Anthem Mid-Size Plus Update

Anthem Blue Cross has product portfolio named Elements Choice EQ to help employers with 51+ employees to meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Elements Choice EQ specifically targets businesses that have not previously offered health care to employees working 30-39 hours per week. The portfolio consists of six new plans, including two HMOs, two PPOs, and two HSAs. These plans meet the ACA requirements of 60% minimum value coverage. There is no minimum participation and no minimum enrollment for these plans. This allows employers of 51+ employees to remain in compliance with ACA guidelines without having to alter the plans and risk pool associated with their 40+ hours/week employees.  [Also read: Premium-Only-Plan (POP...

Premium-Only-Plan (POP) Benefits

The Advantages of Pre-Tax Versus Post Tax Health Plans Offering what are known as  Premium-Only-Plans (POP) or Section 125 plans to employees allows employees to pay their contribution of health care premiums using pre-tax dollars. This has benefits for both the employer and the employee: EMPLOYEES For the employee, it is one of the easiest and most efficient ways to decrease healthcare costs and increase spendable income by a significant margin. With a Section 125 plan allowing employees to pay for health premiums on a pre-tax basis, their taxable income decreases. With lower taxable income, employees are required to pay less income taxes, resulting in an overall increase in disposable income for the employees. Employees are able to save, on average, 30% in federal, state, and local taxes that they pay for health premiums. This is an obvious benefit for employees of companies who offer pre-tax health plans, and the benefit extends to the employers as well. EMPLOYERS Employers are able to profit from these Premium-Only-Plans in a variety of ways. Since with these POPs employees pay for premiums in a pre-tax basis, overall payroll expenses are reduced. With reduced payroll, the employer enjoys lower costs on workers’ compensation and decreased tax liabilities for social security, unemployment, and Medicare. Employers can save an average of $115 per participating employee in FICA payroll taxes. Employers also profit from these plans, because they attract and maintain higher quality employees with these added income benefits.   IMPLEMENTATION Section 125 plans typically cost a small fee to implement (around $125) and is free in some cases, depending on the size of the group....

Grandmothering Law

California Senate Bill 1446 for Small Businesses Renewing 4th Quarter 2014 The California Senate Bill 1446 has recently passed (July 7th, 2014; effective immediately), allowing small businesses renewing group health plans in the 4th quarter of this year to continue with their policies for another year even though these policies may not comply with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). If your company is up for renewal in the fourth quarter of this year, it is very likely that the 2013 plan you signed up for in the fourth quarter of the previous year is not compliant with the new regulations on health care starting in 2014. The recent California Senate bill was has allowed some leeway for companies to transition to the new policies by giving businesses that currently have ACA non-compliant plans to continue with these plans for one more year. If this bill was not passed, these policies would be forced to be cancelled and businesses would need to select from the new, ACA compliant plans. Bill 1446 only applies to small businesses of 50 or less employees. People who have attained their health coverage on the Individual and Family Market will be required to transition to ACA compliant plans at their next renewal. This bill by no means forces to employers to stick with their 2014 plans; it only gives them the option to continue with the plan for another year. If the employer would like to transition to an ACA compliant plan, he or she may certainly do that. In fact, the California Senate Bill 1446 does not address rate changes, so there may very...
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