Health and Life Insurance Open Enrollment Season

September 15, 2014

The Open Enrollment Period is from
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October 1, 2014 – March 13, 2014 for Qualified Health Plans. For overage beginning in November, the enrollment period is from November 15, 2014 until February 15, 2014. The employers will be searching for Supplemental benefits at that time as well. Employees can apply for their health coverage on the Internet.

You may be hearing the buzz at work about what your employer intends to do with the current benefits or what programs he /she is desiring to add to or subtract from the current benefits package. The employer will carefully consider the benefits package to determine if the package is adequate enough to attract and retain employees.
Open Enrollment is a time when employees can apply for health coverage or supplemental benefits at the workplace without underwriting, which would limit the type and amount of coverage that the employee applies for based on his/her health. This period also protects the insured from lapsing coverage due to employees trying to optimize on the amount they are paying for coverage or purchasing coverage when they are sick and cancelling when they are well. This keeps the insurance companies from experiencing financial risk and insurance premiums from increasing.

Besides health insurance, employers will allow employees to purchase life insurance, disability insurance, accident insurance, or health insurance supplements. An open enrollment is a great time to review the benefits one may have or add benefits to one’s personal program of insurance coverage.

It is important to note that if an employee misses the dates for open enrollment, he/she will have to wait until the next one which will take place one year later. The only exceptions are employees experiencing life changing events in the family, such as a divorce, birth of a child, or If an employee no longer qualify for Medicaid insurance. Some may also be able to apply after the enrollment period if there was a glitch in the system which caused the employees not to enroll for coverage. Anyone can apply for Medicaid or CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Plan) anytime of the year.

In conclusion, the Open Enrollment season for Health Insurance and Supplemental Health insurance programs is approaching and every employee should use this time now to enroll in their coverage.


Catching the Wave – Adjusting to the Health Care Reform

October 14, 2013

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Business owners are facing tough decisions on whether they should offer health care benefits to their employees.  Business owners with under 50 employees are not obligated to offer health care benefits to their employees under the new Health care reform.  However, there is an incentive if they do. 

Any business owner with under twenty-five employees is now eligible for a thirty-five percent tax credit for 2013 and fifty percent for 2014.  It would be advisable for business owners to contact their accountants for the tax consequences.

This would be a good incentive for business owners to offer the health care benefits to their employees, however, most say they cannot afford it.  In that case, the employee would be able to shop for health insurance on the exchange.  If the employee cannot afford it, they would be eligible for a subsidy from the federal government if their income falls within four times the poverty level or $44,000.

If the employee still cannot afford the insurance premium after the subsidy, they can apply for Medicaid.  However, they must fall within the income guidelines in order to qualify for Medicaid.

Studies have shown that employees become more loyal, productive, and experience job satisfaction when they receive a comprehensive benefits package from their employer.  In return, they offer better customer service, take fewer days off, work more efficiently, tend not to complain as much, discover ways of being more effective, and are more enthusiastic about their work.

Since Massachusetts implemented the health care reform seven years ago, economic growth has increased and unemployment is still low.  Additionally, 90% of the people have health care and more are practicing preventive measures in their health.   Small business owners can now acquire health insurance for their families while they are building their businesses.  Because much of the overhead costs of selling insurance, premiums are lower.

In conclusion, the health care reform will help to improve employee morale and health and will help business owners to grow their businesses.