Viewing posts from: April 2010

IRS Offers Guidance on Health Coverage for Children

Posted April 29, 2010 by admin

By WebCPA Staff

The Internal Revenue Service has provided guidance on how tax-free health insurance coverage should now be provided for employees’ children who are under 27 years of age under the recently passed health care reform law.

The IRS said that changes under the act will immediately allow employers with cafeteria plans –– plans that allow employees to choose from a menu of tax-free benefit options and cash or taxable benefits –– to permit employees to begin making pre-tax contributions to pay for this expanded benefit.

Notice 2010-38 explains these changes and provides further guidance to employers, employees, health insurers and other interested taxpayers. (more…)

NY Times: Inquiry Says Health Care Charges Were Proper

Posted April 26, 2010 by admin

The following is an article by Robert Pear from the New York Times.

WASHINGTON — When major companies declared that a provision of the new health care law would hurt earnings, Democrats were skeptical. But after investigating, House Democrats have concluded that the companies were right to tell investors and the government about the expected adverse effects of the law on their financial results.

At issue is a section of the law that eliminates a tax break available to companies that provide drug benefits to retirees as part of their insurance coverage. The tax change, expected to generate $4.5 billion of revenue over the next 10 years, will help offset the cost of providing coverage to the uninsured. (more…)

The #1 Health Care Reform Question is…

Posted April 21, 2010 by admin

The # 1 Health Care Reform question is… When can my under 26 year-old-child join the plan?

Jerry Geisel stated in an article from Business Insurance.com:

“One possible explanation of confusion about the effective date is that misleading information has been spread by legislators, the media and even the nation’s chief executive. For example, during a speech this month in Portland, Maine, even President Barack Obama said the extension of coverage to adult children would start this year.”

Fact: The effective date is the 1st day of the plan year that begins 6 months after the March 23, 2010 enactment of the law (so, that is the 1st renewal date that is after 09-23-2010). For 1/1 plans – this change will not apply to that plan until January 1, 2011.

Click here to see our chart that summarizes the questions that employees might be asking about.

Health Care Reform Summaries for Employers

Posted April 20, 2010 by admin

The following are high-level overviews of the new health reform law. They are broken down for small employers and large employers.

Contact Crawford Advisors for more information, or discuss what these changes mean for your business.

Three Steps to Lower Insurer Overhead Costs

Posted April 15, 2010 by admin

Les Masterson, for HealthLeaders Media

Medical loss ratio restrictions may not be the best way to reduce health costs, but federal and state lawmakers are increasingly turning to legislating MLR as a way to contain expenses.

Forcing insurers to maintain a certain spending percentage on medical care is an easy win and on the surface sounds like a fair plan. However, it’s not that simple.

For instance, individual insurance plans usually have to invest more on marketing, consumer outreach, and customer service than group plans so requiring both plans to comply with the same rules isn’t fair. (more…)

Health Care Reform – Employers Weigh Costs of Keeping, Dropping Health Coverage

Posted April 8, 2010 by admin

Jerry Geisel

BusinessInsurance.com

Employers viewing the enactment of health care reform legislation as an opportunity to drop health coverage and escape a huge financial burden may want to rethink that idea, experts say.

The hidden costs of dropping their health care plans could far outweigh the fine that employers would face for not offering health care coverage, they say.

At first blush, though, the financial advantages for an employer that terminates its health insurance plans are compelling.

Employers that take that route would have to pay a $2,000 per employee penalty to the federal government starting in 2014. But with health insurance costs averaging about $9,000 per employee, the savings from the elimination of coverage would dwarf the penalties paid.

(more…)

Cost of Medical Care Outstrips Inflation

Posted April 2, 2010 by admin

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media

The cost of hospital services, which grew by 1.1% in March and 8.6% in the last 12 months, almost quadruple the 2.3% increase in the overall Consumer Price Index for the same period, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced today.

A further breakdown shows that the cost of hospital inpatient services rose 1.6% in March and 9.5% for the past 12 months, while the cost of hospital outpatient services rose 0.6% in March and 7.4% for the past year. Seasonally adjusted CPI data for all urban consumers also show that the overall cost of all medical services grew by 0.3% in March and 3.8% in the last 12 months.

The rising costs of virtually every healthcare-related index have easily outstripped overall CPI for decades. “I’m sure a lot of people have different opinions on why. In my opinion, a lot of it is demand-related,” says BLS economist Steve Reed. (more…)

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