ALL THE LATEST BLOG POSTS FROM STEVE HARRIS, CEBS
If you ever travel to Vail, Colorado, there’s a famous chef named Brian Little who used to work at one of the toniest spots in the Valley. Chef Little realized working nights and weekends towards a Michelin star at one of the largest hospitality brands in the world was not his purpose. He never saw his family, so he decided to walk away and open a small breakfast café that closes at 2:00 p.m. everyday. It’s a small diner where there are no regular tables or a kitchen. Instead, guests gather around a square seating area to watch the line cooks prepare the best German pancakes and eggs benedict in the world. It’s appropriately called …
This New Year’s Eve hospital systems across the country watched the ball drop in NYC while also preparing their double-dutch secret pricing lists to post online. In industry parlance, this master pricing is known as a Chargemaster. This federal mandate falls under a requirement in the 2010 Affordable Care Act that calls for every service or procedure and it’s associated billing costs to be listed online. Until this week, hospital systems were not required to publish them.
The year was 2003 and I was working with a Fortune 500 company in Austin, TX that would be the first large employer (10,000+ covered employees) to launch a consumer driven health plan (CDHP). The savings the company realized from the federally mandated high deductibles would be redistributed in the form of health savings account (HSA) dollars so employees and their dependents could be better stewards of their own money. Employees loved that the money in the HSA was theirs to keep and they would not lose it at the end of the year (FSA) or when they left the company (HRA).
As we flash forward to the 2019 healthcare marketplace, average deductibles for employer health plans have
First a bit of background - ACA History
Starting in 2011, Departments issued regulations requiring non-grandfathered gropu health plans and carriers to cover all FDA-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and related education and counseling. As a result, many of our clients that objected to these rules on faith-based principles, elected to remain grandfathered under the ACA. If you applaud this position, give credit to a company like Hobby Lobby for taking their case to the Supreme Court where a ruling was made to allow closely held for-profit companies that had religious objections to receive a similar accommodation that was previously granted to religious non-profits.
That Was Then … This .. Just In
The Internal Revenue Service ("IRS"), has just released their annual limits for 2019. Yes, this is the kind of thing that gets me all excited. It must be hard for the IRS, whose sole purpose is to collect taxes, to furnish us the new limits allowing for greater tax savings for astute health plan participants who like to save money. This does not mean we do not believe in paying our fair share ... it only means we do not like to pay more than our fair share.
As we transition from Halloween to Thanksgiving, we know many of our clients and their service teams are preparing for or have already conducted open enrollment. While most employees appreciate their benefits, they are not familiar with all the work that HR and executive leaders put into what gets delivered at the enrollment meeting. One of the major reasons for providing health insurance is to protect families from a catastrophic financial loss. This is why most employers buy stop loss insurance to cover large claims.
I recently came across this article, published by Business Insurance with the following headline "Few employers offer transgender benefits". This article, along with the growing news coverage around bathroom use for transgender, prompted me to investigate exactly what percentage of the population here is impacted. According to two of the largest surveys ever conducted on the topic, approximately .3 percent or 700,000 people in the United States identify as transgender.
As a latchkey kid that grew up watching the Brady Bunch, the family I wished to emulate had three boys, three girls, Carol and Mike as parents and a maid named Alice. Amidst parents that divorced when I was six years old, me and many of my GenX colleagues learned to fend for ourselves by working through high school and cooking our own dinner. While my mother did her best to support us with dad's alimony check and her high school education, me and my two sisters grew up quickly and were taught not to complain, get a good education and strive for a career that included a Rolex watch at a long-tenured employer.
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