Moving to Paperless Benefits Admin System

Moving to Paperless Benefits Admin System

Moving to Paperless Benefits Admin System

As COVID-19 has challenged the status quo and disrupted the way we’ve always done things. Working from home have ushered in a new reality for benefits, and one of the more tangible questions right now is: “We’ve always held an in-person benefits fair, so what should we do now?” And the answer: “Let’s just move the benefits fair online.”

 Things To Consider Before You Open

1.What’s Your Strategy for Going Paperless?

The best recommendation for most offices is to switch to paperless going forward. Decide how you’re going to organize your electronic files (tip: making it match your paper filing will make the transition easiest on your staff). Then put a scanning policy in place and stick to it … going forward. Baby steps! Once your staff has gotten comfortable with the new system, they can feel free to pull in old material as it’s needed.

2Replace paper forms with digital ones 

US companies spend more than $120 billion a year printing paper forms alone. That’s a staggering, unnecessary amount of money that can be saved by using online forms instead. With online forms, you’ll also see faster response times, with the submission data stored neatly in the cloud

3. Accuracy 

Automated processes reportedly make far fewer errors than those performed by humans. All data errors should be corrected when discovered for recordkeeping compliance purposes. But documents with errors in paper-generating systems must be corrected and re-printed.

4. Cost

key benefits of taking your HR paperless is simply the fact that you will be reducing overall waste while saving time and money. Paper reams may not be the most expensive commodity your business is using, but it may be the most easily upgraded. With our partnerships we are able to deploy a basic online beneeifts admin ssytem at no cost to our clients

 

5. Time

Employers do not spend as much time on insurance forms. In fact, for a group of 50 employees, employers decrease the time they spend on forms by 84%. This is because we map employee information directly to carrier forms and is rules-based, which validates data entered to avoid incorrect and missing information. This means that when an employee completes an insurance form, plenty of their information is auto-populated and fields cannot be left incomplete. If a signature is required, the employee can e-sign forms in Ease using their mouse or finger. Additionally, all data can be securely stored online

6. Recruiting Millenials  

You can enable new employees to enroll in benefits online. They can see the cost per pay period for each plan they are eligible for, as well as view side-by-side comparisons, informational videos, and digital brochures about plans they are considering. Additionally, they can log into our portal from anywhere, at any time, and view a detailed benefits summary. An iOS and Android mobile app allows employees to quickly access plan information, details, and policy numbers from any location.  online mobile open enrollment

Employers can use Ease to initiate pre-boarding activities the second an offer is made. Through the Offer Letter feature, employers can send applicants offer letters with custom details like salary, company policies, start date, and eligible benefits. This enables applicants to view all of the components of their offer in one go. If they do accept, the employer can prompt them to begin onboarding and benefits enrollment right away.

7.  Mid-Year and Annual Renewal Changes

How many times have come accross Clinets who simply dont want to be bothered with changes.  On Average 12% of costs are attributed to inertia.  With our paperless benefts system SMB can easily add and manage voluntary coverage. Employers can work  to choose which voluntary benefits are best suited for their employees and their benefit offering, and employees can enroll in these plans at the same time as their medical plans. They’ll even see the cost per pay period per voluntary plan and, in many cases, instantly view their eligibility.

Each employee has a real-time historical record. Any qualifying life event, like a divorce or a new dependent, can be made in their real-time historical record. The employee or employer can make this change and deployed  to the insurance carrier.

8. Payroll integrations

Several integrated payroll companies charge $20-$50 per employee per month dependizng n the size of the SMB. Ease enables employers to easily keep track of payroll deductions with its Consolidated Billing report. This report calculates and populates new employee payroll deductions into payroll. Employers can export the report as an excel file and upload it to their payroll provider.

Additionally,  with different payroll etablished exchnage connections that makes it easy to:

  1. Add new employees in one system, either the payroll provider.
  2. Process benefit changes, since changes flow from the payroll provide or vice versa.
  3. Keep employee records up to date with automated data syncs.

9.  Tracking Employees’ Time-Off & Performance

Ease’s suite of HR tools, EaseHR, was built to help employers manage growth. The software uses the same login and employee information from benefits enrollment, making setup simpler. The different tools included in HRIS by Ease are:

  1. PTO Policies: Employers can set up holidays and manage custom PTO policies. Employees can view hours remaining per policy, such as PTO, sick leave, and FMLA.
  2. Time-Off Tracking: Employees can request time-off and managers can approve those requests on the go.
  3. Metrics: Visualized HR stats including employee growth, company diversity, and organization charts.
  4. Employee Events & Company Directory: Employees can connect at any time with a repository of employee contact information. Managers can keep track of birthdays and work anniversaries.
  5. Ease iOS and Android Mobile App: Access all time-off tracking features and your company directory from anywhere at any time.

10. Hassle of Switching   

With most leading paperless payroll and Thrid Party HR and COBRA providers already integrated this becomes more organic.  You are not alone.  We help with group set-up and deployment.  The Client serves as a QB but are not required to become the power-user of the system.  Each employee has a unique login, allowing them to enroll in benefits themselves. They can reach out to the employer if they have questions, but also have the ability to explore the software themselves.

 

Resource:

Goodbye Paper, Hello Ease Simplified Benefits and HR– Click Above

EASE Ben Admin EmployerOverviewOne-Pager_16SEP19_V2-AM

Why a Private Exchange?

Private Exchange Made Simple

Your employees shop online for everything else, why not benefits?

Each year, Ease surveys tens of thousands of employees who chose benefits through our online benefits marketplaces to find out what they think of the experience. Overwhelmingly, the data point to employees being more satisfied with their experience overall, compared to traditional benefits offerings: 

Weekly Demo Tuesday’s @ 1PM RSVP Here

The information provided on this website is intended for informational purposes only.  Millennium Medical Solutions Corp. does not offer legal or medical guidance.  Those with legal or medical questions should seek appropriate assistance from a licensed professional.  Stay up to date by signing up for Newsletter and Coronavirus Dashboard below. Please connect for a one-on-one-demo at info@medicalsolutionscorp.com or 855-667-4621

Learn how our PEO Partnership can help your group please contact us at info@360peo.com or (855)667-4621.

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NYS 2020 Rate Requests

NYS 2020 Rate Requests

The NYS 2020 Rate Requests filings were released today.  The total weighted average increases were a modest 8.4%  for Individual Market and 12.0% Small Group Market. Final rate approval expected early August. The past reductions averaged 10-50%.

The lower requests reflect a stabilizing ACA market. Insurers’ financial performance improved nationwide last year to its highest level since the passage of the law. The average medical-loss ratio, which represents the portion of premiums spent on medical claims and quality improvement, was 70% last year in the individual market nationwide. That led to plans paying $800 million in rebates for failing to meet requirements on medical spending, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation

 This early filing request deadline request requirement is not an Obamacare requirement.  As per NY State Law carriers are required to send out notices of rate increase filings to groups and subscribers.These are simply requests and the state’s Department of Financial Services has authority to modify the final rates. But they are the first indication of what New Yorkers can expect when shopping for health insurance on the individual marketplace at the end of this year.

Background:

By contrast last year’s  NYS 2019 Rate Request early filing request were higher at 7.5% small group and an astounding 24% for individuals. The NYS final August 2020 rate approval are expected to be lower.  For example, the final filing rates were approved  NYS 2019 Final Rates Approved at a modest 3.8% small group and 8.6% for individuals. Using these past figures one projects a 2019 Final Rates of 5% small groups and 8% individuals.

A spokeswoman for the state Health Plan Association said insurers have worked to control costs, which have been driven up by rising prescription drug prices and state mandates that require coverage of certain services. 

“Our member health plans have been committed to making health care more affordable, working hard to rein in rising health care costs and contain their own costs,” she said. “The proposed premium rate requests are reasonable, reflecting the cost of care.”

In the small-group market, insurers asked for a weighted average 12% boost in 2020 after they were granted a 3.8% bump for this year. UnitedHealthcare’s Oxford, which controls more than half of the small-group market, asked for a 15.9% increase, which was the highest among all plans. Oscar, at 15.8%, was close behind. Notably, Healthfirst has requested a 5% reduction.

Conclusion

Defined Contribution Choice:  Instead, the correct approach for a small business in keeping with simplicity is a defined contribution model using a Private Exchange.  This is a true defined contribution empowering employees with the choice of leading insurers offering paperless technologies integrating HRIS/Benefits/Payroll.  Both employee and employers still gain tax advantage benefits under the business.  Also, the benefits, rates and network size are superior under a group plan as THE RISK OUTLINED ABOVE ARE HIGHER FOR INDIVIDUAL MARKETS THAN SMALL GROUP PLANS.

To be clear: These trends affect a small subset of the insurance market—non-group plans that cover less than 2 percent of the population. Many qualify for tax credits that lower their net costs and reduce or eliminate the impact of year-to-year rate increases.However, non-group customers with incomes above 400% of the poverty level ($48,560 for a single adult) get no subsidy—and feel the full brunt of any hikes.

Resource

  • You may view the NYS 2019 Rate Requests DFS press release, which includes a recap of the increases requested and approved by clicking here.
  • For a custom analysis detailing YOUR upcoming 2019-2020 renewal please contact our team at Millennium Medical Solutions Corp  (855)667-4621.  We work in coordination with Navigators to assist with Medicaid, CHIP Child Health Plus, Family Health Plus and Medicare Dual Eligibles.   We have Spanish, Russian, and Hebrew speakers available.  Quotes can also be viewed on our site.
  •  See Health Reform Resource

*These averages may change based on DFS’s review of the rate applications.** Empire submitted a filing that DFS is evaluating.

Learn how a Private Exchange and our PEO Partnership can help your group please contact us at info@medicalsolutionscorp.com or (855)667-4621.

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NYS 2019 Final Rates Approved   

NYS 2019 Final Rates Approved   

NYS 2019 Final Rates Approved    

NYS has approved  2019 Final Rates last Friday. Small group rates will increase 3.8% and 8.6% for individuals.

As per NY State Law, Health Insurers are required to send out early notices of rate request filings to groups and subscribers see original –NYS 2019 Rate Requests.  Despite only 3 months of mature claims data experience for 2018  health insurers’ original requests were noticeably below average 7.5% for small group and 24% for individuals.  Ultimately NYS reduced this request substantially by approximately 50%.

Experts are concerned over the long term effects. Example, the Individual  mandate was removed last December by Presidential order. Without the Mandate anyone can drop insurance without penalty.  A comparable take away for similar auto insurance industry would be something like this -Drivers ought not be mandated to buy auto insurance as its a profit scheme by Insurers. While a popular decision this will hardly bend the curve long term and reduce competition.  Furthermore, the new order of Selling Across State lines makes NYS most unwelcoming.

OTHER STATES

Insurers have been filing to sell Obamacare plans that will go into effect in 2019, and in some states they appear to be pricing in for the fact that the mandate is going away next year. Other states are seeing mild increases, but that is in part because they saw significant hikes for the previous year.

Insurers have concluded that fewer people will enroll without the mandate than otherwise, so in some places they are pricing their plans higher based on the assumption that sicker people will be left behind, which will increase medical costs for those left. It is well worth pointing out that in recent years the loss federal risk reinsurance corridor funds account for 5.5 percent of the rate increase.

How are neighboring States doing?

In NJ, not that bad.  Last year the average increase were 5.5% for small groups and some popular plans such as  Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield’s  OMINA  increasing only 4.8% increase.   This year the increase is only 5.2.  Other insurers offering EPO and HMO plans in the individual market for 2019 include Oscar Health and Oxford Health Plans.

With individual mandate repeal fewer people will buy health insurance raising the prices for those who do. NJ Banking and Insurance Department officials said premium prices would have increased, on average, by 12.6 percent.

For CT market, on the other hand, things are much worse at least for the individual marketplace with average 25% rate increases last year.  The 2019 proposed rate increases for both the individual and small group market are, on average lower, than last year: The proposed average small group rate increase request is a 10.22 percent and ranges from -5.0 percent to 21.1 percent. This compares to the average increase request of 18.06 percent requested last year.The proposed average individual rate increase request is 12.3 percent and ranges from -10.9 percent to 31.0 percent. This compares to the average increase request of 25.51 percent requested last year.

Final plan rates in New Jersey & CT will be finalized and released in the fall, state officials said. ACA open enrollment begins Nov. 1

  • Trend: Trend is a factor that accounts for rising health care costs, including the cost of prescription drugs, and the increased demand for medical services.
  • Uncertainty in Washington:
    • Removal of penalty for individual mandate: The elimination of the penalty means that individuals who are typically younger and healthier would have no inducement to participate in the insurance pool, which could further destabilize the market. Lack of participation shrinks the pool and increases the cost of insurance to the remaining members.
    • Short-duration health plans and Association Health Plans: Still pending are final federal regulations on non-ACA compliant short-duration plans, which may have implications for the ACA risk pool. Also, Connecticut along with other state insurance regulators, are awaiting clarification from the federal government on new federal regulations allowing association health plans, which could further shrink the ACA risk pool.

 A bipartisan group of congressional representatives has discussed an agreement to extend and guarantee the payments, but it’s unclear whether they could do so by the new filing deadline of Sept. 5. A lawsuit filed by Congress against the Obama administration to challenge the payments is still pending. In addition, Trump has repeatedly threatened to withhold payments to insurers that reduce cost-sharing – deductibles, copays and coinsurance – paid by low-income customers. More than half of New Jersey’s marketplace customers receive that assistance, and without it, most would be unable to afford coverage.

Finally, a tax on health insurance premiums has been reinstated in 2018 after a one-year “tax holiday” approved by Congress for 2017. That contributed 2.3 percent to the rate hikes that insurers requested for 2019 and for  2019

SMALL GROUP MARKET VS.  INDIVIDUAL MARKET

Importantly, small group market is still more advantageous than individual markets unless one gets a sizable low-income tax credit. Overall, about 350,000 individual plan consumers will be affected by the price hike, while more than a million users will be hit by higher small group fees. Last year, Blue Cross Blue Shield released a study showing Obamacare user costs were 22 percent higher than people with employer-sponsored health plans, while UnitedHealth plans to exit most Exchanges see –  Breaking: Oxford Exits Metro Indiv & Oxford Liberty HMO 2017.

The correct approach for a small business in keeping with simplicity is a Private Exchange and with our large buying group PEO partnerships. This is a true defined contribution empowering employees with a choice of leading insurers offering paperless technologies integrating HRIS/Benefits/Payroll.  Both employee and employers still gain tax advantage benefits under the business.  Also, the benefits, rates and network size are superior under a group plan as the risk are lower for small group plans than individual markets.

Learn how a Private Exchange and our PEO Partnership can help your group please contact us at info@medicalsolutionscorp.com or (855)667-4621.

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New Jersey Enacts Individual Health Mandate

New Jersey Enacts Individual Health Mandate

New Jersey Enacts Individual Health Mandate

A new law entitled the “New Jersey Health Insurance Market Preservation Act” was signed by Governor Phil Murphy on May 30, 2018 to reestablish the recently repealed “shared responsibility tax”. The law, which will take effect on January 1, 2019, will require every New Jersey resident to obtain health insurance with minimum essential coverage or pay a fee, essentially adopting the rules of the ACA.

This legislation will directly impact residents of NJ and indirectly affect employers with employees residing in the state.NJ Enacts Individual Mandate

State Individual Mandate

The New Jersey Health Insurance Market Preservation Act will require all New Jersey residents to have Minimum EssentialCoverage (MEC) beginning January 1, 2019, or pay a penalty.

In light of Federal repeal on Dec 29, 2017, Tax Reform Bill Includes Repeal of Individual Mandate Beginning in 2019,  NJ’s mandate is scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2019, making NJ the second state, after Massachusetts, to enactan individual mandate. The mandate includes an annual penalty of 2.5% of a household’s income or $695 per adultand $347 per child – whichever is higher. The maximum penalty is based on household income and will not exceed theaverage yearly premium of a bronze plan.If it’s based on a per-person charge, the maximum household penalty will be $2,085.

A “hardship exemption” will be available for individuals who cannot afford coverage, determined by the State Treasurer. NJ expects to collect between $90 million and $100 million in penalties. This money, along with additional federal funding, willbe used on a reinsurance program, which Murphy also signed into law.

Employer Action

While these bills do not directly affect employer sponsored plans, the individual mandate requirement for NJ residents will likely require education for employees. As residents in NJ will now be required to obtain health overage to avoid a state income tax penalty, employers may see an increase in plan enrollment. Unlike Massachusetts which requires specific coverage components, the NJ law only requires that coverage be MEC. Thus, most traditional employer-sponsored group health plans should meet this definition. However, coverage for only dental benefits, certain medical indemnity policies and vision benefits are likely not sufficient for purposes of avoiding the state tax. For now, employers with employees who reside in New Jersey may wish to educate employees at Open Enrollment that by January 1, 2019 health coverage will be required for NJ residents to avoid a penalty.  

Conclusion

New Jersey lawmakers feared the repeal would drive healthier people out of the marketplace causing premiums to spike. They believe this law is pertinent to stabilize the marketplace, keep people insured, and prevent a death spiral of the individual market.

Resource:Obamacare Indivudal Mandate  &  Individual Mandate ACA Flow Chart   and  https://www.healthcare.gov/fees/fee-for-not-being-covered/

Learn how our Agency is helping buinsesses thrive in today’s economy.  Check out PEO Case Studies here and learn how they can apply to you. Please contact us at info@medicalsolutionscorp.com or (855)667-4621. 
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Tax Reform Bill Includes Repeal of Individual Mandate Beginning in 2019

Tax Reform Bill Includes Repeal of Individual Mandate Beginning in 2019

Tax Reform Bill Includes Repeal of Individual Mandate Beginning in 2019

On Dec. 20, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which makes significant changes to individual and corporate provisions of the U.S. tax code, including a reduction in the corporate tax rate to 21%, down from 35%, beginning in 2018. The bill includes permanent effective repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) individual mandate, requiring individuals to purchase and maintain health coverage, by zeroing out the penalty beginning in 2019. For 2018, most individuals are still required to maintain coverage or pay a penalty when they file their 2018 federal income tax return.

The bill was negotiated by a conference committee comprised of representatives from both the Senate and House after each chamber passed their own versions of tax reform. The final bill was passed 51-48 by the Senate and 224-201 by the House before being sent to the President. President Trump is expected to sign the bill into law soon.

The bill also changes how certain tax thresholds will be indexed for inflation. Affected provisions, including the ACA “Cadillac” Tax (scheduled to take effect in 2020), will now be indexed to the Chained Consumer Price Index (CPI) instead of the regular CPI (the previous metric). That change makes it likely that more employer-sponsored plans would trigger the Cadillac tax sooner.

We will keep our clients advised of timely developments of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act as it relates to employee beneifts. For now, though, it appears that the biggest impactsthe next couple years are likely to be with respect to the individual mandate repeal and the Cadillac Tax changes.

RESOURCE

 

2018 Individual Marketplace Guidance

2018 Individual Marketplace Guidance

2018 Individual Marketplace Guidance

2018 Individual Marketplace Guidance

Health and Human Services had released earlier this year the final version of its 2018 Individual Marketplace Guidance.  Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) this is issued annually. While the guidance is mostly related to the individual marketplace it does, however, include several items relevant to employers and group health plans.

Example:

  • Annual limits for cost sharing (out-of-pocket limits)
  • Marketplace eligibility notifications to employers
  • Marketplace annual open enrollment period
  • Small Business Health Options (SHOP) Exchange

Nov 2017 – How to Select a Broker on NYS of Health marketplace. 2018 Individual Health Insurance Market Open Nov 1 - Dec 15

Nov 2017- 2018 Individual Marketplace Guidance. 

Nov 2017- Indiviudal Enrollement  on Oscar or UnitedHealthcare Essential Plan.

Nov 2017 – Emnployer Reporting 2017 Updated 1094 & 1095 Now Available


On Exchange Maximum Household Income for Subsidy

Your decision on which will depend on your Household Income and the number of people in your household applying for coverage. In the chart below, if your HOUSEHOLD income (include all members or your tax household regardless of if they are applying for coverage or not) is below the limit shown based on the number in your household applying for coverage, then it is better for you to apply via your state marketplace such as the NY State of Health.

# of Household Members Applying for Coverage Maximum Household Income for Subsidy
1$48,240
2$64,960
3$81,680
4$98,400
Each Add’l. Household Member$16,720

MEDICAID EXPANSION: For those with incomes less than 200% of the Federal Poverty level you should also enroll via NYSOH as you might qualify for the United Healthcare Essential Plan.

ENROLLING ON NY STATE OF HEALTH

To enroll via NYSOH and have us as your broker use this link for instructions. How to Select a Broker on NYS of Health marketplace. 

Alternatively, If you earn too much to qualify for a subsidy we will enroll you OFF EXCHANGE. The application forms can be found using the Oscar link above. Download the FULL ENROLLMENT KIT and complete the necessary forms to send to us for processing.

2018 NY State of Health Open Enrollment Runs from 11/1/17 – 1/31/18. Special enrollment period runs throughout the rest of the year for qualifying events.

ANNUAL LIMITS FOR COST SHARING:

The annual out of pocket limits for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2018 are $7,350 for individual coverage and $14,700 for family coverage.  These cost sharing limits apply to in-network essential health benefits offered under non-grandfathered health plans, both fully and self-insured.  Annual deductibles, in-network co-insurance and other types of in-network cost sharing accumulate toward the out-of-pocket limit, including prescription drug copayments.  Not included are premium payments, out-of-network cost sharing and spending on non-essential health benefits.

MARKETPLACE ELIGIBILITY NOTIFICATIONS TO EMPLOYERS:

Beginning in 2017, the Marketplace will notify an employer as soon as possible when one of its employee’s first enrolls in subsidized Marketplace coverage.  Since some employers may be liable for a penalty under the ACA’s employer mandate when an employee qualifies for a subsidized Marketplace coverage, this change to a more proactive notification process will hopefully provide employers with the opportunity to work with CMS in cases where an improper subsidy has been provided.

MARKETPLACE ANNUAL OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD:

Open Enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace, Healthcare.gov, for 2018 will take place from November 1, 2017 through January 31, 2018.

SMALL BUSINESS HEALTH OPTIONS (SHOP) EXCHANGE:

Beginning in 2017, small employers electing coverage in the SHOP Exchange will have the option of “vertical choice,” offering plans across all metal levels (platinum, gold, silver and bronze) from one insurer. States who opt out of the vertical choice option will continue to offer employers the choice of selecting health plans that are available at one single metal level of coverage.

Stay proactive and contact us today for a custmozied consult on how your organization can prepare  ahead  for ACA, Benefits, Payroll and HR  @ (855) 667-4621 or info@medicalsolutionscorp.com.

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