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R&R Insurance Blog

What You Need to Know | Impact of Trump Election on Employee Benefits Regulations

Posted by Pete Frittitta

Trump-Election.jpgIt has often been said that “the only thing that is constant is change” and certainly the recent political election results translate into more change. In that vein, we at R&R Insurance Services remain “constant” in our dedication to keeping our Benefits Practice clients informed of these changes…to be your knowledgebroker.

Of course, the biggest change we have seen in the world of benefits has been the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka ACA, aka Obamacare). One of the main platforms of President-Elect Trump has been to “repeal and replace Obamacare.” In this current post-election and pre-inaugural stage, there are many prognostications about what the future may be. So, what about “repeal and replace?” We would like to share some thoughts with you as best we can and at this point in time to address questions you may have:
  1. Soon after President-Elect Trump is inaugurated on January 20th, Congress could “repeal” Obamacare through “reconciliation” (only requiring a vote of 51 in the Senate). Among the challenges will be addressing the 19 million+ individuals who would lose coverage through the Exchanges with approximately 85% of them currently receiving federal assistance. Another major issue that will need to be addressed is that Medicaid expansion goes away with repeal in 31 states where enrollment increased by 16 million.
  2. “Replacement” cannot be accomplished through the “reconciliation” process unless additional spending cuts are made in the budget. Therefore, “replacement” could most likely occur in a second legislative stage. How long this will take is a question.
  3. Through the “reconciliation” process that would “repeal” the ACA, the reduction of funds for Medicaid and Exchange subsidies could be delayed for some time (6 – 18 months?) in order to avoid the problems mentioned above in #1.
  4. The Republicans will need to have bipartisan support in the Senate to get to 60 votes. Some Democrats might be motivated to collaborate as the 2018 mid-term election will have 25 Democrat seats up for re-election in the Senate.
  5. As for what “replacement” might involve, there are numerous considerations. The Trump platform has consistently promoted expansion of HSA-based coverage and selling of insurance across state lines. Additionally, President-Elect Trump himself stated that he would like to see certain parts of Obamacare retained such as coverage of pre-existing conditions and coverage of adult children to age 26. If there are any individual tax credits that might be introduced for individual medical coverage, we may see, as the “Cadillac Tax” is repealed along with the rest of the ACA, a limitation or cap on the amount that an employer can deduct for health and welfare expense to provide a revenue stream.

We recently hosted a Benefits Client Monthly Compliance Webinar - “How Will the Election Impact Employee Benefits Regulations & a Look Forward to 2017.” If you weren’t able to attend, please note that all of our webinars are recorded and archived at https://www.myknowledgebroker.com/health-care-webinar-archives where they are available 24/7.

In addition,
Terry Frett from R&R Insurance discussed the “re-tooling” of the Affordable Care Act on WISN 1130AM Radio shortly after the election.  In addition to ObamaCare Open Enrollment 2017, he shared his thoughts on what repeal could look like in the individual and employer group markets.  

The changes ahead will involve more than the future of the ACA. We can reasonably expect to see regulatory changes from the Department of Labor, the Treasury Department and the Department of Health and Human Services. As we monitor and study these developments, we will keep you informed in a variety of ways –timely Legislative Briefs posted to your MyWave Connect© client portal, special client alert emails, monthly compliance webinars, account management communications and client consultation.

We look forward to continuing to serve you as your knowledgebroker. If you have any questions, please contact your R&R Benefits Consultant.

Topics: Employee Benefits, health care benefits, Healthcare, presidential election

Did Your Healthcare Broker Promise You a Somersault?

Posted by Jeff Sewell

health-care-brokerLet me start by asking, do you know how to do a somersault?

 

Without seeing if you raised your hand, I am willing to bet, you confirmed that you know how to do a somersault.

 

Now I’ll ask you – Do you really remember how to do a somersault?

 

Seems pretty simple – right? But when was the last time you actually got down on all fours and attempted to muddle your body into a ball and project your feet over your head? Chances are, it’s been quite some time since you last attempted this feat. And probably with good reason – why do a somersault as an adult (unless you’re a gymnast, in the military training to dodge enemies, or a ninja)?

 

The other day, when I got home from work, my wife asked me if I could do a somersault. Naturally, and with my male self-assurance, I replied, “Yes, certainly.” Now, my wife wasn’t asking because she had any interest in seeing me do one, she was asking because she had resided in her own self-assurance and thought, “It’s just like riding a bike.”

 

See, a few hours earlier, our 5 older children (ages 10 through 13) were trying to teach oops child #6 (2 ½) how to do a somersault. Yet, as my wife looked on, she noticed that the older kids forgot how to do a somersault. She chuckled and giggled as they rolled their bodies from side to side in an attempt to relearn something that seemed so simple.

 

So, as expected, my children, who are motivated by the grief they can instill in their mother, threw out the challenge to my wife, “Let’s see you do it, Mom!”

 

I wasn’t there to see it, yet my wife’s explanation was visual enough that I laughed pretty loud at the thought of her trying to outdo the kids. She explained how she got into a jumbled ball and stayed locked there for what seemed like an eternity. She was perplexed at how to make the transition of, tuck, roll your neck, arch your back, push off with the balls of your feet, brace with your hands, and let your hands and shoulders fall through after your feet and legs project end over end.

 

I am not going to age my wife, yet let’s just say it’s been 20 plus years since she made the attempt. Did she do it? Yes. Was it as easy as she thought? Heck no. Does her back and neck now hurt? You bet.

 

So, why does a guy who’s a Healthcare Broker for a living think there is a correlation between doing a somersault and managing your healthcare benefits? Well, it’s simple. When was the last time you truly went through the process of evaluating what your Healthcare Broker is offering for you? See, in sales, we’ll do flips, cartwheels, jump through hoops, and even somersault at the chance to earn your business. Yet once you say yes, are you circling back, taking note of why you said yes, and holding your Broker accountable to the somersault they promised?

 

Being a Healthcare Broker is not just saying I know how to do a somersault, it’s being an expert at it and performing the aerial feats that landed us your business in the first place. A quality, high-flying Broker relationship should include a plan that illustrates how they’ll be doing airborne bouts for you on a continual basis throughout the year.

 

At R&R, we’re poised to exceed your expectations and deliver a 12-month, somersault of a plan to provide you with the confidence that the flips and cartwheels continue long after you award us a, “Yes.”

 

If you’d like to learn how we’ll transcend your expectations, please contact me.

 

Now, if you’re wondering if I attempted the feat of the somersault, well, the answer is yes, and the outcome was even worse than my lovely wife’s.

 

A different kind of Broker truly equals a different kind of result. Knowledge is in the Knowing – Come Know With Us.

Topics: Employee Benefits, Insurance Agent, broker relationship, health care benefits, health care broker, Business Insurance

The Benefits of Knowing Your Benefits

Posted by Jeff Sewell

Family-BenefitsGrowing up, my mother would test the patience of my father with a common statement, “If there’s checks in the checkbook, there’s money in the bank.” While I’m not certain if my mother ever bounced any checks, I am certain that my father didn’t find humor in my mom’s lack of ownership with managing money.

 

This same notion of, “If there’s checks in the checkbook, there’s money in the bank,” is one that my wife had with healthcare spend. Now I do need to make a disclaimer, my wife is a very intelligent woman who manages our finances extremely well and is a disciplined, frugal spender, yet when it comes to the money we spend on healthcare, her keen sense to where each dollar is spent goes right out the window.

 

The blame here, though, isn’t on my wife; it lies solely, square on my shoulders. As an Employee Benefits Consultant, it’s my job to understand healthcare spend. It’s my job to teach other people where their dollars are going. And it’s my job to promote consumerism in healthcare. There’s an adage that you should leave work at work, yet I don’t think the meaning was intended to ignore the realism in exerting your strengths when they support your home life.

 

For years, I have made our family’s annual benefit elections and just told my wife if there was a change. For years, I let her take the kids to the doctor and I managed the EOB’s (explanation of benefits) and doctor bills. And for years, my wife and I never talked about our healthcare spend. True ignorance on my part and a disservice to our family, my wife, and the notion of practicing what I preach.

 

Acknowledging that I missed the mark, this open enrollment, we tried something different – I didn’t make the decisions regarding the healthcare for our family, rather, my wife did. Sure, I had done the math, examined whether our company funded HSA or HRA would best suit our needs, and I came up with a suitable selection for our family, yet if I am truly going to get my wife engaged into where our healthcare dollars are going, it starts with the ownership of making our benefits selection.

 

As expected, my wife put on her “frugal spender” hat and dove right in. She forecasted our Brady Bunch like family (3 boys + 3 girls + My wife and I – the Alice) expenses and calculated estimated costs for what for sure needs to be medically accounted for and the “what if’s” of healthcare spend. Once her due-diligence was completed, we regrouped and had a really good conversation about, of all things, healthcare. Our decision was made together and started additional discussions about our healthcare spend and maximizing our consumerism.

 

So what did this teach me, to enhance what I excel at, communication. Having the support of my company, R&R Insurance, behind me, we developed a 12-step progressive communication process (12-PCP) which gets families talking about healthcare spend with a true focus on consumerism and maximizing both employer and employee dollars disbursed on healthcare.

 

I invite you to share in our 12-PCP. It’s worked so well for my family that now my wife says, “So, now that we’re interlocked with our healthcare spend and committed to understanding where our dollars are truly going, maybe we can look into completing the Brady Bunch and add an Alice.”

 

“Sorry, Honey, I didn’t hear you, guess I need to fine-tune my listening skills, too.”

 

For more information on R&R's Employee Benefits Practice, contact Jeff Sewell or visit www.myknowledgebroker.com/health-insurance.

Topics: Employee Benefits, benefit package, health care benefits