QSEHRA Revives Employer Payment Plans For 2017

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On December 13, 2016, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act into law. Called “the most important bill of the year,” the bipartisan Act makes changes to a wide range of healthcare issues. These include allocating billions for cancer research, easing the FDA drug approval process, and allowing doctors to test medical devices without a patient’s informed consent in certain situations. One item that will be of interest to finance and human resource professionals at small employers ...

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Milwaukee health rank drops, still compares favorably

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The Commonwealth Fund’s 2016 Scorecard on Local Health System Performance is out, and it gives interesting perspective on the state of healthcare in the U.S. Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest scored well overall, while most Southern states did not. Milwaukee’s ranking dropped 17 spots from the 2012, the year the first edition of the Scorecard was released, yet it still compares favorably to other major cities.

The latest Scorecard measured changes in the country’s 306 ...

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DOL proposes changes to Form 5500

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The U.S. Department of Labor plans to revise Form 5500 to require insurers and health plans to report more information. The proposed changes focus on five broad goals: modernizing financial reporting, providing greater information regarding group health plans, enhancing data mineability, improving service provider fee information, and enhancing compliance with ERISA and the tax code. One element that is sure to attract the attention of smaller employers is a proposal to eliminate the exemption ...

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New Provider-Carrier Partnerships Expand Across Wisconsin

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The first four months of 2016 have already seen three new partnerships announced between Wisconsin health systems and insurance companies. Looking down the road, it appears that provider-led health plans may soon become a major force in Wisconsin health insurance.

In January, Aspirus and WPS Health Solutions announced that they are forming a new health insurance company in north-central Wisconsin that will be called Aspirus Arise Health Plan of Wisconsin. In April, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue ...

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ACA Reporting Deadlines Delayed

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Yesterday the IRS released Notice 2016-4, which delays the ACA reporting due dates for both furnishing forms to individuals and filing forms with the IRS. This is welcome news to many employers who are scrambling to complete their first effort at reporting, which must cover the 2015 plan year.

The delay gives employers an extra two months to furnish forms to individuals by changing the deadline from February 1, 2016 to March 31, 2016. Employers have an extra three months ...

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Spending deal would delay Cadillac Tax

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Earlier this month, the Senate approved a bill to repeal many core elements of Obamacare, including the “Cadillac tax” on high cost health plans. At the time the vote was seen as a symbolic act because the bill’s supporters lacked the votes necessary to overcome President Obama’s veto. Although Senate Democrats are opposed to repealing the President’s health reform law, there is bi-partisan support for modifying, delaying, or eliminating the Cadillac tax. Under a Continue Reading →

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PACE Act Passage Elicits Praise and Frustration

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Earlier this month, President Obama signed the bipartisan PACE Act to stop the Affordable Care Act (ACA) from changing rules that apply to employers with between 51 and 99 employees. This is important both as a rare example of bipartisan cooperation to reform Obamacare, as well as a preservation of the status quo for employers in this mid-market segment. The Act has been praised by insurance brokers and business groups, but has ...

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ACA Reporting Forms Released

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Last week the IRS published the final versions of the forms and instructions that applicable large employers (ALEs) will need to use to report on employees’ 2015 health coverage. Draft versions of the forms were released in June and the final versions do not include any major changes. With the final versions now available, ALEs can begin working to complete the forms in advance of their February 2016 deadline.

Reporting under ACA Sections 6055 and 6056 was originally scheduled ...

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Big Changes at Assurant

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Last week, Assurant, Inc. announced an agreement to sell its employee benefits business to Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, a subsidiary of Sun Life Financial, Inc., for $940 million. This transaction comes just three months after Assurant shut down operations at Milwaukee-based Assurant Health. It also coincides with the announcement of increased dividends to shareholders and a rise in the company’s stock price.

The employee benefits business purchased by Sun Life includes Assurant’s voluntary and employer paid dental, ...

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Republicans Unveil ACA Alternatives

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As the Republican presidential primary race is heating up, the candidates’ plans to repeal and replace Obamacare are receiving increased attention.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker announced his plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, “The Day One Patient Freedom Plan,” at a factory in Minnesota on Tuesday. His plan includes a number of policy proposals that have long been popular among conservatives, including tort reform, selling health insurance across state lines, and Medicaid block grants for the states. One of ...

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