Is supplemental coverage right for your company?

Open enrollment has almost arrived, and for most companies that means taking a look at their coverage options. There is one extra question every company should be asking themselves this year: should I be adding supplemental insurance to my benefit plan?

Supplemental insurance is extra or additional insurance you can purchase to help pay for services and out-of-pocket expenses that regular insurance does not cover. Some plans reimburse for expenses incurred, while others pay specific amounts regardless of how much you have paid out-of-pocket. So many people with these policies even get a little extra cash in their pocket in addition to their services paid for.

Examples of policies are Critical Illness, Short-Term and Long-Term Disability, Dental, Vision, Life, Accident and more.

We recommend to all of our clients that they add supplemental insurance to ensure employees are truly taken care of in their time of need. Supplemental plans are typically inexpensive and pay quickly so employees can start using the funds to pay incurred medical bills, seek additional treatment or supplement lost income as a result of injury or sickness.

They can also be a great employee recruiting and/or retention tool. In a competitive job market, benefits can be one of the biggest reason an employee chooses to stay at or join your company. Supplemental benefits are not offered by all employers, though they are easy to set up and require little administration from an employer.

One of the best parts about ClaimLinx’s Simple Option Solution is that it creates savings, which companies can use for any number of improvements. It’s a great opportunity to add these policies at no additional cost overall to the company. Employers can select plans for employees or offer employees a monthly dollar amount so they can choose the plans that fit their needs.

These plans pay employees when they need it most. Catastrophic incidents can leave families with thousands of dollars in bills, even with a good insurance plan. Using savings to buy these plans shelters employees from this problem at no additional cost to you.

We tell clients to think of their overall health plan like raising a roof. The major medical plan is the frame that holds it all together. The Section 105 MERP is the outer layer of shingles that prevents leaks and is the part people experience day to day. Supplemental plans are the insulation that keep people protected, warm and comfortable.

Contact sales@claimlinx.com if you’re an employer looking to explore adding supplemental insurance to your plan. Or visit www.claimlinxmarketplace.com to see your options for a supplemental plan.

Another lawsuit aims to take down the Affordable Care Act

A federal judge in Texas heard arguments Wednesday in a case aimed at doing what the Republican Congress has not yet been able to do — dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

The suit hinges on the change to the individual mandate as a part of the tax overhaul President Trump signed into law in December, which zeroed out the requirement that most Americans have health insurance or pay a fine.

The GOP plaintiffs also sought a “preliminary injunction” of the law, which would mean the law would be suspended while the case is decided. The judge has not made a decision on the injunction yet.

Judge Reed O’Connor, a conservative jurist appointed by George W. Bush, heard arguments from GOP plaintiffs, the Justice Department and 17 Democratic attorneys general, with the bulk of his questions going to the defendants of the law.

The lead Democrat arguing the case, California attorney general Xavier Becerra, cautioned against ending the law, even temporarily, as it “would wreak havoc in our health care system.”

The case was filed in February by 18 GOP attorneys general and two GOP governors. They argue the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate in 2012 as a part of Congress’s authority to tax. Now that the mandate carries no penalty, it can no longer be justified as a tax and should be struck down. And without the mandate, the rest of the law crumbles, including the law’s arguably most popular requirement, that insurers must cover people with pre-existing conditions at no extra cost.

Legal scholars across the political divide believe this is a weak argument, but the case could be the first to go before the more conservative Supreme Court.

Although the Trump administration is technically the defendant in the case, the administration announced in June it would not defend the law. The Justice Department wrote in its filing with the case that it did not think the entire law needed to be eliminated, but it did agree the protections for preexisting conditions should be eliminated January 1, 2019, when the tax penalty goes away.

Filing a case that could put protections for those with pre-existing conditions at risk has already had some political fallout for Republicans, as Democratic candidates have started using it in their campaigns for Congress.

In response, a group of 10 Republican senators introduced legislations last month that prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage or charging more for a pre-existing condition. Democrats point out that the new legislation would not require insurer’s plans to cover treatment for those illnesses, as the Affordable Care Act currently does.

What all of this means is that this is once again a wait-and-see moment for the Affordable Care Act, a daunting concept with open enrollment and an election quickly approaching.

Explore dental coverage for oral health month

When it comes to dental hygiene and overall oral health, there is nothing more important than regular checkups with a dentist, but without dental coverage affording consistent preventative visits can be a struggle.

June is oral health month, the perfect time for business owners to look at their dental coverage and evaluate if they are offering employees all the benefits they need to remain healthy.

Employers can add dental coverage to their plan at any time during the year; they do not need to wait for their health plan renewal. ClaimLinx will consult with any client on the best option to fit a company’s needs and budget.

One option is to set up a traditional supplemental insurance policy for dental coverage through a major carrier, such as Guardian, Aflac, National General, Delta Dental and more. Another is to use ClaimLinx’s third party administrator services to set up a self-funded dental plan in which employees are reimbursed for qualifying expenses.

The American Dental Association recommends people brush their teeth at least twice per day, floss at least once per day and visit the dentist twice per year for a cleaning and checkup.

Twice annual visits are especially important, because they keep oral health costs low by treating an issue before it escalates. It is estimated that for every dollar spent on preventative care, a person can save between $8-$50 in restorative and emergency treatments, according to a study at the University of Illinois.

But many Americans are forced to put off these visits or early treatment because of out-of-pocket costs or because they do not have dental coverage at all. The same study estimates 1 in 4 American adults have untreated tooth decay.

Offering dental benefits can often be a simple and relatively inexpensive way to improve overall health coverage, which gives employees the peace of mind and fiscal confidence to continue consistent checkups. It is the best way to ensure one of your employees does not become one of the 36% of American adults that has gone more than one year without a dental checkup, according to the Center for Disease Control.

Contact sales@claimlinx.com if you would like to start a conversation about your company’s dental coverage.

 

Early 2019 insurance rates highlight a need for benefit alternatives

Inurance Consultant ClaimLinx offers employers a solution for rising health care costs

BOSTONJune 7, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Insurance premium proposals for 2019 are rolling in this month, so far with requested rate hikes as high as 47 percent in some states. This on top of health care costs outpacing economy-wide inflation for the first time since 2010 forecasts a challenging market for business owners.

Nationwide insurance companies are citing policy changes to the Affordable Care Act, including the repeal of the individual mandate and expanded short term options, as the culprit for the requested higher rates.

Also driving up premiums are medical expenditures. They are expected to rise 2.2 percent this year, compared with 1.9 percent for overall inflation, according to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Yet rising prices have done nothing to quell employees’ desire for improving benefits, as they’re now being used as a benchmark in a tightening job market. Employers are going to need alternative benefit solutions to stay competitive with the national unemployment rate dipping to 3.8 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

They’re going to need options like those offered at ClaimLinx, a full-service consultant, insurance agency and third-party administrator that specializes in guiding business owners through the insurance market with its own unique strategy for achieving the best, most affordable health plan.

ClaimLinx has pioneered a solution for purchasing health insurance that combines traditional high deductible insurance plans with a customized self-funded medical expense reimbursement plan. The resulting plan enables employers to offer top-notch benefits at a much lower cost.

Tom Quigley, National Benefits Consultant at ClaimLinx, emphasized that this has to be business owners’ first priority.

“You’ve got to be providing the best assets you can to your employees or it’s going to become your liability — no question,” he said.

What started as a small idea in Cincinnati about cutting costs on health insurance has grown to a nationwide service with offices in Boston and North Conway, NH. In 2017 ClaimLinx helped business owners save an estimated $3.2 million.

John Moore, President of the manufacturing company Ohio Metal Products, changed his company’s benefits plan to the ClaimLinx solution because of increasing costs and even more limited options.

“Our company has saved tens of thousands of dollars,” Moore said. “ClaimLinx can provide the benefits that we want, not what the insurance company suggests.”

Contact: Whitney Faber, (617) 892-4655
wfaber@claimlinx.com
www.claimlinx.com

View the published press release.

Due date for 1095 forms moved to March

Tax filing deadlines are coming up so some of you may have employees asking questions about their 1095 health coverage information forms. Please be advised at the end of last year the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) extended the deadline for issuing these forms to March 2, 2018.

This means insurance carriers and other insurance providers have until this date to provide Forms 1095-B or 1095-C to members. This 30-day extension is automatic and does not require any paperwork to request it.

However, this does not mean that employees are required to wait to receive this information to file their individual income tax return. The IRS states these forms can be used to assist in preparing a return but are not required to file.

As a reminder, these forms are issued from the primary insurance carrier on your plan, not by ClaimLinx. If employees have not received this form after this deadline, they can request it from the insurance carrier directly.

If you have received any additional instructions from your primary insurance carrier regarding these forms, such as if your carrier is National General, please follow their instructions for filing as soon as possible.