COBRA health coverage may not be extended beyond the 18 or 36 month maximum period prescribed by law. See freedombenefits.net for temporary immediate coverage alternatives or see cobraplan.com for a more detailed explanation of the law.
I received an odd question from a guy asking how to cancel his health insurance before he even submitted the application for the new policy. He explained that he needed coverage for only 3 months and he did not want to be charged for overlapping coverage after that date.
The underlying issue is that insurance companies always do (at least all I’ve ssem is recent years) honor requests for cancellation of coverage as of your date of requests.
Some years ago I wrote this page specifically for the single popular insurance called Core Health Insurance:
The nation’s income tax preparers have been thrust into the front line of the health insurance enrollment battlefield whether they wish to be there or not.
Under new tax rules ushered in through implementation of the Affordable Care Act, these accountants are now charged with the responsibility of explaining the health insurance requirement, the government’s expectation of budget allocated for health insurance, the consequences of not having health insurance, how the subsidy works, what happens with out-of-pocket medical bills, what happens when Obamacare doesn’t work as planned, how to handle employer medical reimbursements, and the list goes on. It is a huge responsibility and significant burden on income tax preparers. Taxpayer clients are generally unaware of these new compliance burdens on the tax preparer and simply wish to see the same tax preparation service provided at nearly the same price as in prior years.
Meanwhile, health insurance agents are no longer compensated for providing this service to consumers and small businesses. The commissions that were formerly built into the premium have been reduced or removed for a majority of the nation’s most popular insurance products. Insurance carriers have taken a deliberate stance that they no longer wish to solicit business through insurance agents.
So the problem is that these tax accountants are not paid for all of this extra work dealing with health insurance issues. Their client contract remains the same – to prepare the tax return. Neither the government nor the insurance companies – both of whom benefit from the accountants’ efforts – bother to pay the accountants anything for their time.
In addition to individual health insurance issues, many tax preparers uncover additional small business health insurance-related problems for small businesses like potentially huge excise tax penalties. Yet they simply don’t have the time, resources of financial motivation to delve into these issues in order to help clients cope with health care reform.
This caused me to question why tax preparers aren’t receiving any portion of the huge revenue stream currently being generated for health insurance enrollment. There is no simple answer. There are many contributing factors including health insurance company transitions, structure of the navigator system, insurance licensing rules, removal of insurance agent commissions, fear of unintended consequences and a lack of resources.
But is it possible to reallocate some of this insurance enrollment revenue to tax preparers? I’ve had a series of meetings and conversations recently on this issue with marketing executives in the health insurance and employee benefits field. These discussion have evolved into an early-stage business plan. The discussion is ongoing and the Freedom Benefits insurance marketing associates I work with are generally optimistic about the idea. It may be possible to compensate tax preparers for their role as referrors in the insurance enrollment process. It will not be easy and the details are not visible yet. As I see it, this strategy would require a fully accountable multi-carrier referral tracking system for unlicensed referrers – something that is not does not exist in the health insurance marketplace now. My general belief about technology is that is will naturally evolve when there is a market demand.
Would tax preparers be interested? Based on initial response to this single blog post, it seems clear that this is a topic of interest to tax preparers. The next logical step is to gauge tax preparers willingness to become more involved in the health insurance enrollment process. I’m not proposing taking this step on my own but I would support insurance companies that choose this path. I’ll likely be posting more about this as soon as I hear more feedback.
Core Health Insurance tends to be the most popular insurance plan of its type for people who want more coverage for ordinary office visits than traditional insurance coverage provides. It is popular because it has no deductible so benefits begin with the first dollar spent. Equally important, it covers the type of medical expenses that people tend to use most often. Yet no single insurance plan is best for all situations. Those who rely frequently on holistic medicine and healing arts may prefer Value Med Insurance as an alternative. Value Med covers $75 per visit for up to 10 visits per year for any practitioner of the healing arts. There is a 12 waiting period for pre-existing conditions so if you are already under treatment, for example, the insurance won’t begin to immediately pay those bills. Check your state page at www.freedombenefits.net for availability. prcing and other details.
Freedom Benefits is pleased to announce that all Value Med insurance plans now include Identity Restoration protection plan through ID Recovery Pros. Identity protection is a growing concern among consumers who need assistance in dealing with credit and related issues that accompany an identity theft.
ID Recovery Pros provides immediate and complete assistance in resolving ALL threats if your identification has been compromised. ID Restoration service includes:
We are please to see more low cost telephone-based medical service options (often called “tele-med”) being added to popular health insurance policies. While each health plan is different, this example below was part of a recent advertisement for tele-med services in Value Benefits plans available through Freedom Benefits:
My primary work responsibility for the next 10 days will be filing tax extensions with federal and state authorities.
If you need an extension let me or your accountant know. Do not assume your accountant will do this unless specifically confirmed. Late filings can be expensive.
The basic goals of any employee benefit plan are: 1) to provide high value relative to the cost and 2) to be easy to use.
With these goals in mind, one of the easier benefits to recommend are discount purchase plans like those offered by Careington. The cost is $10 to $30 per month per employee, depending on options selected. The value realized depends on frequency of use but it is safe to say that one use in a month results in a net savings on the plan.
The most popular at Freedom Benefits are the three options that include telemedicine options. Careington is a market leader with a strong reputation for fairness and customer support. That includes their reliability in honoring a 30 day money-back trial of all of their benefit plans. The easiest way to test the plans is to sign up for a trial and test the plan of your choice.
Muhlenberg College researchers released the results of a new poll conducted through phone interviews with 403 adults in Pennsylvania from Feb. 27 to March 7. The results show evolving attitudes on health-related issues.
On politics and ACA:
16% hold a “very unfavorable” view of the ACA, or Obamacare (half of what was previously reported)
56% of Pennsylvanians polled said that ACA made no difference in their lives.
75% disapprove of Congress’ handling of health care (as opposed to President Obama’s handling).
45% view obesity as a public health issue (increased from 38% in an earlier poll).
48% support taxing junk food
70% favor packaged food warning labels.
80% favor fast-food calorie count labels.
On other issues:
56% of Pennsylvanians polled said the federal government should fund Planned Parenthood, versus 31 percent who said it shouldn’t.
2/3 of Pennsylvanians polled now reject the mistaken link between autism and vaccinations.
The nine key findings as reported:
The poll results are posted at https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/2772917/PUBHealth2016-Final-Freq.pdf
Employer-based group health plans are usually the preferred method of delivery of health care financing because of current laws and market efficiencies. But there are cases where individual insurance is a better option.
Employer-based employee benefit plans are usually preferred way to provide health insurance and supplemental health benefits to employees. In an ideal setting, group health insurance allows for the highest quality coverage to be made available at a competitive price through a combination of employer contributions and voluntary employee salary reductions. The use of common employee benefit plans makes the health plan a pre-tax benefit which significantly reduces the net cost.
However, there are exceptions. Certain work environments do not provide a suitable setting for employer-based insurance. The following list provides examples of situations where group health plans will not work. In those cases individual insurance exchange is a better option.
1. There is a high level of tension or distrust between the employer and employees. Certain industries are notorious for unsuccessful employee benefit plans and, unfortunately, that problematic climate is likely beyond our immediate control.
2. The employer does not offer or contribute to at least a basic health insurance plan. Most group health insurance companies require that the employer pay a portion of the cost in order to financially stabilize the insurance policy and deter adverse selection.
3. Payroll deduction accounting is not available. While we are able to help with the set up qualified benefits under any payroll system, the fact is that some employers do not use a payroll accounting system and other that do use a payroll system do not maintain a good working relationship with the service provider.
4. The employer is unwilling to pay the cost of setting up a pre-tax qualified plan to reduce benefit costs for the employees. The initial start-up cost is typically $300 at Freedom Benefits and similar additional expenses recur each year.
5. Management does not understand the benefit plans and does not take the time to learn how they work. An effective benefit plan relies on endorsement and a mentorship type environment within the workplace.
6. The workplace does not allow time and place for employees to learn about benefits. This is the underlying reason that group health plans do not succeed in some industries.
When one or more of these conditions are present, a group health plan will not likely be successful. In those cases the employer should focus on steering employees to a health insurance exchange and may want to consider paying for health benefits through the regular paycheck.
An employer may wish to consider any of the voluntary benefit programs offered by Freedom Benefits that combine individually selected health insurance with the tax advantages of group health plans.