Number of Employers Offering Coverage Grows

The number of companies offering health insurance to their employees has risen for the first time in a decade, according to new research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

In 2017, almost 47% of private-sector employers offered health insurance, up from 45.3% in 2016. The percentage had previously been dropping steadily since 2008, when more than half (56.4%) were providing coverage.Read More

Proposed Regs on Small Business Association Plans Could Invite Fraud

Proposed regulations that would allow small businesses and individuals to band together to purchase group coverage could open up a new era of fraud in U.S. health insurance, according to comments filed by a number of groups.

Former Department of Labor officials, insurance companies and employee advocacy groups sounded the warning in letters to the DOL during the proposed regulations’ comment period, which ended March 6, according to a report by Bloomberg Law.Read More

Apple Also Plans to Get into Health Care Game to Create Efficiencies

First Amazon, J.P. Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway announced that they would form a consortium to tackle runaway health care and health insurance costs for their employees, and now another big hitter has announced it too plans to enter the fray – Apple.

While not giving away too many details, chief executive officer Tim Cook said during Apple’s shareholders’ meeting that the company would do more than just wellness apps and devices and try to tackle real health care costs in a variety of ways. Read More

Individual Mandate Repeal Could Spur Interest in Short-Term Plans

One of the likely consequences of the repeal of the Affordable Care Act individual mandate under the tax overhaul that President Trump signed into law right before Christmas is a migration to short-term health plans.

These plans are essentially low-cost, low-coverage plans that do not comply with the ACA’s protections and benefits. They are not your typical health insurance plans, as they are only really good for catastrophic coverage and do not cover run-of-the-mill medical procedures like doctors’ visits and the cost of medications.Read More

Legislation Takes Aim at ACA Taxes, Penalties

House Republicans are taking another shot at dismantling the Affordable Care Act, this time taking aim at taxes and penalties related to the divisive health care law.

They have also inserted language into the joint-chamber tax bill that would eliminate ACA penalties for people who fail to secure health insurance if they do not get it from their employers.Read More

With Health Insurance Laws in Flux, Flexible Spending Accounts Can Save Your Workers Money

The Internal Revenue Service is reminding eligible employees that now is the time to begin planning to take full advantage of their employer’s health flexible spending arrangement for next year.

If you don’t offer a flexible spending account (FSA) for your employees, you should consider starting one as they allow them to use tax-free dollars to pay medical expenses not covered by their health plan, including deductibles, copays and any pharmaceuticals.Read More