Public Announcements

     

    SCOTUS Ruling Underscores Value of the Insurance Agent

    For more information, contact:
    Lee Manross @ 512-322-9787

    The Supreme Court has released its multi-page opinion in the King V. Burwell case, and the result is clear.  The PPACA was written with the intention that subsides be available in all states, not just those with state-based exchanges.

    The case offers some clarity on the future of health insurance in the United States, and will allow the business and insurance industries to move forward on implementing and adjusting the law.

    Tonya Booth, Vice President of Employee Benefits at Upshaw Insurance Agency in Richardson, says that “This ruling means the implementation of PPACA will continue and its reform provisions will remain in effect for the foreseeable future.  With the exchange question answered, we plan to continue our legislative work to improve the parts of this law that are quite simply broken.  With that being said, some very real and monumental challenges remain.”

    From a big picture perspective, the Court considered two possible scenarios: the reading of the law that subsidies are available in exchanges established by individual states, or the law for universal availability of subsidies in all states and all exchanges. We now know what they chose to do.  So, what next?

    The full-scale implementation of PPACA will continue unabated, all insurance reform provisions will remain in effect, and there’s the possibility that with the continuity of subsidies in all exchanges no longer in question, legislation to “fix” the PPACA will now have more traction to move forward in Congress after summer recess.  Janet Trautwein, CEO of the National Association of Health Underwriters, added “Our hope is that policymakers will now be able to focus on legislative efforts to truly reduce the cost of healthcare, something that the ACA did not. It’s also critical that lawmakers improve upon the portions of our healthcare system that work well. The employer-based system has reliably and effectively delivered quality health coverage to generations of Americans. We, as a nation, need to work to preserve it.”

    The ruling also means that the insurance industry will remain business as usual much as it’s been for the past couple of years.   Kelly Fristoe, President and CEO of employee benefit brokerage Financial Partners in Wichita Falls said, “For the agent community, business will continue as it has been.  We’ll continue to be a resource to our clients in helping them make the best financial decisions possible in their purchase of health insurance plans, both on and off exchange.”

    Joe Phifer, President-Elect for the Texas Association of Health Underwriters, believes “The SCOTUS ruling and the discussion around it underscores that health insurance is exceedingly complex.  So whether it’s an individual, small group or 5,000-life case that’s looking to make a health insurance decision, they’ll want and need the guidance of the best and brightest.  The role of the insurance consultant is even more valuable than ever after today’s ruling.”

    Businesses and consumers interested in locating a professional health benefits adviser in their community who can assist with questions about the Affordable Care Act may go to the “Find an Agent” link on www.tahu.org.

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    Texas Association of Health Underwriters (TAHU) is a state trade association representing licensed health insurance agents, brokers, consultants and benefit professionals who serve the health insurance needs of employers seeking health insurance coverage. TAHU is a state chapter of the National Association of Health Underwriters.

     

    Market Disruption Foreseen If ACA Change Goes Forward

    https://prmediarelease.com/market-disruption-foreseen-if-aca-change-goes-forward/#sthash.28yT257N.8azHZ3pK.dpbs

     

    Employers Should Prepare for Effect of Health Plan Cadillac Tax on Their Business, Health Care Costs

    For more information, contact:
    Emmanuel Winston @512-542-9955

    (AUSTIN, TEXAS – June XX, 2015) - A little-publicized component of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is set to take effect in 2018 with potentially significant financial consequences to employers that offer benefit-rich health coverage. The “Cadillac tax,” passed as part of the sweeping health care reforms adopted in 2010, was included in the Act in an attempt to reduce health care costs by encouraging employers to offer cost-effective health coverage that would engage employees in sharing in the cost of their care. The belief is that if individuals are required to share in the cost of their health expenses, they will be less likely to seek unnecessary medical care.

    The levy, a 40 percent excise tax on high-cost employer-sponsored group health plans, is assessed on the amounts of total health plan premiums paid by the employer that exceeds established thresholds per employee. The tax is projected to generate $120 billion to help pay for the ACA. 

    The current thresholds for high-cost plans are $10,200 for individual coverage and $27,500 for “other than self-only” coverage. Thresholds will be updated for 2018 when final regulations are issued, and indexed for inflation in future years. While the goal of reducing health care costs has obvious benefits, the effect of the tax on unknowing businesses could be significant. Whether employers are small or large, the financial impact could be devastating and far-reaching. By 2022, an estimated 60 percent of all U.S. employers may be impacted by the Cadillac Tax.

    Janet Trautwein, CEO of the National Association of Health Underwriters, said, “Assessing the impact of this tax and having a plan for moving forward will be an essential financial exercise for businesses in the coming months. Many may realize the tax will result in higher projections for future health care cost projections than originally estimated.”

    Estimates project that upwards of 12 million employees at large companies will pay an average $1000 in additional income and payroll taxes. Alternatively, employees could see drastic reductions in health care benefits but without an increase in pay.

    Adjusting coverage provided to employees once the effect of the tax is determined could result in a dramatic shift in benefits and significant financial consequences for those covered. Such a transition may best be managed over several years rather than attempting to restructure benefit offerings in one enrollment cycle. With the tax set to take effect in 2018, planning for the effects of the Cadillac Tax should begin as soon as possible.

    Employers of all sizes would be well-served in consulting a certified benefits advisor or health insurance agent to better understand the full ramifications of the tax. The agent can serve as a partner in helping develop a game plan to manage the transition and minimize any adverse consequences on the business and employees.

    “Professional health agents have decades of experience supporting businesses in managing their health insurance options and can help employers navigate through the Cadillac Tax issues by evaluating coverage alternatives to find the best health insurance fit for their specific needs,” said Mark Kennedy, President/CEO of Benefit Concepts, Inc., a Houston member of the Texas Association of Health Underwriters.

    Businesses and consumers interested in locating a professional health benefits adviser in their community who can assist with questions about the Affordable Care Act may go to Find an Agent or tahu.org.

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    Texas Association of Health Underwriters (TAHU) is a state trade association representing licensed health insurance agents, brokers, consultants and benefit professionals who serve the health insurance needs of employers seeking health insurance coverage. TAHU is a state chapter of the National Association of Health Underwriters.

     

    State Employees Get New, Better Health Plan Option

    http://tahu.starchapter.com/images/downloads/Articles/tahu_press_release.pdf