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Posts Tagged ‘Consultant’

ACA: Come Out And Play

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Insurance News Net reports:

“One percent.”

“I would be surprised if we see many, if any.”

According to most experts, the number is small. Not only is it small, it keeps getting smaller. We speak, of course, of the number of companies with 50 or more employees that will drop employer-sponsored insurance in 2014 – opting to send employees to state-run insurance exchanges and pay per-employee fines levied by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. After a McKinsey & Company study in 2011 famously concluded that 30% of employers would “pay” rather than “play,” survey after survey has revealed that fewer than 5% of employers plan to eliminate employee health benefits. Even the Government Accountability Office, which originally reported as much as 20% of employers would drop coverage, now has backed off to around 2%.

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IRS issues final regulations on health care reform affordability

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Business Insurance reports:

“Employers will not be hit with a stiff financial penalty and employees will not be eligible for federal premium subsidies to buy coverage in public health insurance exchanges regardless of how much employers charge for family coverage, under final Internal Revenue Service regulations. These regulations affirm previously proposed rules involving a health care reform law “affordability” requirement. Under that Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act rule, if employer coverage is not affordable, employers are liable for a $3,000 penalty for each full-time employee whose required premium contribution does not meet the affordability test and receives a premium subsidy to buy coverage in an exchange. Previously proposed regulations said the requirement only applied to self-only coverage, with coverage considered unaffordable if employees’ premium contribution exceeds 9.5% of household income. At the time, though, regulators said they would examine whether the penalty also should apply if the premium they charge health plan enrollees for family coverage exceeds the 9.5% of income affordability test.But in the final regulations published Wednesday, the IRS made clear that the affordability test will only apply to self-only coverage. “These final regulations adopt the proposed rule without change,” the IRS said.Federal premium subsidies only will be available “if self-only premium exceed 9.5% of household income,” said Rich Stover, a principal with Buck Consultants L.L.C. in Secaucus, N.J.Despite pressure from interest groups seeking an expansion of eligibility for premium subsidies, regulators felt constrained by the statute, said Anne Waidmann, a director with PricewaterhouseCoopers L.L.P. in Washington.”

Federal Health Reform/Exchange Update

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Federal Health Reform/Exchange Update
August 2012

There has been a lot of activity since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the PPACA constitutional in late June. Our Agent/Broker Health Reform Working Group has been busy staying on top of the issue and is doing everything possible to advocate for producer participation in the Exchange. The following is a summary of developments to date:

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Health insurance exchanges: The big unknowns

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

American Medical News reports:

“Physicians navigating the world after health system reform are headed toward a large, uncharted area over the horizon in the form of health insurance exchanges. The coverage marketplaces will serve millions of people, but with few predecessor models to serve as guides, doctors wondering what the exchanges will be like for them are, for the most part, sailing blind.

Health insurance exchanges are scheduled to emerge by 2014, at which point individuals and small businesses will be able to shop for a variety of plan options, including coverage that might come with federal subsidies. Forming competitive marketplaces is a major way in which Affordable Care Act architects intended not only to expand coverage to tens of millions of people, but also to restrain cost growth in the system.

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Quinn says Illinois can now go forward with health care plans

Friday, June 29th, 2012

Chicago Tribune reports:

Gov. Pat Quinn today said the Supreme Court’s ruling clears the way for Illinois to move forward with plans to expand health care, saying 1.5 million people who don’t have coverage will qualify for insurance beginning Jan. 1, 2014.

“What we learned today is that the legal cloud has been eliminated, the U.S. Supreme Court, the highest court in our land, has said the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land and we in Illinois plan to carry it out,” Quinn said. “The bottom line is more people in Illinois, folks who are raising kids, who are working jobs and who are living from pay check to pay check will now have an opportunity to get health care coverage.”

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Obamacare collapse would put employers in charge

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Benefits Pro reports:

“WASHINGTON (AP) — If the Supreme Court strikes down President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, don’t look to government for what comes next.

Employers and insurance companies will take charge. They’ll borrow some ideas from Obamacare, ditch others, and push even harder to cut costs.

Here’s what experts say to expect:

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Small comfort: Health care costs projected to increase less than 10%, first time in decade

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Employee Benefit News reports:

“Cost increases for health care are perhaps finally slowing down, with employer health benefit expenditures not expected to increase in 2012 at the same explosive growth in recent years. Costs for all types of medical plans are expected to increase by 9.9% for 2012, according to a survey by Buck Consultants, the first time since 2001 that Buck’s survey has projected cost increases less than 10% for any type of plan. The firm has been conducting its survey since 1999.

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Supreme Court To Sort Out Health-Care Mandate

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Insurance News Net reports:

“Connie Cass; Connie Cass The Associated Press

This is the first in a weeklong package of stories previewing the Supreme Court’s consideration of President Obama’s health-care overhaul law.

WASHINGTON – Death, taxes and now health insurance? Having a medical plan or else paying a fine is about to become another certainty of American life, unless the Supreme Court says no.

People are split over the wisdom of President Obama’s health- care overhaul, but they are nearly united against its requirement that everybody have insurance. The mandate is intensely unpopular even though more than 8 in 10 people in the United States already are covered by workplace plans or government programs such as Medicare. When the insurance obligation kicks in, not even two years from now, most people won’t need to worry or buy anything new.

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Blue Cross opens door to insurance rebates in Illinois

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Chicago Business reports:

“The parent of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Illinois is opening the door to rebates, which could provide badly needed relief to customers and trim the insurance giant’s massive cash hoard.

Chicago-based Health Care Service Corp. has sent notices to thousands of its individual customers amending their policy terms to allow for refunds, a move that could be required under the federal overhaul of health care. A similar notice for some group plans is awaiting approval from Illinois regulators, a company spokesman says.

How many people would be eligible for rebates is uncertain, but Blue Cross had nearly 307,000 individual policy-holders in Illinois in 2010. The company’s small-group segment is more than twice that size, based on premiums of $1.7 billion that year.

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Self-Insured Complicate Health Deal

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

New York Times reports:

“The Obama administration thought it had found a way to ease mounting objections to a requirement in the new health care act that all employers — including religiously affiliated hospitals and universities — offer coverage for birth control to women free of charge.

It would make the insurers cover the costs, rather than the organizations themselves.

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