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How to Add a Spouse to Health Insurance | Maryland Benefit Advisors

Adding a spouse to your existing health insurance policy can become necessary after marriage, job loss, or change of employment. Typically, changes to a policy may be made only once a year during a period typically known as “open enrollment.” According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, changes may be made at any point in the year after certain life events, such as marriage. Adding a spouse is a simple procedure, though exact regulations may vary between insurance companies.

Step 1

Call your insurance company to determine if your situation allows your spouse to be added immediately, or if you have to wait for the next open enrollment. Inquire about the dates for open enrollment, if it is determined you are not eligible to add your spouse immediately. If open enrollment is months away, consider purchasing an individual policy, or utilizing Cobra if applicable, to avoid gaps in coverage. Issues with pre-existing conditions can arise when a lapse in coverage has occurred.

Step 2

Request that your spouse be added to your policy immediately if allowed by your insurance company. Depending on your particular company and policy, this may be done over the phone, or you may be required to submit paperwork. Information typically required includes your spouse’s name, date of birth and social security number. Be sure to verify whether your spouse will be subject to a waiting period, typically 30 days as described by Financial Web.

Step 3

Ask about likely rate increases resulting from adding your spouse to your policy. Policies purchased through an employer may be paid for out of payroll deductions. Keep in mind that your paychecks will now reflect this change. Also, inquire if your deductible is subject to change now that your spouse has been added.

Step 4

Keep all insurance documents sent to you after adding your spouse to your existing policy. You should receive confirmation of the change, as well as a card or other form of proof that your spouse is now covered under your policy. If you do not receive these documents within two weeks of requesting the addition to your policy, call your insurance company to make sure that they have been mailed out.

By  Amber Canaan

Originally posted by www.LiveStrong.com

Emergency vs. Urgent – What’s the Difference in Walk-In Care? | Maryland Benefit Advisors

We’ve all been there – once or twice (or more)—when a child, spouse or family member has had to gain access to healthcare quickly. Whether a fall that requires stitches; a sprained or broken bone; or something more serious, it can be difficult to identify which avenue to take when it comes to walk-in care. With the recent boom in stand-alone ERs (Emergency Care Clinics or ECCs), as well as, Urgent Care Clinics (UCCs) it’s easy to see why almost 50% of diagnoses could have been treated for less money and time with the latter.

It’s key to educate yourself and your employees on the difference between the two so as not to get pummeled by high medical costs.

• Most Emergency Care facilities are open 24 hours a day; whereas Urgent Care may be open a maximum of 12 hours, extending into late evening. Both are staffed with a physician, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants, however, stand alone ECCs specialize in life-threatening conditions and injuries that require more advanced technology and highly trained medical personnel to diagnose and treat than a traditional Urgent Care clinic.

• Most individual ERs charge a higher price for the visit – generally 3-5 times higher than a normal Urgent Care visit would cost. The American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM) physicians’ bill at a higher rate than typical Family-Medicine trained Urgent Care physicians do (American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM). These bill rates are based on insurance CPT codes. For example, a trip to the neighborhood ER for strep throat may cost you more than a visit to a UC facility. Your co-insurance fee for a sprain or strain at the same location may cost you $150 in lieu of $40 at a traditional Urgent Care facility.

• Stand alone ER facilities may often be covered under your plan, but some of the “ancillary” services (just like visit rates) may be billed higher than Urgent Care facilities. At times, this has caused many “financial sticker shock” when they first see those medical bills. The New England Journal of Medicine indicates 1 of every 5 patients experience this sticker shock. In fact, 22% of the patients who went to an ECC covered by their insurance plan later found certain ancillary services were not covered, or covered for less. These services were out-of-network, therefore charged a higher fee for the same services offered in both facilities.

So, what can you and your employees do to make sure you don’t get duped into additional costs?

Identify the difference between when you need urgent or emergency care.

• Know your insurance policy. Review the definition of terms and what portion your policy covers with regard to deductibles and co-pays for each of these facilities.

• Pay attention to detail. Understand key terms that define the difference between these two walk-in clinics. Most Emergency Care facilities operate as stand-alone ERs, which can further confuse patients when they need immediate care. If these centers, or their paperwork, has the word “emergency”, “emergency” or anything related to it, they’ll operate and bill like an ER with their services. Watch for clinics that offer both services in one place. Often, it’s very easy to disguise their practices as an Urgent Care facility, but again due to CPT codes and the medical boards they have the right to charge more. Read the fine print.

It’s beneficial as an employer to educate your employees on this difference, as the more they know – the lower the cost will be for the employer and employee come renewal time.

The Risk of Being Uninsured (and the Hidden Bargain in Addressing It Now) | Maryland Benefit Advisors

With all the expenses of everyday living, it’s tempting to think of insurance as just another cost. What’s harder to see is the potential cost of not buying insurance—or what’s known as “self-insuring”—and the hidden bargain of coverage.

The Important vs. the Urgent
We’ve all experienced it: the tendency to stay focused on putting out fires, while never getting ahead on the things that really matter in the long run. For most people, there are two big things that matter in the long run: their families and their ability to retire. And being properly insured is important to both those concerns.

Life Insurance: a Hidden Bargain?
It’s exceedingly rare, but we all know it can happen: someone’s unexpected death. Life insurance can prevent financial catastrophe for the loved ones left behind, if they depend on you for income or primary care—or both.

The irony is that many people pass on coverage due to perceived cost, when in fact it’s far less expensive that most people think. The 2016 Insurance Barometer Study, by Life Happens and LIMRA showed that 8 in 10 people overestimate the cost of life insurance. For instance, a healthy, 30-year-old man can purchase a 20-year, $250,000 term life insurance policy for $160 a year—about $13 a month.

Enjoy the Benefits of Life Insurance—While You’re Alive
If budget pressures aren’t an issue, consider the living benefits of permanent life insurance—that’s right, benefits you can use during your own lifetime.

Permanent life insurance policies typically have a higher premium than term life insurance policies in the early years. But unlike term insurance, it provides lifelong protection and the ability to accumulate cash value on a tax-deferred basis.

Cash values can be used in the future for any purpose you wish. If you like, you can borrow cash value for a down payment on a home, to help pay for your children’s education or to provide income for your retirement.

When you borrow money from a permanent insurance policy, you’re using the policy’s cash value as collateral and the borrowing rates tend to be relatively low. And unlike loans from most financial institutions, the loan is not dependent on credit checks or other restrictions. You ultimately must repay any loan with interest or your beneficiaries will receive a reduced death benefit and cash-surrender value.

In this way, life insurance can serve as a powerful financial cushion for you and your family throughout your life, in addition to protecting your family from day one.

Disability Insurance: For the Biggest Risk of All
The most overlooked of the major types of insurance coverage is the one that actually covers a far more common risk—the risk of becoming ill or injured and being unable to work and earn your paycheck.

How common is it? While no one knows the exact numbers, it’s estimated that 30% of American workers will become disabled for 90 days or more during their working years. The sad reality is that most American workers also cannot afford such an event. In fact, illness and injury are the top reasons for foreclosures and bankruptcies in the U.S. today. Disability insurance ensures that if you are unable to work because of illness or injury, you will continue to receive an income and make ends meet until you’re able to return to work.

It’s tempting to cross your fingers and hope misfortune skips over you. But when you look at the facts, it’s easy to see: getting proper coverage against life’s risks is not just important, but a bargain in disguise.

By Erica Oh Nataren

Originally posted by www.LifeHappens.org

Why Are Statistics Important in the Health Care Field? | Maryland Benefit Advisors

Quantitative research guides health care decision makers with statistics–numerical data collected from measurements or observation that describe the characteristics of specific population samples. Descriptive statistics summarize the utility, efficacy and costs of medical goods and services. Increasingly, health care organizations employ statistical analysis to measure their performance outcomes. Hospitals and other large provider service organizations implement data-driven, continuous quality improvement programs to maximize efficiency. Government health and human service agencies gauge the overall health and well-being of populations with statistical information.

Health Care Uitilization

Researchers employ scientific methods to gather data on human population samples. The health care industry benefits from knowing consumer market characteristics such as age, sex, race, income and disabilities. These “demographic” statistics can predict the types of services that people are using and the level of care that is affordable to them. Health administrators reference statistics on service utilization to apply for grant funding and to justify budget expenditures to their governing boards.

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Resource Allocation

Heath care economists Rexford Santerre and Stephen Neun emphasize the importance of statistics in the allocation of scarce medical resources. Statistical information is invaluable in determining what combination of goods and services to produce, which resources to allocate in producing them and to which populations to offer them. Health care statistics are critical to allocative and production efficiency. Inevitably, allocation decisions involve trade-offs–the costs of lost or missed opportunities in choosing one economic decision over another. Reliable statistical information minimizes the risks of health care trade-offs.

Needs Assessment

According to Frederick J. Gravetter and Larry B. Wallnau, statistics “create order out of chaos” by summarizing and simplifying complex human populations. Public and private health care administrators, charged with providing continuums of care to diverse populations, compare existing services to community needs. Statistical analysis is a critical component in a needs assessment. Statistics are equally important to pharmaceutical and technology companies in developing product lines that meet the needs of the populations they serve.

Quality Improvement

Health care providers strive to produce effective goods and services efficiently. Statistics are important to health care companies in measuring performance success or failure. By establishing benchmarks, or standards of service excellence, quality improvement managers can measure future outcomes. Analysts map the overall growth and viability of a health care company using statistical data gathered over time.

Product Development

Innovative medicine begins and, sometimes, ends with statistical analysis. Data are collected and carefully reported in clinical trials of new technologies and treatments to weigh products’ benefits against their risks. Market research studies steer developers toward highly competitive product lines. Statistics indirectly influence product pricing by describing consumer demand in measurable units.

By Rae Casto

Originally posted by www.LiveStrong.com

Employer Medicare Part D Notices Are Due Before October 15 | Maryland Benefit Advisors

Are you an employer that offers or provides group health coverage to your workers? Does your health plan cover outpatient prescription drugs—either as a medical claim or through a card system? If so, be sure to distribute your plan’s Medicare Part D notice before October 15.

Purpose
Medicare began offering “Part D” plans—optional prescription drug benefit plans sold by private insurance companies and HMOs—to Medicare beneficiaries many years ago. Persons may enroll in a Part D plan when they first become eligible for Medicare. If they wait too long, a “late enrollment” penalty amount is permanently added to the Part D plan premium cost when they do enroll. There is an exception, though, for individuals who are covered under an employer’s group health plan that provides “creditable” coverage. (“Creditable” means that group plan’s drug benefits are actuarially equivalent or better than the benefits required in a Part D plan.) In that case, the individual can delay enrolling for a Part D plan while he or she remains covered under the employer’s creditable plan. Medicare will waive the late enrollment premium penalty for individuals who enroll in a Part D plan after their initial eligibility date if they were covered by an employer’s creditable plan. To avoid the late enrollment penalty, there cannot be a gap longer than 62 days between the group plan and the Part D plan.

To help Medicare-eligible persons make informed decisions about whether and when to enroll in a Part D drug plan, they need to know if their employer’s group health plan provides creditable or noncreditable prescription drug coverage. That is the purpose of the federal requirement for employers to provide an annual notice (Employer’s Medicare Part D Notice) to all Medicare-eligible employees and spouses.

Employer Requirements

Federal law requires all employers that offer group health coverage including any outpatient prescription drug benefits to provide an annual notice to plan participants. The notice requirement applies regardless of the employer’s size or whether the group plan is insured or self-funded:

  • Determine whether your group health plan’s prescription drug coverage is “creditable” or “noncreditable” for the upcoming year (2018). If your plan is insured, the carrier/HMO will confirm “creditable” or “noncreditable” status. Keep a copy of the written confirmation for your records. For self-funded plans, the plan actuary will determine the plan’s status using guidance provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
  • Distribute a Notice of Creditable Coverage or a Notice of Noncreditable Coverage, as applicable, to all group health plan participants who are or may become eligible for Medicare in the next year. “Participants” include covered employees and retirees (and spouses) and COBRA enrollees. Employers often do not know whether a particular participant may be eligible for Medicare due to age or disability. For convenience, many employers decide to distribute their notice to all participants regardless of Medicare status.
  • Notices must be distributed at least annually before October 15. Medicare holds its Part D enrollment period each year from October 15 to December 7, which is why it is important for group health plan participants to receive their employer’s notice before October 15.
  • Notices also may be required after October 15 for new enrollees and/or if the plan’s creditable versus noncreditable status changes.

Preparing the Notice(s)
Model notices are available on the CMS website. Start with the model notice and then fill in the blanks and variable items as needed for each group health plan. There are two versions: Notice of Creditable Coverage or Notice of Noncreditable Coverage and each is available in English and Spanish:

Employers who offer multiple group health plans options, such as PPOs, HDHPs, and HMOs, may use one notice if all options are creditable (or all are noncreditable). In this case, it is advisable to list the names of the various plan options so it is clear for the reader. Conversely, employers that offer a creditable plan and a noncreditable plan, such as a creditable HMO and a noncreditable HDHP, will need to prepare separate notices for the different plan participants.

Distributing the Notice(s)
You may distribute the notice by first-class mail to the employee’s home or work address. A separate notice for the employee’s spouse or family members is not required unless the employer has information that they live at different addresses.

The notice is intended to be a stand-alone document. It may be distributed at the same time as other plan materials, but it should be a separate document. If the notice is incorporated with other material (such as stapled items or in a booklet format), the notice must appear in 14-point font, be bolded, offset, or boxed, and placed on the first page. Alternatively, in this case, you can put a reference (in 14-point font, either bolded, offset, or boxed) on the first page telling the reader where to find the notice within the material. Here is suggested text from the CMS for the first page:

“If you (and/or your dependents) have Medicare or will become eligible for Medicare in the next 12 months, a federal law gives you more choices about your prescription drug coverage. Please see page XX for more details.”

Email distribution is allowed but only for employees who have regular access to email as an integral part of their job duties. Employees also must have access to a printer, be notified that a hard copy of the notice is available at no cost upon request, and be informed that they are responsible for sharing the notice with any Medicare-eligible family members who are enrolled in the employer’s group plan.

CMS Disclosure Requirement
Separate from the participant notice requirement, employers also must disclose to the CMS whether their group health plan provides creditable or noncreditable coverage. The plan sponsor (employer) must submit its annual disclosure to CMS within 60 days of the start of the plan year. For instance, for calendar-year group health plans, the employer must comply with this disclosure requirement by March 1.

Disclosure to CMS also is required within 30 days of termination of the prescription drug coverage or within 30 days of a change in the plan’s status as creditable coverage or noncreditable coverage.

The CMS online tool is the only method allowed for completing the required disclosure. From this link, follow the prompts to respond to a series of questions regarding the plan. The link is the same regardless of whether the employer’s plan provides creditable or noncreditable coverage. The entire process usually takes only 5 or 10 minutes to complete.

Originally published by www.thinkhr.com

How a “Millennial” Benefits Advisor Sees the Employer Healthcare Space | Maryland Benefit Advisors

Benefits specialist Matt White has embraced his role as a “Millennial” benefits advisor. After hearing countless CFO’s repeat the defeatist mantra of “Rates go up, there’s nothing a company can do,” Matt went on a mission to bring new strategies to break that trend. Recently hired by the Maryland-based agency Employee Benefits Group to spearhead their implementation of innovative strategies, the move has been a resounding success for both clients and agency growth. I sat down with Matt to learn more about the role of the young innovator in employee benefits.

Meg Murphy: You have led the charge bringing in innovative solutions for your clients. What motivates you to stay on the cutting edge of client strategies?

Matt White: Two things:

First, my wife is an HR Director at a local government contractor. I’ve seen firsthand the tremendous asset a benefit partner can be to HR professionals, the company bottom line, and also client employees when there is a strong partnership in place.

Second, prior to coming onboard with the Employee Benefits Group, I worked with a number of benefit brokers. I was inspired by a few that were seeking innovative ways to deliver advantages through employee benefits. It was awesome to watch the passion, the impact, and the strong partnership these advisors shared with their clients. Alternatively—and I get passionate about this— I saw a number of advisors who operated under what I call the “trust me, I’ve been doing this a long time” mentality. Look around, the world is changing. I’ve said harshly to others that this is similar to doctors I met while working in the pharmaceutical industry who were still prescribing Ibuprofen the same as they had since the 70’s for virtually everything.

Ultimately, brokers have a tremendous opportunity to help out those in our communities. Healthcare is in flux right now, and a few are getting very rich at the expense of many – pay raises are often less than benefit cost increases. $1 Million spent in 2007 has become $2.4 Million in 2017 based on a PwC study reporting annual health insurance cost increases. Cost increases are becoming unbearable, and I believe we’re at a boiling point. Those willing to acknowledge the challenge— and help clients stray from pessimist nonsense ‘that’s just the way it is’ thinking—will be rewarded..

Tell me about some of the strategies you are most excited about bringing to clients, especially for clients that are self-funded.

Lately, I’ve been excited about working with clients to provide an empowered employee position. Here’s what I mean by that and how it benefits everyone: Employees often don’t understand their health benefits. It’s a line item deduction on their paystub. This is how I personally existed for much of my professional career. Health insurance can be monstrously complex, but my goal is to deliver it to employees in the palm of a hand, thanks to smartphones. HealthJoy helps with that tremendously, shout out to “JOY”.

I also like the idea of consumerizing healthcare for employees. Yeah, I made up the word “consumerizing,” but bear with me on this. Gone are the days where an employee can pay premiums, show up at a doctor’s office, hand over their medical card, and leave. That ‘easy button’ approach got expensive fast. Employees are now sharing more of the cost of their own healthcare than ever before, and it makes sense for them to ‘shop’ around to find the best value service. Something as simple as a blood panel can cost between $20 or $400…for the same exact blood panel.Traditionally we’ve found out the price only when it is sent by mail to us in the form of a bill. It’s an absurd way to do business that is, for some reason, acceptable in the medical community. That absurdity has no place in healthcare anymore.

I think a lot of brokers are doing well to add benefit administration technology offerings for clients since there’s still paper enrollments that exist. That said, I don’t count these tools as differentiating ones. They’re all virtually the same: open enrollment, carrier connections, reporting, and hopefully integration to payroll. Throw in a smartphone app and maybe a pretty user interface, and I’ve just described 90% of benefits administration platforms out there. That’s table stakes.

You have brought on a lot of new groups since the start of the year. How have you been able to effectively communicate new ideas that employers had never heard of?

References are huge. When you’re asking someone to take a risk and do something different than what they’ve been shown in the past —and our proposals are different—I’d suggest a proof of concept. I reference a number of other case studies with real results and outcomes we’ve been able to create for other groups. I demand it from my technology partners as well. I’ve seen good boardroom ideas blow up when it came time to make rubber meet the road.

It’s fun to think creatively when working with amazing clients. We all have to start combating rising healthcare costs. I jokingly said to one client that they should buy stock in the carrier they were being fully-insured by to subsidize the cost of the insurance—his carrier had hit its quarterly goals in 27 out of the past 28 quarters. We joked considering that there was less risk in their stock performance than there was in his plan. In a later conversation, he admitted that he had actually looked into it, and had given the idea serious consideration.

Many consultants and agencies still adhere to the status quo. What advice would you give to those who want to adopt new strategies?

Changing and adopting new strategies is not easy but it’s completely worth it. Here’s why:

Through college, I worked at the Olive Garden, and I loved that job. I could probably still sing all the words to “That’s Amore” since it played 83 times per night. If I wasn’t on my server game on a given night and didn’t sing perfectly, the dressing we put on the salads would still provide an enjoyable dining experience. Today, I’ve chosen to work as a benefits broker. If brokers are not on their game on a given day, doing our absolute best for clients and their employees, there are massive consequences to employees’ health and financial well-being. This is a long-winded way of saying you’ve got to care deeply and be passionate about the people you serve. We look at spreadsheets, benefit summaries, and other data-filled grids for much of our day. That data represents human life and large portions of hard working employees’ personal wealth. The status quo isn’t good enough when what’s at stake are health and wealth – it’s just not.

If you care on a deeper level, you’ll seek out ways to help clients. You’ll end up finding other like-minded benefit professionals to speak with and collectively become better (I collaborate with other brokers all the time). If we get this right, we can really help those in our communities. Change and stepping away from the same ol’ status quo may not always be easy, but it’s completely worth it. I have the best job in the world and I refuse to not serve my clients to the best of my ability with the industry’s best ideas and partners.

Originally published by www.healthjoy.com

Separating Fact From Fiction When It Comes to Long-Term Care Insurance | Maryland Benefit Advisors

Few people are prepared to handle the financial burden of long-term health care. In fact, many people have a false sense of security when it comes to long-term care. Let’s separate fact from fiction:

“Medicare and my Medicare supplement policy will cover it.”

FACTS:

  • Medicare and “Medigap” insurance was never intended to pay for ongoing, long-term care. Only about 12% of nursing home costs are paid by Medicare, for short-term skilled nursing home care following hospitalization. (Source: Guide to Long-Term Care Insurance, AHIP, 2013)
  • Medicare and most health insurance plans, including Medicare supplement policies, do not pay for long-term custodial care. (Source: 2017 Medicare & You, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)

“It won’t happen to me.”

FACTS:

  • Almost 70% of people turning age 65 will need long term care services and supports at some point in their lives. (Source: LongTermCare.gov, November 2016)
  • About 67% of nursing home residents and 70% of assisted living residents are women. (Source: Long-Term Care Providers and Services Users in the United States, February 2016, National Center for Health Statistics)

“I can afford it.”

FACTS:

  • As a national average, a year in a nursing home is currently estimated to cost about $92,000. In some areas, it can easily cost well over $110,000! (Source: Genworth 2016 Cost of Care Survey, April 2016)
  • The average length of a nursing home stay is 835 days. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Nursing Home Care FastStats, last updated May 2014)
  • The national average cost of a one bedroom in an assisted living facility in the U.S. was $43,539 per year in 2016. (Source: Genworth 2016 Cost of Care Survey, April 2016)
  • Home health care is less expensive, but it still adds up. In 2016, the national average hourly rate for licensed home health aides was $20. Bringing an aide into your home for 20 hours a week can easily cost over $1,600 each month, or almost $20,000 a year. (Source: Genworth 2016 Cost of Care Survey, April 2016)

“If I can’t afford it, I’ll go on Medicaid.”

FACTS:

  • Medicaid, or welfare assistance, has many “strings” attached and is only available to people who meet federal poverty guidelines.

Whether purchased for yourself, your spouse or for an aging parent, long-term care insurance can help protect assets accumulated over a lifetime from the ravages of long-term care costs.

Originally published by www.lifehappens.org

DOL will coordinate VETS-4212 with new EEO-1 reporting requirements (as much as it can). | Maryland Benefit Advisors

Editor’s note: We apologize for our mistake. We recently published an article on the VETS-4212 and EEO-1 reporting from our partners at Constangy, et al and inadvertently used an article from 2016. The correct article is below. We’re sorry for any confusion this mistake may have caused.

 

The following is a blog published by in the Port St. Lucie, FL office of Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP.

As we have reported previously, the EEO-1 filing process is changing. The EEO-1 reports that would have been required by September 30, 2017, now do not have to be filed until March 31, 2018. The “catch” is that the new EEO-1 reports will require compensation data from a workforce “snapshot” taken between October 1 and December 31, 2017. (The compensation data reporting requirements apply to all employers with 100 or more employees, whether or not they are federal contractors.) Meanwhile, employers with federal contracts worth more than $150,000 must file annual VETS-4212 reports. The VETS-4212 reports must be filed between August 1 and September 30 of each year. When the “old” EEO-1 reporting deadline was in effect, both reports could be filed at the same time, based on the same employee data.(The VETS-4212 report shows the number of veterans hired or employed by the contractor for the relevant time period.)The Institute for Workplace Equality, a non-profit employer group, asked Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta whether the VETS-4212 deadlines could be changed to coincide with the new EEO-1 deadlines.They got a “sorta” in response.

In a letter dated July 24 from J.S. Schellenberger, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor, the DOL said that contractors could use the same data collection period that applies to the new EEO-1 requirements. In other words, contractors can collect their VETS-4212 “snapshot” data during the October 1-December 31 period.

However, the VETS-4212 reporting period of August 1-September 30 will remain unchanged for the time being. As noted in Mr. Schellenberger’s letter, the reporting deadline is required by applicable regulations and cannot be changed without notice-and-comment rulemaking. According to the letter, that is a possibility: “Such a rulemaking could be considered in a future update to the Department’s Regulatory Agenda.” (Emphasis added.)

But in the meantime, contractors who are required to file both EEO-1 reports and VETS-4212 reports must abide by the following deadlines:

EEO-1 and VETS-4212: Data can be collected during “snapshot” period between October 1 and December 31, 2017, and during the same fourth quarter in subsequent years.

EEO-1: Report, showing data from new “snapshot” period in 2017, must be filed no later than March 31, 2018. (No EEO-1 Report need be filed in 2017.) Subsequent EEO-1 reporting deadlines will be March 31 of each year.

VETS-4212: Report must be filed between August 1 and September 30, 2018, and during the corresponding period each year thereafter. “Snapshot” period can be the same as the one used for the EEO-1 Reports (that is, October 1-December 31, 2017, for the 2018 Report).

It is still possible that the Trump EEOC will act before March 31, 2018, to modify or eliminate the requirement to report compensation data. We will keep you posted.

Originally Posted By www.thinkhr.com

What Is Comprehensive Medical Insurance? | Maryland Benefit Advisors

Comprehensive medical plans originated in the 1930s with industrialists Henry Kaiser and Dr. Sidney Garfield. Dr. Garfield, at Kaiser’s request, created a health plan to protect the workers of the Grand Coulee Dam. They expanded the healthcare plan in the 1940s to include Kaisers numerous shipbuilders. By the end of World War II, other employers decided to offer similar benefits and implemented a comprehensive medical plan to insure all their employees.

Comprehensive Medical Insurance Basics

Comprehensive medical insurance utilizes a network of physicians and healthcare facilities along with other medical professionals to provide healthcare to families and individuals. The insurance company offers patient incentives to use physicians and healthcare workers within the network by offering maximum coverage for these choices. Approval must be given to see a specialist. Traditional insurance plans offer much more freedom to choose the physicians and healthcare providers, but comprehensive medical insurance is typically less expensive.

Providers

The physicians and healthcare providers of comprehensive medical insurance usually fall under four categories: HMO, PPO, POS, FFS.

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) utilizes a primary care physician, chosen by the patient, from a predetermined group of participating doctors. This physician refers family members to all specialists.

Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) coverage allows the family to see a doctor not in the network. This physician refers family members to specialists as with HMO’s. PPO is similar to traditional health plans but with the savings of managed healthcare.

Point of Service Plan (POS) coverage allows the family to pick their own specialist when one is needed. The primary doctor is still in place for the family to receive general medical care.

Fee for Service Plan (FFS) coverage provides the most options and fewer restrictions. The family can use any provider they choose. FFS plans are more expensive than other types of comprehensive medical insurance plans.

Types

There are two classes of comprehensive medical insurance: group and individual.
An employer provides group comprehensive insurance to employees. People purchase individual comprehensive insurance on the open market. Individual insurance offers fewer benefits than group insurance and is often more expensive.

Costs

Comprehensive medical insurance requires a monthly premium, a deductible, and co-pays. The insured pay out money for medical related bills until the deductible and out-of-pocket caps have been reached. Co-pays typically continue depending on the specific plan. Monthly premiums continue throughout the coverage period. The amount of the deductible and the premiums differ depending on age, health status, type of plan, depth of the plan and any additional coverage the individual chooses to add.

Traditional and Comprehensive Coverage Differences

Traditional insurance plans offer more freedom and flexibility than comprehensive plans. Because of this freedom, the rates for traditional insurance are higher than comprehensive insurance. Comprehensive plan holder has a network of doctors to choose from under most plans compared to the freedom of choice traditional plans offer.

Originally published by www.livestrong.com

The Effects of Not Having Health Insurance on Personal Finances | Maryland Benefit Advisors

Insurance has become the method by which most Americans have their health-care costs paid. By paying a regular monthly bill for health insurance, the cost of expected health care events is spread out into even payments and the cost of major unexpected medical incidents is absorbed by insurance. Lack of health insurance can have a profound negative effect on personal finances.

Bankruptcy

Lack of health insurance can come about due to lack of income to pay for it, or when a breadwinner is between jobs that would otherwise provide health insurance as an employment benefit. If a major illness or accident occurs during the time a person is uninsured, it can lead swiftly to bankruptcy, reports the Oregon Public Broadcasting News. Under-insurance, that is, health insurance which is not sufficient to cover the costs of a major health incident, can also lead to bankruptcy. A study published by the American Journal of Medicine in August 2009, reported that well over 60 percent of U.S. bankruptcies filed. in 2007 were due to inability to pay medical costs. Most of these debtors had medical debts over $5,000, which represented a significant portion of their household annual income; three-quarters had health insurance insufficient to cover their bills, and one-quarter had no insurance.

Reduction in Income

Lack of health insurance can lead to a breadwinner's death, further causing the most severe reduction on household income. According to a Harvard Medical School study reported by Reuters news, about 45,000 people in the United States die each year due to lack of health insurance. Thus, people who could otherwise serve as breadwinners or care-givers are removed from being able to do so. The Urban Institute points out that people lacking health insurance create the significant economic impact of reduced personal earnings, because poorer health means less productive work years and more time off work due to illness or injuries during those working years.

Penalties

Beginning January 1, 2014, most people will be required to maintain health insurance, and individuals who do not obtain health insurance will have to pay a penalty under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. The insurance requirement penalty provision exempts people with income below the poverty level, as well as those in jail, members of registered Indian tribes, those whose religious tenets preclude health insurance, and individuals for whom essential health insurance coverage cost for one month would exceed 8 percent of their household gross income for the year. People who do not meet one of these exemptions, but who decline to purchase health insurance, may be penalized up to $95 in 2014, $350 in 2015, $750 in 2016, and $750 plus a cost of living increase for subsequent years. According to SmartMoney, the penalty provision is likely to have the strongest impact on the personal finances of younger, unmarried consumers. Although the statute exempts the poorest people from its provisions, the penalty for failure to have health insurance will negatively impact the personal finances of those to whom it applies.

Originally published by www.livestrong.com