Changes to Medicare 2016
- Tuesday, 05 January 2016 07:44
The headline this year may be that Medicare will pay for end-of-life counseling. “So far, the 2016 change getting the most attention is that Medicare will pay clinicians to counsel patients about options for care at the end of life. The voluntary counseling would have been authorized earlier by President Barack Obama’s health care law but for the outcry fanned by former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who charged it would lead to “death panels.” Hastily dropped from the law, the personalized counseling has been rehabilitated through Medicare rules.”
However, cost-control efforts may be the more interesting piece – attempts to “fostering teamwork among clinicians, emphasizing timely preventive services and paying close attention to patients’ transitions between hospital and home.” These changes focus on Accountable Care organizations (“ACO’s”) conceptually allowed under ObamaCare. This year you will be able to pick your ACO, previously you could just opt out.
For the full article, click here.
Its not too late to get your ObamaCare Subsidy!
- Sunday, 27 December 2015 17:27
While the deadline has passed for January 1 coverage, we can enroll you up to January 15 for a February 1 coverage date. If you miss that date, you can still enroll for March 1 as long as your enrollment is complete by January 31.
After January 31 you must wait until January 1 of 2017, unless you have a special qualifying event, and that will subject you to the 2.5% tax on your income this year.
Roper St Francis to build hospital in Summerville
- Sunday, 27 December 2015 17:21
“Roper St. Francis will move forward with plans to build a new Berkeley County hospital and medical office building, according to a news release.
On Friday, the S.C. Supreme Court denied a petition (.pdf) to review the S.C. Court of Appeals’ previous decision allowing Trident Health to build a hospital in Moncks Corner and Roper St. Francis to build a hospital at Carnes Crossroads in Goose Creek.
For several years, Trident has fought Roper’s plan to build, saying Berkeley County’s population didn’t need two hospitals.”
For the entire article, click here.
A few reminders on Health Savings Accounts…
- Sunday, 27 December 2015 17:19
HSA Eligibility Rule Update
Per the IRS, to be eligible to make HSA contributions, a person must not have used VA benefits for anything other than preventative services in the past three months. Effective January 1st, 2016, any veteran who receives VA benefits for a service-connected disability can make or receive HSA contributions regardless of when they received VA benefits.
Who can use my HSA funds?
HSA funds can be used for the qualified medical expenses of yourself, your spouse, and your qualified tax-dependents. They do not need to be covered by your health insurance. If your spouse and tax-dependents are covered by traditional insurance, you can even pay their co-pays with your HSA. Please note: even though you may keep children on your health insurance until age 26, according to IRS rules a child is only typically considered to be a tax-dependent up to age 19 or age 24 if a full-time student.
Also, if a child’s parents are not married and one parent takes the tax deduction for the child, the other parent is typically allowed to use their HSA funds for the child’s qualified medical expenses. See IRS Publication 502 or your tax advisor for more information.
Do the funds in my HSA ever expire?
No, an HSA is not a “use it or lose it” plan like a Flexible Spending Account (FSA). You keep the funds even if you change jobs or retire. HSA funds remain yours for your lifetime and then are passed on to your designated beneficiary(s). Once you are no longer eligible to make deposits to your HSA, the funds can still be used for qualified medical expenses for the remainder of your lifetime. At age 65, the 20% penalty for using HSA funds for non-medical expenses goes away. HSA funds used for non-medical expenses after age 65 will be taxed at your normal income tax. If the funds are used for qualified medical expenses after age 65, they continue to be tax and penalty free.
President Signs Deal to Delay Cadillac/Excise Tax
- Sunday, 27 December 2015 17:04
The misguided and poorly written Cadillac tax has been delayed, after even the Democratic authors of the bill came to realize the damage it would cause. The legislation also changes two other items:
- Impose a one-year moratorium on the collection of the ACA’s health insurance providers fee, for 2017; and
- Impose a two-year moratorium on the ACA’s medical device excise tax, for 2016 and 2017.
Here is the news announcement from NAHU:
“NAHU is pleased to share with you that President Obama has now signed legislation that will delay the Cadillac/excise tax for two years. The provision was included in a $1.8 trillion omnibus government spending and tax-break package.
The Cadillac tax calls for a 40% excise tax on the amount of the aggregate monthly premium of each primary insured individual that exceeds the year’s applicable dollar limit, which will be adjusted annually to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) plus 1% initially and then CPI. Given that the pace of medical inflation is well beyond that of general inflation, the tax is destined to outgrow itself in short order and many employers will be impacted by the cost of the tax and the enormous compliance burden that the tax creates. Mercer estimated that a third of employers would be subjected to the tax by 2018 when it was originally set to kick in, and that 60% of employers could be hit by 2022. Because of the projected wide reaching effect of the tax, many employers may be deterred from offering coverage.
The delay of the Cadillac/excise tax is effective for 2018 and 2019, meaning that without further legislative adjustment or repeal, the tax will now be scheduled to take effect beginning in January 2020. Language in the package also permanently makes the tax deductible to employers and calls for a study by the comptroller on appropriate age and gender adjustments in consultation with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). NAHU supports the delay of the Cadillac/excise tax as a short-term measure, but we remain fully committed to a complete repeal of the tax given its projected widespread impact on employer-provided insurance coverage, and will continue to work with the Department of Treasury as they develop regulations to implement the tax in 2020. Inclusion of these delays can be an important first step to achieve complete repeal, but in the short term, we hope the delays will bring some relief to your clients.
NAHU is a leading advocate, along with our partners in the Alliance to Fight the 40 and theNational Coalition on Benefits, and we will continue to make our push to elected officials urging them to fully repeal the tax in the New Year.”