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CalChoice Health Savings Account (HSA) Options – Q4 2016

As the majority of group renewals are fast approaching, I wanted to outline the different HSA options available to CaliforniaChoice clients.  For the fourth quarter of 2016, there are twelve different HSA eligible medical policies from five different carriers. (Listed Below – Please note that not all plans are available in all 19 regions) Note that there are not any PPO HSA options available to CaliforniaChoice clients at the moment.  You may assume that Anthem’s EPO policy would be a close fit, but beware the limited network without any out-of-network coverage, aside from emergencies.   While the private exchange offers employees the flexibility to choose various plans without the need for employers to meet specific participation requirements, the only way to offer a PPO HSA currently is outside of CaliforniaChoice.  For employers that wish to concurrently offer a PPO alongside Kaiser, you must have a minimum of 5 non-Kaiser employees that wish to enroll, which make up at least 25% of eligible enrollees. While the state’s public exchange, Covered CA, has setup a mirrored network of health plans that offer the same participation flexibility as CaliforniaChoice, they are only offering six HMO HSA policies from three carriers: Kaiser, Sharp, and Western Health. As premiums continue to increase, and plans become more limited and standardized, small group shoppers are losing their flexibility within private exchanges.  We can only hope that the insurance carriers and partners will loosen the reins in 2017. Deductible – A specified amount of money that you must pay before an insurance company will contribute towards a claim. Out of Pocket Max – The most you will have to...

(HSA) Health Savings Account – Eligible Medical Policies

As insurance premiums continue to rise, you may find yourself exploring coverage options you may not have considered in the past.  One of which is an HSA eligible policy that has risen in popularity over the years for multiple reasons.    Health Savings Accounts are associated with high deductible health plans – a plan with an annual deductible no less than $1,300, and an annual out-of-pocket maximum not to exceed $6,550; the overall cost of an HSA eligible policy can be less than other plans, while it still provides you with the same catastrophic coverage. Health Savings Accounts allows the account holder to pay for current health care expenses and save for those in the future.  Payments towards qualified medical expenses are withdrawn tax-free, and interest earned on deposits also accrue tax deferred.  Funds roll-over each year, and the account belongs to the individual and follows the individual throughout his/her career.  An HSA eligible policy can be purchased on both the individual and group marketplace, providing full flexibility. Contributions are tax-deductible or are deducted directly from payroll pre-tax. Employers may also offer to contribute towards an HSA, and contributions are excludable from an employee’s income and are not subject to federal income tax, Social Security or Medicare taxes.  In addition, employer contributions are deductible as a business expense to the company.  Employers may choose to contribute a set amount or make ‘matching’ contributions.  The IRS sets annual limits on the amounts that may be contributed to the HSA.  If funded from both the employer and employee, it is important to ensure that the total contributions remain within the annual IRS...

Small Group 51-100 Transition

As of January 1st, 2016 the definition of small group has been expanded to include groups with 51-100 full time equivalent employees.  For groups that will be making the transition, the changes are significant and should be reviewed in detail with a small group specialist.  Since 70-80% of renewals will take effect in Q4 of 2016, it is imperative that you consider all options as soon as possible to familiarize yourself with the new ACA mandates. Rating Regions – Large group rating regions vary by each carrier. Small group consists of 19 regions that are standardized for all carriers. Rating Structure – Large group rates are composite (same rate for each member) and are generated based on the average of employee ages, tiers, genders, and zip codes. Small group rates are determined on a member level based on employer location, where employees and dependents are rated independently.  While age bands can vary by carrier, you will typically see the same rates for age 0-20, one band for each year between 21-63, and one band for age 64+.  Dependents under the age of 21 will be rated individually, up to 3 children. In addition, the ACA has imposed a 3:1 ratio for small group rates.  The rate difference between the youngest to oldest may not exceed a 3 to 1 ratio. The biggest rate increases will hit groups with good medical and SIC risk, and employees with dependents age 20+.  Conversely, young employees may experience rate decreases. Carriers release one set of rates and all groups receive the same standardized rates based on the enrollee’s age.  Rate negotiations are not...