Benefits Buzz

Posted May 8th, 2013 in Individuals, Employers, Producers

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a statement on April 30, 2013 that the public exchange applications, officially referred to as the Marketplace Consumer Applications, have been revised.

The Invidual Short Form is now just three pages in length. The Family Form is also said to have been reduced by about two-thirds its original length.

Posted May 3rd, 2013 in Employers, Producers

Recent guidance helped clarify some of the confusion about Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) fees applicable to Health Reimbursement
Arrangements (HRAs) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). It was originally thought that the fee would be applicable to all covered lives including spouses and dependents. That is no longer the case in some instances.

Posted April 30th, 2013 in Individuals, Employers, Producers

What will the exchanges look like? What are the exchange deadlines? How will subsidies and payments be processed? There constantly seems to be questions about the health insurance marketplaces, also known as the exchanges.

The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a progress fact sheet about the exchanges on April 22, 2013. This new information provides additional details about eligibility and enrollment, plan management, financial management, consumer support and more.

Posted April 22nd, 2013 in Individuals, Employers

Like the popular television commercials with children explaining their theories on what’s better (when asked if more is better than less), they want more. The concept is that simple. People, in general, do not want to settle for less.

Small businesses want more from a program that is named the Small Business Health Options Program or SHOP exchange. The government, however, has stripped away the “options” (at least for a year). If you’re a worker for a small business employer who is offered the SHOP exchange, you really don’t have anything to “shop” around for.

Posted April 15th, 2013 in Individuals, Employers, Producers

The Obama administration announced last week that parts of the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) would be delayed until 2015. This announcement has created a lot of confusion in the market.

The SHOP will be a new health insurance marketplace to provide exchange-based coverage to small businesses with up to 50 employees in most states. The SHOP is still expected to be launched as planned in 2014, but one of its key components will be delayed until 2015.

Posted April 8th, 2013 in Producers

Last week the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released proposed regulations about the role of Navigators. The new guidance provides some clarification about the role of Navigators, but it has several producers questioning how they will be compensated for their services next year.

Navigators are organizations that will provide unbiased information to consumers about health insurance.

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