United Benefit Advisors Insight and Analysis Blog

Final Marital Status Definitions and Spouse/Partner Coverage Trends

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Nov 15, 2016 10:30:00 AM

Recently, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued final regulations that define terms used in the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) describing the marital status of taxpayers for federal tax purposes. In general, for federal tax purposes, the terms "spouse," "husband," and "wife" mean an individual lawfully married to another individual. The term "husband and wife" means two individuals lawfully married to each other. A marriage of two individuals is recognized for federal tax purposes if the marriage is recognized by the state, possession, or territory of the United States in which the marriage is entered into, regardless of domicile.

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Topics: group health insurance, UBA Health Plan Survey, Danielle Capilla, nondiscrimination rules, spousal coverage, partner coverage, marital status

ALE Employers Ask: Should Benefits Be Offered to Variable Hour Employees?

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Jul 12, 2016 10:30:00 AM

UBA’s compliance team leverages the collective expertise of its independent partner firms to advise 36,000 employers and their 5 million employees. Lately, a common question from employers is: How does an ALE determine whether or not a newly hired variable hour employee should be offered benefits?

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Topics: group health insurance, Danielle Capilla, applicable large employers, variable-hour employee, benefits compliance

Group Healthcare Premiums by State: How does your plan stack up?

Posted by: Bill Olson    Apr 11, 2016 12:00:00 PM

We recently highlighted the top five best and worst states for group health plan costs. See below for your state's average monthly premiums and read our breaking news release with the cost findings by industry.

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Topics: health plan benchmarking, group health insurance, health plan cost trends, UBA Health Plan Survey, group healthcare premiums

Top Five Best and Worst States for Group Health Plans

Posted by: Matt Weimer    Apr 8, 2016 12:00:00 PM

Top 5Health insurance premium renewal rates increased an average of 6.2 percent for all plans in 2015, up from the previous year’s 5.6 percent increase, according to UBA’s Health Plan Survey. Small businesses with fewer than 25 employees, which account for five million U.S. employers, were hit the hardest—see our breaking news with the details.

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Topics: health plan benchmarking, group health insurance, Group health plans, health plan cost trends, UBA Health Plan Survey, health insurance cost

What Is COBRA, and Does It Apply to My Business?

Posted by: Jennifer Stanley    Mar 29, 2016 12:00:00 PM

In the earlier days of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), a common question among employers and benefit advisors was whether there would still be a need for COBRA, the Federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985. Many people speculated that COBRA would be a thing of the past. This was a logical step for those in the insurance industry. When an employee was faced with the option of paying full cost for continued employer coverage or possibly qualifying for heavily subsidized care on the Marketplace, it seemed to be a “no brainer.” Six years after the passage of the ACA, which was signed into law on March 23, 2010, and three years after the initial launch of the Marketplace in October 2013, COBRA is still a law with which to be reckoned. In a series of articles, I will address COBRA in general and also delve into other related issues, such as mini-COBRA, COBRA and account-based plans, and the interaction of COBRA and Medicare.

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Topics: ACA, PPACA, COBRA, group health insurance, COBRA continuation coverage

Temporary Safe Harbor for Online Posting of SBCs

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Sep 29, 2015 12:52:20 PM

A Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) is a four-page (double-sided) communication required by the federal government under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). It must contain specific information, in a specific order and with a minimum size type, about a group health benefit's coverage and limitations. An SBC is required whenever application or open enrollment materials are provided to new hires or current employees. If no application or open enrollment materials are given, an SBC must be provided when the person can first enroll.

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Topics: ACA, Open Enrollment, summary of benefits and coverage, SBC, group health insurance, Danielle Capilla

Preventive Services Final Rules

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Aug 6, 2015 12:00:00 PM

Federal agencies released final regulations on the preventive services mandate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) that requires non-grandfathered group health plans to provide coverage without cost-sharing for specific preventive services, which for women include contraceptive services.

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Topics: ACA, PPACA Affordable Care Act, contraception coverage, religious opposition to contraception, Cost-Sharing, group health insurance, preventive services, Danielle Capilla

U.S. Supreme Court Finds Same Sex Marriage Is Protected by the 14th Amendment

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Jul 9, 2015 12:00:00 PM

RingsThe Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v Hodges, that the 14th Amendment requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex, and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out of state. The decision was reached 5-4. Justice Kennedy delivered the majority opinion and was joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan.

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Topics: Section 125, same sex marriage, group health insurance, Group health plans, U.S. Supreme Court, Danielle Capilla, change in status event, definition of spouse, Obergefell v Hodges

PCORI Fees Due July 31 for Many Health Plans. How Much Do You Owe?

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Jun 16, 2015 12:00:00 PM

PPACA created a private non-profit corporation called the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). The Institute's job is to research the comparative effectiveness of different types of treatment for certain diseases, and to share its findings with the public and the medical community. The goal is to improve quality of treatment and reduce unnecessary spending. The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) fee is to support this research and applies from 2012 to 2019.

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Topics: compliance, PPACA Affordable Care Act, PCORI, group health insurance, Danielle Capilla, PPACA fees

The RFP vs. the Two Step Process — Choosing Group Health Insurance

Posted by: Terry Allard    Feb 26, 2015 12:00:00 PM

Many employers look at employee benefits as a commodity, bidding out their plans annually -- and who can blame them? Rising health care costs coupled with a challenging economic environment have forced many human resources decision-makers to focus heavily on cost.

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Topics: The Wilson Agency, group health insurance, Terry Allard, RFP, Two Step Process