United Benefit Advisors Insight and Analysis Blog

Making Sense of Form 1095 Minimum Essential Coverage Reporting

Posted by: Vicki Randall    Jan 12, 2017 9:30:00 AM

In a few weeks, a second season of shared responsibility reporting will begin. For some of you, last year’s inaugural year of reporting may have felt eerily similar to Lewis Carroll’s famous book. You know the one. It included a little girl falling down a dark hole, a rabbit frantically checking his watch and a lot of other crazy characters. Now that you have the benefit of one year of reporting under your belt, let’s look at the reporting forms and try to make them less confusing by breaking them down.

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Topics: ACA, IRS Form 1095, minimum essential coverage, employer shared responsibility, Affordable Care Act, individual shared responsibility, Compliancedashboard, IRS reporting, Form 1095-B, Form 1095-C

Handling of Retaliation Complaints under Section 1558 of the Affordable Care Act

Posted by: Nancy Bourque    Jan 10, 2017 9:30:00 AM

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently released a final rule on the procedures for the handling of whistleblower complaints under Section 1558 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The regulations protect employees (which includes former employees and applicants for employment) who may have been subject to retaliation for seeking assistance under certain affordability assistance provisions, or for reporting potential violations of the ACA’s consumer protections.

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Topics: ACA, Affordable Care Act, OSHA, Nancy Bourque, whistleblower complaints, retaliation, consumer protection

Identify and Evaluate the Impact of Your Wellness Program

Posted by: Mary Delaney, MSPT, CWP    Jan 5, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Measuring program value, or return on investment, is critical and imperative in managing a healthy wellness program. Further, clearly identifying and objectively evaluating the impact helps keep the vendor focused on what is critical for the employer. If these programs are not having the impact intended, then the cost of those services is only adding to medical spending waste.

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Topics: employee engagement, wellness, employee wellness, wellness programs, UBA Health Plan Survey, population health strategy, Vital Incite, health care cost containment, Mary Delaney, biometric risk assessment

Emphasis on Consumerism in Health Care Expected Post 2016 Elections

Posted by: Michael Weiskirch    Jan 4, 2017 11:51:49 AM

I really need to stop spending so much time reading the news. I subscribe to several news aggregators, plus a number of content sources: blogs, industry experts and other publications. I pore through news about politics, world affairs, and information related to HR, benefits, and technology – the field I work in. I sometimes do this (I must admit) while stuck at a stoplight or in line at the store. In all fairness, I do this to keep up on current events and trends impacting my field and my clients’ interests. But I need to stop doing it so much because it can be a huge time waster.

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Topics: ACA, CDHPs, compliance with health care reform, Obamacare, UBA Health Plan Survey, health care cost, health care consumerism

Interim Final Regulation on Maximum Civil Monetary Penalties

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Dec 29, 2016 10:30:00 AM

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently issued interim final regulations that adjust for inflation the maximum civil monetary penalties (CMP) that fall under HHS's jurisdiction. The regulations reflect changes required by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (the Act).

Adjustments under the Act were effective on August 1, 2016, and HHS's CMP adjustment regulations were effective on September 6, 2016. HHS issued its regulations for immediate implementation, without the notice and comment procedures that normally accompany new regulations.

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Topics: compliance, ACA, HIPAA, group health insurance, Danielle Capilla, Affordable Care Act, monetary penalties

Regulations Regarding Short-Term Limited-Duration Insurance, Excepted Benefits, and Lifetime/Annual Limits

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Dec 27, 2016 10:30:00 AM

Recently, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Department of Labor (DOL), and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) (collectively the Departments) issued final regulations regarding the definition of short-term, limited-duration insurance, standards for travel insurance and supplemental health insurance coverage to be considered excepted benefits, and an amendment relating to the prohibition on lifetime and annual dollar limits.

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Topics: group health insurance, excepted benefits, supplemental health coverage, Danielle Capilla, travel insurance, short-term insurance

FAQs on Tobacco Cessation Coverage and Mental Health / Substance Use Disorder Parity

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Dec 20, 2016 10:30:00 AM

Recently, the Department of the Treasury, Department of Labor (DOL), and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) (collectively, the Departments) issued FAQs About Affordable Care Act Implementation Part 34 and Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Implementation.

The Departments' FAQs cover two primary topics: tobacco cessation coverage and mental health / substance use disorder parity.

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Topics: group health insurance, Danielle Capilla, tobacco cessation, mental health, medical insurance, substance abuse

Wellness Wearables: Novelty or an Impact to the Health Care Industry?

Posted by: Travis Horne, MBA    Dec 19, 2016 4:40:45 PM

It’s no secret in the wellness industry today that wellness wearables are in high demand as one of the most employer-offered program incentives. Wearables are not only being distributed at a large quantity by medical carriers, they are also being utilized by employers as an incentive to drive employee engagement on wellness platforms, challenges, and programs. Is this increase in wearable distribution a fad, or are these products truly impacting employee wellness program engagement and health care spending? This question is one of the many that continually surfaces from employers who are focused on employee health and well-being and the business investment in wellness programs.

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Topics: employee engagement, wellness, health care costs, wellness programs, UBA Health Plan Survey, Travis Horne, wearable fitness devices

Employer Exchange Subsidy Notices: Should You Appeal?

Posted by: Vicki Randall    Dec 15, 2016 10:30:00 AM

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), all public Exchanges are required to notify employers when an employee is receiving a subsidy (tax credits and cost-sharing reductions) for individual health insurance purchased through an Exchange. According to the final rules published in August 2013, employers have the right, but are not required, to engage in an appeal process through the IRS if they feel an employee should not be receiving a subsidy because the employer offers minimum value, affordable coverage.

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Topics: health insurance exchanges, ACA, IRS Reporting Rules, employer shared responsibility, Affordable Care Act, Compliancedashboard, Dan Bond, health insurance subsidy, Vicki Randall

The Impact of Wearable Devices in the Healthcare Industry

Posted by: Kaycee Eaton    Dec 13, 2016 10:30:00 AM

Wearable fitness devices have been a hot topic in health and wellness for a few years now, but what kind of impact have wearables really had on improving health outcomes? Wearable fitness devices can be used to track physical activity, sleep, heart rate, and even provide on-screen workouts. They are most often paired with a smartphone or website to track and store data. There has been a lot of hype about the potential to promote positive health outcomes through using wearables, but a recent study suggests they may not be impacting health as expected.

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Topics: wellness, LHD Benefit Advisors, UBA Health Plan Survey, Vital Incite, wearable fitness devices, weight loss program, wellness monitoring, Kaycee Eaton