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August 2016 Newsletter

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Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 10.24.01 AMHealth Coverage Options for Young Adults

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has made a number of changes to health insurance coverage over the last few years. Some provisions of the ACA are focused specifically on expanding health coverage options for young adults.

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Prior to the ACA, many young adults faced great difficulty finding full-time jobs in the post-recession job market, let alone ones with comprehensive benefits. In addition, many young adults found themselves “kicked off” of their parent’s health plan following graduation from either high school or college. This combination resulted in approximately 1 out of 3 recent graduates being uninsured for part of the year following graduation.

Like many other healthy, young adults, you may think that skipping health insurance sounds like a good idea. Health insurance can be expensive and you might feel it’s not worth the cost if you don’t need much medical care.

However, you never know when a catastrophic accident or illness will strike. Without insurance to help cover costs, you can quickly end up in financial trouble. Also, the ACA requires most individuals to obtain health coverage or pay a penalty with their federal tax return. It is in your best interest to seek out health coverage to avoid paying this penalty and to protect yourself from being financially crippled by medical costs.

Young adults today have many options for obtaining affordable health coverage.


s an adult, it is up to you to explore the health coverage options that are available to you and to select the plan that best fits your needs.

Health Coverage Through Your Employer

Many employers offer health coverage to employees as a benefit of employment. In addition, the ACA now requires certain large employers to provide affordable, minimum value health coverage to their full-time employees.

There are several advantages of employer-based plans. Because they are group health plans, risk is spread among the entire group and premiums are usually lower. Your employer may also cover part of the premium cost. In addition, you may be able to choose from a number of plans, depending on the choices offered by your employer.

Participants in group health plans are also covered by federal benefits laws, which guarantee things like special enrollment rights and protection from discrimination based on your health status.

Enrollment in an employer-based plan generally occurs through two regular opportunities—an initial enrollment period when you are hired (or first become eligible) and an annual open enrollment period. In many cases, the only exception to these enrollment rules is if you qualify for a special enrollment period (SEP).

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal law that requires employers to provide an SEP of at least 30 days following one of these situations: loss of eligibility for other coverage (such as turning 26 and losing coverage on your parent’s plan), getting married or divorced, having or adopting children, and becoming eligible or losing eligibility for Medicaid.

If interested, contact an HR representative to explore your group health plan options and open enrollment dates, or to see if you qualify for a SEP.

Health Coverage Through Your Parent’s Plan

Quite often, young adults are able to be covered under a parent’s health plan until the age of 26. If your parent’s plan offers dependent coverage, you are eligible until you turn 26, whether or not you are married, living with your parents, eligible for coverage through your own employer, financially dependent on your parent or are a student. However, it is up to your parent whether you can be covered under his or her plan.

One advantage of being enrolled in your parent’s plan is that you don’t have to shop for coverage. Seeking your own health coverage can be an intimidating and confusing process. You may already be familiar with the benefits and medical providers you have access to under your parent’s plan. Another advantage is that the premium cost may be lower than the cost of coverage you would get on your own. The coverage may be less expensive per person than individual plans, and, if there are already other dependents on your parent’s plan, adding you may not cost them anything at all. If you live near your parents, you can avoid paying the expensive out-of-network rates you may face if you were living far away.

Remaining on your parent’s plan can also have disadvantages. Many employer-based plans stop providing coverage for young adults on their parent’s plan during the month of their 26th birthday.

Another disadvantage is that, because policyholders receive a comprehensive summary of benefits, your parents may potentially get more information about your health care than you would like. If you prefer privacy or independence, you should consider seeking coverage on your own.

Also, if you are planning to get married or have a baby, your own dependents aren’t eligible for coverage under your parent’s plan. In order to best prepare for your future, you should consider finding insurance for you and your family.

If you are turning 26 or are interested in acquiring a health plan independent from your parents, you should research the options available to you and talk with your parents and an HR representative as early as possible so that you are able to properly plan for this transition.

Health Coverage Through Marketplace Plans

The ACA required health insurance exchanges, or Marketplaces, to be established in each state. The Marketplace allows individuals to compare health insurance options and purchase coverage. Some people are also able to receive subsidies to help pay for premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. However, you will not be eligible for subsidies if you were offered health insurance (for example, by your employer or a spouse or parent’s plan) that was affordable and covered at least an average of 60 percent of health care costs. Even without subsidies, you may be able to find a health insurance option that fits your budget.

In addition to comprehensive health insurance coverage, you may be eligible for a “catastrophic plan.” These plans are available only to those under 30 years of age and generally have very low premiums and very high deductibles. Although this type of plan covers only the most essential health needs in order to fulfill the ACA requirements, the main purpose of this plan is to protect you from the substantial medical costs that can be incurred from a serious accident or illness.

Marketplace enrollment is only available during an annual open enrollment period, unless you qualify for a SEP. The rules for SEPs in the Marketplace differ from those that apply to employer-based plans. For more information or to enroll in a Marketplace plan, please visit www.healthcare.gov.

Health Coverage Through Medicaid

Medicaid is a program that is designed to help provide health coverage to low-income adults. Medicaid does not have a specific open enrollment period, which means that you may apply at any time. Eligibility for Medicaid varies from state to state, so be sure to check www.medicaid.gov or your state’s Department of Health website to see if you qualify.

Health Coverage Through Individual Plans

Many health insurance companies offer individual plans. Obtaining health insurance

through a third party may be the best fit for you if you know exactly what you want.

Because this option is not a group health plan, individual health insurance may be

more expensive than other options.

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The level and quality of the coverage will vary, depending on the specific policy.

Typically, higher quality plans come with higher premiums.

In addition, carriers may limit enrollment to specific times during the year, similar to the Marketplace. Contact Davenport & Associates for help navigating the numerous individual plan options that you have.

What Happens If I Do Not Have Health Coverage?

If you do not have health coverage, you will have to pay a penalty with your federal tax refund (unless you qualify for an exemption). In 2016, the fee for not having adequate coverage is the higher of the two following amounts:

  • 2.5 percent of your yearly household income
  • $695 per person for the year ($347.50 per child under 18). The maximum penalty per family using this method is $2,085.

It is up to you whether you want to remain uninsured and simply pay the penalty. However, this may not be a viable long-term strategy. The penalty amounts are scheduled to increase in subsequent years and paying out of pocket for health care is extremely expensive.

Summary

In order to ensure you have the appropriate coverage for your specific needs, be sure to thoroughly research the options that are available to you. Depending on your situation, it may be helpful to talk with your parents and your HR representative. Buying health insurance may seem unnecessary now as a young and healthy adult, but accidents and illness can strike at any time. Be proactive and be prepared.

February 2016 Newsletter

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I hope February is finding you in good health. As you may have heard, Open Enrollment has recently come to a close. If you missed the ACA’s Third Sign-Up Period, you may still be eligible for Special Enrollment. Give Davenport & Associates a call today for more information.  We are ready to guide you towards the right policies for you, and look forward to hearing from you!

Best wishes,

Dusty Davenport

Obamacare hits 12.7M customers for 2016, HHS reports

HealthCare.gov CEO Kevin Counihan singled out Las Vegas, Yuma, Arizona, and several towns in Texas as places where enrollment grew rapidly. He also said people seemed to be aware of the “individual mandate” tax for shirking insurance. That penalty starts at about $700 for 2016.

Click Here To Read More

Do You Own A Family Business?

Watch this video about how insurance can help prevent family disputes in the future.

New law overturns 2006 IRS ruling; improves VEBA Death Benefits

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, which was enacted effective December 18, 2015, includes an amendment to Section 105(j) of the Internal Revenue Code that prevents the forfeiture of death benefits by allowing the taxable reimbursement of medical expenses for designated beneficiaries such as adult children, siblings, parents and others.

Click Here To Read More

Davenport & Associates | (956) 971-0326 | info@ripdavenportinc.com |davenportins.com

January 2016  Newsletter

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Happy new year ! I hope you had a relaxing, restful holiday break. We are back in the office with a fresh, clean calendar before us, and are looking forward to working together in 2016 to meet all your employees’ coverage needs. Many of us made new year’s resolutions like getting more involved with our health, family, or traveling, but will need a little help sticking to them.  Taking charge of your health can be difficult without health insurance to cover doctor visits – Let Davenport & Associates do what we can to help you make sure all your employees are  getting the coverage they need.  We are only a call away to assist you in understanding what policies are right for you, and how exactly you are covered. We look forward to hearing from you!

Best wishes,

Dusty Davenport

Important dates for 2016 enrollment

 

You might already have holiday vacation on the mind, but don’t forget to take care of your coverage before you leave the office for the year! Deadlines are fast approaching. Read more: https://www.healthcare.gov/quick-guide/dates-and-deadlines/

  • January 15, 2016: Last day to enroll in or change plans for new coverage to start February 1, 2016
  • January 31, 2016: 2016 Open Enrollment ends. Enrollments or changes between January 16 and January 31 take effect March 1, 2016.

 

2016 Federal Budget Delays ACA’s Cadillac Tax & Suspends Two Other Taxes

The new law delays the Cadillac tax for two years, and temporarily suspends collection of the provider’s fee and the medical devices tax.

Click Here To Learn More

Do you Speak Health Insurance?

Trying to navigate the health insurance process and all its jargon can be overwhelming, and it can lead people to make costly mistakes or to avoid care altogether. Remember, if you ever have a question about your coverage, we are always happy to help at Davenport & Associates.

Listen to the NPR story here.

ACA Automatic Enrollment Requirement Repealed

 

As the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) continues to evolve, it becomes increasingly important for employers to understand the requirements that apply based on their size, whether a plan is offered, and the funding mechanism for that plan. Working closely with a team of trusted benefits consultants, legal advisors, and tax professionals is essential to stay ahead of the curve.

Read More Here

 

Davenport & Associates | (956) 971-0326 | info@ripdavenportinc.com |davenportins.com

December 2015 Newsletter

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Monthly Update

 Davenport & Associates hope this letter finds you well, enjoying the winter and coming holidays.

As we look back on our year, we reflect on the blessings we were fortunate to receive; we are grateful to be working with you, and looking forward, anticipate an even stronger working relationship.

January will soon be upon us, and we find the new year is a good time to look ahead and plan for coverage, be it health, life, or any of our products. We are always ready to assist you understand your policies, and secure the peace of mind you deserve for a restful vacation. We look forward to hearing from you in the coming year!

Best wishes and Happy Holidays,

 

-Dusty Davenport

Important dates for 2016 enrollment

 

You might already have holiday vacation on the mind, but don’t forget to take care of your coverage before you leave the office for the year! Deadlines are fast approaching. Read more: https://www.healthcare.gov/quick-guide/dates-and-deadlines/

  • December 15, 2015: Last day to enroll in or change plans for new coverage to start January 1, 2016
  • January 1, 2016: 2016 coverage starts for those who enroll or change plans by December 15.
  • January 15, 2016: Last day to enroll in or change plans for new coverage to start February 1, 2016
  • January 31, 2016: 2016 Open Enrollment ends. Enrollments or changes between January 16 and January 31 take effect March 1, 2016.

 

The time is now to make use of benefits!

 

As the end of the year is quickly approaching, we want to remind you to utilize any unused insurance benefits before they expire. In most cases, any benefits left in these accounts do not roll over each calendar year.

Depending on your individual needs, careful calendar planning will allow you to maximize your time and unused benefits. Aetna has created a simple chart to help you make the most of your insurance.

Click Here To Learn More

Are you resolving to quit smoking this New Year?

Congratulations on making a decision that is not only good for your health, but your wallet. Aside from savings from cutting the habit itself, your insurance premium can also go down. The president of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, Bert Marshall, discusses his personal struggles with tobacco.

Read More Here

Patients Want To Price-Shop For Care, But Online Tools Unreliable

Many insurance providers offer online tools which estimate charges under different plans. While they are intended to facilitate the process, they can actually cause problems.

Read More Here

 

Davenport & Associates | (956) 971-0326 | info@ripdavenportinc.com |davenportins.com

November 2015 Newsletter

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November is here, which means Thanksgiving might already be on our minds… But this year, the beginning of November is significant for another reason that will have impact lasting through 2016. The dates for open enrollment for health care through the Health Insurance Marketplace have changed again:

 

This year it begins the first of the month and continues until January 31, 2016.

It’s important that all individuals not covered through employers sign up for coverage before the end of open enrollment, because after this period they will not be able to enroll in a health insurance plan (unless a major life change makes them eligible for a special enrollment period), and will incur a penalty for being uninsured. For those who enroll or change plans by Dec. 15, coverage can start as soon as Jan. 1, 2016.

“What’s the worst that can happen if I don’t enroll?”

“The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires most Americans to have health insurance starting in 2014. People who don’t comply have to pay a penalty, the amount of which depends on several factors, including income and family size.” This calculator lets you estimate the potential ACA penalty for individuals and

families who don’t have health insurance coverage required by the ACA:

Click Here To Learn More

Medicare Open Enrollment Breakdown by Phil Moeller

Journalist Philip Moeller, who writes widely on health and retirement, is here to provide the Medicare answers you need in “Ask Phil, the Medicare Maven.”

Read More Here

No More Bacon-CheeseBurgers? 

An international panel of experts convened by the World Health Organization concluded Monday that eating processed meat like hot dogs, ham and bacon raises the risk of colon cancer and that consuming other red meats “probably” raises the risk as well.

Read More Here

Davenport & Associates | (956) 971-0326 | info@ripdavenportinc.com |davenportins.com

October 2015 Newsletter

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Monthly Update

Pink ribbons are on proud display this October in solidarity with those fighting breast cancer. Raising funds for research and promoting awareness are major goals of the month-long campaign.

At Davenport & Associates, we stand with these brave women, and encourage yearly mammograms starting at age 40 and continuing follow-up checks as recommended by your healthcare provider. We know going to the doctor can get very expensive, but these are screenings you do not want to put off. Early detection can make all the difference, and we’re here to help make these checks affordable through a process that will answer all your questions and give you peace of mind.Visit our website to learn about getting medical insurance today.

Letting Insurance Help

Learning about insurance can be tough, especially during times of stress. However, a step-by-step plan may help you understand your options and decide what is best for you. This information about insurance from the Susan G. Komen organization, which addresses breast cancer on multiple fronts, could be of great use to people with breast cancer.”The first step is to understand the three types of insurance that are most important: health insurance, disability insurance and long-term care insurance.”
Click Here To Learn More

ACA reporting rules: A plain-English breakdown

If you think the Obamacare reporting requirements issued by the IRS are confusing, you’re not alone. But we’ve cut through the clutter to get to the point of what’s required.
Read More Here

Updated Medical Codes May Cause Confusion


A recent revision of the nation’s uniform health care coding system replaces the outdated ICD-9, which was finalized in 1979 and contains information on 13,000 codes. It is what hospitals, clinics, private practices, emergency medical staff and all other health service providers use to code every diagnosis experienced while on the job.  Now, with ICD-10, more than 68,000 are in place and some are incredibly specific. For instance, code V97.33XD is used when a person has been sucked into a jet engine and is visiting a physician for a subsequent encounter. “The patients should know that this is a big deal,” said Corey M. Zeigler, regional chief information officer for the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization. “It will be interesting to see in the coming months if patients are having billing problems.”Fortunately, Mr. Zeigler said, Medicare is prepared for a period of transition. “Medicare in particular has given a bit of a leniency time frame where they will pay the bill no matter what it is coded,” he said. “This revision is a big undertaking, but it is worth it.. . If there’s an error or something like that, it will still get paid.”

Read More Here

September 2015 Newsletter

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Monthly Update

September is Life Insurance Awareness Month, which means that it is time to elevate tranquility, stability, and secure states of mind.
At Davenport & Associates, it is our goal to address the lack of knowledge when it comes to purchasing life insurance. The benefits of being covered must be properly communicated to make sure you understand that family members cannot be left to figure it all out in a case of death or emergency. In this newsletter you’ll find articles and tips to make your insurance experience easier.

September is Life Insurance Awareness Month, which means that it is time to elevate tranquility, stability, and secure states of mind.
At Davenport & Associates, it is our goal to address the lack of knowledge when it comes to purchasing life insurance. The benefits of being covered must be properly communicated to make sure you understand that family members cannot be left to figure it all out in a case of death or emergency. In this newsletter you’ll find articles and tips to make your insurance experience easier.

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7 Smart Financial Moves for New (and Experienced) Parents by Matt Hoesley from lifehappens.com.Tip Of The Month

Read More Here

Our New Website

Our new website is intended to communicate such information to the public. Answers are provided to the most basic questions about life insurance. Money should not be a barrier to accessing coverage and it is why we provide more than one option for every individual. It is our goal to match clients with the company that presents the best solution for their purchases.

Link to Davenport & Associates

 News SpotlightRead how it has been more than 15 years since this small a share of Americans didn’t get medical care they needed because of the cost, a new federal government report reveals.

Read More Here

Changing dynamics: Women’s influence on the workplace

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WHEN WELLNESS WORKS

This four-part series looks at the dynamics of today’s workforce and how demographic shifts and trends are impacting the workplace. In this article, we explore women’s influence on the modern workplace, and how companies are reshaping their benefits and policies to accommodate this growing segment.

With women now representing 47 percent of the workforce1, are you adapting your benefits and policies to meet the diverse needs of your organization? Employers who both understand and effectively address the personal demands and professional objectives of their employees can expect better retention rates and productivity.

Today, both men and women face challenges balancing work and family. And although men spend more time on childcare than they did ten years ago, women still juggle more family demands.2Companies whose policies and benefits accommodate this reality and the concerns that stem from it, stand to increase their competitive edge when it comes to hiring and retainingwomen in their workplace.


Stretch and flex

Flexibility was among the top three factors working mothers considered when choosing a new job — right behind job security and pay.3  Offering flextime to workers can become a retention tool, even a competitive advantage — for companies willing to trade tradition for a chance to meet women workers where it matters today.

Indeed attracting and retaining top talent means offering women flexibility in managing the times and places in which they work.  Employers increasingly recognize the value these options bring to their organizations in terms of improved productivity and reduced absenteeism. Companies who offer flex time is up from 66 percent in 2005 to 77 percent in 2012, and even more dramatically, those with flex place options have grown 85 percent, from 34 percent to 63 percent in the same time period.4

This type of work/life support works best when it’s implemented in a manner that addresses employees’ needs for flexibility and the company’s needs for productivity. Flexibility can be managed through HR policies, or made available on a discretionary basis. Either way, training is important for flextime arrangements to succeed. Managers and supervisors need guidance in how to be supportive of work and family and how to give workers more control over their work hours.


Increased maternity leave, increased retention

Fifty-eight percent of employees who give birth receive some form of pay during maternity-related leave (up from 46 percent in 2005), yet few employers provide full pay during maternity leave. In fact, only 9 percent of employers gave new mothers a full maternity-related disability salary in 2012, a drop from 17 percent in 2005.5 Research suggests the recession may have contributed this downward trend: a result of employers attempting to make the most of their reduced workforces.

But for companies that offer enhanced maternity leave benefits, the advantages can be significant.  For example, when Google recently increased paid leave to 18 weeks, the rate of new mothers resigning fell by 50 percent.6

What does a good program look like? On average, the Working Mother 100 Best Companies of 2014 offer eight fully paid weeks off for new birth mothers, three for new fathers and five for new adoptive parents.7


Benefit from benefits that offer protection and security

A Humana/LIMRA study, The Changing Face of the Employee, revealed that more than half of women are not satisfied with their current financial situation, and almost as many remain uncertain about the future. Women are also more likely than men to consider the workplace as a source of purchasing insurance products. They look to traditional employee benefits to provide protection for their families, and are interested in benefits like critical illness, supplemental medical, accident insurance and long-term care insurance.

Employers focused on meeting the needs of their female employees can provide information on these topics that is tailored to women’s specific needs and concerns. This can including encourage women to take advantage of educational opportunities offered by the company’s 401(k) vendor or through an Employee Assistance Program. Simply publicizing these resources can be a meaningful first step.


Creating a workplace that’s win: win

Understanding the needs and motivations of the modern employee and building relevant workforce strategies can help businesses drive a competitive advantage. As women increasingly lead in the workforce, companies will need to consider if their programs and policies are optimized to help all of their employees manage their personal and professional goals. In return, companies can expect improved engagement and loyalty, which can generate cost savings from reduced turnover and absenteeism.

Read other articles in the Changing Dynamics series:

Extending workplace wellness to remote workers

Here at Davenport Benefits, we want to make sure that our clients are informed with up-to-date information on COVID-19 in order to benefit the health and safety of our communities. Below, we have compiled verified news sources with current updates and announcements regarding the handling of the coronavirus in our region. Please continue to check back for the most recent information, and consider sharing with your friends and family on social media.

Click Here For Updates