United Benefit Advisors Insight and Analysis Blog

Contraception Mandate Rolled Back for Employers

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Oct 19, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Two tri-agency (Internal Revenue Service, Employee Benefits Security Administration, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) Interim Final Rules were released and became effective on October 6, 2017, and will be published on October 31, 2017, allowing a greater number of employers to opt out of providing contraception to employees at no cost through their employer-sponsored health plan.

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Topics: contraception coverage, group health insurance, Affordable Care Act

President Trump Ends ACA Cost Sharing Reductions

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Oct 17, 2017 9:30:00 AM

On the evening of October 12, 2017, President Trump announced that cost sharing reductions for low income Americans in relation to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) would be stopped. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has confirmed that payments will be stopped immediately. While there is no direct impact to employers at this time, UBA will continue to educate employers about changes in the law and its Health Plan Survey will continue to track group health plan rates over time as insurance companies potentially seek to recoup lost revenue. It is anticipated at least some state attorneys general will file lawsuits to block the ending of the subsidy payments, with California Attorney General Xavier Becerra stating he is prepared to file a lawsuit to protect the subsidies.

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Topics: health insurance exchanges, Cost-Sharing, group health insurance, Affordable Care Act

Survey: Small Businesses Keeping Pace with Health Benefits Offered by Employers Nationwide

Posted by: Bill Olson    Aug 24, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Small employers, those with fewer than 100 employees, have a reputation for not offering health insurance benefits that are competitive with larger employers, but new survey data from UBA’s Health Plan Survey reveals they are keeping pace with the average employer and, in fact, doing a better job of containing costs.

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Topics: group health insurance, small business, UBA Health Plan Survey, health care cost containment, employee benefit trends

The COBRA Payment Process

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Aug 23, 2017 9:30:00 AM

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) allows qualified beneficiaries who lose health benefits due to a qualifying event to continue group health benefits. The COBRA payment process is subject to various rules in terms of grace periods, notification, premium payment methods, and treatment of insignificant shortfalls.

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Topics: health insurance premiums, COBRA, group health insurance, Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, qualified beneficiary

Best Practices for Initial COBRA Notices

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Jul 25, 2017 9:30:00 AM

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) requires group health plans to provide notices to covered employees and their families explaining their COBRA rights when certain events occur. The initial notice, also referred to as the general notice, communicates general COBRA rights and obligations to each covered employee (and his or her spouse) who becomes covered under the group health plan. This notice is issued by the plan administrator within the first 90 days when coverage begins under the group health plan and informs the covered employee (and his or her spouse) of the responsibility to notify the employer within 60 days if certain qualifying events occur in the future.

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Topics: group health insurance, COBRA continuation coverage, notice of coverage

FAQ on HIPAA Special Enrollment; QSE HRAs Released

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Feb 8, 2017 9:53:35 AM

Recently, the Department of Labor (DOL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Treasury (collectively, the Departments) issued FAQs About Affordable Care Act Implementation Part 35. The FAQ covers a new HIPAA special enrollment period, an update on women's preventive services that must be covered, and clarifying information on qualifying small employer health reimbursement arrangements (QSE HRAs).

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Topics: HIPAA, group health insurance, health reimbursement arrangements, HRA, Danielle Capilla, 21st Century Cures Act, Qualified Small Employer HRA, benefits enrollment, women's preventive services

Cafeteria Plans: Qualifying Events and Changing Employee Elections

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Feb 7, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Cafeteria plans, or plans governed by IRS Code Section 125, allow employers to help employees pay for expenses such as health insurance with pre-tax dollars. Employees are given a choice between a taxable benefit (cash) and two or more specified pre-tax qualified benefits, for example, health insurance. Employees are given the opportunity to select the benefits they want, just like an individual standing in the cafeteria line at lunch.

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Topics: ERISA, group health insurance, Danielle Capilla, change in status event, cafeteria plan, Section 125 plan, pre-tax benefits, taxable benefits

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