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United Benefit Advisors Insight and Analysis Blog

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Determining If Dental and Vision Plans Are “Excepted Benefits”


By Linda Rowings
Chief Compliance Officer, UBA 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the Department of Labor (DOL) released final regulations that explain when dental and vision plans and employee assistance plans (EAPs) will be considered “excepted benefits.” Excepted benefits are health benefits that are limited enough in scope to be exempt from many of the requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), such as annual dollar limits, reporting on W-2s and various fees.

Navigating Narrow or Focused Provider Networks (Part 2)


By Elizabeth Kay
Compliance and Retention Analyst
AEIS, a UBA Partner Firm

Health care reform has brought about many changes and growing pains. One of the changes we have seen recently in 2014 is the increased use of focused or ”narrow” provider networks. While these were implemented by the insurance carriers in the individual Marketplace to help control premium costs, we have seen the subscribers of employer sponsored or group plans affected as well, but it’s not in the way you might think.

Skinny Plans and Minimum Value: Do these plans really pass the test?


By Carol Taylor, Employee Benefit Advisor
D&S Agency, A UBA Partner Firm

There is a lot of buzz in the market right now as employers are implementing their plans for the upcoming year. Many employers are looking at ways to keep their costs for medical coverage low, but still meet the requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). These plans, often referred to as ”skinny plans,” may only cover preventive services or may cover everything but inpatient or outpatient hospital services.

A To-Do List for Sponsors of Self-Funded Group Health Plans

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Below are some to-dos for sponsors of self-funded group health plans.  The information is limited generally to the “what” and the “when.”  For a summary of the PPACA provisions that apply to group health plans and whether the provision applies to self-funded plans, request PPACA Decision Guide for Self-funded Plans.   

IRS Allows Additional Section 125 Change in Status Events

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On September 18, 2014, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2014-55 which allows employers to amend their Section 125 plans to recognize several new change in status events.

Is it Time to Revisit [or Review?] Your PEO Arrangement?

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By Peter Freska, MPH, CEBS
Benefits Advisor, The LBL Group
A United Benefit Advisors Partner Firm

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is driving companies to look at many aspects of their organization more strategically. With an estimated 2.5 million people in Professional Employer Group (PEO) arrangements totaling $92 billion in annual revenue, the spotlight was cast on them (source: The questions related to the implications of PPACA on PEOs are many, and the law is still out for interpretation.

Can "Focused" Provider Networks really maintain lower premiums? (Part 1)

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By Elizabeth Kay
Compliance and Retention Analyst, AEIS
A United Benefit Advisors Partner Firm

Focused provider networks (aka skinny or narrow) are nothing new to the health insurance marketplace.  Insurance carriers have been using different sized provider networks in their HMO and PPO portfolios for many years now.

Universities Get Educated about PPACA

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It is back to school time!  Universities and colleges across the nation have dedicated time and resources to course planning and curriculum evaluation, but have they prepared for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)?  Have they run the numbers, solved for unknown variables, and double-checked their answers?

Four Simple Tips for Streamlining Open Enrollment


Communicating the value of benefits is an age-old dilemma further complicated now that many employers are making big plan changes to comply with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). As more and more employers move to high deductible health plans, making employees aware of how to use their benefits and take control of their health care consumption will be the key to cost savings. UBA’s white paper, "A Business Case For Benefits Communications,” addresses how best to reach employees, what they need to know, and how they prefer to receive the information. However, once you have educated your workforce, how do you enroll them efficiently and effectively in your plan options? UBA Partner Mike Humphrey, Senior Benefits Advisor at The Wilson Agency, has been guiding employers through the daunting task of enrolling hundreds or thousands of employees and their dependents for years. To keep open enrollment hassle and panic-free, he offers four basic tips for employers:

What to Include in an SBC


A Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) must contain:

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