Do I have to report to the IRS if I had health insurance in 2016?

Posted by Emily Kubis on Fri, Feb 24, 2017 @ 09:02

New IRS announcement causes some confusion

A new announcement by the IRS about accepting tax returns from consumers who don’t note whether they had health insurance in 2016 is causing some confusing during tax time this year.

Through the Affordable Care Act, consumers who can afford health insurance are required to carry it through the individual mandate. If they don’t, they have to pay a fine when filing their taxes.

Since the law was implemented, consumers have had to note whether they did or didn’t have health insurance for the full 12 months of the prior year. The IRS had systems in place that rejected tax returns where the taxpayer did not provide this information.

Because of President Donald Trump’s January executive order directing federal agencies to unwind the individual mandate, the IRS has decided not to immediately reject these returns this year.

So do you have to say whether you had coverage? And will you have to pay the fine?

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

Am I eligible for a special enrollment period?

Posted by Emily Kubis on Wed, Feb 22, 2017 @ 09:02

Miss open enrollment? 

Consumers can freely enroll in or change health insurance plans during open enrollment, which ended January 31. If you missed it, you will need to experience a qualifying event to sign up for coverage during a special enrollment period. 

Qualfying events are major life changes that result in new insurance needs. If you have experienced any qualifying events in the last 60 days, you may be eligible to sign up for coverage.

Click below for a list of eligible qualifying events. 

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, qualifying event, Individual health insurance, open enrollment, Individual Plans, individual digest

What it takes to be a young leader in benefits

Posted by Craft Hayes on Mon, Feb 20, 2017 @ 09:02

Craft Hayes leads Bernard Health’s Nashville team of benefits advisors and was recently named a 2017 Rising Star in Benefits by Employee Benefits Advisors.

I’m honored and excited to a part of the 2017 Employee Benefit Advisors Rising Stars in Advising. In my almost 10 years I have seen a tremendous amount of change in our industry from both legislation and rising costs. Arguably the most tumultuous time to enter the industry, we’ve learned about the pre-ACA way of doing things, the ACA format and rules, and are now preparing for the round of changes with Republican leadership.

The benefits industry and brokerage business used to be able to provide value in pricing to clients through quotes from multiple insurance companies. Since I started in the industry in 2008, I have seen a tremendous shift in our roles. A reduced number of carriers to quote—and those quotes being the same across all brokers—has greatly commoditized the market.

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Tags: health insurance, benefits, brokers, employers, solutions for employers, employer, employer plans, broker

Why don’t employees choose HSA-eligible plans?

Posted by Emily Kubis on Fri, Feb 17, 2017 @ 10:02

How to address common challenges

Health Savings Accounts are the foundation of Bernard Health. We built our brokerage in 2006 on the principle that HSAs were key to making healthcare more effective and sustainable for employers, and have since then helped hundreds of employers adopt an HSA strategy.

But we know that some employers struggle with adoption. In fact, industry averages indicate only 7 percent to 10 percent of employees sign up for the HSA option, negating the savings employers can find in transitioning to this type of plan. What’s going wrong?

At Bernard Health, our average enrollment in HSA-eligible plans is 81 percent. We’ve been helping employers introduce this strategy for more than 10 years, and we know the challenges you may face. We’ll cover those below. And if you aren’t sure whether this strategy is right for you, be sure to download our free case study: Consider HSA-Eligible Plans for more information on how they work, what savings you may find, and more information on these challenges.

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Tags: HSA, HSAs, HSA Plan, employers, solutions for employers, HSA Advice, employer digest

Humana to drop out of ACA exchanges

Posted by Emily Kubis on Wed, Feb 15, 2017 @ 09:02

Trump proposes rule changes to stabilize market

One of the country’s largest insurers, Humana, announced Tuesday that it will not participate in the 2018 Affordable Care Act exchanges.

While Humana is better known nationally for its Medicare Advantage marketshare, not its exchange coverage, the departure would leave 16 counties in East Tennessee without an ACA option in 2018.

The announcement is the first insurer market exit since President Donald Trump took office. UnitedHealthcare made a similar decision for 2017, citing an unsustainable risk pool. What does that mean? Why are insurers pulling out of the ACA?

Essentially, ACA enrollees have been sicker and older than insurers expected, and there haven’t been enough healthy, young consumers to balance out their populations, which is called a “risk pool.” This has led to rising premiums to cover the claims incurred by these sicker enrollees, and full market exits some carriers, who have said they can’t withstand the financial losses.

In response, the Trump administration proposed rule changes on Wednesday to stabilize the individual market.

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, Individual health insurance, health reform, individual market, Individual Plans, humana, Donald Trump, individual digest

Three things to know about health law repeal

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Mon, Feb 13, 2017 @ 10:02

How will consumers be affected? 

No one likes too much uncertainty. Whether we like it or not, however, we are facing a lot of it right now in healthcare. This is because the fate of the Affordable Care Act is up in the air as Republicans wrestle with how they will follow through on their promise to repeal it.

Part of the reason for so much ambiguity is that while President Donald Trump and his administration continue to advocate for repealing the ACA, Congressional Republicans still haven’t coalesced around a replacement policy. Many reports suggest they are nervous to disrupt the market by repealing the ACA without a replacement ready.

In the meantime, the healthcare industry waits. What comes next? How will consumers be affected?

For the nearly quarter of a million Tennesseans who signed up for marketplace coverage by the end of 2016, these questions carry significant weight. Consumers with employer coverage, Medicare or Medicaid will not be immediately impacted by changes to the ACA. But consumers who get their coverage on the under-65 individual market will be.

The fate of healthcare in the United States is, at present, a question mark. But following are three things we do know or can reasonably predict.

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, healthcare, obamacare, aca, The Tennessean, healthcare costs, individual digest, repeal

Benefits forecast: Pet insurance

Posted by Emily Kubis on Fri, Feb 10, 2017 @ 09:02

Should you offer your employees pet coverage?

About one in every three Fortune 500 companies offers pet insurance, the fastest-growing segment of the insurance industry.

The pet insurance segment grew 12 percent between 2014 and 2015 and is expected to continue growing, particularly as Millennials continue to enter the workforce and obtain leadership positions.

Some experts have drawn connections to the trend of Millennials delaying marriage to a rise in pet ownership and pet insurance needs.

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Tags: benefits, employer health benefits, employers, solutions for employers, health insurance small employers, group benefits, employer plans, ancillary benefits, voluntary benefits, employer digest, pet insurance

Does my health insurance cover drug and alcohol treatment?

Posted by Emily Kubis on Wed, Feb 08, 2017 @ 10:02

Here’s how to find out

Cost can be a major issue in receiving drug or alcohol treatment. Inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation treatment can cost thousands of dollars, and many people don’t know if their health plan will help pay for it.


Not all health plans cover drug and alcohol treatment, but many do. All plans sold on the Affordable Care Act exchanges do, and many employer plans do as well. However, covered doesn’t mean free—it just means your insurer will pay some portion of the charges. Here’s how to find out if you have this kind of coverage, what to expect, and what you might pay for treatment.

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, Individual health insurance, alcohol treatment, Individual Plans, drug abuse, individual digest, rehab, substance abuse treatment

Why hire an insurance advisor?

Posted by Emily Kubis on Mon, Feb 06, 2017 @ 09:02

Why hire an insurance advisor.png


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Tags: health savings, Individual Plans, individual digest, insuradvise

Missed the deadline for open enrollment?

Posted by Emily Kubis on Wed, Feb 01, 2017 @ 05:02

What you need to know

January 31 was the final deadline for open enrollment, the period during which consumers can freely choose or switch health plans on the marketplace.

Who is impacted by this deadline? Individual insurance consumers, meaning people who do not get coverage from work or through government programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

If that’s you, and you did not get 2017 coverage before the deadline, here’s what you need to know:

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, Individual health insurance, open enrollment, deadline, Individual Plans, marketplace deadlines, individual mandate, individual digest

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