Friday, May 7, 2021

Friday's Benefit and Compliance Clips


Blue Cross Blue Shield Settlement: “If your company had an administrative services agreement with a Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) licensee in the past six years or a health insurance policy with a BCBS licensee in the past 13 years, your company may benefit from the settlement of a court case…”

COBRA Subsidy: You’ve Got Questions … We’ve Got Answers: “Q2 - An employee was fired for poor performance last year. The employee went to another company, but his employment was recently terminated for poor performance. Which company is required to send COBRA notices and offer fully subsidized COBRA?”

American Rescue Plan: How to Navigate New Continuation Coverage Standards for COBRA: “Should the tax credit exceed the relevant tax liability, the excess is refundable to the employer. Additionally, the whole credit (including the refundable portion) may be advanced to the employer.”

Understanding Time Off From Work Obligations For COVID-19 Vaccinations: “Employers considering pay obligations for time off from work for COVID-19 vaccination should also consider state and local paid sick leave laws which may cover time off for preventative care that would include vaccinations.”

Your Employees Are Vaccinated – Now What? “May we disclose the vaccination status of my workforce?...What should we do if clients or customers demand they receive service from only vaccinated employees?...What safety measures can be adjusted now that employees are vaccinated? Can we relax masking requirements?”

Benefit News

California Mulls Letting Adults Add Parents To Health Plans: "California could become the only state to let adult children add their parents as dependents to their health insurance plans, a policy proposal aimed at increasing insurance coverage among low-income people living in the country illegally who aren’t eligible for government-funded coverage. ... But business groups say adding lots of older people to their large group insurance plans will just drive up their already skyrocketing premium costs. Employer premiums would increase between $200 million and $800 million per year, depending on how many people sign up. The result, they say, would be higher health care costs for everyone."

Woman's Insane Hospital Bill Goes Viral on Twitter: "her surgery [to remove fibrous tumor cells from a particularly fragile region of the brain] plus her hospital stay—cost an eye-popping, jaw-dropping $476,025.98. While her insurance mercifully covered $475,365.98 of the bill, she was on the hook for the remaining $660, much to her frustration."

The Health Problem Congress Created And Cannot Solve: "For the past 70 years, premiums paid by an employer have been tax-free to the employee. From time to time, individual purchases have benefited from one tax break or another, but they have never been treated as generously as insurance obtained at work. Even though Blue Cross group insurance might be identical to Blue Cross individual insurance, the tax law encourages us all to prefer the former to the latter. All we need is an accommodating employer to pay non-taxed premiums instead of additional taxable wages. Competition for labor ensures that virtually all employers of any size are more than willing to do that – even though most employers these days would rather not be involved in health care matters at all."

The One Itty-Bitty, Teeny-Weeny Problem with the Plan to Expand Medicare. It'll Be Very Expensive. "A male worker who made the median income his entire working career and retired at age 65 in 2020 can expect to receive from Social Security just about what he paid in. However, while he paid $81,000 in Medicare (Part A) payroll taxes, he is likely to receive $240,000 (net of premiums) in lifetime Medicare benefits. Lowering the enrollment age to 60 adds perhaps another $25,000 to $30,000 to that deficit. And that's just for a single person. Consider a married couple with only one low-wage earner. That worker retiring at age 65 in 2020 paid about $36,000 in Medicare taxes, which qualifies both of them to participate in Medicare. But the couple can expect to receive about $522,000 in Medicare benefits."