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

New Obamacare repeal bill returns power to states, but will it pass?

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Fri, Aug 25, 2017 @ 08:08

Amendment wouldn't necessarily benefit each state equally

After a summer of debating healthcare, Senate Republicans have yet another Obamacare repeal bill to consider—and this one is more conservative and state-oriented than the GOP’s previous attempts.

The new concept, sponsored by Senators Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham, would redirect current Obamacare spending to the states, giving each state legislature significant flexibility in how the dollars are spent, so long as it’s on healthcare.

The bill is an amendment to the Senate’s initial repeal bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, and it would also repeal the employer and individual mandates, but keep the rule requiring insurers to cover pre-existing conditions. It would cut subsidies and Medicaid expansion and direct the money to the states to use as they see fit.

Cassidy, a physician, says the plan returns power to the states. But the amendment wouldn’t necessarily benefit each state equally. Funding equations would be based on poverty, density and income, and as with any healthcare policy, some consumers would likely benefit from the Cassidy/Graham plan, and others would be worse off.

The amended bill is not expected to be voted on in the near future, but we can anticipate some of the pros and cons of more state control in healthcare.

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, health insurance, obamacare, Individual health insurance, health reform, healthcare costs, Huffington Post, repeal, insurance, repeal and replace

Healthcare and Workforce Experts: Reduce Costs With Consumerism

Posted by Emily Kubis on Thu, Aug 24, 2017 @ 09:08

"You have to bridge the communication gap and make this as easy as possible.”

Benefits brokerage Bernard Health hosted its 7th Annual Health Reform Luncheon Wednesday, bringing together a panel of local healthcare and workforce experts to discuss group plan sustainability, healthcare consumerism, and political uncertainty.

The panel, which comprised Nashville Health Care Council president Hayley Hovious, Healthcare Bluebook co-founder and SVP Bill K

ampine, BernieHR leader Rebekah Michel, and Farm Bureau Health Plans chief marketing officer Randy Wilmore, agreed that the state of health reform was likely to remain uncertain for the foreseeable future.

“I don’t know that you’re going to see a lot of movement,” Hovious said. “When I talk to employers, I’m not getting a sense that they think this is going to get worked out. In terms of planning, it’s likely that there will be more people off of the exchanges, which means more people back on your plan.”

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Tags: health insurance, health reform, employer health benefits, group benefits, healthcare costs, employer digest, BernieHR, Health Reform Luncheon, hayley hovious, bill kampine, randy wilmore, rebekah michel, luncheon

Is Obamacare repeal over? Three possible outcomes

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Fri, Aug 18, 2017 @ 09:08

What consumers might expect 

It has been a dramatic summer for health care policy, and though Senate Republicans’ effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act seem tabled for now, uncertainties still remain.

Consumers will begin signing up for 2018 coverage in just a few months. Meanwhile, the individual market faces challenges, which could end up getting exacerbated or alleviated. While no one can say for sure how the rest of the year will play out, there seem to be three basic scenarios in the cards.

From here, stakeholders could weaken the individual market, strengthen the individual market or put repeal back on the table.

Which one of these is most likely? It’s hard to say, but let’s look at each one at a time.

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, health insurance, obamacare, Individual health insurance, health reform, healthcare costs, Huffington Post, repeal, insurance, repeal and replace

Losing Farm Bureau health coverage? 
What Nashville consumers should know

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Mon, Jul 31, 2017 @ 08:07

Four things to know

If you’re a Nashville consumer who recently received a term letter from Farm Bureau Health Plans, you may be concerned about what to do for health insurance coverage in 2018. The insurer recently announced it would not sell 2018 plans on the Affordable Care Act exchanges, which means current enrollees will have to find new coverage by the year’s end.

Unfortunately, with high levels of uncertainty in both federal healthcare policy and local markets, it isn’t yet clear what consumers can expect to do. There are a lot of questions without answers, which can be frustrating.

But here are a few questions we can answer.

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, healthcare, aca, health reform, The Tennessean, individual market, individual digest, repeal, Farm Bureau Health Plans, repeal and replace

With ACA uncertainty, consider these health insurance alternatives

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Mon, Jul 17, 2017 @ 07:07

Options that could shield you from disruption

The uncertain repeal of the Affordable Care Act makes it hard for consumers to plan ahead for their health insurance needs. But in Tennessee, some consumers can take advantage of nontraditional coverage options. These ACA alternatives include MediShare, underwritten health plans and direct primary care.

These types of plans allow consumers to access healthcare outside of ACA insurance, which could insulate consumers from disruption if the law is repealed.

However, it is important to note that none of these options are considered “qualified coverage” under the ACA. This means that as long as the law is still in place, consumers who only have these types of plans are liable for the tax penalty for lacking qualified coverage.

But in the event that the ACA and the tax penalty is repealed, these options could provide even more value for eligible Tennessee consumers.

Let’s look at each option and what type of consumer might benefit from them.

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, healthcare, aca, health reform, Medi-Share, The Tennessean, individual market, direct primary care, individual digest, American Health Care Act, AHCA

Oscar Health could be Nashville's last shot at health marketplace

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Fri, Jul 07, 2017 @ 08:07

Be nice to the new kid in town

A New York-based insurance company, Oscar Health, announced last week it will sell individual health plans in Nashville in 2018. This is welcome news for many local healthcare consumers, who were down to just one choice for individual health insurance.

But this isn’t the long-term solution Nashville needs. In fact, if 2018 looks much like the previous few years, Oscar Health might not stick around too long, either.

So Nashville — be nice to the new kid in town. Be a good healthcare consumer, or we might be out of options.

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, healthcare, aca, health reform, The Tennessean, individual market, individual digest, American Health Care Act, AHCA, Oscar Health

The American Health Care Act’s winners and losers in Tennessee

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Mon, Jun 19, 2017 @ 12:06

Some consumers would benefit, others would be worse off

Health policy is complicated — for every decision, there are equal and opposite reactions. If the American Health Care Act (AHCA) becomes law, there will be both “winners” and “losers” in Tennessee. In other words, some consumers will benefit, and others will be worse off. 

This makes it tricky for policymakers to strike a balance. The Affordable Care Act certainly didn’t figure this out perfectly, and the Republican Obamacare repeal bill probably won’t, either. 
 
The AHCA, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives last month, still has to make it through the Senate. But based on the first pass at repealing Obamacare, we can make some predictions on the AHCA’s “winners and losers.”

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, healthcare, aca, health reform, The Tennessean, individual market, individual digest, American Health Care Act, AHCA

Predicting which Texas insurance carrier might enter Tennessee

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Tue, Jun 06, 2017 @ 07:06

New insurer could change state dynamic

Tennessee’s individual insurance market has hit a rough patch over the last few years, as BlueCross BlueShield left the Nashville market and UnitedHealthcare and Humana pulled out of the Affordable Care Act exchanges altogether. But reports that a new carrier might enter the state could change this dynamic.

The Tennessean recently reported that Tennessee’s insurance commissioner, Julie Mix McPeak, said that a Texas health insurer was considering entering a metro Tennessee market in 2018. This news could give health insurance consumers in Nashville, Memphis or Chattanooga more choices than initially expected. 

McPeak declined to specify which carrier was considering Tennessee. Examining the carriers currently operating in Texas, we can make a few predictions.

First, there are several carriers we can rule out pretty easily. 

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, healthcare, aca, health reform, The Tennessean, individual market, individual digest, Centene Healthcare, Ambetter

If Obamacare is repealed, Tennessee faces a big decision

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Wed, May 24, 2017 @ 10:05

Waiver choices

Two weeks ago, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA). It is now in front of the Senate. If it ultimately becomes law, Tennessee will have a big decision to make as a state.

The decision relates to how Tennessee wants to approach two insurance regulations that have garnered a lot of controversy ever since Obamacare was passed. The AHCA would give Tennessee the ability to “opt out” of them. Many predict that this option will be “front and center” in Tennessee and all 49 other states if it becomes a reality.

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, healthcare, aca, health reform, The Tennessean, individual market, individual digest, American Health Care Act, AHCA

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