Benefits Buzz

Posted May 8th, 2015 in Producers, Employers, Individuals
On May 4, 2015, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released Revenue Procedure 2015-30 which details the inflation-adjusted amounts that impact qualified high deductible health plans and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) for the 2016 calendar year, as outlined below:
 

These limits are updated annually and reflect cost-of-living adjustments.

Posted May 1st, 2015 in Producers, Employers, Individuals
There have been several attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and none have prevailed up to this point. The House of Representatives voted nearly 40 different times to repeal the law with no avail. The constitutionality of the Individual Mandate was challenged and ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court. Now we are awaiting a decision on whether the federal government can legally provide subsidies to Exchange applicants.  
 
Posted April 24th, 2015 in Producers, Employers

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has eliminated the need for certificates of creditable coverage (a.k.a. HIPAA notices) as of this year. These notices detailed the amount of time a person was covered under a health plan, and their primary purpose was to reduce or eliminate pre-existing condition waiting periods when someone was changing from one health plan to another. Since the ACA has eliminated pre-existing condition waiting periods in almost all market segments, these notices are deemed to be no longer relevant.

Posted April 17th, 2015 in Producers, Employers, Individuals
Since 1997, the federal government has used a system referred to as the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) to pay doctors that participate in the Medicare program. The SGR has aimed to slow increasing costs related to Medicare by limiting and reducing payments to doctors. However, the SGR has seen a lot of backlash from doctors, with many indicating they would not participate in the Medicare program if payments were reduced.
Posted April 2nd, 2015 in Producers, Employers
The Illinois Department of Insurance (IDOI) issued a bulletin on March 20, 2015 as it relates to the renewal of certain health plans in 2016. In particular, the bulletin indicates that certain health plans may continue to be renewed for plan years on or before October 1, 2016 without being considered out of compliance with Affordable Care Act (ACA) regulations.  
 
The bulletin impacts the following plan types: 
 
Posted March 27th, 2015 in Producers, Employers, Individuals

On March 4, 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in regards to the King vs. Burwell case, which is the most significant challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) since the constitutionality of the Individual Mandate was challenged back in 2012. The plaintiffs in the King vs. Burwell case argue that subsidies can only be provided by states that establish an Exchange on their own. They further argue that the federal government, which is utilized in 37 states, cannot provide subsidies to Exchange applicants.  

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