Employee Benefits Adviser

This is the Employee Benefits Adviser category of the Broad REach Benefits blog. At Broad Reach Benefits, we focus on employers that have between 30 and 500 benefit eligible employees. We’re employee benefit specialists, not a big box brokerage firm or payroll company with a sales force peddling policies.

Legal Alert: Senate Republicans Release Updated Discussion Draft of ACA Repeal Bill

An updated version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 was released on July 13th by the U.S. Senate Committee.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky released a healthcare “Discussion Draft” of legislation, called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA) on Thursday, June 22, 2017, which is the Senate version of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) “repeal-and-replace” legislation American Health Care Act (AHCA) passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last month.  An updated “Discussion Draft” of the BCRA was released on June 26, 2017 with the intention of calling for a vote on the bill before the Fourth of July recess. […]

By |July 17th, 2017|Employee Benefits, Employee Benefits Adviser, Health Care Reform|Comments Off on Legal Alert: Senate Republicans Release Updated Discussion Draft of ACA Repeal Bill

Legal Alert: REMINDER: PCORI Fees Due by July 31, 2017

Employers that sponsor self-insured group health plans, including health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) should keep in mind the upcoming July 31, 2017 deadline for paying fees that fund the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).  As background, the PCORI was established as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to conduct research to evaluate the effectiveness of medical treatments, procedures and strategies that treat, manage, diagnose or prevent illness or injury.  Under the ACA, most employer sponsors and insurers will be required to pay PCORI fees until 2019.

The amount of PCORI fees due by employer sponsors and insurers is based upon the number of covered lives under each “applicable self-insured health plan” and “specified health insurance policy” (as defined by regulations) and the plan or policy year end date.

  • For plan years that ended between January 1, 2016 and September 30, 2016, the fee is $2.17 per covered life and is due by July 31, 2017.
  • For plan years that ended between October 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016, the fee is $2.26 per covered life and is due by July 31, 2017.

For example, a plan year that ran from October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016 will pay a fee of $2.17 per covered life.  Calendar year 2016 plans will pay a fee of $2.26 per covered life.

NOTE: The insurance carrier is responsible for paying the PCORI fee on behalf of a fully insured plan.  The employer is responsible for paying the fee on behalf of a self-insured plan, including an HRA.  In general, health FSAs are not subject to the PCORI fee.

Employers that sponsor self-insured group health plans must report and pay PCORI fees using IRS Form 720, Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return.

Note […]

By |May 31st, 2017|Compliance, Employee Benefits, Employee Benefits Adviser, Employee Communications, Health Care Reform|Comments Off on Legal Alert: REMINDER: PCORI Fees Due by July 31, 2017

Legal Alert: House Republicans Pass American Health Care Act; Bill Heads to Senate for Further Consideration

On Thursday, May 4, by a vote of 217 to 213 (with 20 Republicans voting against the bill), the U.S. House of Representatives passed an amended version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which repeals and replaces significant portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

This bill comes several weeks after U.S. House of Representatives’ Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the AHCA […]

By |May 9th, 2017|Compliance, Employee Benefits, Employee Benefits Adviser, Employee Communications, Health Care Reform|Comments Off on Legal Alert: House Republicans Pass American Health Care Act; Bill Heads to Senate for Further Consideration

Legal Alert: White House Extends Transition Relief for Non-Compliant Plans through 2018

On February 23, 2017, the White House announced a one-year extension to the transition policy (originally announced November 14, 2013 and extended several times since) for individual and small group health plans that allows issuers to continue policies that do not meet ACA standards. […]

By |February 24th, 2017|Compliance, Employee Benefits Adviser, Health Care Reform|Comments Off on Legal Alert: White House Extends Transition Relief for Non-Compliant Plans through 2018

Legal Alert: IRS to Continue Accepting Tax Returns without Indication of Health Insurance

The IRS has announced that it will continue to process tax filings of individuals whose returns do not indicate whether they have maintained health insurance as required under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The announcement is in direct response to the President’s January executive […]

By |February 21st, 2017|Compliance, Employee Benefits, Employee Benefits Adviser, Legislation, Medical|Comments Off on Legal Alert: IRS to Continue Accepting Tax Returns without Indication of Health Insurance

One Question Makes a Big Difference: Is your broker simply shopping your medical program, or utilizing actuarial analysis?

The real issue is how do you know if you are over paying for your medical plan? When we hear that companies are not using an actuary we ask another simply question: How do you know you are not overpaying? Where’s the analysis? We’ve yet to hear a convincing explanation. How can you or your broker possibly know, because they aren’t trained or qualified to interpret incurral factors, group specific trend and expected large claims versus actual as an actuary is, so they can’t know if there is an argument to be made. […]

By |August 26th, 2016|Employee Benefits, Employee Benefits Adviser|Comments Off on One Question Makes a Big Difference: Is your broker simply shopping your medical program, or utilizing actuarial analysis?

What You Need To Know about Narrow Provider Networks

So what’s a narrow network?  Narrow networks are health plans that offer their subscribers a limited choice in health care providers compared to their larger national or regional network.  These plans contract with a smaller group of doctors, specialists and hospitals, and those entities are then considered in-network.

Because all plan participants are directed toward certain facilities and physicians, these providers can then reduce the cost for each visit and service—operating under the idea of “buying in bulk.” This, in turn, results in lower premiums for the consumer and cost savings for insurers.

In recent years, narrow networks have gained popularity.  Many unsuspecting consumers have purchased health plans in the market and were unaware that the plan they purchased had one of these narrow networks.

On the employer side do these narrow network options makes sense?  They can in the right situations such as using a narrow network plan as a low-cost employee option alongside your other medical plan offerings.  And of course, you absolutely need to effectively educate your employees.

Why are narrow networks becoming more popular?

Narrow networks have been around long before the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In fact, 23 percent of employer-sponsored health plans offered narrow networks in 2012. However, their popularity has accelerated since the ACA was signed into law and the Health Insurance Marketplace was created.

Since insurers can no longer compete to cover the healthiest group of individuals or raise deductibles past the ACA’s limits, some have turned to narrow networks as a way to manage expenses. According to a study by McKinsey & Co., a consulting firm, 70 percent of the plans sold on the Marketplace in 2014 featured a limited network. Premiums for those plans were 17 percent cheaper than those with […]

By |July 20th, 2016|Employee Benefits, Employee Benefits Adviser, Uncategorized|Comments Off on What You Need To Know about Narrow Provider Networks

The Numbers Are In… And They’re Shocking!

We’ve successfully identified two types of brokers in the benefits industry and created a short video to explain things a little further. Once the video comes to an end you will be able to easily determine if your company is with the majority, or the minority. Making this determination could be exactly what you need to save money, and gain the extra support your HR Department has been hoping for.

So, who are you working with? […]

By |July 11th, 2016|Employee Benefits, Employee Benefits Adviser, Human Resources|Comments Off on The Numbers Are In… And They’re Shocking!

Unique HR and Benefit Department Challenges for Law Firms

The Human Resource and Benefits departments of law firms face unique challenges when dealing with attorneys and staff, personnel issues, and hiring and retaining talent.  Because Broad Reach Benefits works closely with law firms of all sizes, we are familiar with the issues you face every day.  Some of the expected challenges HR and Benefits departments can keep in mind when working at a law firm include:

Reporting Structure
While attorneys must supervise the legal work conducted by paralegals and assistants, there is often a reporting structure within the legal support staff, as well as the need to report to HR for performance, administrative, and personnel issues. With so many levels and layers in the organization, consistency is key. It is important to have a handbook that everyone can reference and rely on and an engaged HR department that maintains professionalism and proactively avoids conflict. […]

By |June 22nd, 2016|Employee Benefits, Employee Benefits Adviser, Law Firms|Comments Off on Unique HR and Benefit Department Challenges for Law Firms

We Are Employee Benefits Advisors

By |January 29th, 2016|Employee Benefits Adviser|Comments Off on We Are Employee Benefits Advisors