Expert’s Opinion: Trudeau Tips: ACA & Insurance

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by Mike Trudeau, Trudeau and Associatiates, LLC.

The endorsed Health, Life and Disability provider for the MLBA, Trudeau & Associates, LLC offers these important tips and guidelines.

As a member of the MLBA, you are encouraged to take advantage of all the member benefits available. When it comes to health insurance and health care reform, Trudeau & Associates, LLC offers you a line-up of services designed to help your business including expertise to make sure you and all your employees are educated on everything included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) such as plan design and pricing to fit your company or your employees budget the best, what doctors are included in each providers network and how to get enrolled in coverage. Ensuring compliance with laws like ACA employer mandates or ERISA, just to name a few, can help your business including how to avoid penalties or fines. There is so much complexity and confusion surrounding business mandates and individual mandates we want to be sure you and your employees are compliant with the law and avoid paying unnecessary penalties.

Speaking of mandates, the Federal Marketplace open enrollment for individual health insurance will begin on November 1, 2016, and will end on January 31, 2017. In most states, the deadline to enroll in a plan with a January 1, 2017 effective date will be December 15, 2016.

If you miss this window you cannot enroll until the Marketplace re-opens in November 2017 unless you have a “special life event”. This is to prevent people from taking advantage of the system by enrolling only when they get sick or dropping insurance and re-enrolling multiple times throughout the year.

If you didn’t enroll in a healthcare plan for 2016 or don’t enroll for 2017, you’ll be fined 2.5% of your income or $695 per adult, whichever is higher. (Note: this is for 2016 and is estimated for 2017 as official totals have yet to be announced for 2017 but be assured there will be increases in penalties based on inflation) Our recommendation is to seek professional advice from the experts and get enrolled prior to December 15th this year. You can call us directly and we will assist you in finding the best plan, help you enroll, or determine if you qualify for a subsidy through the marketplace.

There are also affordable options which can help you and your employees with high deductible plans driving the health insurance marketplace today. Voluntary benefit coverage options, are a great way to supplement high deductibles, co-pays and high out-of-pocket maximums associated with health plans today. Voluntary plans are available at no cost to your company and are generally 100% employee paid.

Voluntary plans offered through payroll deduction help fill gaps in an employee health plan whether you sponsor group insurance or employees have coverage elsewhere such as the marketplace. Voluntary plans vary and include plans like Dental, Vision, Life, Hospital, Critical Illness, Short and Long Term Disability, and 24 hour Accident plans. These “supplemental” benefits pay cash directly to the insureds household for claims, not the hospital or doctor. These much needed cash dollars can then be spent any way you choose, such as to help cover high deductibles, co-pays, doctor visits, maternity, loss of income, everyday living expenses like cell phone bills, prescriptions, and groceries, and other unforeseen expenses associated with accident and sickness.

Policies like Short Term and Long Term Disability are plans that protect your paycheck. Short Term and Long Term Disability is affordable and available through payroll deduction and can be 100% employee paid or an employer can pay premiums or share in the contribution. Paycheck protection plans just make sense. How would you or your employees be able to pay bills if the ability to earn a paycheck through an accident, sickness, or maternity leave is lost?

Employers that offer any type of insurance options at work often experience a happier workforce, can satisfy part time employee needs, and even spend less on hiring and training because employee turnover can be reduced significantly. There are even studies that show worker’s compensation claims can also be reduced by offering voluntary plans like Short Term Disability and Accident insurance at work.

What about Life Insurance as an option at work? Life insurance is affordable and offers many plans to fit all budgets. Life insurance can be offered through payroll deduction or company paid and requires very little time or effort to get a plan in place for your company. Most workers today do not have any Life insurance or they may be underinsured.

Those that do have plans, may not have reviewed their plan design in years. Obviously, not having Life insurance or not reviewing current plans with regularity, can be a mistake when it comes time to protect your family.

Voluntary plans and Life insurance can be added to your company at any time during the year and is not mandated by the Federal Marketplace open enrollment.

With so much information being asked of business owners and individuals concerning ACA health care mandates, confusion levels remain high as the 2107 open enrollment season nears. What plans to offer and how to get enrolled, ensuring your privacy in submitting information and then being able to locate documents sent to the Federal Government can be a challenge for us all. We track all of the information so you are prepared. Being prepared for this year’s ACA open enrollment or for a potential DOL (Department of Labor) audit making sure you and your employees have an expert in your corner can make a big difference in avoiding penalties and fines.

As your MLBA experts we are here to help you navigate the complexities of all the new laws which seemingly come at us from every direction every day. Give us a call or an email as your MLBA member benefits ensure you have the expertise and cost saving tools to make educated decisions for your business and your employees.

Whether you need a group health plan design or you and your employees need individual consultation our advice is free and we pride ourselves on saving companies money and educating you and your employees to find the best possible solutions.
For more information, contact Mike Trudeau by phone at (586) 541-4500, by email at michael.trudeau@trudeau-associates.com or on the web at www.trudeau-associates.com/MLBA