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Archive for the ‘Health Care Reform’ Category

The more I read, the more Health Care Reform is not about the reduction in costs, but the opportunity for more “players” to be involved.

We have had non-profit entities serve the community for many years, as advocates for people needing medical care, whether they are eligible for Medicare, Medicaid, or CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program).  These advocates are now being called Navigators or Assistors.   We, as insurance producers,  have answered those same questions for many people needing care, and are also advocates for people in need.  Brokers don’t get paid on Medicaid or CHIP enrollments.

Navigators now want to be involved in assisting people on individual/group health coverage because the broker is paid by the insurance carrier, and navigators don’t get paid in commissions by the insurance carriers but receive grant money, so are part of the savings solution with Health Care Reform?  Not so fast!

The Connect for Health Colorado (The Colorado Exchange) announced in the Denver Post  (dated Tuesday, May 7) $14 million (yes, you heard that right) in grant money would be available for “navigators” to walk new customers through receiving subsidy money.

Professional insurance brokers have done the same thing for many years.   Yes, we do get paid by the insurance carriers for what we sell to the tune of $25 per employee per month on group business, and about 5% of the premium for individuals in the first year.   Insurance brokers do not get paid in educating and advising.

Insurance is a complex system.  Insurance brokers have been servicing their clients for many years and offering many more services than just a rate with a plan attached to it.  You, the consumers, should have the best advice available.  You owe it to yourself to work with an insurance professional.

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Employer groups will be responsible for reporting to employees the total cost of their group health benefit plan coverage on 2012 W-2 forms, which is information employers must report to employees in January, 2013. 

Effective Date and Purpose

  • The guidance generally applies beginning with 2012 Forms W-2 that employers must provide to employees in January 2013. Forms W-2 provided to employees terminating during 2012 and requesting a Form W-2 prior to the end of the calendar year need not comply with the new requirements. This exception also applies to future years, until further IRS guidance is issued.
  • Employer-provided health coverage will remain non-taxable to employees (except for special situations, such as domestic partner or other non-dependent imputed income).
  • The purpose of the new W-2 information is to provide employees information on the cost of their health care coverage.
  • There are exceptions for certain tribal governments, churches and small employers (required to file fewer than 250 Forms W-2). Multiemployer plans are exempt from the reporting requirement until further guidance.

Scope of Health Plan

  • Employers can exclude the value of health reimbursement accounts and separate dental and vision plans when they report for 2012 – and future years – until the IRS issues further guidance.
  • Also excluded are health flexible spending accounts and HSAs. However, any employer contributions (not salary reduction) made to the health flexible spending account would be included.

We realize this is one more law that has moved ahead a year.  We at Trilogy Benefits want to keep you updated with the latest information; however, we do not want to boggle your already busy schedules with legislative mandates that are certain to change.  This ruling, in particular, is very important and affects all of us.  We will keep you posted as more legislation develops around employer mandates.

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The Senate voted on February 2nd to repeal the 1099 reporting requirements.  Now, the House must vote.  This is good news, as this would have created a paperwork nightmare!

The new 1099 requirements are part of Health Care Reform. In the 2000 page document, someone decided to insert this language and viola, here we are with a law that does not make sense for most day-to-day services we receive; i.e., Staples, Costco, etc. These are large firms that we all do business with. What I think the law was pushing for was to provide the government with documentation for those smaller vendors who are perhaps contract labor, sole proprietors and sometimes do not use proper tax reporting.

The law has gone back for appeal now twice, but at this point nothing has changed in the law other than it has been moved to 2012.

In 2012, a 1099 form will be required to all vendors making $600 or more. The new 1099 ruling applies to both individuals and businesses.

The government hopes the changes in 1099 reporting will generate additional tax revenue on income that has previously gone unreported. This part of the law is in the Health Care Reform bill because that revenue could potentially pay for some of the bill’s potential costs.

We think every business/individual should be prepared and begin setting up their books, but Congress may have more conversations about the amount of paper this will generate and additional staff hours to handle this reporting process. Some of the provisions just do not make sense!

We will keep you updated on pertinent information as it comes up. Several of the provisions have already been moved back, and we hope the government powers will continue to do this until they have a law that makes sense!

“Small enough to know you; large enough to serve all your benefit needs”

Jacquie Healy
President/CEO

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