Communications

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VCG’s VANTAGE
A view into the latest Benefits and HR topics

A Dramatic Shift in Health Care Pricing Transparency

Authors: |September 3rd, 2019|Administration, Communications, Decision Making, In The Know, Technology|

The Issue: On June 24, 2019, President Trump signed an executive order, which instructed the Department of Health and Human Services to publish rules requiring hospitals to publicly disclose their negotiated rates for services. On August 9, 2019, proposed rules were published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ("CMS"). The Situation: The proposed rules require hospitals [...]

New Executive Order Attempts to Make Healthcare Prices More Transparent

Authors: |June 25th, 2019|Benefits, Communications, Decision Making, In The Know|

Anyone who has tried to shop around for hospital services knows this: It's hard to get prices in advance. President Trump signed an executive order Monday that he says would make such comparisons easier, and make the pricing process more transparent. The order directs agencies to draw up rules requiring hospitals and insurers to make public more [...]

What Are Employee Weingarten Rights And Are There Limits?

Authors: |May 21st, 2019|Communications, Decision Making, In The Know|

There are many legal nuances companies must deal with on the employee relations front in union versus non-union environments. For example, employees in a unionized workforce have the right to have, upon request, a union representative present with them during any investigative interview that may lead to discipline of that employee – commonly referred to as “Weingarten [...]

IRS Extends ACA Reporting Deadline (Again)

Authors: |December 4th, 2018|Administration, Benefits, Communications, Compliance, In The Know, Technology|

In the recently released Notice 2018-94, the IRS provided reporting relief for employers for the 2018 calendar year.  Here are the key points. The due date for providing Forms 1095-C or 1095-B to employees and individuals is extended 32 days to March 4, 2019 Despite the extension, the IRS is encouraging reporting entities to furnish [...]

Required Reporting, Disclosures and Notices for Group Health Plans

Authors: |November 2nd, 2018|Administration, Benefits, Communications, Compliance, In The Know|

Participants must be provided with various notices in connection with an employer’s group health plan.  The notices are required at certain intervals including initially, upon annual open enrollment and at termination. Notices with Initial Enrollment Materials Notice of Exchange Availability. This notice must contain certain basic information about the employer’s group health coverage so the [...]

Annual Enrollment Checklist

Authors: |October 23rd, 2018|Benefits, Communications, Compliance, Human Resources, In The Know|

For employers operating their group health plans on a calendar year basis, now is the time of the year to prepare for open enrollment with respect to group health and welfare benefits.  Typically, the focus is on evaluating the services and performance of vendors, renewing rates and considering design changes.  In addition to these items, [...]

Medical Loss Ratio (MLR)

Authors: |September 20th, 2018|Administration, Benefits, Communications, Compliance, In The Know|

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires health insurance issuers to spend a minimum percentage of premium dollars on medical care and health care quality improvement, which is intended to lower the cost of care. This percentage is known as "medical loss ratio" (MLR). In the large group insurance market, the required MLR is 85%; the [...]

Medicare Part D Notices – Creditable (or Non-Creditable) Coverage

Authors: |August 28th, 2018|Benefits, Communications, Compliance, In The Know|

Plan sponsors of group health plans providing prescription drug coverage to individuals who are eligible for Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage are required to satisfy certain notice requirements. Background Individuals must enroll in Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage when first eligible (generally, at age 65).  If they do not do so, they are [...]

When Can SPDs and Participant Notices be Distributed Electronically?

Authors: |August 23rd, 2018|Administration, Benefits, Communications, Compliance, In The Know, Technology|

Summary Plan Description (SPD) is a document that employers are required to give to employees in retirement plans or health benefit plans covered by ERISA.  The SPD is simply a summary of the plan document required to be written in such a way that the participants of the benefits plan can easily understand it. Employers [...]

2017 PCORI Fee Due July 31st

Authors: |July 30th, 2018|Benefits, Communications, Compliance, In The Know|

The Affordable Care Act requires health insurers and employers that sponsor self-funded group health plans (including health reimbursement arrangements) to pay a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) fee for each year from 2012 to 2019. The PCORI fee for plan years ending in 2017 is due by July 31, 2018. If the plan is fully [...]