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Pathway to Healthcare Reform

Pathway to Healthcare ReformCheck out this detailed Pathway to Healthcare Reform.

Healthcare reform is complex. Some parts are already in effect while other parts won’t come into effect until 2018 or later. It’s important for business owners to understand what changes are coming and when.

If you’re a business owner, download the Pathway to Healthcare Reform. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

Posted in Health Care Reform |

Summary of Potential Employer Penalties Under PPACA

W-2 Reporting RequirementsStarting in 2014, some employers may face penalties under health insurance reform law.

While PPACA does not explicitly mandate an employer to offer employees acceptable health insurance, certain employers with at least 50 full-time equivalents will face penalties if one or more of their full-time employees obtains a premium credit through an exchange.

If you’re in this category, check out this summary. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

Posted in Health Care Reform |

Healthcare Reform: What You Need to Know

Print and broadcast journalists—as well as so-called experts—have expended plenty of energy focusing on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and how it will affect small businesses. The fact is, there’s not a lot of clarity today about the long-term picture…but that doesn’t mean you can’t be doing something now to get prepared for what may happen.

We’re getting ready. Our team is focused on staying ahead of the curve, educating ourselves about the new regulations that may be implemented and positioning ourselves to serve as an invaluable resource for clients once the dust has settled.

What can you do? If you don’t have a relationship with a broker or agent, we suggest you initiate one. It’s a smart move to build trust before you find yourself in a “fire drill” situation. By establishing a partnership, when it’s time to make decisions, you’ll be comfortable taking advice from your chosen expert.

If you already have a broker or agent, but that person hasn’t communicated with you in a while, this is an excellent opportunity to reestablish your connection and see how he/she is preparing for the changes healthcare reform may bring. Depending on the answer you receive, you may feel it’s time to seek a new relationship.

Our clients are being kept up to speed with healthcare reform developments, and we’ve provided them with a Healthcare Reform Timetable so they’re aware of what’s scheduled to occur. This year, for example, the items on the timetable are:

  • Coverage reporting on W-2s
  • Uniform explanation of coverage
  • Pre-enrollment document
  • 60-day notice of material modifications

We really don’t know what the new law will look like beyond the next two years, so all we can do right now is ensure our clients are prepared for the changes that are right in front of them.

Before 2014, when the lion’s share of PPACA regulations take effect, it will be critical to understand how the law affects your business and what options and alternatives you have. You’ll also be responsible for passing along relevant information to your employees, who’ll be directly affected by the legislation and how you choose to respond to it. Systematic problems are bound to occur—as they do with anything new—but we’re ready to help our clients navigate through issues and challenges.

The takeaway from this for small business owners is rather simple: your best bet with respect to healthcare reform is to make sure you’re partnering with an experienced broker or agent you trust. This person can provide you with PPACA updates and offer informed guidance to help you make the right choices for your business. Please let us know if we can be of service.

Posted in Health Care Reform |

W-2 Reporting Requirements

W-2 Reporting RequirementsHealth care reform W-2 reporting requirements only apply to employers with more than 250 employees. If this affects you, check out our fact sheet to learn more. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

Posted in Health Care Reform |

Health Care Reform Timeline

Applefield-Hughes Insurance Solutions has created a Health Care Reform Timeline. This document can help business owners understand what has already happened and what will happen in the future.

If you have any questions about how health care reform will affect you, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Posted in Health Care Reform, Small Business |

Debunking Small Business Health Insurance Myths

Mention health insurance to many small business owners and they’ll often frown. “Too expensive.” “Too inflexible.” “Too much administration involved.” As health insurance professionals with many years of experience in the small business space, we hear these objections all the time…and lament that they’re myths, at least for our clients.

Myth #1: Health insurance is too expensive.

All small business owners have their eyes on the bottom line when considering any expenditures; that’s simply smart business. To dismiss health insurance as being too expensive without investigating the many options available today really isn’t smart.

Our goal in working with clients is to be creative in defining the contributions required from you and your employees—to make policies affordable for both of you. We strategize to come up with solutions that don’t “break the bank,” but provide all the desired benefits…a cost-effective hiring and retention advantage for you and a way to empower your employees to meet their specific needs.

Myth #2: Health insurance is too inflexible.

Many small business owners who don’t provide health insurance coverage as a benefit to employees are under the misconception that they have to fit the product, rather than the other way around—with the product fitting their needs. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

We’re actually health insurance architects, since we listen to your needs and then use our abilities, tools and experience to do a “custom build.” We take into account components such as company size, industry and employee makeup—as well as cost considerations and coverage needs—to design your customized package. There’s no such thing as boilerplate small business health insurance in our world.

Myth #3: Health insurance adds too much of an administrative burden.

While it’s true that having a benefits plan in place results in additional administrative tasks, there’s no reason your staff has to take those on. We understand you may be remiss to further burden your employees with new responsibilities…so we handle them for you. Our professional team addresses everything from billing and claims to new hire orientation, leaving your team free to do their jobs.

We hope exposing these myths has gotten you thinking about your health insurance beliefs. If you already have a plan, we invite you to ask us for a free, no-obligation audit of your existing coverage; if you don’t, we hope you’ll want to discuss your options with us. When it comes to health insurance, what you don’t know certainly can hurt you…and we want to ensure you’re able to make intelligent decisions that benefit you and your employees.

Posted in Articles, Small Business |

Get in the healthy chat about health care reform

Join in the conversation. Ask questions and get answers, about health care reform, health insurance and more at HealtyChat.com.

Posted in Articles, Health Care Reform |

HHS to give states more flexibility to implement health reform

Approach will help ensure consumers have quality, affordable coverage starting in 2014. Read more.

Posted in Articles, Health Care Reform |

Gender Non-Discrimination Act Signed into Law

Governor Jerry Brown has signed AB 887 into law.

Governor Jerry Brown has signed AB 887 into law. The Gender Non Discrimination Act, generally speaking, will take protections based on gender identity that already exist under current law and include specific language to implicitly address certain categories of potential discrimination.

The hope is that clearer and more specific information will help reduce the amount of discrimination that takes place, as well as allow more effective and efficient response at the first indications when discrimination does occur.

See this document for more information.

Posted in Articles, News |

More U.S. firms using high-deductible insurance plans

U.S. employers, struggling to contain rising healthcare costs, are expanding their use of high-deductible insurance plans, which help reduce monthly insurance premiums by shifting a greater share of medical expenses to workers, a new survey shows. Read more.

Posted in Articles, News |