Americans are Paying More for Employer-based Insurance under Obamacare

According to Bankrate.com, 47% of Americans with employer-based health insurance say more money is being taken out of their paychecks each month for health insurance than a year ago, and 44% have higher out-of-pocket expenses. These statistics affect upper middle income families the most, and they feel hardest hit by Obamacare.

The good news is that most families who feared losing coverage resulting from the Affordable Care Act have not. “Since so much of the Obamacare conversation has focused on uninsured Americans and the government-run exchanges, it’s easy to forget most Americans – about 150 million – get their health insurance from an employer,” said Bankrate.com insurance analyst Doug Whiteman. “People covered under these plans should watch for changes and discuss with their employers how Obamacare may affect their coverage and costs.  In some cases, getting insurance through the health exchanges could be more cost-effective, so it is important to research all possibilities.”

Additional findings:

  • 52% of females with employer-based coverage report higher out-of-pocket expenses, compared to only 35% of males.
  • 48% of Americans want to repeal Obamacare, while only 38% want to keep it.
  • Americans who feel more negative about the law outnumber those feeling more positive by a two-to-one margin (31% to 15%).

The survey results come from Bankrate.com’s Health Insurance Pulse, a monthly survey that tracks how Americans are feeling about health care and their finances. You can read the survey in its entirety here.

If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact us at 513-677-6262; (800) 858-1772 or service@claimlinx.com – we would be happy to help.

US Health Spending Expected to Grow 5.8% Annually

Estimates project aggregate health care spending in the U.S. will grow at an average rate of 5.8% for 2012-2022, according to data released from the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

The increase is one percentage point faster than expected in the gross domestic product so that the health care share of the GDP in 2022 is projected to reach 19.9%, up from 17.9% in 2011.

These projections reflect a combination of factors affecting health care spending, including forecasted changes in the nation’s economy and provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

For 2013 health care spending was projected to remain under 4% because of the sluggish economic recovery, slowed growth in Medicare and Medicaid spending, and continued cost-sharing requirements for the privately insured.

But starting in 2014, growth in national health spending is expected to accelerate to 6.1 percent. The sharp rise in the coming  year is mainly due to the expanded insurance coverage as a result of the ACA, though either Medicaid or other marketplaces.

The use of medical services and goods, especially prescription drugs and physician services, among the newly insured is expected to contribute significantly to spending increases in Medicaid and private health insurance. In addition, out-of-pocket spending is expected to decline 1.5% in 2014 because of new overages and lower cost sharing for those with better coverage.

Further analysis may indicate these increases may not be cause for alarm, however. The Office of the Actuary also studied the relationship between economic growth and health spending over the past 50 years. It suggests that health spending growth is likely to accelerate once economic conditions improve markedly.

“Although projected growth is faster than in the recent past, it is still slower than the growth experienced over the long term,” Gigi Cuckler, lead author of the study, said.

To learn more about the reasons for the spending increase, read the press release provided by Health Affairs.

 

2014 Tax Provisions of the Affordable Care Act

With the enactment of the Affordable Care Act and Health Care and Education Tax Credits Reconciliation Act of 2010, comes new provisions and changes to the US tax code, creating tax implications for individuals and businesses.

Healthcare Exchanges (Marketplaces) are now open – some are run by the state you live in, while others are run by the federal government.  Please visit the ClaimLinx Exchange for more information.

2014 Health Care Reform Law & Tax Provisions:

  • Individual health care minimum essential coverage mandate/penalties/subsidies.
  • Individuals may be eligible for the new advance Premium Tax Credit that will lower your monthly premium.
  • In 2014, the basic penalty for individuals not adhering to the mandate is $95 or 1% of your yearly income (whichever
  •   is higher), with substantial increases in subsequent years.
  • Exchanges are available to individuals and small businesses.
  • Small Employer Health Care Tax Credit
  • No annual limits on coverage in grandfathered individual and group plans.
  • No preexisting condition exclusions for individuals.
  • Employee awards for wellness programs permitted
  • Annual fee on health insurance providers (for net premiums written after 2012).
  • Increases in required estimated tax payments for large corporations.
  • Flexible Spending Arrangements (FSA) contributions are limited to $2,500 per year starting in 2013 and indexed for inflation after     that.

For more information please visit the Health Care Reform section on our website.  For a free brochure, please email service@claimlinx.com.

If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact us at 513-677-6262; (800) 858-1772 or service@claimlinx.com  – we would be happy to help.

Health Coverage Premiums Rise Slowly Again this Year

Despite a relatively slow rise in costs again this year, premiums for employer health coverage reached above the $16,000 mark for the first time, according to a major survey.

The 4% increase in the cost of a family plan represents the same rate of growth as last year, rising from a cost of $15,745 in 2012 to $16,351 this year. The slowed rate likely reflects employees’ continued tendency to limit the use of health care, said Gary Claxton, vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which performed the annual poll.

However, the exact reason for the relative lull in the continued upward march of health care costs is a topic of debate among health care economists. Some people believe that it is largely a result of the recession, and the effect will likely end when the economy rebounds.

Other economists prescribe to the idea that the downshift may be more tied to permanent changes in how health care is being purchased. For example higher deductibles and increased efficiency among health care providers overall may be slowing the rise in costs.

Claxton said this year’s results showed minimum impact from the federal health law. Most of the major provisions take effect next year, and other, smaller conditions, such as the addition of children up to the age of 26 to their parents’ plans, have already been incorporated into the cost of coverage.

The survey also showed that higher-deductible plans are retaining popularity. The share of employees enrolled in plans that have an annual deductible of $1,000 or more for single coverage hit 38% in 2013, an increase from 34% last year.

For more information on 2013 health care costs, see the article by Anna Wilde Matthews this information was taken from.

ClaimLinx is proactively ready for the many changes of Health Care Reform. For more information, please contact Tom Quigley at tquigley@claimlinx.com or (800)858-1772 X 25.

ClaimLinx Publishes, “How to Beat Obamacare”

CINCINNATI–(BUSINESS WIRE)–ClaimLinx recently published a timely new book entitled, “How to Beat Obamacare.” The book briefly covers the most important parts of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law in 2010 by President Obama. It gives individuals and employers a framework for making smart choices in the new healthcare environment. The book also reveals the secret to saving money on individual health insurance plans for employers.

The authors, Edward A. Lyon, JD CTC, Michael J. McCormick, CPA, ETC, Thomas J. Quigley, Jr. and Christy A. Quigley have over 80 years combined experience in the tax and insurance industry.

In writing the book, Ed Lyon makes it clear that “we’re not here to debate the merits of the law, but we can help by outlining what the law means for you, for your healthcare, and for your taxes.”

Back In 2010, President Obama signed the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” and companion “Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.” Together those two acts, better known by Republicans and Democrats alike as “Obamacare,” represent the biggest change in how we finance healthcare since Medicare was created in 1965. They also include some of the most significant tax changes in a generation. Polls show even today most Americans are confused and concerned about how the Affordable Care act directly affects them – what it is and how much it’s going to cost. Michael McCormick adds, “One poll taken in August of 2013, revealed that four out of ten believed the law was repealed, overturned, or were unsure if it was still law.”

The book outlines a plan which takes advantage of a 55-year-old tax law, Internal Revenue Code Section 105b, that allows employers to reimburse their employees for medical costs incurred by themselves, their spouses, and their dependents. This, in turn, lets employers buy less expensive, higher-deductible insurance coverage – then reimburse their employees directly for the difference between the old deductible and the new. Average yearly savings per employee are $2,000. This program is available in all 50 states and can be implemented and administered fully by ClaimLinx consultants.

For more information about “How to Beat Obamacare,” please visit amazon.com or www.claimlinx.com.