Blog 2018-04-22T03:00:08+00:00

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ACA Employer Mandate and Pay or Play may be going away, possibly retroactively! Employers are cheering

By | September 13th, 2018|Categories: 1094, 1095, ACA, ACA Compliance, Anthem, Anthem Blue Cross, Bay Area Employee Benefits, Blue Shield, Blue Shield of CA, Business Health Insurance, CalChoice, California Employer Benefits, Cigna, Employee Benefits, Employee Benefits San Jose, Employee Health Benefits, Employee Health Insurance, Employer Health Insurance, Employer Mandate, Group Benefits, Group Employee Benefits, Group Health Benefits, Group Health Insurance, Group Health Insurance, Group Health Plans, Group Medical Insurance, Health Benefits, Healthcare Reform, HealthNet, HR, Kaiser, Kaiser Business Insurance, Kaiser Group Health Insurance, Kaiser Permanente, Large Companies, Large Group Health Insurance, Mid sized companies, Obama Care, ObamaCare, Over 50 employees, Small Business Benefits, Small Business Employee Benefits, Small Business Health Insurance, Small companies, Small Group, Small Group Health Insurance, Start Up Insurance, Start Ups looking for Employee Benefits|

I would not celebrate yet…but H.R. 4616 would basically shut down the ACA’s Employer Mandate, sometimes known as the “Pay or Play” for larger employers.  Members of the House of Representatives will be voting very soon on this bill that could suspend collection of the ACA Employer Mandate penalties and also further delay the ACA Cadillac Tax.  Nothing is set in stone yet, but the Republicans potentially have enough votes to make it happen.  This would be a giant win for ALEs, or Applicable Large Employers, who are the targets of the ACA’s Employer Mandate tax

ACA Employer Mandate penalties are huge and complicated

As it stands today….employers with at least 50 full time employees are required to provide compliant Health Insurance to their people.  The employer is also required to pay for a lot of the employee’s premium, based on their monthly gross wages.  Tracking employees hours, wages, etc, has become a nightmare for employers.  Some software companies are running to the bank though, with this new customer base.  Some of the penalties for employers that screw up are in the tens of thousands, or more.

IRS 226J is a big scary letter that some larger employers are getting

If an employer gets an IRS 226J letter, its pretty scary, and details out what the employer owes and why.  I’ve had more than a couple of our employer groups call in a panic.  It turns out that they had made a slight error in their “reporting” for the year…..the 1094 and 1095 notifications.  When I saw the letters they got, I would be a little nervous too.  One of them had an IRS penalty assessment of almost $50,000.  To say that she was upset is a gross understatement.  After calming her down, we found that she did not “check a box” on the notification that went to the IRS the January before.  Problem solved.

Because we ONLY do Group Benefits, we discovered the error pretty quickly.  Many companies have brokers that are “jack of all trades” and not specialists.  That can be a problem when there’s an issue to deal with.  If not us….find yourself a Benefits Broker that ONLY does benefits.  Its totally to your advantage!

Steve Brauer-Principal, Brauer Insurance Services,  www.brauerinsurance.com  (877) 421-4325

Short Term Plans for CA…probably not going to happen thanks to CA Democrats

By | September 6th, 2018|Categories: ACA, CA Employee Benefits, Covered California, Employee Benefits San Jose, Employee Health Benefits, Employer Health Insurance, Group Benefits, ObamaCare, Short Term Plans|

Even though Trump is allowing Short Term plans to come back, and even flourish for people that don’t want to pay the super high pricing of a fully insured plan with benefits they neither want or can use, CA lawmakers are putting a stop to it.  The thinking is that Short Term plans are not a good idea because people need to be in either the Covered California fully insured plans with all of the “essential benefits” that the ACA has set up, or through a traditional insurance carrier on one of the same plans.

People want to be able to make the choice when it comes to their coverage

Overwhelmingly, people support the idea of making their own choice when it comes to their health care.  If someone is 55 years old they probably don’t need maternity coverage, or pediatric dental and vision benefits.  The argument is that WHY should they have to pay for it.  I get angry calls constantly from people complaining about how they have to pay for coverage they don’t need, and wanting an alternative.  Short Term plans would have been one of those options.

Skewed risk pools and helping to cover everyone is the flip side argument

The other side of the coin is that some people believe that IF people were allowed to purchase these Short Term Plans, with limited coverage, a few things would happen

  1.  People would not understand what they are purchasing and get themselves into trouble when they don’t have coverage for something they THOUGHT they were covered for
  2. The only people that would purchase these Short Term Plans would be the healthier people, thereby skewing the risk pool with more sick people and insurance companies having to pay out big bucks on these people on an unbalanced level
  3. The Short Term Plan insurance companies would most likely be located out of CA.  Because of that, the CA lawmakers feel that they would have little recourse to hold them accountable for any “issues” that occur.

CA has pushed for Single Payer or Universal Coverage for years

Depending on who you talk with, CA has wanted to move to the Universal Coverage platform for many years now.  The problem is how to pay for it.  By some estimates, it would cost CA into the TRILLIONS over a 10 year period, limit choice and create chaos.

Hey…not easy answers here.  If I had one, I’d be very famous.  Its a complicated subject and EVERYONE has an option.

Steve Brauer-Principal, Brauer Insurance Services, (877) 421-4325.    www.brauerinsurance.com

Small Business Health Insurance little secret……once a year Special Enrollment Period

By | September 1st, 2018|Categories: ACA, Affordable Employee Benefits, Bay Area Employee Benefits, Business Health Insurance, CA Employee Benefits, California Employer Benefits, Employee Benefits, Employee Benefits San Jose, Employee Health Benefits, Employee Health Insurance, Employer Health Insurance, Employer Mandate, Group Benefits, Group Employee Benefits, Group Health Benefits, Group Health Insurance, Group Health Insurance, Group Health Plans, Group Medical Insurance, Health Exchange and small business, Health Reform, Healthcare Reform, HR, Kaiser Business Insurance, Kaiser Group Health Insurance, Obama Care, ObamaCare, Obamacare compliance, Over 50 employees, Small Business Benefits, Small Business Employee Benefits, Small Business Health Insurance, Small Group Health Insurance|

If you are an employer that is looking to put together a Group Health Insurance plan, there may be some affordable options out there, only available once a year.  The ACA (ObamaCare) has mandated that once a year, during the month of November, all carriers, Kaiser, Anthem, Aetna, UHC, Blue Shield, all have to accept Small Businesses with very little restrictions.  This is a little secret that the carriers would rather you NOT know

Some of the cool advantages to the SEP (Special Enrollment Period)

All carriers HAVE to accept any small business, no matter how many of the employees want to enroll OR even if the employer does not want to contribute to the offering of the Group Health Insurance or Employee Benefits.  Insurance companies would rather have the more restricted guidelines for acceptance.  Here’s an example why;  lets say a company of 25 employees want to offer Group Health Insurance but only 4 of the employees want to enroll because the others think its too expensive.  The 4 enrolling are PROBABLY the ones that really need the coverage…maybe they have health issues or whatever.  The insurance companies would rather “spread” the risk around more healthy employees, than just the sick ones.

Very tight window for this to happen

Employers (and brokers that focus on Employee Benefits) have a very small window to get all of the underwriting requirements through the approval process of the insurance companies.  The approval has to happen in early December, for the effective date of January 1st.  Having helped many businesses through this process, I’ve learned a few “tricks of the trade” to get approval quickly.

Change can happen every year

With Group Health Insurance, you have the ability to change your insurance whenever you want.  Its literally a month to month contract.  With this SEP, Special Enrollment Period, if the coverage you choose this year is not exactly what you wanted, you can always change to another insurance company during this time, next year, making it very versatile.

One more reason to working with an agency that focuses on Employee Benefits.  Having a Specialist working for you, whether its us or someone else, can pay huge dividends.

 

Steve Brauer, Principal, Brauer Insurance Services LLC, www.brauerinsurance.com  (877) 421-4325

Employers that embrace HSA Group Health Plans for their employees can still save big

By | August 28th, 2018|Categories: ACA, Affordable Employee Benefits, Bay Area Employee Benefits, Business Health Insurance, California Employer Benefits, Employee Benefits San Jose, Employee Health Benefits, Employee Health Insurance, Group Benefits, Group Employee Benefits, Group Health Insurance, Group Health Insurance, Group Health Plans, Group Medical Insurance, HR, Kaiser, Kaiser Business Insurance, Kaiser Employee Health Insurance, Kaiser Group Health Insurance, Kaiser Permanente, Small Business Benefits, Small Business Employee Benefits, Small Business Health Insurance, Small Group, Small Group Health Insurance|

Back in 2004 when HSA plans made their debut, most employers made the switch, including myself.  It made absolute sense.  The savings in moving from a traditional plan was so great that employers were fully funding the employee’s deductibles, and still saving a ton of money.  It was a no brainer…..then something changed.  Because so many people moved to the HSA platform, it skewed the amount of claims that these HSA plans experienced.  The premium increase in the next few years were ugly, almost 50-60% in some cases.

 Group Health Insurance is not cheap, but strategy is key

Its been 14 years since HSA plans were introduced and the pricing have leveled off.  Employee Benefit HSA plans are not the screaming deal they once were, but still something to consider when an employer wants to look at being strategic.  In my own agency, we offer Kaiser plans, the HSA Kaiser Bronze plan and some plans in the Silver and Gold tier.  The Kaiser HSA Group Health Insurance plan pricing is between 30-50% cheaper than its Silver and Gold plans.  Depending on your employee count, the ages of the employees, their dependents, etc, the monthly savings can be significant.  There are some drawbacks to the HSA Health Plan model.

HSAs are great, but employee education is vital

If an employer is considering moving their employees to an HSA Group Health Insurance Plan, there are a few things to consider.  With HSA plans, ALL services (except for yearly preventative visits) are full price until the yearly deductible is met.  That means no more $20 or $30 copay to go to the doctor.  No more $5 prescriptions.  Employees pay the “negotiated rate” for the services they receive, until the deductible is met.  That is a huge difference from the traditional Group Health Plan model.

Some strategies that help both employers and employees

Many employers will help “fund” their employee’s personal HSA savings accounts, to help offset the costs employee’s have to pay when they DO go to the doctor.  Many times the savings that employers enjoy, allow them to share that savings with employees.  Any money deposited into an HSA savings account is tax deductible and can be used for tons of things like prescriptions, office visits, massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, over the counter drugs, etc.

Even though the HSA Group Insurance Plans are not as inexpensive as they were years ago, its still worth business owners checking out to see if it would be a good fit.

 

Steve Brauer, Principal, Brauer Insurance Services, www.brauerinsurance.com,   (877) 421-4325

Are Employee Benefits really important to Small Businesses, or a waste of money

By | August 21st, 2018|Categories: ACA, ACA Compliance, Affordable Employee Benefits, Business Health Insurance, Employee Benefits San Jose, Employee Health Benefits, Employer Mandate, Group Benefits, Group Employee Benefits, Group Health Insurance, Group Medical Insurance, HR, Obamacare compliance, Small Business Employee Benefits|

The bottom line to all of the talk about Employee Benefits or Group Health Insurance for smaller companies is this….they really have to make sense for you, as an employer, to have them available to your employees.  I’ve been introduced to so many owners of companies that don’t see the value in Employee Benefits being offered to their people.  When I hear things like that, my usual response is, “sounds like this would not be a good fit for you”  Employee Benefits are expensive, confusing, and can be a pain to manage, but they ARE one of the most sought after employment pieces, second only to wages.

Group Benefits and Employee Benefits are confusing and expensive

All of the employers I speak to on our first meeting, I let them know that the relationship they have with their broker is paramount.  I recommend that they do their due diligence on so called “experts”, and find out what experience they’ve had, and what their agency culture is like.  Employee Benefits is a niche field.  An agent that is not a specialist, or lacking experience, can screw things up, in a bad way.  There are tons of people running around trying to advise employers on Employee Benefits, and some are taking a stab at explaining  the super complicated Employer Mandate compliance laws of the ACA.  Do your homework on these folks!!

There are compliance aspects for all employers that offer Employee Benefits to their people

Even if your company is under 50 employees, there are some major liability issues associated with Group Benefits and the responsibility of employers.  One of the biggest issues I’ve found is the required notifications for new hires, as well as terminated employees for Cobra.  Missing a filing or not being timely can cost companies dearly.  In the 15 years I’ve been in business, I think I’ve taken on so many companies that had a “generalist” as a broker, that were unaware of so many of these compliance issues.  Being a new agent back in 2003, there were tons of things I did not know, but nowadays the liability and complexities of Employee Benefits, Group Health Insurance and Group Benefits is staggering.

Find a broker that specializes in Group Benefits and do your due diligence.

 

Steve Brauer, Principle-Broker, Brauer Insurance Services LLC, www.brauerinsurance.com  (877) 421-4325

States may have the ability to make changes to the ACA that affect coverage and subsidies

By | August 15th, 2018|Categories: ACA, Affordable Employee Benefits, Business Health Insurance, Employee Benefits San Jose, Group Benefits, Group Employee Benefits, Group Health Plans, Group Medical Insurance, Small Business Benefits, Small Business Employee Benefits, Small Business Health Insurance|

Built into the ACA is section 1332 which allows individual states to make changes to not only coverage but to the offered subsidies to Individual and Group Health Plans.  The Minimal Essential Coverage of Employee Benefit plans can be altered, and probably will be.  We should see some ruling very soon concerning how changes can happen and how much.  ACA proponents are worried that it is slowly being chipped away with all of the rulings and the current political landscape.  I’m fairly certain about one thing….the ACA, even though it may change, is not going away, no matter who is in office.  Why?  There is nothing to replace it that is comprehensive and affordable.

Lots of ideas about how to get rid of ObamaCare, none of which are affordable

The big joke when the Affordable Care Act started was that it was anything but affordable.  Its had a lot of names that I won’t repeat, but one of the more common names is the UN-Affordable Care Act.  Since its inception in 2010, prices of Group Health Insurance Plans and even Health Insurance Plans, have risen probably well over 150%.  Where’s the “affordability”?  One of the ideas is “Medicare for all”.  Nice idea, again, how are we going to pay for it?  Lots of great ideas, but no one wants to shell out huge bucks to fund these ideas

GOP tax cuts have actually helped employers offer Group Health Insurance

With President Trump signing into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, it has significantly lowered everyone’s tax bracket and also corporate taxes from 35% to 21%, allowing employers to be able to offer Group Benefits to their employees with he extra money.  I have personally helped several employers, who, because of the tax breaks, are now offering Employee Benefits to their people.  Companies with under 50 employees are not required to offer the Group Health Insurance, but the numbers of employers now offering Employee Benefits are rising, according to many of the Group Benefit publications from April through July.

If companies want to attract and retain good people, Employee Benefits are definitely one of the key components.   In the Bay Area, companies are competing with Apple, Google, Ebay, and a whole host of others for good employees.

BIG changes to HSAs coming very soon…and they are all good!

By | August 4th, 2018|Categories: ACA, Group Health Insurance, HRA, HSA, HSA plans, Medicare, Medicare Part A|

Under Obama,  (Health Savings Accounts) HSAs became more restrictive and the yearly maximums individuals and families increased, but at a very slow rate.  If you have an HSA compatible health plan, sometimes called an HDHP, that allows you to bank tax free money in a savings account to pay for many things medically necessary.  That includes Dental, Vision, Chiropractic, Acupuncture, as well as prescription drugs, and durable medical equipment (ie;CPAP machine, hospital type equipment, etc..)  Well, the list of qualified medical expenses just got a lot larger.

HSA money can be used for things like gym memberships and over-the-counter (OTC) medications

The House of Representatives adopted two health care bills that expand HSAs like we’ve never seen.  H.R. 6199 and H.R. 6311 will help not only HSAs, but Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs), and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs).  Employers can also allow employees to transfer balances in FSAs to an employee’s HSA account with limits of $2650 for individuals and $5300 for families, a HUGE benefit for people not to lose their FSA money that has a “use it or lose it” component.  Employees working past the age of 65 and enrolled in Medicare Part A (Hospitalization part) can now contribute into an HSA, which was previously unlawful.

Catastrophic plans, sometimes called Copper Plans, will be available to everyone

Under current law, the thinner, catastrophic health plans are only available to people under the age of 30 years old.  Under the new law, it would be available to everyone, no matter what your age.  This will SIGNIFICANTLY lower the monthly cost for people over 30, albeit with a plan that is thin on coverage.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the marketplace and how the pricing will be adjusted to accommodate these thinner plans.  My guess….many healthy people will enroll, rolling the dice on not needing a ton of services for the year.

Love Trump or hate him, he has made some significant positive changes in the Health Insurance landscape.

 

Steve Brauer is the Principal at Brauer Insurance Services where he and his daughter Bonnie, help strategize Group Health Insurance Plans for companies with under 100 employees.  www.brauerinsurance.com  (877) 421-4325

Short Term Health Individual Plans may be WAY cheaper than a traditional ACA plan

By | August 3rd, 2018|Categories: ACA, ACA Compliance, Obamacare compliance|

The Trump Administration just released the final ruling on what a Short Term Plan is going to look like for 2019, and since the Individual Mandate is now gone, these plans may become very popular.  Years ago, these plans were used as “bridges” for people that lost coverage, or were in a waiting period of a new job, they were never meant for people to use them as their long term solution to healthcare.  There are some drawbacks to Short Term Health Plans that people need to be aware of.

Short Term Plans have limitations in length of coverage and what is exactly covered

Previously, Short Term Plans have had a maximum time period of about 3 months.  With the new ruling, the maximum length will be one year, with the possibility of extending that up to 3 years.  Short Term Plans or STPs, have coverage limitations as well and do not cover many of the services that the ACA plans have now, worrying some critics that people will flood to these plans, leaving the ObamaCare, ACA plans for the sick and needy people.  The cost of the STPs are forecasted to be as much as 80% cheaper than an ACA compliant ObamaCare plan.

STPs will be regulated state by state

The Short Term Plans will be regulated by the individual states and can be more restrictive than federal regulations.  Each insurance commissioner will be responsible for overseeing and monitoring the STPs in their state.  This oversight was a key component with NAHU, the organization of Health Underwriters, that our agency belongs to.  They were instrumental in the structuring and helping various entities when the STPs were being constructed.  This is still a work in progress, but according to many sources, its just a matter of some fine tuning, and when these will actually be available for consumers.

Medicare is not that complicated when you break it down, here are some simple tips

By | July 29th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|

So if you are within 12 months of turning 65, get ready for the onslaught of mailers and phone calls about Medicare.  You will end up getting about 800 pounds of stuff in the mail, agents calling your phone, and friends giving you advice about Medicare that probably should keep quiet.  Here are the basics; Medicare has 4 parts, A,B,C and D, that I will get into in a minute.  The first question you have to answer is: are you coming off of a PPO plan or an HMO plan?

Medicare is unique in the way it delivers healthcare to its members

The two choices with Medicare is “Original Medicare” with a Supplement (I call it the PPO option), or Medicare Advantage Plan, sometimes called an MAPD which stands for Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (I call it the HMO option.)  The #PPO option allows more freedom for members.  There are many more doctors to choose from, most times they can see a Specialist without being referred, and most members feel they are more in control.  The #HMO option is more restrictive where you allow the insurance company to “administer” all of your Medicare and you are in a captive system.  This is a cheaper model, but with fewer choices, where you can ONLY see providers in that specific group.

The Medicare letters can be confusing too

Part A:  Hospital services, covered 100% by Medicare, NO cost to members

Part B:  Physician services, covered 80% by Medicare, cost is determined by your annual income

Part C:  Medicare “Supplement”, designed to cover much of the 20% of Part B.  Part C (called MediGap, Medicare Supplement and other names) is optional for Medicare enrollees. Cost for member is about $150 a month

Part D: Prescription Drug Plan, to help pay for prescriptions.  This plan can cost as little as $20 a month, up to $150 a month, depending on your drug needs.

Someone who chooses the Part A,B,C,D above, is in the Original Medicare, and what I call the PPO version of Medicare.  The HMO option (as I call it)  has all of these parts, but you are allowing the insurance company to handle or “administer” these, in their network or group.  Not a bad choice, just very limiting and probably not a good fit for someone on a PPO  in a Group Health Plan now.

 

GOOD ADVICE:  Find an agent that you trust and have them get into more detail…this is a fairly big decision

 

Steve Brauer, Principal, Brauer Insurance Services, www.brauerinsurance.com  (877) 421-4325

More employers are offering Employee Benefits and Group Health Plans with HSA option to their employees

By | July 20th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|

You would think that with the sky high price of Employee Benefits, especially Group Health Insurance, that employers would be shying away from offering it to their employees.  Not at all the case.  In fact, to attract and retain employees, many #employers are increasing their Benefits offering to compete.  A fantastic way to help with the cost of Group Insurance is having plans with an HSA component attached.  Simply having a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) is not enough…the plan has got to be HSA compatible.  That means that not only does it have to be High Deductible, but have other parts of the insurance fit the #HSA model.

Think of an HSA as a “Medical IRA” and use it as such

One of the benefits of having an HSA, is that you can bank thousands of dollars each year, pre-taxed, to use on almost everything Health, Dental, Vision, Chiropractic, Hearing, Prescriptions, and a ton of other things.  Unlike an FSA, you can bank way more money and roll it over year to year, without a penalty with an HSA.  The downside to having an HSA compatible Health Plan is that most times, you have to pay everything before your deductible is satisfied (at the negotiated rate of course), which can be costly….especially if you don’t have the funds in the HSA account yet.

HSAs are not for everyone

If you have the money to fund the account, month after month, even a little bit, it can really add up.  Used judiciously, many people I know (including me), have thousands in their HSA account.  Once accumulated, now if you have a big expense, its not such a big hit, financially.  This is especially attractive for employers offering to either fund some of the employee’s HSA accounts, or purchase products that help pay for expenses incurred when they DO happen.  I like to call this “underfunding” the High Deductible Health Plans.  It is super effective if you have discipline and you’ve gotten the education from the Health Broker on HSA strategies.  Without these two pieces, it probably will not work for you.

 

Steve Brauer-Principal, Brauer Insurance Services.  We specialize in Group Health Plans for employers with under 100 employees all over the state of CA.  www.brauerinsurance.com

ObamaCare Employer Mandate may be halted, ACA on the chopping block again

By | July 18th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|

Currently employers with over 50 employees are mandated to provide Group Health Insurance coverage for their full timer workers.  If they don’t, the #ACA penalties can be very stiff, to the tune of $2000 to $3000 an employee per year.  #Employers not in compliance have been getting IRS 226-J letters, advising them of their misdeeds and what they owe to the #IRS.

Big scary #226J letters from the IRS are nothing to mess with

Whether you agree with the #EmployerMandate of the ACA or not, ObamaCare is the law of the land, currently.  The IRS 226J letters that have been going out are freaking out employers all over the country.  The letter is generated by the IRS when an employer is out of compliance with the ACA’s Employer Mandate, with their Employee Benefits offering to their employees.  Many times the employer simply filled out the yearly form incorrectly, and is easily fixed.  The employers that have ignored the Employer Mandate or are out of compliance, have a problem.  If the Employer Mandate is halted or taken away, these employers will have dodged a bullet.

The GOP is sponsoring a bill to halt and maybe do away with the Employer Mandate

The bill sponsored by GOP Reps. Devin Nunes (Calif.) and Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) would suspend penalties for the employer mandate for 2015 through 2019 and delay implementation of the tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health plans for another year, pushing it back to 2022.  This would be a big blow to all of the ACA supporters that had hoped that #ObamaCare would solve the nations healthcare issues, or at least address them.  I’m all in favor of helping businesses, which is the life blood of the nation, but if you get rid of the ACA, you had better have something in place to replace it….and not something that would bring us to our knees in cost.  Many people are screaming for #SinglePayer.  To them I say…is it better care, and what is the cost.  Usually when that question is posed, all you hear is crickets.

 

Steve Brauer-Principal, Brauer Insurance Services, www.brauerinsurance.com  (877) 421-4325

Employee Benefits and Group Health Insurance will be looking different in 2019 with Trump

By | July 18th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|

The Employee Benefits and Group Health industry will be making some major changes soon.  President Trump is bringing back Short Term Health Plans and Association Plans, to help ease the skyrocketing cost of Group Health Insurance for employers.  There is a down side to this.  Short Term plans, many times, can be very light on benefits and even deny people coverage for their pre-existing conditions.  That might actually be good news for a lot of us.  The lower rates means that some people can now afford coverage that they could not afford under the #ACA.

ACA plans have certain mandated benefits embedded in every plan

Some people may not NEED all of the coverage and may not WANT to pay for all of that coverage.  These Short Term Plans may be a viable alternative.  I used to be able to get a 20 year old a health plan for about $80 a month.  Yes, it was thin on coverage, more of a catastrophic plan….but it was something to cover major issues.  NOW, you cannot find a plan for under $225, why?  All of the “essential benefits” in EVERY plan, no matter what age you are.  No wonder 20 somethings are waiving off these plans.  Even if they do have to pay a “tax”, its much cheaper than the monthly premium of a base health insurance plan.

Employee Benefits are even more important now, for employers

With the economy booming, employers are fighting for every employee they can find.  #EmployeeBenefits and #GroupHealth are one of the first things that potential employees ask about.  They are becoming much more savvy than years ago.  Employers with crappy Group Health Plans, or ones that don’t offer any Group Benefits, are missing the boat.  Yes, they are crazy expensive, and yes, they are confusing.  That is why every employer needs a Benefits Advisor that specializes in Group Health Insurance and Employee Benefits.  Speaking to a “generalist” is a waste of time, and is not in your best interest.

Do your due diligence and stalk some of these “specialists”

What makes a broker a specialist?  Why are they calling themselves that?  Stalk them a bit….online of course, and find out a bit about them.  Have they been in business for 10+ years, or did they just change careers?  What’s their background….can they be trusted.  Maybe yes, maybe no.  I’ve met a lot of brokers that should not be selling insurance, for many reasons.  Message here….do your homework!!

 

Steve Brauer-Principal, Brauer Insurance Services, www.brauerinsurance.com,  (877) 421-4325

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