Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield Continues Lower Rates Through March

Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield in NH

Believe it or not, in these days of rising health care costs, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield actually reduced NH rates for individual health insurance policies by as much as 10% for the fourth quarter of 2010.

Even more remarkable: These lower rates have been held through the first quarter of 2011. Applications for New Hampshire individuals and their family members submitted before March 1, 2011 are eligible for these rates and guaranteed not to change for a year. Please note, individual health insurance in NH is subject to medical underwriting and all applications are pending approval.

This is a great time for an individual health insurance check up to see if you can benefit from Anthem’s lower rates. We don’t know yet what’s in store for April 1, 2011.

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Healthcare Reform And Tax Increases

Healthcare Tax Impacts

Although The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Health Care Reform) doesn’t fully go into effect until January 2014, several elements are in place now in 2010. The additional costs to cover these current enhancements will be primarily reflected in additional insurance premiums for individuals and small business health plans.

To help pay for some of the future Health care Reform costs, several subtle and little publicized tax deductions and elements of tax favored health savings accounts were eliminated or changed. Some will start to hit your tax return next year, a few of which are listed below. Another good source of info on health care tax changes can be found on this Kiplinger post.

For those incurring significant medical costs, your ability to deduct these expenses will be decreased. This legislation increases the adjusted gross income threshold for claiming an itemized deduction from 7.5 percent to 10 percent. Read the rest of this entry »

Should You Grandfather Your Health Insurance Under the New Healthcare Reform?

Small Business Tax Credit

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Health Care Reform) provides an option for business group health insurance as well as individual health insurance to be grandfathered. If a health insurance policy was active prior to March 23, 2010 and the coverage elements remain essentially the same, it will be considered grandfathered. Read the rest of this entry »

2010 Health Care Forum

I just received an invitation to an interesting forum on NH health insurance that I thought I should pass along. If you’re a small business owner, employee benefits manager or CEO you won’t want to miss the second annual New Hampshire Business Review Health Care Forum.

When: October 6, 2010 7:30 – 11:30

Where: Southern NH University, Manchester, NH

What’s Working, What’s Not and What’s Next?

Moving Beyond Reform to Transform Employer Based Health Care

The second annual NHBR Health Care Forum aims to bring together NH business leaders including CEOs, CFOs, health care providers, HR professionals and benefits specialists. The interactive discussion focuses on employee engagement, workplace culture, financial incentives, payment reform initiatives and their impact on health care costs.

Moderated by Peter Hayes, a well known health care and benefits professional, the program begins with “remarks, reflection and what’s next” by Elliot Fisher, MD MBA of The Dartmouth Institute, Michael Green of Concord Hospital Tom Raffio of Northeast Delta Dental, and others.

Keynote Speaker
Jason Hwang MD MBA, co-author of “The Innovator’s Prescription: A Disruptive Solution for Healthcare” and co-founder and Executive Director Healthcare at Innosight Institute, a non-prophit social innovation think tank applying theories of disruptive innovation to develop and promote solutions to the problems of healthcare.

Panel Discussion
The morning concludes with panelists Heather Staples of the University System of New Hampshire, Robert Mclellan, MD of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Grey Chynoweth DYN, INC. and Barbara Couch of Hypertherm. This distinguished panel will offer their own experiences on advancing employer based health care through methods of personal accountability and wellness initiatives.

For further details go to the New Hampshire Business Review website www.nhbr.com.

The Next Wave of Health Care Reform Comes Sept. 23. Are You Ready For It?

Health Care Reform Deadlines

The bulk of change in our health care system happens in 2014, but there have been some adjustments in 2010 and the next wave will be effective September 23, 2010.

The changes are mostly additional mandates to policy provisions. While these required enhancements to health insurance policies are well-intentioned and will benefit certain people, they will generate additional claims. The net result of all additional claims expense is policy premium increases so be ready even higher rates in the immediate future, as reported by the Wall Street Journal on Sept. 8.

Let’s take a look at these next Health Care Reform elements: Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t Wait For Health Care Reform To Solve Your Health Insurance Needs Today

Health Insurance Review

In the past few months, I’ve heard more and more people say they’ll wait for the Affordable Health Care for America Act (a.k.a. Health Care Reform) to resolve their current health care issues. While there are a few elements of Health Care Reform that went into effect in 2010, most people seeking coverage won’t see effects of the new legislation until January 2014. A wait-and-see approach could cost you money and compromise the quality of your health care coverage. Read the rest of this entry »

How do HSA plans work? Is a Health Savings Account Health Plan Right for You?

How HSA plans work

Health Savings Account (HSA) health insurance plans have been steadily growing in popularity since they replaced Medical Savings Accounts about nine years ago. There are  two basic reasons to consider an HSA: saving money on your taxes and generally lower premiums compared to conventional copay type health plans.

 Once you grasp the basic functionality of HSA health plans, you’ll realize they are much simpler and easier to understand than the still more common copay programs.

 How HSAs Work

There are differences between HSA plans, but the basics remain the same: Read the rest of this entry »

How to Get a Business Tax Credit in 2010 from Health Care Reform

Small Business Tax Credit

Most effects of health care reform won’t play out until 2014, but there are some important changes happening this year that small business owners should know about and try to capitalize on.

The most significant health care reform impact in 2010 is the tax credit for small business owners.  To be eligible for this credit, businesses need to meet the following criteria:

  • Have 25 or less full-time equivalent employees enrolled in a group health insurance plan
  • Pay at least 50% of all employees’ health insurance plan premiums
  • Have an annual gross income that does not exceed $50,000 per employee

If your business meets this criteria, you can apply up to 35% of your health insurance premium expense as Read the rest of this entry »

The Pros and Cons of Online Individual NH Health Insurance

Online health insurance may seem like a great idea: fast, convenient, and possibly cost effective, right? Think again. Purchasing online health insurance is probably not in your best interest. You should talk to a professional before making any buying decisions.

Pros (Assumed)

  • Saves Time – Well, maybe!  You plan on a couple clicks and the unpleasant task of buying health insurance is over with, right! The more likely scenario is you’ll be overwhelmed with an excessive list of plan choices impossible to sort through on your own.
  • Saves Money – Absolutely not!  Health insurance companies are required to post their rates with the NH Department on Insurance and you, the consumer, pay those rates regardless of how you come to purchase your policy.

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Self Service NH Health Insurance – Friend or Foe?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In this day of immediate gratification consumerism and the convenience of purchasing almost anything on line, more and more Americans are making heath insurance decisions completely on their own, without any advice from a qualified professional.  Before we go any further on this topic, it is crucial you understand the number one reason motivating people to buy health insurance on the web:

Truth or Myth
Q.  I can save money on my family’s health insurance if I buy it myself, on line.
A.  Myth!!

Insurance companies file their rates with the State Department of Insurance and regardless of which method of purchase you choose, the cost is the same.  We at AHS are independent brokers and work with every insurance company in New Hampshire that meets our quality / value standards.

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