How Many Employers Could be Affected by the Cadillac Plan Tax?

As fall approaches, we can expect to hear more about how employers are adapting their health plans for 2016 open enrollments. One topic likely to garner a good deal of attention is how the Affordable Care Act’s high-cost plan tax (HCPT), sometimes called the “Cadillac plan” tax, is affecting employer decisions about their health benefits. […]

Understanding PPACA Reporting Requirements by Laura Kerekes

Very few of us are ready for the new PPACA reporting requirements. Many of us are aware that reports are due at year end, but haven’t even looked at the rules. Should we be concerned? The answer depends upon your company size and how your organization funds its group health benefits. What are we talking […]

Overwhelmed by ACA Reporting Requirements? The MBPA Launches 6055 & 6056 Reporting Program with BASIC

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) imposes demanding information reporting responsibilities on employers starting with the 2015 calendar year.  The reporting stipulation states that an information return will be prepared for each applicable employee, and these returns must be filed with the IRS using a single transmittal form (Form 1095-C & 1094-C).  The filing requirements are […]

Modest Rate Increases for 2016 Health Plans – Individual Market to Increase on Average 6.5%, Small Group 1.0%

LANSING – Michigan consumers and small businesses will experience lower increases in the cost of their 2016 health insurance plan than those in many other states, according to the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS). DIFS reports that the average approved rate changes on a premium weighted basis increased by 6.5 percent for […]

HR Alerts – Employee or Independent Contractor? A New DOL Interpretation

SOURCE: BASIC Sept. 2015 To help employers properly classify their workers, the Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a new Administrator’s Interpretation to explain how the Fair Labor Standards Act’s definition of employee should be understood. As opposed to focusing primarily on the amount of control exerted by the employer, as was standard before, this […]

2016 Federally-facilitated Marketplace Agent Registration and Training is now Available

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is pleased to announce that plan year 2016 Federally-facilitated Marketplace (FFM) agent and broker registration and training is now available. Training will be offered by CMS on the new Marketplace Learning Management System (MLMS), as well as through the following CMS-approved vendors: •    America’s Health Insurance Plans, […]

New Law Affects Form 5500 Filings, Employer Mandate & HSAs

On July 31, 2015, President Obama signed into law H.R. 3236, the “Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015.” The new law includes the following tax provisions:  • With respect to the employer mandate, veterans enrolled in a health plan under the VA or TRICARE would be exempt from being counted […]

Blue Alert: Win by Losing Registration Now Open – Get Your Clients Signed Up

What you need to know Registration has started, and it’s time to get your clients registered for the 13th round of Win by Losing, our free weight-loss competition. The official Win by Losing site was updated to provide the same valuable content while making it easier for teams to find the materials. Conveniently located at […]

2015 Special Enrollment Period Report – February 23 – June 30, 2015

The next open enrollment period for Marketplace coverage begins on November 1, 2015 for coverage starting on January 1, 2016. Some people can sign up for health coverage outside of open enrollment, before November 1, because they qualify for a special enrollment period (SEP). A consumer can qualify for a SEP for such circumstances as […]

Blue Alert! Presentation of Taxes and Fees Will Be Updated for 2016 Quotes and Groupwide Changes

Taxes and fees have always been part of the premium charged but were displayed separately on quoting materials. Now certain federal and state taxes and fees will be included in the section that lists premium and stop-loss fees for medical, prescription, dental and vision coverage. This new presentation follows similar changes to the 2016 renewal […]

IRS Issues Draft Instructions for Forms 1094-C and 1095-C for 2015

By Larry Grudzien Attorney-At-Law August 9, 2015   On August 6, 2015, IRS released draft instructions for Forms 1094-C and 1095-C for 2015. The following is an overview of important provisions to consider in the completion of the forms:   1. Who Must File:   If an employer is offering health coverage to employees other […]

Health Coverage: New IRS Guidance on Forms 1094 and 1095

The IRS has provided both new and updated Q&A guidance on the reporting requirements for applicable large employers under the federal tax code. As background, beginning in 2016,  applicable large employers must file Forms 1094 and 1095 to provide information to the IRS and plan participants about health coverage provided in the prior year. The […]

2015 Survey of Health Insurance Marketplace Assister Programs and Brokers

Executive Summary Now in second year, a new infrastructure of consumer assistance in health insurance continues to develop. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provided for new publicly funded consumer assistance entities to help people on an ongoing basis as they apply for health coverage and subsidies and resolve questions and problems with their insurance once […]

Blue Alert – Blue Cross, BCN reviewing effect of Supreme Court Same-Gender Marriage Decision on Their Current Policies

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are reviewing their policies on domestic-partner coverage as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on same-gender marriages delivered on June 26, 2015. The court ruling announced that states must issue marriage licenses to same-gender couples and recognize same-gender marriages performed in other states. […]

Blue Alert – New Resource Provides Guidance on Reporting Coverage to IRS in 2016

Starting with the 2015 tax year, health coverage reporting will be required, and large underwritten and self-funded groups must be prepared to do this in 2016. In a previous Blue Alert, we told you about the requirements for us to report on our underwritten group and individual (off-Marketplace) coverage information (IRS Section 6055). We also […]

2014-2024 Projections of National Health Expenditures Data Released

Total health care spending growth is expected to average 5.8 percent in aggregate over 2014-2024, according to a report published today in Health Affairs authored by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Office of the Actuary (OACT). The authors noted that this rate of growth is still substantially lower than the 9 percent […]

Blue Alert – Comprehensive FAQ About Taxes and Fees is Available

We’ve combined health care taxes and fees information for both the Affordable Care Act and the state of Michigan into one frequently asked questions document. Which Taxes and Fees Are Discussed In The New, Comprehensive FAQ? ACA Taxes and Fees                                                                   State of Michigan Taxes and Fees * Comparative Effectiveness Research Fee                                        * Michigan Claims Assessment […]

Reform Alert

August 4, 2015 On May 4, 2015, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released calendar year 2016 out-of-pocket (OOP) maximum limits and minimum deductible amounts for high deductible health plans (HDHPs). For calendar year 2016, the OOP maximum limits will be: •    $6,550 for self-only coverage (up from $6,450 in 2015) •    $13,100 for family coverage […]

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network Provide Rebates to Small Business Customers

Several months after Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan announced that we are reducing insurance rates for many of our small employer customers in Michigan, another dose of good news is on the way. Because of lower-than-expected medical costs in 2014, Blue Cross and Blue Care Network are able to refund many of our small […]