Alcoa shifts retirees to private health insurance exchanges | TribLIVE

Private Exchanges cost more money than traditional group insurance. But, they can still be the right answer for groups looking to expand and simplify at the same time.

“Typically, private exchanges are set up by a consulting company or an insurance carrier and offer a broad range of health plans. Employers contribute a set amount that may cover most or all of the cost of a basic plan. It’s up to the worker or retiree to pay for a higher level of coverage.”

The biggest concern for employers is the change in who delivers these complicated new products. For many employers who have National Consulting firms providing information to employers, like those mentioned in this article, it’s self-serving on the part of those organization to also be the pedalers of their own product.

In this article, Towers and Mercer, two of the largest consulting firms are also the creators and sellers of their own private exchanges. It’s a bad idea for the pedalar of the product to also be the advisor. While most anyone would say that’s obvious, it is important to remind individuals responsible for company purchases to get an independent third party to confirm a decision, or help in the evaluation process.

BenStaff is in the business of providing valuation advice to large and small employers. A second opinion will help many employers or unions from making a poor decision.

via Alcoa shifts retirees to private health insurance exchanges | TribLIVE.

IRS YouTube Videos Focus on Healthcare Reform, Tax Form Changes

The name you might use to describe what individuals are getting by going to the marketplace has many different names. The tax credit, the subsidy, the pretax credit, the government hand-out, advance payments of the premium tax creditand other names.

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Employers and advisors should take notice that the IRS is the final decision maker about how much someone gets by way of the “final” tax credit. If you’ve advised someone to take a tax credit, if someone has premiums that are being paid by the government this article and youtube video’s are for you.

New IRS YouTube Videos Focus on Healthcare Reform, Tax Form Changes.

“For most people, filing their returns in the spring of 2015 is going to be fairly simple – with regard to this issue, and that is they’ll simply check a box indicating that they have qualifying insurance or they’ll indicate that they’re eligible for an exemption. Otherwise, they’ll calculate their shared responsibility payment and add it to their tax return,”

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen

Your customer who loses some or all of their premium payment from the government will find out when they owe taxes 4/15, or audit someday afterward.


CMS – “don’t talk to customers about their options.”

If you wanted to know more about options for your health care coverage options, you might call an insurance company or search google. Even more likely, if you had an  agent, you would call them for their advice.

But, under new CMS rules the “agent CANNOT initiate a discussion of new plan options as that is deemed “unsolicited contact.”

Here’s the entire quote.

“Section 70.6 of the MMG outlines permissible and prohibited telephonic activities of both agents/brokers and Plans/Part D Sponsors. We are clarifying that “plan business” means the member’s current plan. Agents (brokers/plans) may not contact members, via the telephone, to discuss other plan options. This is considered an unsolicited contact.”

In the everyday world of working with customers and competing in the marketplace, it’s hard to explain to customers that the government protects them by telling an agent what  they can, and can not say.

The product distribution rules imposed like the one above do attempt to protect consumers from those unscrupulous individuals who prey upon the public. But, the unintended consequence can be confusion for consumers.

For instance, the rules for Obamacare include allowing unlicensed, non-agents to sell healthcare to individuals with little or no training about carrier products, how to value the benefits of one over another. Obamacare perceived the way to communicate with citizens was to create an entirely new group of individuals who can do much more harm because they know far less than the qualified agents.

When you are seeking coverage for healthcare be sure to find someone who is qualified, and is an agent for carriers. They only get paid when they take care of you and in that regard the agent service and distribution model works well.

If you need a referral to an agent please contact the office,

Sins of omission will occur because of so much change

There has never been more change in a shorter period of time than now. Gain added certainty at a time when things couldn’t be more uncertain.

There has never been more change in a shorter period of time than now. Gain added certainty at a time when things couldn’t be more uncertain.

There have been more than 25 major changes to ACA with more to follow. No one can know the entirety of this law and its’ regulations, don’t make decisions in this environment the way you made them in the past. Agents, brokers, consultants can recommend our services to avoid oversights, so many alternatives in every decision.

You are covering more material and making bigger decisions than ever before, what doesn’t get discussed in the planning meetings can be more important than what does get discussed.

Whether you’re an agent, broker or consultant looking for an added resource or you’re a plan fiduciary, trustee, HR executive, finance executive or owner getting a second opinion will save you much more than you spend.

Our team is standing by to help, pick-up the phone and ask for a 2nd opinion.

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Due diligence

Due diligence does not include shopping your agent, broker, or consultant. That’s not a fruitful exercise, even they will say that’s true.

If you overlooked something in making changes, when would you know?

Do you, or your team, have enough experience to squeeze out the best renewal, and costs?

Is there one loose end, or lingering question, that needs attention from a professional and team with more than 200 years experience?

For many employers, the Decoder is the easiest most cost effective way of learning about the law, and how it financially impacts their business.

Healthcare Owners Initiative

James Argue, a summer intern for BenStaff, did a lot of the grunt work to develop the 2 hour conversation we hope to have with owners. Frank Cardimen pushed for a message to help the American Healthcare system based on a conversation he and I had.

He learned that there are plenty of hidden costs and cost influences that don’t help Americans or explain the cost of healthcare.

We’re eager to get this news out to all owners and we’d like to fill a room for what should be a lively discussion.

Make sure you register if you’re an owner so we can communicate our presentation dates.