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07/15/18

  11:01:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 172 words,  
Categories: Prescription, Online Services, Transparency, MedBen Rx, MedBen Rx Advocate

MedBen Rx, Truly Transparent

pills and bill bottle

If you’re a client, you already know that 100% of all paid manufacturer rebates go back to our clients. But true Rx transparency also demands that consumers know what they're paying for their medications – and so we provide that, too.

Simply by logging into our online service center, MedBen Access, pharmacy plan members can see exactly what their copay is for all prescribed drugs. In addition, patients can review their prescription purchases and get detailed information about thousands of drugs. The site even allows users to research and compare brand-name drug prices with lower-cost generic and therapeutic alternatives.

Moreover, for employers using the MedBen Rx Advocate program, their employees will see even lower copays. The "cost plus" difference means that drug prices are based on what the pharmacy pays rather than their inflated wholesale prices. These savings average 11% per drug, but in the case of higher-price medications, member savings can be substantial.

For additional information about MedBen Access and MedBen Rx Advocate, contact Vice President of Sales & Marketing Brian Fargus at bfargus@medben.com.

07/13/18

  09:38:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 188 words,  
Categories: Health Care Reform

Did You Know... 2019 ACA Limits

Capitol-Caduceus-Money Collage

The following limitations and penalties apply as of the first day of your plan’s 2019 plan year per the Affordable Care Act (ACA):

Standard Plan Out-of-Pocket Maximums

  • $7,900 for self-only (employee-only) coverage
  • $15,800 for other than self-only coverage

(Over these thresholds, employers must pay 100% of the benefits covered by the plan.)

High Deductible Plan Out-of-Pocket Maximums

  • $6,750 for self-only (employee-only) coverage
  • $13,500 for other than self-only coverage

(Other than preventive, all services must be paid by employee until above thresholds are met, then employers must pay 100% of the benefits covered by the plan.)

Employer-Shared Responsibility Penalties

  • $2,500 per employee (for all employees combined) if qualifying coverage is not offered to 95% of the employer’s employees working 30 or more hours per week
  • $3,750 per each employee for whom the employer-offered coverage is deemed unaffordable

Affordability Safe Harbors

Employee cost-share for employer-offered coverage must be less than 9.86% of one of the ACA safe harbor amounts (federal poverty level, W-2 salary or hourly rate of pay) for cost-share to be deemed affordable.

  • $12,140 – Federal Poverty Level (FPL) Safe Harbor Amount for 2019

MedBen clients who have questions regarding 2019 ACA limits may contact Vice President of Compliance Caroline Fraker at (800) 851-0907 or cfraker@medben.com.

  05:31:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 211 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Reporting, Heart, Diabetes, Hypertension

Wellness Exams Promote Prevention… and Exercise

runners on treadmills

If you get in half-hour cardio workouts five times per week, consider yourself a member of an exclusive group... unfortunately. Because according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than a quarter of U.S. adults get enough exercise.

Forbes reports that nationwide, only 22.9% of adults aged 18-64 meet current Health and Human Services guidelines that recommend 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity every week, coupled with twice-weekly muscle strengthening activities. Broken down by gender, 27.2% of males meet the guidelines compared to 18.7% of females.

MedBen WellLiving promotes annual wellness exams from your family doctor as a way to prevent and detect chronic conditions, but that’s hardly the only benefit of regular visits. In recent years, physicians have increasingly prescribed exercise to help patients maintain or improve their health -- and research shows that overweight patients are nearly five times more likely to exercise if their doctors advise them to do so.

Regular exercise is a proven method to reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic conditions. Plus, a good workout makes you feel better and look better. So, wins all around!

Find out more about the benefits of MedBen WellLiving by contacting Vice President of Sales & Marketing Brian Fargus at bfargus@medben.com.

07/11/18

  03:29:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 257 words,  
Categories: Announcements, Compliance, MedBen Employees

MedBen Names Kelly Director of Compliance and Medical Management

Erin Kelly, MedBen Director of Compliance and Medical Management

MedBen is pleased to announce the promotion of Erin Kelly to Director of Compliance and Medical Management. Kelly most recently served as Compliance Manager for the Newark, Ohio- based benefits management company.

Kelly started at MedBen as a Customer Service Representative in 2007, and also served as a Group Service Rep before joining the Compliance Department in 2011. Her client service history and knowledge of health plan language provided a strong foundation for her Compliance duties, said Vice President of Compliance Caroline Fraker.

"Erin has worked hard to understand and implement employee health plan regulations and to educate both our employees and our clients on related compliance issues," Fraker said. "And she has implemented new processes, including those in the Medical Management Department, to streamline work flow. So, this promotion is well-deserved."

In her new role, Kelly will oversee the interpretation and implementation of health plan regulations pertinent to MedBen clients as well as its own employees. She will also be responsible for educating clients and MedBen employees on regulatory requirements, including HIPAA, ERISA, and the Affordable Care Act.

"In addition to directing the daily operations of Compliance and Medical Management, Erin will continue to draft plan documents and SBCs [Summaries of Benefits and Coverage] to ensure that our clients follow state and federal rules to the letter," Fraker said.

Kelly holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from George Mason University and a Health Insurance Associate (HIA) designation from America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP). She is an active supporter of the American Red Cross and Licking County Humane Society.

07/01/18

  03:23:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 237 words,  
Categories: Prescription, Wellness, Cost savings, Research, Third party administration, Preventive care, Compliance, Trend

Beating Cost Trend Difficult, But Not Impossible

dollar symbol on chart

"Healthcare costs increasing at unsustainable pace," a recent Modern Healthcare headline reads. In a new study, PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts a 6% medical cost trend in 2019, as expensive new medical services and drugs and market consolidation make it difficult for employers to contain their employee coverage costs.

But "difficult" is not "impossible," as MedBen clients regularly demonstrate. From 2013 to 2017, MedBen’s overall block of self-funded clients experienced an average claims cost trend of just 4.1%. Hospital and municipality clients did better still, realizing average claims cost trends of 3.1% and 2.7%, respectively.

So how do our clients consistently keep their health care spending under national trends? By strategic use of MedBen's variety of benefits management services and their associated cost reduction tools, including:

  • Medical claims management that uses an innovative surveillance system to track down questionable claims, backed by certified medical specialists;
  • Pharmacy benefits management that pays for medication based on what the pharmacy paid for it, not an inflated wholesale price;
  • Population health management that promotes early prevention and detection of chronic conditions through the doctor-patient relationship; and
  • An experienced compliance team that ensures client health plans meet federal and state regulations, so to avoid expensive legal complications.

Of course, these are just a few of the ways MedBen works with employers to design and maintain a cost-effective health plan. If you’d like more information about any of our saving solutions, please contact Vice President of Sales & Marketing Brian Fargus at bfargus@medben.com.

MedBen Closed On July 4th, but MedBen Access Stays Open

MedBen closed July 4, reopens July 5

Happy Independence Day from MedBen!

In observance of the holiday, our home office will be closed on Wednesday, July 4 and reopen at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 5. Hopefully your day off is all about cookouts with friends & family and community fireworks... but should you need claims or benefits information, our online customer service center, MedBen Access, is open for business!

MedBen Access offers a number of useful management functions, such as ordering ID cards, monitoring claims activity and reviewing change of information requests. Plan members can check a claim's status, review Plan Document coverage and download forms, to name just a few of the 24/7 services available.

Additionally:

  • Most pharmacy plan members will find a "My Rx Claims" link on the left sidebar that allows them to review their prescription drug purchases, get medication information and compare brand name drug prices with generic and therapeutic alternatives;
  • Participants in an FSA or HRA can use MedBen Access to see their balances, claims submissions and payments by selecting the "FSA/HRA Online Inquiry" option under "My Plan"; and
  • MedBen WellLiving members can check their compliance with annual exams and cancer screening tests by selecting the MedBen WellLiving link under "My Plan."

The entire MedBen team wishes you a safe and relaxing 4th!

06/30/18

  09:24:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 217 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Incentives, Research

A Little Wellness Incentive Goes a Long Way

doctor consulting with patient

National figures indicate high chronic condition costs and low wellness compliance. This comes as no surprise to MedBen, knowing that there is a direct connection between untreated (or even undetected) diseases and increased health care costs. But a little incentive can help your workplace improve compliance while reducing costs.

According to a new Milken Institute study, U.S. health care costs for heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic diseases totaled $1.1 trillion in 2016 ($3.7 trillion when factoring in lost productivity). Meanwhile, Health Affairs reports that only 8% of U.S. adults age 35 and above receive all recommended wellness exams and screenings.

MedBen WellLiving has found that incentivizing plan members to practice healthy habits can spur participation. In 2017, first-year WellLiving clients who offered premium-related incentives saw an average 29% increase in wellness compliance.

Incentives can take a variety of forms. In addition to offering lower premiums to members who show a wellness commitment, an employer can contribute to an HRA or FSA, or tie WellLiving to your health plan’s wellness benefits. But rewards need not be monetary, and even offering modest incentives (i.e., newsletter recognition, sponsoring a companywide competition) can impact participation.

MedBen WellLiving will help you develop a focused wellness program that drives participation, leading to long-term savings. Find out more by contacting Vice President of Sales and Marketing Brian Fargus at bfargus@medben.com.

06/29/18

  09:18:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 435 words,  
Categories: News, Health Care Reform, Self-funding

DOL Rule Expands Association Health Plan Access

Department of Labor logo

On June 19, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released its final regulations expanding the definition of “employer” under ERISA Section 3(5). This seemingly simple change to an existing federal regulatory definition paves the way for the creation of additional Association Health Plans (AHPs) under ERISA and broadens the opportunity for health care plan coverage for small business owners and self-employed individuals. Prior to this Final Rule, AHPs existed but were subject to stricter regulatory criteria which limited the ways in which small employers could organize to form large group plans.

The DOL accomplished these changes by modifying its definition of “employer” under ERISA – the same definition that is used to define Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (or MEWAs). For purposes of ERISA, “employer” is defined as “any person acting directly as an employer, or indirectly in the interest of an employer, in relation to an employee benefit plan; and includes a group or association of employers acting for an employer in such capacity.” Prior to the Final Rule, the term “association” referred to a “bona fide” association which – having met certain criteria – would allow it to be treated as a single employer under ERISA.

Under ERISA, an employer can sponsor a single employee welfare benefit plan that provides benefits to its employees. However, grouping multiple single employers together to sponsor one plan triggers the ERISA MEWA rules along with complicated state regulatory requirements. The Final Rule does not eliminate the MEWA requirements, but it does expand the options for employers, including the self-employed, to band together to create a single association (or MEWA) health plan. The Final Rule also expands protections for AHP participants that are common in single-employer plans, such as covering preventive services at 100% and requiring compliance with the HIPAA non-discrimination rules.

While the Final Rule itself is effective August 20, 2018, the rules stagger applicability dates, as follows:

  • September 1, 2018 – The date the Final Rule becomes applicable for any existing fully-insured AHPs.
  • January 1, 2019 – The date the Final Rule becomes applicable for any existing self-funded AHPs that are already in compliance with the DOL’s previous sub-regulatory guidance on bona fide associations, and that choose to expand the association and its plan pursuant to the terms of the Final Rule (e.g., expand to a broader group of individuals, such as working owners without employees).
  • April 1, 2019 – The date the Final Rule becomes applicable for any new self-funded AHPs formed pursuant to and in compliance with the new rule.

Learn more about AHPs, MEWAs and the Final Rule by downloading a summary from MedBen.com. MedBen clients with questions are welcome to contact Vice President of Compliance Caroline Fraker at (800) 851-0907 or cfraker@medben.com.

Fraker, SPBA Members Talk Transparency in D.C.

Caroline Fraker in Washington DC, June 19, 2018

On June 19 and 20, MedBen Vice President of Compliance Caroline Fraker revisited Washington, D.C. with fellow members of the Society of Professional Benefit Administrators (SPBA) Board of Directors, to speak with government officials on matters of importance to self-funded employers.

In addition to discussions with multiple Congressional offices during their visit, the group met with Jim Parker, Senior Advisor for Health Reform, Department of Health & Human Services, to address health care price transparency. “We were pleased to have a chance to talk to Mr. Parker about an issue that directly affects the ability of employers to control their health costs,” Fraker said.

The Affordable Care Act includes language requiring greater price transparency, but little effort has been taken by the federal government to provide consumers with medical cost information. Such inactivity hinders the ability of patients to make informed decisions about the care they receive, Fraker noted.

“Today’s health plans are designed to encourage and empower the consumer to make smart health care choices, but they need the tools to do that,” Fraker said. “The SPBA is offering its expertise as a non-political resource, to help legislators and other officials develop the means by which providers can list their prices.”

Fraker was among the SPBA Board members who also met with Congressional offices in April. The Board hopes to schedule regular follow-up meetings.

Formed in 1975, SPBA strives to advance the goals of benefits administrators as well as to provide advice that helps members better serve their clients and their clients’ plans. SPBA Board members meet monthly via conference call to discuss issues of importance to the Society’s members and their customers. Board members also host twice-yearly conferences open to all SPBA members, which are preceded by Board-only meetings.

A 30-plus year veteran of employee benefits, Fraker assists MedBen clients with regulatory compliance, contractual and risk management issues. In addition to her SPBA responsibilities, she also serves on the Government Affairs Committee of the Licking County Chamber of Commerce.

06/17/18

Harden CEO Promotion Spotlighted in Columbus Business First

Kurt Harden, MedBen President & CEO

In a new Columbus Business First article, reporter Carrie Ghose interviewed MedBen President Kurt Harden and Executive Chairman Doug Freeman about Harden's recent promotion to CEO as well as the company's recent activities and future plans.

Freeman noted that Harden's promotion was part of an ongoing leadership transition plan. “As we have grown and diversified, Kurt has been personally in charge of those growth projects,” he said. “It was obvious he was going to be the guy who took over.”

In addition to managing MedBen's third party administration (TPA) and worksite wellness services, Harden spearheaded the creation of MedBen Analytics, a bundled payment reporting platform that converts Medicare data into actionable insights. In doing so, MedBen has expanded its client base to include hospital billing systems.

As the article mentions, Harden has also led recent changes to MedBen's pharmacy program and dental coverage.

The interview also touched on the financial aspects of the company's evolution from traditional group health insurance to administrative services for self-funded employers. Putting the focus on self-funding offered clients greater freedom in plan design and cost control, in addition to offering greater financial predictability for MedBen. As a TPA, "you know what your costs are," Freeman said.

Read the full article at the Columbus Business First website.

  08:13:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 229 words,  
Categories: News, Cost savings, Pharmacy benefit manager (PBM)

Government Talks about Rx Costs, But MedBen Already Has Solutions

pharmacist dispensing pills

During recent testimony to a Senate committee, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar floated the idea of eliminating the rebates that drug companies and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) use in price negotiations. As noted on Bloomberg.com, "PBMs have been criticized for keeping some of the rebates for themselves instead of passing them directly to consumers to lower their out-of-pocket costs."

As long-time MedBen clients know well, when it comes to drug rebates, we believe in total transparency – and we partner with PBMs who share our philosophy. Therefore, employers can be certain that 100% of paid rebates are returned to their plan.

In his testimony, Azar also commented that he thinks that instead of offering rebates, PBMs and drug companies should just negotiate fixed-price contracts. “Such a system’s incentives, detached from artificial list prices, would likely serve patients far better,” he said.

As it happens, MedBen Rx Advocate program takes a very similar approach to what Azar is proposing. Rather than using an artificially inflated average wholesale price, Rx Advocate takes the actual average cost the pharmacist pays for the drug and adds a reasonable dispensing fee as compensation. Straightforward, fair, and reduces the employer's pharmacy spending by an average of 11%.

While the government searches for solutions to high drug costs, MedBen already has them. Find out more by contacting Vice President of Sales & Marketing Brian Fargus at bfargus@medben.com.

  07:54:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 221 words,  
Categories: Cost savings, Third party administration, Claims management, Plan language

Carving Out a Costly Provider

knee x-ray

Plan language carve-outs don’t have to be limited to medical procedures or drug classes. If a provider grossly overcharges above reasonable and customary prices, then an employer can amend their plan to direct that the provider’s claims should be processed using separate criteria. And recently, a MedBen client who received an overinflated bill for knee replacement surgery did just that.

In Spring of 2017, a hospital billed a MedBen client $45,275 for a plan member who received a knee replacement, a fairly typical charge for the procedure. After network discounts were applied, the plan paid $26,217.

Several months later, the member’s other knee was replaced, but this time at an outpatient surgery center recommended by the doctor who performed the first replacement. The billed amount for the second procedure was $106,905 – well above the normal cost.

In response to the bill, MedBen advised the client to amend their plan language to carve out the outpatient surgery center from their provider network. Then, following a review of the claim, MedBen recommended that the plan pay $35,772 – substantially less than the billed amount, but more in line with the true value of the services received.

Effective use of plan language can make a significant difference in your health care costs, and MedBen can help. Contact Vice President of Sales & Marketing Brian Fargus at bfargus@medben.com to learn more.

  07:26:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 220 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Research, Hypertension

High Blood Pressure Raises Patient Bills, Study Says

blood pressure reading

Americans with high blood pressure may pay nearly $2,000 more on medical fees this year than those without the condition… a problem that could be alleviated through a focus on preventive care.

According to a 12-year study, adults with hypertension can spend up to $1,920 to treat the condition on top of other medical bills. Early diagnosis of the condition will help to decrease these costs, but if adults continue to skip annual check-ups, high blood pressure numbers will only continue to rise and become even more of a burden.

With fewer than one-quarter of U.S. adults getting regular wellness exams, there is clearly an opportunity to address unnecessary health care costs – which is where MedBen WellLiving comes in. We can help you develop a wellness strategy that includes annual check-ups to decrease the risk of high blood pressure and other chronic conditions.

MedBen WellLiving puts the primary care physician first and encourages members to see their family doctor for regular check-ups. Our program also encourages members to follow age- and gender- appropriate screening guidelines, further helping prevent high blood pressure and other chronic conditions as well as reducing the employer’s long-term costs.

MedBen WellLiving can make a difference in your employees’ health and your bottom line. Find out more by contacting Vice President of Sales and Marketing Brian Fargus at bfargus@medben.com.

06/03/18

  11:04:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 235 words,  
Categories: MedBen Employees

MedBen Employees Give of Themselves (Literally) for Charity

Blood Drive

MedBen employees give back to the community at large in a variety of ways, from gifting Christmas toys to underprivileged children, to power washing and painting local shelters. And in addition to sharing their time and talents, our team sometimes gives of themselves on, shall we say, a more personal level.

For the past two decades, MedBen has regularly hosted American Red Cross blood drives, most recently at our Morrow Conference Center on May 31. Through the donations of our employees – and, of course, many millions of others nationwide – the Red Cross helps save the lives of children and adults fighting to survive cancer, blood disorders, traumatic injuries and more.

MedBen has also for many years contributed to the Food Pantry Network of Licking County. Our staff participates in annual community food drives, and voluntarily pays a nominal cash donation to "dress down" for casual Fridays. Through these combined efforts, employees have donated over $10,000 to the Food Pantry since 2017.

In addition to the Red Cross and Food Pantry, MedBen has provided ongoing support to Families Helping Families, A Call to College, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the Midland Theatre and the Licking County Community Health Clinic, to name a few. We're always pleased to do our part!

You can donate blood – or host a blood drive yourself – by visiting the American Red Cross website. Or check out the Food Pantry Network site to learn more about their work.

  07:48:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 270 words,  
Categories: News, Banking

New “Beneficial Ownership” Rule Requires Account Information

bank

Recently, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a federal banking regulator, instituted a new federal rule which affects banks and other financial institutions. The “Beneficial Ownership” rule, which went in effect May 11, requires banks to collect and verify specific information about the beneficial owners and the control person of the entity opening a new account or modifying a current one at the time the account is opened or changed.

Beneficial owners are any individuals who directly or indirectly owns 25% or more of the legal entity, whereas a control person is an individual with significant responsibility to control, manage or direct the legal entity.If you need to open a new account or modify an existing account, the bank will require the beneficial owners’ and control person’s social security number, date of birth, and a photocopy of a government-issued ID.

The intent of the Beneficial Ownership rule is to assist authorities in counteracting money laundering, tax evasion, and other financial crimes. Because MedBen works with your plan bank accounts, we wanted you to be aware of this new rule, which affects all financial institutions in the country.

If your plan’s account is with Park National Bank, the MedBen Accounting Department can assist with questions you may have regarding Park’s implementation of these new rules.

If your plan account is with a bank other than Park National and you have not received information about how it will be implementing these requirements, MedBen recommends contacting the bank at your earliest convenience.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact your Group Service Representative or MedBen Vice President of Finance Ed Nydegger at 740-522-7317.

06/02/18

  04:46:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 207 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Reporting, Cancer, Heart, Diabetes, Preventive care, Population health management

Chronic Conditions Major Drivers of Health Care Costs

doctor and patient

The MedBen WellLiving program focuses on the prevention of chronic conditions that affect the quality of employees' lives as well as their cost to employers... and a recent survey emphasizes just how these conditions can financially impact the workplace.

In its Workplace Wellness Trends Survey, the International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans asked employers to identify the top conditions that influence plan costs. Nearly half (44.3%) of respondents singled out diabetes as a major driver of health care spending. Other conditions mentioned include cancer, heart disease, hypertension, and high cholesterol.

The MedBen WellLiving approach to a healthier workplace begins with the annual wellness exam – a chance for your physician to identify and help you prevent the onset of diabetes and other conditions – as well as age-appropriate screenings that increase the odds of detecting cancers early.

Paired with our primary prevention program is specialty care that identifies members at higher risk for chronic conditions and offers individualized coaching. In addition, WellLiving provides regular employer reports that detail member compliance with various wellness categories and nurse coaching calls.

MedBen WellLiving helps you to encourage better employee lifestyles, while addressing the conditions that affect the bottom line. Learn more by contacting Vice President of Sales & Marketing Brian Fargus at bfargus@medben.com.

06/01/18

  10:40:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 196 words,  
Categories: MedBen Analytics, Bundled Payments, Value-based care

Employers a Key to Value-Based Payment Transition

hospital bed

Value-based payment models are currently enabling Medicare to realize lower medical care costs... and MedBen is making these alternative payment methods available to self-funded employers as well.

In a recent MedCity News article, Dr. Poonam Alaigh notes that Medicare-based models like Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) have generated provider savings while improving the quality of select acute care services. "Provider groups have demonstrated continued impact on a key driver of success, decreasing readmissions rates, as high as 23.3 percent," she writes.

Alaigh adds that for value-based care to truly succeed, the private sector must be open to new payment approaches, "cultivating an ecosystem for providers to collaborate and embrace multi-payer outcomes-based incentive strategies."

Since 2015, BPCI participants and other providers have used the MedBen Analytics reporting platform to convert raw Medicare data into actionable insights. And we expect it to eventually become the norm for employer claim payments, too.

MedBen offers commercial bundled payment services to self-funded groups. Through detailed reporting and assisting with customized plan design, we can help clients realize lower costs than fee-for-service payments without compromising quality of care. Find out more by contacting Vice President of Sales & Marketing Brian Fargus at bfargus@medben.com.

05/31/18

  10:43:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 265 words,  
Categories: News, Health Care Reform, Taxes, Compliance, PCORI

Reminder: PCORI Filing and Fee Deadline Approaching

As in years past, all self-funded employer health plan sponsors are required to file and pay their Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) fee no later than July 31, 2018. All self-funded plan sponsors are required to pay a fee based on the average number of covered lives under their eligible plans – including employees, retirees, spouses and dependents.

Self-funded plans subject to the requirements include self-funded medical benefit plans, including most non-ERISA self-funded plans and retiree-only plans. Other self-funded plans subject to the fee include self-funded health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) and flexible spending accounts (FSAs) which are not integrated with a plan sponsor’s self-funded major medical plan. Dental-only, vision-only, employee assistance programs (EAPs), disease management, and wellness plans are exempt.

PCORI

All plan sponsors must use the IRS Form 720 dated April 2018 to record and remit the amount due. The IRS Form 720 has been modified to include the payment amounts due this year. Make sure to complete the correct section of Part II for “Applicable self-insured health plans” and select the correct payment amount based on your plan’s plan year end date.

This year’s payment schedule can be found on the MedBen.com website along with more information about calculating and remitting the fee to the IRS. In general, if your plan year begins on November 1, 2017 (ending October 1, 2017), December 1, 2017 (ending November 1, 2017) or January 1, 2018 (ending December 31, 2017) you will owe $2.39 per covered life. All other plans years owe $2.26 per covered life.

As always, if you need more information about how to count covered lives under your plan or how to prepare and remit your payment, don’t hesitate to contact your Group Service Representative.

05/30/18

  03:29:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 347 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Asthma on the Rise

listening to heart

The number of people with asthma continues to rise. In 2001, nearly 20 million people had asthma, and now, this condition, which causes chronic inflammation of the lung airways and makes it hard to breathe (much like pinching a straw and trying to breathe through it), affects 26 million Americans.

As temperatures rise and you head outside for activities, you become exposed to more common asthma attack triggers. These include exposure to allergens such as ragweed and pollen, irritants in the air such as smoke and chemical fumes, or extreme weather conditions such as extremely dry air. Exercise or illness (especially respiratory illnesses) can also make you more susceptible.

Though most common among children, adults too can develop asthma. It is important to visit your family physician if you think you or your child are experiencing any symptoms (shortness of breath or breathlessness, tightness in the chest, wheezing) as it could be something even more serious, such as the progressive chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

As with many other conditions, the sooner the condition is caught, the better. Your doctor may ask you a series of questions regarding your symptoms and the duration of those symptoms, as well as listen to the function of your lungs. The good thing is that asthma can be controlled with the right precautions and doctor-led medications.

Full story »

05/20/18

  08:50:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 257 words,  
Categories: Announcements, News, MedBen Employees

Crain Completes Chamber Leadership Program

Wendell Crain

MedBen Director of Security, Infrastructure and Web Development Wendell Crain recently completed the Community Leadership of Licking County program, offered through the Licking County (OH) Chamber of Commerce. For completing the nine-month program, Wendell received a Certificate of Achievement at a commemorative ceremony on Friday, May 11.

The Leadership program allows participants to interact with a diverse group of business experts from various job categories. Those accepted into the program are taught the importance of "strength-based" leadership in which the individual focuses on developing specific attributes at which they excel, while gaining useful exposure to area industry professionals.

When asked about the value of the program, Crain replied, "Rather than trying to balance your personal strengths and weaknesses, you learn to focus on maximizing your strengths and then working with others whose strengths complement yours to create an extremely effective team."

As for how completing the program will benefit him, Crain said, "The shift of my personal focus from balancing strengths and weaknesses is a huge change that should greatly benefit MedBen and myself. In addition, I believe that the networking of professionals within Licking County is a great asset and a tool to be used in the future."

Crain joined MedBen in 2003 as a Programmer and served as Manager of Technical Services and Web Development before being named a director in 2015. He holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Mount Vernon Nazarene University and an Associate in Data Processing from Zane State, and has earned an MCP certification from Microsoft and a CCENT-RS from Cisco.

Congratulations, Wendell!

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