Health & Benefits

Only a 95 Dollar Fee

One component of the recently enacted Affordable Healthcare Act, is the penalty on those who chose not to buy health insurance. These penalties have been referenced frequently of late, usually in the following way; “It’s only a $95 fee, right?” It seems that this is what the popular media would have everyone to believe; however there is a little more it than that. These are the rates for the next three years, which will continue to rise in years ahead:

Guideline Requirement for all Employers by October 1

As your trusted insurance advisor, The Merriam Agency is committed to keeping you up-to-date with the latest health care reform information. Per the U.S. Department of Labor, Exchange Notices must be given to all employees by October 1, 2013. This requirement applies both to employers offering group health insurance and those that do not. All employers must provide their employees with a notice of coverage options available through the Exchanges which open October 1, 2013. This is regardless

A Country Divided

In the 30 years of my professional career in risk management and insurance, I have never come across an issue as divisive as the debate over National health insurance. I will admit, right up front, that I am an opponent to the idea. Categorically, I am one of those conservatives who are prone to side with Thomas Jefferson who was quoted as saying, “The role of government is to do for society what society cannot do for itself.” Likewise, I am apt to quote what was printed in the monthly periodical

We Are Ready

For the past 3 years, the health insurance industry has been working to meet the requirements of the Patient Protective Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The intricacies of the over 2,000 page document can be staggering. Part of our job is to assist both employers and individuals in your navigation through this new health care reality, as well as with the decision-making process that lies ahead. Even prior to the implementation of the PPACA, the Merriam Agency has had access

Exchanges Explained

An Exchange is a New York State marketplace where small business employers, sole proprietors and individuals may shop for health insurance plans. The Exchange is an addition to your current health insurance options. There are two parts to the Exchange: 1. the Small Business Health Option Program (SHOP) 2. the sole proprietors and individuals program (Individual Exchange) The Exchange is a means of shopping

Large Employer Update

The Treasury Department has confirmed that the 2014 mandate for employers with 50 or more full-time workers has been delayed until 2015. This means that employers will not be subject to Federal penalties for not providing qualified health insurance in 2014. The Affordable Care Act requires that all employers with 50 or more full-time workers provide health insurance

HealthCare Benefits – Contraception

Recently the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a broader opt-out provision for religious non-profits that object to providing health insurance that covers birth control for women. This is an update to the August 2012 mandate that all health insurance plans are required to cover FDA approved and prescribed contraceptive services. There has been significant objection by some due to the contraceptive component.

HealthCare Benefits – Policy Limits

A new day is coming. With the passage of the 2010 health care reform law, new group health plans that contain any “Essential Health Benefit” are prohibited from establishing any lifetime dollar limits on the value of those services. Previously, most policies had limits. So, if you had a serious illness, and you reached that limit, you would no longer be covered under that policy. There are still some grandfathered policies that have limits, but they are gradually being brought into line with the new policy. By the end of 2014, policy limits should be history.

Helping with Open Enrollment

It’s Open Enrollment time again for many companies. Those covered by Small Group plans, are fearful of what this year’s rate changes will bring. Premiums have risen sharply for the past several years. To manage the expense to the organization, increased co-pays and high deductible plans have typically been passed on to your employees. Federal Regulations Bring Change and Clarity
Due to The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, commonly known as “Obama Care”), employers will see changes not only in price and coverage, but in how these changes are portrayed.

The Need for Healthcare Policies

Our national health care system has been through some tumultuous changes over the past few years, but this year, we have seen some of the impact - and we have been surprised a few times. Earlier this year, we received a call from a few organizations who had fewer than 50 participants in their health care plan. They had just received a letter of non-renewal from their long-standing (very large) health insurance provider. In fact, that insurer had decided to drop all health insurance policies with fewer than 50 participants.