I entered the insurance world from a background of sales and customer service with limited knowledge about health insurance. I knew I had health insurance, I knew I needed health insurance, but I knew very little about the intricacies of employer offered health and wellness benefits. Entering this world was daunting, but as a self-proclaimed life-long-learner, I was up for the challenge! Teachers and peers can be a wealth of knowledge, but self-education is equally important. I am an analytical, detail-oriented and socially conscious person, so I knew it was time to do my research. Continue reading Taking Responsibility for Your Health Insurance Selections
Until I began working at Ovation, I had no prior experience with open enrollment. In fact, as a naive college graduate, I hadn’t even heard the term before. At 23 years old, I thought I could easily breeze by on my dad’s health insurance plan for another three years – until he recently retired. Now I’m on my own. This season will be the first time I’m enrolling in my own benefits package. I knew the day would eventually come, but I hoped it wouldn’t happen so soon. Last year, I witnessed busy days for our client services team during open enrollment, but this year, I find myself in the midst of seemingly endless questions and confusion. Should I sign up for an HSA or a POS? What does POS stand for? What happens if I reach my deductible? What’s an FSA? Continue reading A Beginner’s Guide to Open Enrollment
Every other year, my birthday gets a little more stressful, but not because I’m trying to cope with getting older. As a licensed producer in the state of Connecticut, I’m required to obtain 24 continuing education (CE) credits every 2 years. This year, I decided to capitalize on some of the available free CE classes that came my way with a focus on broadening my employee benefits knowledge. Bill Stuart of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care offered a class titled “Understanding HSAs and HRAs Thoroughly” which offered 16 CE credits. The HSA and HRA rules continue to evolve, and although I do my best to stay on top of it, this class served as a good reminder that some nuances are sometimes forgotten. Along with teaching the class, Bill Stuart also authored a book titled Health Savings Accounts: A Practical Guide for Accountholders where he addresses more than 150 questions commonly asked about HSAs. Out of the 150 questions, the five mentioned below are the ones that resonated with me. Hopefully these tips will come in handy during this open enrollment season. Despite my best intentions, this year’s birthday may still be a bit stressful as I still need 6 credits before November 6th. Continue reading The Five Things You May Not Know About HSAs
By: Christine Gaiser, Senior Advisor and Simone Torneo, Senior Advisor
Our last blog post explained the embedded Out-of-Pocket Maximum (OOPM) rule that will take effect in 2016. We had focused on how non High Deductible Health Plans will be affected. Now, let’s shift the focus on how High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) plans will be impacted. HDHPs are plans that cannot pay for benefits (except specified preventive benefits) until an individual has met the deductible amount for that year.
These plans must continue to have a “collective” family deductible, to which all covered family members’ qualified expenses apply, as well as the “non-collective” individual OOP maximums. Currently, the OOPM applies to the family as a whole regardless of whether the claims are all incurred by one member or spread amongst the family members. Under the new ACA rule, each covered family member cannot be required to pay more than the ACA OOPM limit of $6,850. For example, currently, a plan with a $4,000 OOPM for self-only coverage and $8,000 OOPM for family coverage would not pay 100% for eligible expenses until the family as a unit had incurred $8,000 in claims. If one family member incurred $7,000 in claims, the individual would continue to have cost-sharing obligations (like deductibles and co-pays) until the family as a whole incurred $8,000 in claims. In 2016, once the individual has met the new ACA OOPM of $6,850, the plan must pay 100% of eligible expenses for that individual. In this example, the family OOPM can still be $8,000, but it will also have to “embed” the individual OOPM of $6,850. Continue reading High Deductible Health Plans Will be Impacted in 2016