Republican change to the ACA: A healthcare minimum income

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Wed, Mar 22, 2017 @ 08:03

Check out this column on the Huffington Post

A key piece of the American Health Care Act is changing the ACA’s income-based subsidies to a blend of income- and age-based tax credits. For consumers under the income-eligibility threshold, this essentially creates a healthcare “minimum income.”

The term “minimum income” has been used in more and more policy circles in recent years. What is it? A minimum income is a type of welfare program intended to reduce poverty by providing all citizens with a liveable income.

It might sound a bit socialist, but the minimum income approach actually has some Founding Father and conservative credibility. Thomas Paine was an advocate, calling it a “citizen’s dividend,” which he believed was owed to people for their loss of land access through the creation of property rights.

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, health insurance, obamacare, aca, healthcare costs, Huffington Post, Donald Trump, repeal, American Health Care Act, AHCA, minimum income

Alex and Brian Tolbert win 2017 Summit Award

Posted by Emily Kubis on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 @ 14:03

Brothers Alex and Brian Tolbert, founders and leaders of Bernard Health and BerniePortal, have received the 2017 Summit Award at ASCEND, the annual meeting of the Association for Insurance Leadership.

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Tags: BerniePortal, Bernard Health, Alex Tolbert, Brian Tolbert

We’re hiring—join the Bernard Health team!

Posted by Emily Kubis on Mon, Mar 20, 2017 @ 08:03

Positions open in Nashville, Atlanta and Austin

We’re growing quickly here at Bernard Health and BerniePortal, and we’re looking for highly motivated individuals to join our team.

Positions are open at our Nashville, Tennessee headquarters, as well as in Austin, Texas and Atlanta, Georgia. If you’re looking for a great job in the healthcare, benefits and software industries, keep reading.

First, who are we?

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Tags: BerniePortal, Bernard Health, hiring, recruitment

What does the CBO report really say about the AHCA?

Posted by Emily Kubis on Fri, Mar 17, 2017 @ 09:03

Four things to know

The Congressional Budget Office report on the American Health Care Act has been making headlines this week, but what does it really mean?

The CBO is a nonpartisan agency that provides budget and economic information to Congress. They run models of any proposed legislation to give legislators an idea of what the real-world outcomes might be.

This week, they released their report on the AHCA, the Republican bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

Nothing the CBO says is definite—they have the tricky task of essentially predicting the future. But their estimates are usually the best guesses that we have.

Here’s what the CBO predicted about the AHCA:

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, obamacare, aca, Individual health insurance, Donald Trump, individual digest, repeal, American Health Care Act, AHCA

Conservative critics may have a point—the AHCA won't lower costs

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Wed, Mar 15, 2017 @ 11:03

But a utilitarian health plan might

The new Republican healthcare bill, the American Health Care Act, keeps several ACA elements intact, like the essential health benefits requirement and the prohibition on coverage caps.

While many consumers are happy to see these protections included in the repeal draft, it has opened the AHCA up to many of the exact cost criticisms lobbed against the ACA, largely from within the Republican party.

Before releasing the AHCA, Republicans frequently criticized the ACA for regulating what insurance plans must cover, saying it forced consumers to buy more comprehensive plans than they needed or wanted, and drove up consumer costs.

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, health insurance, obamacare, aca, healthcare costs, Huffington Post, Donald Trump, repeal, American Health Care Act, AHCA

What an ACA repeal won’t address

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Mon, Mar 13, 2017 @ 09:03

Three factors of the U.S. health system

Republicans in Congress last week presented their plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare,” with new legislation called the “American Health Care Act.”

This plan would keep a few of the ACA’s signature elements, like prohibiting insurers from denying coverage to people with preexisting conditions. It would also tweak or replace a number of other parts of the law, like adjusting the tax credits for individuals to purchase insurance, and swapping the individual mandate for policies that would allow insurers to surcharge consumers who had lapses in health insurance coverage.

While we don’t yet know how far this bill will get in Congress, in some form, repeal of the ACA is likely coming. Consumers are divided on this issue — some support repeal, while others express concerns about losing coverage. But whether you’re in support or opposition, it’s important for consumers to have realistic expectations about what repealing the law will do in the near-term.

Since the law was implemented in 2010, people who oppose the ACA have cited many issues as evidence of its failure, like expensive premiums, higher deductibles and narrower provider networks. It is unlikely, however, that these issues will go away anytime soon regardless of what the Republicans do. Or, if one of them does go away, another issue will pop up in its place.

Here are three underlying factors that are unlikely to be immediately addressed by repealing the ACA.

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, healthcare, obamacare, aca, The Tennessean, healthcare costs, Donald Trump, individual digest, repeal, American Health Care Act, AHCA

Why your broker should offer HR software

Posted by Emily Kubis on Fri, Mar 10, 2017 @ 09:03

Broker-incorporated software is better than seeking a solution on your own

More than a billion dollars of venture capital is flowing into the HR and benefits administration industry, with many new software companies cropping up and targeting small and mid-sized employers. You may have seen ads for several of these platforms already—Zenefits, BambooHR, or Gusto, to name a few.

You may be wondering if adopting one of these technologies is right for your organization. Certainly, getting your benefits administration and HR processes online represents a large opportunity to increase efficiencies and reduce errors.

But before you begin evaluating options and comparing vendors, your first question should be to your health insurance broker. Does your broker offer a software platform? Do they plan to offer one in the next year?

If the answer is no, you may want to consider changing brokers. Here’s why finding a broker who incorporates software into their value proposition is better than seeking out a software solution on your own.

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Tags: broker software, health insurance brokers, employers, solutions for employers, health insurance small employers, employer plans, broker, employer digest

What’s the difference between “Obamacare” and the new American Health Care Act?

Posted by Emily Kubis on Wed, Mar 08, 2017 @ 10:03

Republicans release repeal, replacement bill

House Republicans released their official legislative plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” on Monday, and it includes a few big changes to the U.S. healthcare system.

The “American Health Care Act” still has a long way to go before it becomes law. But many consumers are likely wondering, if Republicans are successful in passing the bill, how will it affect their insurance and care?

Most of the key pieces of the AHCA can essentially be categorized in two ways—the parts of the ACA it keeps intact, and the parts it repeals and replaces.

Let’s look at each category:

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, Individual health insurance, Individual Plans, IRS, individual digest, repeal, ACHC, continuous coverage, American Health Care Act

What is continuous coverage?

Posted by Emily Kubis on Mon, Mar 06, 2017 @ 10:03

Republican policy included in American Health Care Act 

Continuous coverage policies are an alternative to the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate. These policies have been included in the American Health Care Act, the recently released Republican replacement plan. Both continuous coverage policies and the individual mandate present financial incentives for consumers to get and keep health coverage.

But how do they work, and how are they different?

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, Individual health insurance, Individual Plans, IRS, individual digest, repeal, continuous coverage

Three repeal questions for employers

Posted by Emily Kubis on Fri, Mar 03, 2017 @ 11:03

What to look for in the ACA replacement

Updated to include new information on the American Health Care Act. 

Republicans have released their replacement bill for the Affordable Care Act, called the American Health Care Act. While we don’t yet know how far this bill will get or what might ultimately wind up in final legislation, a few items can be gleaned from the proposed policy. 

While much of the ACA, and its subsequent repeal, is focused on the individual market, there are several parts of the law that apply directly to employers.

Here are three questions employers should be asking about an ACA replacement and how their businesses might be affected.

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, obamacare, aca, employers, solutions for employers, health insurance small employers, employer plans, Donald Trump, employer digest, repeal

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