Aetna Small Group (ACA 1–50 only) Broker Commission Changes Effective January 1, 2018

Small group (1–50) ACA broker commissions for medical cases sold in Ohio and Kentucky are changing. The new ACA commission structure applies to those new and renewal business sales effective January 1, 2018. Brokers will continue to earn commissions on a per employee, per month (PEPM) basis.

The current commission level for 51–100 of $30 PEPM will not change, and the default service fee of $30 for AFA business will not be changing. These commission changes apply to small group ACA business only, and the change in existing small group ACA business will occur upon the group’s renewal date.

For ACA new and renewal medical business sold with an effective date of January 1, 2018, or later, the commission will be:

Number of eligible employees enrolled Commission per employee, per month (PEPM)
1 – 50 employees ACA small group 1 – 50 $15 (new and renewal business)


To view ACA, fully insured, and AFA broker commissions, please click here.

Become An Aetna Front Runner!

Become a part of Aetna Medicare’s Front Runners program by selling 18 or more 2018 Aetna or Coventry Health Care Individual Medicare (MA/MAPD, PDP) enrollments during AEP. As an Aetna Front Runner, you will receive free Aetna Individual Medicare certification in 2018, signage announcing your status, online discounts from Staples, and discounts on Kaplan Insurance Continuing Education Courses online for one year.

For more information, contact your Cornerstone representative today.

5 Tips For Managing Stress This Enrollment Season

The enrollment season is the busiest, and most stressful, time of the year. It’s easy to get caught up in your inbox, your voicemails, paperwork, and more, especially with deadlines looming closer. However, in order to properly take care of your clients and stay on top of a heavy workload, it’s important to manage your stress.

Keep yourself mentally and physically at the top of your game by following any of the stress management tips below:

  1. Recognize signs of stress and your stressors. Does tackling the mountain of papers on your desk feel like an inconceivable task? Is your desk too disorganized to focus on much else? Are you lacking the tools necessary to help you through the busy season? Take a minute to identify and tackle your stressors so you can learn how to properly manage them.
  2. Set your major priorities at the beginning of the day, leaving room for emergencies. It’s difficult to avoid multitasking with a heavy workload. You find yourself answering emails while trying to accomplish 50 other tasks at the same time. At the beginning of the day, set between 3–5 priorities that you need to accomplish, be it a call to a client, answering an important email, focusing on marketing, etc. But be sure to leave some room for emergencies that may pop up throughout the day. Priorities will sometimes shift, so you want to prepare yourself to manage new priorities as they come along.
  3. Don’t be afraid to take a break. An article from The Atlantic stressed the importance of walking away from your desk throughout the day. The article referenced a study by the DeskTime productivity app which concluded that higher performer workers in the study would work for an average of 52 minutes, followed by a 17-minute break, often away from the computer. This means taking a short walk around the office, speaking with a coworker, stretching, getting a cup of coffee, etc.
  4. Take care of yourself. Get rid of that 3 pm fatigue! Even on your busiest days, be sure that you are eating the proper amount of nutrient-dense foods, focus on gaining as much rest as possible, and remain active. When your body is at its peak, it will run more efficiently to get the job done.
  5. Use the resources and materials available to you. Cornerstone has a number of online resources that are specifically designed to streamline and maximize the efficiency of your business. Check these out here.

On-Exchange Policy Status Updates

Tracking Your Individual On-Exchange Business

Your support team is ready to help you with tracking the status of your on-exchange business with Cornerstone.

Complete the Enrollment Status Check form and we will track the status of the policy for you and respond back with any updates.

If you have any questions, please reach out to Danielle Flesch at

2018 Medicare Numbers from CMS

CMS recently released the 2018 premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance amounts for the 2018 Medicare Part A and Part B programs. The amounts have not changed, with the Part B deductible remaining at $183 and the Part B premium remaining at $134, but now all beneficiaries will pay the same and the Part A deductible will slightly increase.


Check out the CMS Fact Sheet for more details!

ACA Reporting for 2017 Filings: Coding Cues for 1095

NAHU, the National Association of Health Underwriters, recently did a webinar on this topic presented by Trey Tompkins of AdminAmerica. This article is a summary of the key points related to the forms themselves. NAHU members can access the recorded presentation at

What changed for 2017 filings?

  • 1094-C – any references to “Section 4980H Transitional Relief” because it no longer applies.
  • No more Penalty Relief protections for GOOD FAITH COMPLIANCE. This is where penalties were waived for incomplete or incorrect filings if employers could show they made a good faith effort to comply.

Tips for the Tricky Parts on 1095 Forms

  • Line 14
COBRA – For terminated employees (and their dependents), use CODE 1H with Code 2A on line 16

– For current employees eligible for COBRA (and COBRA eligible dependents) use the appropriate code for the offer (i.e., who was actually eligible to elect COBRA for those months)

Retiree – Retiree coverage is not reported as an offer of coverage (1H on Line 14 and 2A on Line 16)
  • Line 15 considerations
    • Only completed if Line 14 response is: 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1J, or 1K
    • Rules allow for smoothing reported premiums evenly across months for employees paying weekly or biweekly premiums.
  • Line 16 Safe Harbor Codes and considerations
Priority – Use the first that applies in this order: 2A, 2B, 2E, 2C, then whichever others apply
2A – Employee not employed during month
2B – Employee not a full-time employee
2C – Employee enrolled in health coverage offered

– Do not use for EX-employee COBRA continuants

– Do not use if coverage was not for the entire month

2D – Employee in a Limited Non-Assessment Period

– For use in Waiting Periods (90 days) and Variable Hour Employees in Measurement Period

– Do not use for employees to which Code 2E applies (union)

2E – Multiemployer interim rule relief (Union employees)
2F – W-2 Safe Harbor

– Can’t be used for months employer didn’t offer MEC to 95% of FTEs and dependents

– If used, must be used for each month the employee was offered coverage

– For partial year employees, can be applied using a fraction of the employee’s W-2 wages versus cost of coverage for the eligible months



– Federal Poverty Line Safe Harbor

– Rate of Pay Safe Harbor

– Can’t be used for months employer didn’t offer MEC to 95% of FTEs and dependents

blank – Sometimes applies, but it predicts a potential penalty assessment for employer
Waivers – There is no specific code for a waiver of offered coverage, but one of the affordability safe harbor codes will usually apply
    • Affordability Thresholds


YEAR Affordability %
2016 9.66%
2017 9.69%
2018 9.56%

IRS NOTICE 2015-87 has some real gems to remember when calculating affordability. Here are few:

  • Employer HRA contributions can count towards an employer’s required contribution in certain instances.
  • Wellness Program Incentives – Discounted contributions for participating are generally not In other words, you report the contribution as if the wellness incentive was NOT earned unless the program was designed to prevent tobacco use.
  • Flex Credits may reduce the reported cost of coverage unless: the credits can be used to purchase non-health coverage or can be cashed out or contributed to HSAs. Flex Credits do not apply to plan years that began prior to January 1, 2017 (Flex Credits in the IRS notice relates to a cafeteria plan or defined contribution plan—not necessarily a Flexible Spending Account, although FSAs can be one of the offerings).
  • Opt Out Payments increase the reported cost of coverage unless:
    • They are conditioned on providing proof of other coverage
    • They are part of a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) entered into before December 16, 2015
    • The unconditional arrangement began before December 16, 2015
  • Amounts paid to satisfy Prevailing Wage Laws reduce the cost of coverage even if they are paid in cash to employees who waive coverage.

If your customers are struggling with the requirements of ACA reporting, there are several other tools, software, and outsourcing solutions that can help employers needing more support. Employers with high turnover and lots of different kinds of employee populations (e.g., seasonal, variable hour, part-timers, etc.) often need much more help. If you need to review some of the tools available, please contact your Cornerstone Employee Benefits Advisors.


This article is provided for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal or tax advice. Please consult with your tax advisor, CPA, or legal counsel for details specific to your group.

CMS Takes Step Forward in Reducing Cost of Prescription Drugs and Fighting Opioid Crisis

In response to the President’s recent commitment to fighting the opioid epidemic and lowering prescription drug costs for seniors, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposal intended to give Part D Medicare enrollees more affordable access to and coverage for prescription drugs. The intent is to provide flexibility to switch to lower-cost, non-brand-name prescription drugs and pass savings on to Medicare beneficiaries.


For more information from CMS, click here.

Important Health Coverage Reporting Information Required on 2017 Federal Tax Returns

Beginning in 2018, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will require that individuals indicate specific information about health coverage on their 2017 federal tax return. On the federal tax return, they must indicate if they and others on the return…

  • Had minimum essential coverage for the year, or
  • Qualified for an exemption from having health coverage, or
  • Are paying the individual shared responsibility payment.

The 2017 tax year is the first time the IRS will not accept tax returns that do not include this information.

Click here for more information.


Questions? Contact your Cornerstone representative for details.


Medical Mutual Releases New Commission Schedule

MMO has released their new commission schedule for their 2018 Medicare Supplement Market. Their new Medicare Supplement commission schedule will stack up very competitively in the marketplace. This schedule will reward you by paying a premium commission based on your volume of sales throughout the year. Once you hit the next tier level, MMO will pay you at the higher rate retroactively within the calendar year. Renewal commission will be based on the first year tier level.

Commission rates for brokers/agencies having at least 10,000 Medicare Supplement contracts in their book of business on January 1, 2018, are as follows for new Medicare Supplement accounts having an effective date of January 1, 2018, and thereafter.

  • First Year: 16%
  • Years 2 through 10: 8%
Number of First Year Sales Commission Tier Level Commission Rate: First Year Commission Rate: Years 2 through 6
1-24 contracts 1 18% 12%
25-49 contracts 2 22% 15%
50 or more contracts 3 26% 18%


Contact your Cornerstone sales representative with any questions you may have about the above schedule.

Anthem Adds Hospital to MA Network

Jewish Hospital in Cincinnati is now in-network for the Anthem Medicare Advantage plans.

Brokers can search for doctors at