Archive

Archive for the ‘Employer Info’ Category

Policy Advantage Insurance Services: Where We Can Help

Today’s article is about where (and how) Policy Advantage Insurance Services can help you with your health benefits planning. As you know, we’ve written a few blog posts about this topic in the past. If you’re new, we’d encourage you to catch up here:

Policy Advantage Insurance Services literally has the ability to help you with your health benefits planning, no matter your current situation. This blog post intends to specifically identify where we can help.

WeCanHelp

  • Employers of Any Size: We have the ability to help any size employer, large or small. If you’re a business owner or executive, you probably know that there are some important differences between businesses (especially your number of full time equivalent employees), when it comes to healthcare reform. We can help employers with 2, 20, 80, 500, or even 1000’s of employees. We can help you design an effective, efficient, and budget-conscience health plan that will fit any business.
  • Individual Health Insurance Plans Off of the Exchange: Are you self-employed or not offered a health insurance plan at work? It’s now easier than ever to “shop” and find individual health insurance. If your income is too high to qualify for exchange subsidies, we can help you find a plan off of the exchange. These are plans that are purchased directly through the insurance companies.
  • Individual Health Insurance Plans On the Exchange: If you’d don’t currently have access to an affordable health insurance plan, and your income is between 100% and 400% of FPL, you may qualify for help with your insurance premiums through the new health insurance exchanges in the form of “Advanced Premium Tax Credits” (or APTCs). These credits can significantly reduce the amount of your monthly premiums. Policy Advantage Insurance Services is “Covered California Certified” and can help you select plans on the new exchange.
  • SHOP Plans On the Exchange: The “SHOP” program is the new “Small Business Health Options Program.” This is a new program on the exchange that is specifically designed to help small businesses (under 50 employees) expand health insurance options to their employees. Those businesses that have less than 25 employees may see significant tax-credits to off-set the cost of premiums. The SHOP program is a group health insurance plan.

As you can see, Policy Advantage Insurance Services has the capacity to help you in any circumstance. If you are a business, individual, or self-employed, we can help you find a plan that will fit your situation. One of our biggest goals is to help our clients save money and improve coverage. Contact us today, and we’ll help you sort it all out.

Thanks for stopping by, we hope you found our information to be valuable. Check back at our blog to get further information about funding healthcare. Also, please share with your friends, clients, colleagues, and family. Here are a few of our other information outlets:

Home Page: http://www.policyadvantage.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/policyadvantage

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/policyadvantage

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/policyadvantage

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/policyadvantage

Word Press (you are here): http://www.policyadvantage.wordpress.com

Advertisements

Important Outreach: ONLY 10 DAYS LEFT IN 2014 OPEN ENROLLMENT

If you’ve been following along at our blog, you’ll understand that there are now “open enrollment” dates each year for Individual and Family Plans (IFP). 2014 open enrollment is coming to a close soon. This very important blog post is for everyone: individual clients, group & employer clients, potential clients, friends, co-workers, family, and anyone else.

**Individual and Family Plan (IFP) open enrollment is coming to a close on March 31st, 2014. There are only 10 days left in 2014 to enroll. 

10days

Here are some important notes:

  • Open enrollment applies to all individual insurance plans on and off the new exchange.
  • Those who don’t have a plan by March 31st, 2014 will not be able to enroll after this date until next Fall, unless there is a “qualifying event” (an example: loss of employer coverage).
  • Good reasons to look into enrolling in a plan: health insurance can be very important, you may be able to find a good plan at a good price, and there is also a tax penalty this year for individuals who have not enrolled in a health plan.
  • Policy Advantage Insurance Services has the capacity to help with all plans: on the exchange, off of the exchange, and group/employer plans. Regardless of your situation, we can help.

We’ve helped many people enroll since last Fall (both on and off of the exchange). If you know of anyone: friends, family, co-workers, or anyone uninsured please contact us (or share our info) and we can help them sort it out online, over the phone, or in-person.

Thanks for stopping by, we hope our information was valuable to you. Check back at our blog to get further information about funding healthcare. Also, please share with your friends, clients, colleagues, and family. Here are a few of our other information outlets:

Home Page: http://www.policyadvantage.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/policyadvantage

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/policyadvantage

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/policyadvantage

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/policyadvantage

Word Press (you are here): http://www.policyadvantage.wordpress.com

Last Leg: Final Two Weeks of IFP Open Enrollment

March 17, 2014 1 comment

We’re about to enter the last leg of 2014 IFP (Individual & Family Plan) open enrollment. As a result of healthcare reform, there are now yearly open enrollment periods for individual and family health insurance plans.

What does this mean? This means that if you plan on participating in a non-group (or non-employer) health insurance plan, then you’ll need to enroll during this new enrollment period.

This year’s IFP enrollment has been extended until March 31st, 2014. The reason for this extension is because we’re in the very first year of enacting healthcare reform’s major provisions. In years after 2014, open enrollment will end sooner. LastLap

Entering the final leg of 2014 IFP open enrollment, here are some important notes:

  • The latest numbers show that nearly 4.2 million Americans have enrolled in health insurance plans through the new exchanges across the country. The Obama Administration says that this will be enough participation to maintain stability within the insurance markets.
  • The last day to enroll in any individual or family health insurance plan (on or off of the new exchanges) is March 31st, 2014.
  • If you have a “qualifying event” after open enrollment ends on March 31st (ie: the loss of an employer health insurance plan), you can enroll mid-year in a special enrollment.
  • If your plan is subsidized through the exchange with an “Advanced Premium Tax Credit” (or APTC), make sure that your income is correctly reported, and that you keep the exchange updated with any income changes throughout the year.
  • There is a tax penalty in 2014 for not carrying a “minimum essential coverage” health insurance plan. This tax penalty is $95 or 1% of household income (whichever is greater).

With that, we’re into the anchor leg of our first healthcare reform open enrollment period. Expect to see some additional late participation in these past few weeks, that will most likely push the total first year enrollment up over 4.2 million Americans.

If you need help enrolling, Policy Advantage Insurance Services is “Covered California Certified” and can assist you with plans on or off of the exchange. Please feel free to contact us with your questions.

Thanks for stopping by, we hope our information was valuable to you. Check back at our blog to get further information about funding healthcare. Also, please share with your friends, clients, colleagues, and family. Here are a few of our other information outlets:

Home Page: http://www.policyadvantage.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/policyadvantage

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/policyadvantage

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/policyadvantage

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/policyadvantage

Word Press (you are here): http://www.policyadvantage.wordpress.com

Voluntary Benefits in the Post Healthcare Reform Environment

This blog post is about “voluntary benefits” and how they are poised to see significant growth in the post-healthcare reform environment. If you’ve been following along here at our blog, you’ll know that we’ve discussed the definition of voluntary benefits in the past. We’ve referred to these benefits as “supplemental health insurance.”

As we move forward with this concept, keep in mind that you may see this specific category of benefit worded in three ways:

  1. Voluntary Benefits (the verbiage we’re using in this blog post).
  2. Supplemental Health Insurance (verbiage we’ve used in the past).
  3. Ancillary Benefits (or: benefits that support existing benefits).

The above listed could all be considered “voluntary benefits.” Each are composed of a variety of different important products when designing employer health programs.

The big question: What are voluntary benefits? 

Answer: voluntary benefits are exactly what they say they are. They are products that employees voluntarily participate in at work. In other words, employees typically pay for voluntary plans with their own money. The employer usually does not make a contribution.

The next big question: What types of plans are available voluntarily? 

Answer: there are a number of different plans that are available on a voluntary basis. Listed below are a few of them.

  • Supplemental Health Insurance: Accident Plans, Cancer Plans, Hospital Plans
  • Ancillary Benefits: Vision, Dental, Life Insurance, Disability Insurance
  • Specialty Benefits: Pet Insurance, Legal Counsel, Law/Litigation Insurance

The last big question: Why are these types of plans poised to grow significantly?

Answer: there are two big reasons why voluntary benefits are poised to grow significantly in the post-healthcare reform environment.

  1. It’s expected that there will continue to be increased exposure to “out of pocket expenses” and “cost sharing.” In other words, deductibles, co-payments, and coinsurance will all continue to be common. And most likely, these types of out of pocket expenses will continue to increase over time. Voluntary benefits can help reduce exposure to these kinds of expenses. Read more here.
  2. Government money is now helping to pay for a considerable number of new health insurance plans. This is especially true for small businesses (under 50 employees). With the integration of the new health insurance exchanges into the insurance marketplace, the federal government is now helping millions of new people pay their premiums in the form of tax subsides. What does this do? It frees up money for products like voluntary benefits.

As you can see, voluntary benefits will be a very important component in the post-healthcare reform environment. According to a recent study by Met Life, 51% of employees are willing to bear more of their benefits costs in order to have better choices, and 58% of employers say providing voluntary benefits will be significant to their benefits strategy in the coming years.

Policy Advantage Insurance Services provides a broad range of voluntary and ancillary products. If you have questions, please contact us, and we can evaluate your situation (as a business or individual) to see exactly where these benefits can fit it, and how they can help. Continue to look for additional posts on this topic.

Thanks for stopping by, we hope you found our information to be valuable. Check back at our blog to get further information about funding healthcare. Also, please share with your friends, clients, colleagues, and family. Here are a few of our other information outlets:

Home Page: http://www.policyadvantage.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/policyadvantage

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/policyadvantage

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/policyadvantage

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/policyadvantage

Word Press (you are here): http://www.policyadvantage.wordpress.com

Extended Delay: Insurance Mandate for Medium-Size Employers (50 to 99 employees)

February 11, 2014 Leave a comment

Yesterday (on 2/10/14) the Obama Administration announced an additional delay to the healthcare reform law’s “employer mandate.” This new announcement stated that medium-sized businesses (those from 50-99 employees) will now have additional time to cover their employees with a health insurance plan.

This is the second announcement of a delay with regard to the employer mandate. Back in July of 2013, the entire mandate (for those employers with 50 or more full time equivalent employees) was postponed until 2015. Now, the “medium sized” employers in that group (those with 50 to 99 workers) will be given an additional year (until 2016) to provide “minimum essential coverage” or face tax penalties.

With this new announcement, comes an additional “grace period” for employers that are at or above 100 employees. The employers in this group will still have to cover their workers. However, originally they only needed to cover 95% of their total full-time employees. Now, with the grace period, they will only need to cover 70% of their full-time employees in 2015. In 2016, they will need to cover 95% of their employees.

The main idea behind this recent delay: to provide a “dual phase-in” period for the employer mandate, and lighten the burden on those  employers in the 50 to 99 employee range that have not provided health insurance in the past.

Thanks for stopping by, we hope our information was valuable to you. Check back at our blog to get further information about funding healthcare. Also, please share with your friends, clients, colleagues, and family. Here are a few of our other information outlets:

Home Page: http://www.policyadvantage.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/policyadvantage

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/policyadvantage

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/policyadvantage

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/policyadvantage

Word Press (you are here): http://www.policyadvantage.wordpress.com

Business Owners: Give Your Employees More Choices

February 3, 2014 Leave a comment

Believe it or not, it can save you money. One of the most important concepts in the post-healthcare reform environment will be giving employees choice when it comes to their health benefits selection. This blog post will explain why this is so important. A future blog post will explain the ways this can be accomplished. Your employees have questions right now… have good answers for them.

If you’re an employer that is offering health benefits, you’ll want to understand that it’s now easier and more important than ever to give your employees a healthy selection of health plans at work. This is especially true for businesses that are in the “+50 Full-Time Equivalent Employee” category.

There are a number of different reasons why it’s now important to offer more selection. Here are a few of them:

  • “One size fits all” benefits plans are no-longer efficient. In the past, employers would typically offer their employees a single group health insurance plan. Imagine this… buying identical pairs of jeans for each person in the company. All the same size, all the same price. There’s a good chance that pair of jeans you picked won’t fit everyone, and they might be too expensive too. The same thing can happen with a health insurance plan. Which leads us into our next important reason to offer additional choices…
  • In most cases you (the employer) are the one choosing the plan (the jeans) for the group. So, not only are they “too expensive and not fitting everyone right,” but you’re the one who picked them out for your group. In case of a health insurance plan, by offering a better selection, people begin to make their own decisions. When people are thinking about what they’re purchasing, they’ll become a better consumer. When people become a better consumer… it saves money all around. There’s a real concept that describes this phenomenon, and it’s called “Consumer Directed Healthcare.”
  • Dependent coverage can now be difficult to navigate. Now that everyone needs to carry health insurance, the way the dependents of your employees find their coverage is much more important. This is one of the “biggees” in the post-reform environment. For example, you may be offering the best plan to your employees, but their dependents may not be able to afford it (especially if you’re not making a contribution to health insurance for dependents, and it’s an expensive plan). You mean well… but this scenario can be big a problem, especially when it comes to eligibility for subsidies at the new health insurance exchanges. By having a better selection at work, dependents of employees can more easily (and affordably) navigate their options.
  • Individual health insurance plans and “defined contribution” health planning are two strategies that are growing in popularity. Why? Because they both allow employers to offer great benefits at maximum flexibility to employees and their dependents. An additional bonus: setting (or defining) a budget for health benefits has never been so easy.

Keep that last bullet-point in mind, because we’ll get into more detail in a later blog post. That future blog post will help answer two important questions: “How can I offer more choices and flexible benefits to my employees?” and “How can it save me money?”

The good news is, it’s easier now that ever before. We can’t wait to tell you more. Continue to tune-in to our blog, and we’ll continue to share great information.

Thanks for stopping by, we hope our information was valuable to you. Check back at our blog to get further information about funding healthcare. Also, please share with your friends, clients, colleagues, and family. Here are a few of our other information outlets:

Home Page: http://www.policyadvantage.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/policyadvantage

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/policyadvantage

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/policyadvantage

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/policyadvantage

Word Press (you are here): http://www.policyadvantage.wordpress.com

Operation Patience: Exchange Plans Taking Time to Process

January 13, 2014 Leave a comment

Recently, many who have applied for a January 1st, 2014 plan start at the new state health insurance exchange have learned that it’s taking some time for the insurance companies to process your plan. This is currently a common occurrence, as they continue to sort through 10’s of thousands of new applications (literally). Our advice right now: be patient.

Although you may not have received your plan documents and your member ID card yet, if you sent in your “binding payment” on time, you should be retroactively covered:

  • In California, the “binding payment” is due (in-hand at the insurance company) by January 15th, 2014. This may vary from state-to-state and insurance company to insurance company, so make sure to check.
  • “Retroactively covered” means that if you incur medical charges before your plan is processed (and as long as your “binding payment” was received on-time), you will be retroactively reimbursed for covered charges.

Be assured that the insurance companies are doing everything that they can to take care of your policy as quickly as possible. You’ll see across Twitter that they’re actively communicating with their new members. Here are some Tweet examples of what we’ve seen to customers:

Blue Shield of California, 1/9/2014:

We’ve extended customer service hours to meet the higher demand and tripled online bandwidth to make payments. Thanks for hanging in there.

Health Net, 1/6/2014:

@justex07: You should get your ID card in approx. 5 business days, but you can go to the doctor before then and file a claim after if needed.

Anthem Blue Cross of California, 1/11/2014:

@mobilefilmclass: Also, we hired 100s of new cust service folks for 1/1, cancelled vacays & pulled 100s other people from other jobs to help.

So although you may have waited on hold for hours, or no one is returning your email inquiries, or you’re just frustrated in general because you haven’t received your packet or ID card yet… stay patient. They’re working diligently to take care of your policy.

Thanks for stopping by, we hope you found our information to be valuable. Check back at our blog to get further information about funding healthcare. Also, please share with your friends, clients, colleagues, and family. Here are a few of our other information outlets:

Home Page: http://www.policyadvantage.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/policyadvantage

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/policyadvantage

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/policyadvantage

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/policyadvantage

Word Press (you are here): http://www.policyadvantage.wordpress.com