Blog - Employee Benefits & Insurance



    Employee Benefits & Insurance

    No Surprises Act: New Law Targets Surprise Balance Billing on National Level


    In addition to stimulus relief and the 2021 federal budget, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, passed in December of 2020, included the No Surprises Act, which targets the practice of surprise balance billing.  Surprise balance billing occurs when a patient receives an unexpected bill from a medical provider.  Typically, these bills are connected to emergency or hospital-based services wherein the costs of services or the fact that a provider is out of network was not disclosed in advance.  In addition to being totally unexpected, these bills can also be incredibly expensive, leaving patients with a nasty surprise.  The No Surprises Act is designed to remove the patient from negotiations between medical providers and insurers; in addition, it also requires that some information about estimated costs be provided to patients in advance of scheduled medical services.  The law goes into effect for plan or policy years beginning on or after January 1, 2022.  Read more...


    Employee Benefits & Insurance

    New Texas Laws: Targeting Surprise Medical Billing and Deceptive Practices


    The Texas Legislative session brought three new laws related to payments for medical care.  One bill, Senate Bill 1264, is intended to curb a practice called “surprise” or “balance” billing.  The other two bills—House Bills 2041 and 1941—target deceptive advertising used and high prices charged by some freestanding ERs.  This article contains a descriptive of these bills, which are newly signed into law and will go into effect September 1, 2019.  Read more...


    Employee Benefits & Insurance

    Geo-Based AHP "Pause": DOL Files Appeal of AHP Ruling


    The Department of Labor has filed an appeal of a March 28 ruling by US District Judge John D. Bates.  In a lawsuit brought by 11 states and the District of Columbia, Judge Bates had ruled that two elements of the DOL’s rule on Association Health Plans (AHPs) were invalid.  Rather than file a stay, the DOL decided to appeal the decision and has requested an expedited hearing.  Read more...


    Employee Benefits & Insurance

    Biometric Screening as part of Humana's Go365 Program


    Humana has announced several free biometric screening events, occurring from May to August, for their Go365 Wellness and Rewards Program members.  As an employer who may be eligible for premium discounts through Humana’s Go365 program, you may want to encourage your employees to take advantage of this quick and easy way to earn points and proactively manage their health.  Read more...


    Employee Benefits & Insurance

    We Can Help! New SA Chamber Association Health Plan


    The San Antonio Chamber of Commerce has announced they are now offering an Association Health Plan (AHP) with United HealthCare (UHC).  Although there has been some confusion, the plans are open to all members of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) through any licensed agent or broker.  Read more...


    Employee Benefits & Insurance

    Apple Watch Now Syncs with UHC Motion


    After November 15th, UnitedHealthcare Motion customers will be able to track their FIT goals using the Apple Watch.  UnitedHealthcare Motion is a wellness program offered through UHC.  Read more...


    Employee Benefits & Insurance

    AHPs Arrive in Texas


    They weren’t born in Texas, but they got here as fast as they could!  UnitedHealthcare (UHC) has introduced three geographically-based Association Health Plans (AHPs) that are now available in Texas.  UHC is offering some of their most popular plans to associations that would like to set up AHPs, and they anticipate premium savings for certain groups compared to the ACA’s adjusted community rating structure.  If we are your benefits consultant, we will review all of your options, including involvement in an AHP, as part of your renewal.  If you have recently renewed, we are also comparing your recent renewal against the new geographical-based AHPs available with UHC and will let you know if it is worthy of your consideration.  Read more...


    Employee Benefits & Insurance

    Creditable Coverage Notice for Medicare-eligible Individuals


    Employers who sponsor group health plans should be aware that the annual deadline to provide notice of Creditable Coverage to Medicare-eligible employees is October 15Read more...


    Employee Benefits & Insurance

    New Rules: Trump's DOL Releases Rules on Association Health Plans


    On June 19, 2018, the Department of Labor released their final rule on Association Health Plans (AHPs).  This action is in response to an executive order that President Trump issued in October of 2017, which directed the Secretary of Labor to consider proposing regulations or revising guidance on AHPs.  The rule is 198 pages.  Today, we’d like to provide a high-level overview and begin to answer how this change may affect you.  Read more...


    Legal & Regulatory Updates, Employee Benefits & Insurance

    2019 HSA Contribution Limits


    The Internal Revenue Service has announced new contribution limits for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) in 2019.  An HSA is a bank account that can be used in conjunction with a high deductible health plan to save pre-tax funds for medical expenses.  Both employers and employees can contribute to the account, but the account and all monies contained within are owned by the employee.  HSAs can provide a significant way to save for current and future medical expenses free of tax.  Read more...


    Employee Benefits & Insurance

    IRS Reduces 2018 Family HSA Contribution Limit


    On March 5, the IRS announced a change to the 2018 Family Health Savings Account (HSA) Contribution Limit: a $50 reduction to the amount they announced last year.  People with family coverage will need to adjust their withholding amount if they were attempting to make the maximum allowable contribution to their HSA.  Read more...


    Employee Benefits & Insurance

    IRS Sends Penalty Letters


    The IRS is currently sending letters to inform employers of penalties due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This letter, called 226J, is being sent to groups that did not offer coverage that was affordable and met the minimum essential requirements as specified by the ACA. These groups are therefore required to make an Employer Shared Responsibility Payment (ESRP). These penalties can be severe. The illustration below, taken from a real letter, shows a penalty amount of $213,026.  Read more...


    Employee Benefits & Insurance

    Budget Deal Includes Medicare Provisions


    Congress has just passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, a bill that will continue to fund the government through March 23, 2018. It also includes key Medicare provisions intended to help seniors by providing better and more coordinated healthcare services. The bill will arrive on President Trump's desk today and he is expected to sign it.  Read more...


    Employee Benefits & Insurance

    IRS Announces ACA Reporting Extension


    The IRS has extended the deadline for providing 1095 forms to employees from January 31 to March 2, 2018.  Read more...




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