Author Archives: Reeve Conover

So what, exactly, did Trump eliminate on the Subsidies?

The President, in signing an executive order this past week, stopped all payments for Cost-sharing Subsidies.  Now, in a language most of you can understand:

  1.  This does not eliminate subsidies.  The Government is continuing to pay these and apparently will continue
  2. “Cost-sharing Subsidies” are only received by those on Silver plans below 250% of the Federal Poverty Level
  3. The plans are already filed and pre-approved.  Enrollees will continue to receive the same benefits as the contracts are not being changed.
  4. The Insurance company is not being paid their portion of the cost-sharing subsidies.

So in the end this affects the Insurance Carriers but not the enrolled person.  Many Insurance Carriers have already increased their premiums for 2018, based on warnings by the States that this would happen.  So in the end it may not mean much, except we all know the premiums are going up for 2018.

 

MEANWHILE – back in court, Attorney GEnerals in more than a dozen states, led by NY and CA, filed suit to get an injunction and prevent this from happening.  Given the recent rulings by these courts it is likely that they will win, at least temporarily.  It also seems to have stimulated Congress to discuss this, and perhaps even try and fix it.  At the center of the move is the argument that this is an expense that Congress never authorized.

New York Paid Family Leave Update

A few clarifications and updates have been released.  Also, we have a great guide on this program, just email us at reeve@reevewillknow.com and we will happily send it to you.

 

OUT-OF-STATE Coverage:   You are required to provide DBL/PFL coverage for any employee in NY that you employ for at least 30 days.  If the Employee lives in NY but works in another state they are not required to be covered.  Additionally those employees would not be eligible for voluntary coverage either.

COVERAGE IN OTHER STATES- If you have employees in New Jersey, Rhode Island, California, Puerto Rico or Hawaii they may be required to be on the DBL policy for that state…

Changes to ObamaCare made by President

In the last 24 hours, President Trump has signed executive orders changing a number of things about “ObamaCare” – some which will popular, and others which won’t… depending on who you are.  This is not a political conversation, at least not on my blog.

The first change is to allow Associations and business organizations to offer insurance through their organizations again.  When I first started in this industry this was common, but that turned with NY’s change to “Community Rated Plans” in 1993 under Governor Cuomo.  This will most likely be coupled with “the ability to sell across state lines.”  It is an intriguing idea fraught with many technical issues.

In theory it would allow plans that don’t meet the “minimum essential benefit” rules – which if you are a 25 year old male not needing maternity coverage is a good thing for your rates.  Of course if you need a benefit down the line that you did not buy you would have to change plans.

 

It also allows Short Term Medical Plans to expand – the Federal Government under President Obama eliminated these plans for any time frame more than 90 days.

NOTHING in the executive orders has any affect on pre-existing conditions, although there has been much speculation in social media about that.

More troubling is the removal of subsidies for “low-income people.”  It is unclear based on what I have been able to read this morning exactly what that means, typical for politics.  Does this mean the Medicaid expansion is unfunded?  It appears to target only the “cost-sharing payments” that lower deductibles and costs for those under 250% of the Federal Poverty level, but does it also affect all subsidies?  Not clear.

SUMMARY-  Executive orders have no force of law.  The Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) is the law of the land.  The association, and across state lines pieces, will probably take a year or more to have any affect.  It is likely that there will be a series of court appearances designed to stop the Trump administration from eliminating subsidies.  The problem is – Open Enrollment begins in 18 days!  How will people be able to make intelligent decisions about health care choices during this years open enrollment period is a huge concern for our office.

As always, we will be here to help you through this mess.  We expect a number of twists and turns.

 

Trump Administration changes Birth Control requirements

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s administration on Friday undermined requirements under the Obamacare law that employers provide insurance to cover women’s birth control, keeping a campaign pledge that pleased his conservative Christian supporters.

New rules from the Department of Health and Human Services will let businesses or non-profit organizations lodge religious or moral objections to obtain an exemption from the law’s mandate that employers provide contraceptives coverage in health insurance with no co-payment.

Conservative Christian activists and congressional Republicans praised the move, while reproductive rights advocates and Democrats criticized it. It was unclear how many employers would actually drop birth control coverage on religious grounds, and there were significant doubts that many big ones would.

Within hours, the American Civil Liberties Union sued the administration in federal court in San Francisco to try to halt the rule, claiming among other things that it violated the U.S. Constitution’s requirement for separation of church and state.

The states of Massachusetts and California also sued, and Democratic state attorneys general in another 16 states threatened legal action.

“This is a landmark day for religious liberty. Under the Obama administration, this constitutional right was seriously eroded,” Republican House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said.

“The Trump administration just took direct aim at birth control coverage for 62 million women,” Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards said.

Careconnect Update on Market Withdrawal

From CareConnect:

Since we announced our plans to withdraw from New York State’s insurance market last month, we have been working closely with New York’s Department of Financial Services (DFS) to finalize the details of our withdrawal plan. We have now received official approval from DFS, and want to make you aware of the details.

As of November 30thCareConnect will no longer write or renew small and large group policies. CareConnect will also not write or renew individual policies for the 2018 calendar year. All existing policies will be honored throughout their remaining terms, including group policies that continue into 2018. Equally important, Northwell Health will stand behind all medically necessary claims for covered services incurred during that time. More details about the timing of our wind-down can be found here.

While this news is difficult, we remain committed to providing the best service we can for your clients throughout their policy terms. We thank you for your help and for the support you have shown us over the years.

Reeve Conover is a Registered Representative. Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Broker/dealer member FINRA/SPIC. Cambridge and Conover Consulting are not affiliated. Licensed in SC, NC, NY, CT, NJ, and CA.
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