confusion

Letters From CMS (Medicare) to Employers Regarding Group Health Plan Reporting Are Causing Some Confusion

Many employers are receiving letters from CMS (Medicare) requesting information and it’s causing some confusion. The actual title of the letter reads “Requirement to Submit the Group Health Plan Report for the IRS/SSA/CMS Data Project”.

Here’s an overview that may help clarify for you.

This letter from CMS is separate and apart from the new ACA employer reporting requirements that recently went into effect (employers with 50+ employees). Employers are required to provide the requested information but it’s pretty basic and, other than complying with the request, not anything to really be concerned about.

In Case You Missed It – HHS Has Again Extended the Small Group “Keep Your Plan” Provision of the Affordable Care Act

We know you get updated on a lot of healthcare issues.  Just in case you missed our previous announcement this is worth repeating for those employers in the under 50 segment who have kept pre-ACA plans in place.

For our under 50 employee groups, we were ramping up to help construct ways to continue the option of keeping your current plan (unless something better becomes available).  In the past, we have had to shift renewal dates or juggle “grandfathering” vs. “grandmothering” your plan.

This year we will not have to do any such juggling.

HEALTHCARE COSTS: YOU WON’T BELIEVE THIS!

We read and hear a lot about the craziness and wild swings in pricing for common medical services. Some seem too incredulous to believe. Healthcare’s version of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.

OK. So here’s a true story. Hot off the presses. Happened just this week to someone in our sphere.

Compromising on Contraceptives and Religion. Say what?

Recently the Obama Administration compromised to allow waivers for religious organizations to restrict paying for contraceptives on their health plans.

What does that mean for most religious groups that offer health benefits? Unless a group is self funded and writes their own plan, it will be difficult to change things. As we have discussed in earlier blogs posts, 98% of all employers purchase fully insured plans from insurance companies. Insurance companies file their plans and, for the most part, are abiding by the original requirements in ACA on what to cover. Therefore, if a group is fully insured, they cannot just change their plan.

WSJ-Apr222014-AdminOffersContraceptionCompromise

It is possible that the insurance carriers may roll out plans that give these types of groups a chance to change their plan. However, at this point that is not possible and we usually see insurance companies move slowly on these events.

The administration rolled this out to allow for waivers. The carriers will probably wait and see if there are a lot of requests and then decide if they will react.

To read more on this topic, please read Administration Offers Contraception Compromise for Religious Employers, an article that appeared on WSJ Online.

 

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