A recent article in Employee Benefit Adviser on 10/25:
If this change is allowed it would help small business owners and employees alike, providing an alternative to traditional group insurance, along with level- funded plans.- Reeve
“A new proposed law loosening restrictions on health reimbursement accounts could significantly expand the use of such accounts and make them a much bigger part of employers’ healthcare offerings.
The Trump administration this week proposed to allow employers to fund tax-exempted HRAs to help pay for employees’ individual health insurance premiums, undoing Obama-era guidance that restricted HRAs for that purpose. HRAs currently have to be connected to a group health plan, with some exceptions for retirees, and are typically used to pay out-of-pocket expenses and for other medical and dental services defined by the IRS.
The proposed rule also would allow employers that offer traditional group health coverage to fund an HRA of up to $1,800 each year to reimburse employees for “qualified medical expenses” such as stand-alone dental visits.”
The IRS on Thursday increased the pre-tax contribution limits for employees who participate in a 401(k), 403(b) and most 457 plans to $19,000 from $18,500. That limit also applies to the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan.
For participants ages 50 and over, the additional catch-up contribution limit, which is set by law, will stay at $6,000.
Meanwhile, IRA contribution limits were raised to $6,000 from $5,500 — the first time the IRS has increased the limits since 2013. The catch-up contribution limit for people 50 and over will still be $1,000.
IRA contribution limits were raised to $6,000 from $5,500 — the first time the IRS has increased the limits since 2013. The catch-up contribution limit for people 50 and over will still be $1,000.
Aetna and LabCorp have signed an expanded agreement to make LabCorp a preferred national laboratory for all Aetna Medicare health plans, products and members beginning January 1, 2019.
This means our 2019 members will have in-network laboratory access to both Quest Diagnostics’ and LabCorp’s full range of services, as well as their broad patient access points, including a growing retail presence. Or, they can choose from one of the many other participating labs in our network.
“There’s a systemic problem in the student loan market that doesn’t exist in the other asset classes. Students need to get a job that allows them to pay off their debt. The delinquency rate will rise as long as students aren’t graduating with degrees that pay back that cost.” – John Hupalo, Invite Education
IMHO we need to figure out how to address this issue as a nation…
Part A Deductible increases to $1364
The Standard Monthly Premium for Part B goes to$135.50
The Part B Deductible increases to $185
Two weeks to go before the ObamaCare ACA open Enrollment season begins- Well, its not really a season as it is only 5 weeks long. Don’t miss it!
According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, “Average rates for popular health plans sold under the Affordable Care Act will fall 1.5% next year, according to the Trump administration, the first such drop and a sign that the insurance markets are gaining firmer traction despite tumult in the past two years.
The decrease will affect average premiums for the second-cheapest plans in the “silver” tier, a middle-cost option, after years of double-digit increases. In contrast, the average rate for those plans increased by 37% between 2017 and 2018, the administration said.”
However, averages can be misleading. In NY the average increase is about 11%, and in South Carolina its 5%. In Iowa, insurer Medica is lowering rates – but that’s after a 57% increase last year. Tennessee expects a 26% drop, Deleware a 16% increase, with double digits in many other states.
A lot is happening in the Rx Market this year. In case you missed it, Aetna has been purchased by CVS health, which has been approved by the DOJ. As part of this purchase, however, they have to sell Silverscript, the Medicare Rx Program. This is set to happen around the first of the year, to WellCare. In the meantime, Silverscripts prices have gone up and Aetna looks much more competitive, and we expect a lot of changes this year.
Walgreens bought Rite Aid and is in the process of consolidating stores and plans. No word yet on what will happen to Rite Aids’ Envision Rx program, and Walgreens has maintained its deal with AARP.
It is important that Seniors check their prescriptions EVERY year, as this is the time of year when everything changes. It is too late to change in January when you discover your medication is no longer covered!
Nebraska Farm Bureau is trying to ease the financial stress on producer families already facing low commodity prices, an expiring farm bill, and a trade war that is especially affecting the state’s corn and soybean growers. The group recently announced they will offer the opportunity to join NEFB’s new large group Association Health Plan to members, many of whom are self-employed farmers and ranchers, and are faced with crippling insurance premiums.
Tim Hruby of Hemingford, Neb., serves on the Nebraska Farm Bureau Employee Insurance Consortium for the Northwest District, the group that was created to sponsor and manage the Nebraska Farm Bureau Member Health Plan and to help comply with state and federal laws for large group Association Health Plans. The consortium partnered with Medica to provide the new health insurance option, which is a way to lower health insurance premiums by grouping farmers, ranchers, and certain agribusinesses so they can be a larger, more risk-stabilizing pool.
Three pending lawsuits have the potential to directly affect health plans and the individuals we serve: