IRS sets HSA limits for 2019

Posted by Emily Kubis on Wed, May 16, 2018 @ 09:05

Limits slightly increased

The IRS has released the new Health Savings Accounts contribution limits and maximum out-of-pocket figures for 2019.

Next year, contribution limits for individuals rise to $3,500, from $3,450 in 2018. For families, limits rise to $7,000, from 2017’s $6,900.

Maximum out-of-pocket figures also rose—for individuals, the max out-of-pocket is $6,750, up from $6,650 in 2018, and for families, max out-of-pocket is $13,500, from $13,300 in  2018.

Bernard Health's HSA-eligible plan adoption rate is 81 percent—well over industry averages.  Here are three things to know about HSAs in 2019.

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, HSAs, health savings account, obamacare, HSA Rules, health reform, health savings accounts, heath insurance

Is Obamacare repeal over?

Posted by Emily Kubis on Mon, Feb 12, 2018 @ 07:02

Repeal train slows, but what’s next?

Is the GOP giving up on Obamacare? Healthcare stakeholders and political news entities are suggesting as much. Forbes reports “insurer profits rise as Trump waves white flag on Obamacare,” noting the President mentioned Obamacare only once during his State of the Union address.

Politico reported there were no discussions of repeal and replace at a recent House and Senate joint retreat, and BenefitsPro said Republican leaders in the House and the Senate see a lot of risk and little reward in trying repeal again.

While hardly anything is certain when it comes to U.S. healthcare policy, if the GOP does move on to new priorities in 2018, where does that leave brokers and employers?

Here are three things employers should consider.

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, obamacare, aca, employers, health insurance small employers, employer digest, employee benefit adviser, repeal and replace

Three healthcare resolutions for consumers in 2018

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Wed, Jan 10, 2018 @ 08:01

Looking ahead to 2018

Healthcare policies made plenty of headlines in 2017, but unfortunately, there won’t be much relief for consumers when it comes to high costs and out-of-pocket spending.

Republicans were largely focused on repealing the Affordable Care Act this year, in efforts that were ultimately unsuccessful. The party did successfully repeal the individual mandate through the Republican tax bill, but a year later, the law is still largely intact, and very little time has been spent trying to improve it.

Both the law’s supporters and opponents agree that Obamacare has challenges—particularly around affordability. But a bipartisan solution to those challenges was not in the cards this year, and 2018 doesn’t seem promising, either.

Repealing the individual mandate will reduce the tax burden for consumers who don’t want to carry insurance, but it won’t affect many of the other challenges healthcare consumers face. These include rising medical bills, narrow networks, and increased out-of-pocket costs.

The takeaway? Expect expenses to remain steady or rise next year. In light of this, here are three resolutions for consumers about how to minimize your costs and become a better healthcare consumer. It won’t help you avoid all of your bills, but it might help reduce your costs.

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, health insurance, obamacare, marketplace, universal healthcare, individual market, Bernie Sanders, Huffington Post, single-payer, tim kaine

Three healthcare resolutions for Democrats in 2018

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Fri, Jan 05, 2018 @ 07:01

Looking ahead to 2018

After Republicans failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act in 2017, some Democrats might be thinking that the issue is resolved—but that would be a mistake.

Republicans successfully repealed the law’s individual mandate through their tax bill, which leaves the fate of the U.S. healthcare system as uncertain as ever. Further, Republicans have said they are not giving up on repealing Obamacare in total, and the law still faces challenges related to affordability and access for many consumers.

So as Democrats look ahead to 2018, the party should remain focused on improving the healthcare system, while staying vigilant when it comes to repeal. Here are three healthcare resolutions for the party.

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, health insurance, obamacare, marketplace, universal healthcare, individual market, Bernie Sanders, Huffington Post, single-payer, tim kaine

2018 healthcare resolutions for Republicans

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Wed, Dec 27, 2017 @ 09:12

Looking ahead to 2018

When it comes to healthcare, the events of 2017 were probably not what many Republicans hoped for.

This time last year, repeal of the Affordable Care Act seemed imminent. Even up until a few months ago, rolling back the health reform law still seemed pretty likely. But after multiple proposals to repeal the ACA failed to pass, efforts are now at a standstill.

As Republicans look toward 2018, all the hopes for repeal are pinned on the party’s tax bill. The bill currently includes a provision that would repeal the individual mandate, setting the party up to reshape the U.S. healthcare system in the coming year.

So as the party looks back on the lessons of 2017 and into the new year, here are three healthcare “New Year’s Resolutions” for Republicans.

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, health insurance, obamacare, marketplace, universal healthcare, individual market, Bernie Sanders, Huffington Post, single-payer, tim kaine

What does the individual mandate repeal mean?

Posted by Emily Kubis on Thu, Dec 21, 2017 @ 10:12

What individuals should know

Congress successfully passed the Republican tax bill Wednesday, which includes a repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate.

What does this mean for consumers?

The individual mandate is the Obamacare policy that requires consumers who can afford health insurance to carry it. Under the ACA, if consumers choose to go uninsured, they face a penalty when they file their taxes for the year they lacked coverage.

The repeal is effective in 2019, meaning consumers who forgo health insurance in 2019 will not face a tax penalty in 2020.

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, aca, Individual health insurance, Individual Plans, individual mandate, individual digest

Open enrollment ends Friday, Dec. 15

Posted by Emily Kubis on Wed, Dec 13, 2017 @ 08:12

iStock-457864147.jpg

Sign up before the deadline for 2018 coverage

The deadline to sign up for 2018 individual health insurance on the Affordable Care Act exchanges is this Friday, Dec. 15.

Consumers who need insurance should sign up before midnight on Friday. If you miss the deadline, you won’t be able to sign up without experiencing a qualifying event for special enrollment, like having a baby.

Here are a few things consumers should know.

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, aca, Individual health insurance, marketplace, open enrollment, Individual Plans, individual digest

After a year of trying to repeal Obamacare, has anything changed?

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Mon, Nov 20, 2017 @ 07:11

What's changed, and what's stayed the same?

In some ways, it’s remarkable we made it to open enrollment at all. 

This time last year, repeal seemed imminent. No one could say with any certainty that the ACA would still be functioning in time for open enrollment.

Repeal seemed likely throughout the year, too. Plenty of plans were proposed, but at the end of the year, all it amounted to was noise. For the fifth year in a row, open enrollment rolls on. 

But a year of attempting to repeal the law has introduced more confusion into an already complex situation. Consumers have questions: Can I continue my plan from last year? Am I still required to sign up for coverage? 

Let’s take a look at what has, and hasn’t, changed.

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, healthcare, aca, open enrollment, The Tennessean, individual market, federal exchanges, individual digest

Sanders' single-payer versus Kaine's public option

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Wed, Nov 15, 2017 @ 08:11

With Democrats leaning left on healthcare, which proposal will win the party?

Two Democratic senators have proposed different paths this year to achieve the party’s goal of universal healthcare. Senator Bernie Sanders has proposed a single-payer bill, and Senator Tim Kaine has put forth a proposal that would allow individuals to buy into Medicare.

The plans are called “Medicare-for-All” and “Medicare X,” respectively, and they both share the goal of accessible, affordable health coverage for every American. But they accomplish this goal in two very different ways.

To compare Medicare-for-All and Medicare X, we need to first explore the differences between universal healthcare and single-payer.

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, health insurance, obamacare, marketplace, universal healthcare, individual market, Bernie Sanders, Huffington Post, single-payer, tim kaine

Comparing Nashville’s 2018 marketplace plans

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Mon, Nov 13, 2017 @ 09:11

Get ready to sign up for coverage

Last month, Vanderbilt University Medical Center made headlines for agreeing to be included in-network with Cigna for the carrier’s Affordable Care Act plans in Nashville.

Before the deal was inked, VUMC was not in-network with either of the carriers offering marketplace plans next year, which caused a lot of consumer anxiety.

In my last column, I asked—does this mean consumers should choose Cigna? Does every consumer need access at Vanderbilt?

In this column, we’ll try to answer that question, and compare the options available in Nashville.

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, healthcare, aca, open enrollment, The Tennessean, individual market, federal exchanges, individual digest

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