds that workplace plans will be very different in 2015. Read more…

Benefits, HR News & Trends

What You and Your Business Need to Know About Obamacare, Year 2

health care reform

For business owners, two things in life are certain: taxes and rising health care costs. The two become nearly interchangeable when new IRS Health Care Reporting requirements go into effect, starting in 2016.

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), large employers (or those employing more than 50 full-time workers) face penalties if they fail to offer minimal coverage to employees. Prior to the Affordable Care Act, health insurance decisions were largely up to the individual business.

Beginning in 2016, large employers must report very specific information to the IRS to remain compliant, and the IRS has recently issued draft copies of the health care coverage forms. Read more…

Benefits, HR News & Trends

Costs Are Rising (Even If Premiums Aren’t) For 2015 Health Care

Photo illustration by istockphoto.com

Fall is enrollment season for many people who get insurance through their workplace.

Premium increases for 2015 plans are expected to be modest on average, but the shift toward higher out-of-pocket costs overall for consumers will continue as employers try to keep a lid on their costs and incorporate health law changes.

Experts anticipate that premiums will rise a modest 4 percent in 2015, on average, slightly higher than last year but lower than typical recent increases. Read more…

Benefits, HR News & Trends

Study: Minimal Savings For Employers Who Cap Medical Payments

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In an effort to slow health care spending, more employers are looking at capping what they pay for certain procedures — like joint replacements — and requiring insured workers who choose hospitals or medical facilities that exceed the cap to pay the difference themselves.

But a study released Thursday finds employers might be disappointed with the overall savings. While the idea, known as “reference pricing,” does highlight the huge variation in what hospitals and other medical providers charge for the same services, the report says, it does little to lower overall health care spending. Read more…

Benefits, HR News & Trends

Growing Debate Over Employer Health Plans With No Hospital Benefits

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Lance Shnider is confident Obamacare regulators knew exactly what they were doing when they created an online calculator that gives a green light to new employer coverage without hospital benefits.

“There’s not a glitch in this system,” said Shnider, president of Voluntary Benefits Agency, a Ohio firm working with some 100 employers to implement such plans. “This is the way the calculator was designed.”

Timothy Jost is pretty sure the whole thing was a mistake. Read more…

Benefits, HR News & Trends

Software Flaw Lets Employers Offer Health Plans Without Hospital Benefits

obamacare calculator 300

A flaw in the federal calculator for certifying that insurance meets the health law’s toughest standard is leading dozens of large employers to offer plans that lack basic benefits such as hospitalization coverage, according to brokers and consultants.

The calculator appears to allow companies enrolling workers for 2015 to offer inexpensive, substandard medical insurance while avoiding the Affordable Care Act’s penalties, consumer advocates say.

Insurance pros are also surprised such plans are permitted. Read more…

Benefits, HR News & Trends

Premiums For Job-Based Health Insurance Rose 3% This Year

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Premiums for job-based insurance rose modestly for the third consecutive year, reflecting slowed spending, even as key elements of the federal health care law went into effect.

Family premiums rose 3 percent in 2014, one of the lowest increases tracked since the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust began surveying employers in 1999. (Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the foundation.)

Nonetheless, the cost of the average family plan rose to $16,834 annually, according to the survey of more than 2,000 employers nationwide. Read more…

Benefits, HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

California Repeals 60-Day Waiting Period on Health Insurance

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By Sara Richland

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a “waiting period” is defined as the period that must pass before coverage for an individual who is otherwise eligible to enroll under the terms of a group health plan can become effective.

The ACA prohibits group health plans and group health insurance issuers from imposing a waiting period that exceeds 90 days after an employee is otherwise eligible for health coverage.

Generally, an individual is “eligible” to enroll in a health plan if he or she has met the plan’s substantive eligibility conditions, such as being in an eligible job classification, earning a certain level of commission, or satisfying a reasonable and bona fide employment-based orientation period. Read more…