Join CAHU for the Candidates at the Casino Event!

Join the Columbus Association of Health Underwriters for the Candidates at the Casino event to meet and review the local candidates for 2018! The session will be limited to Ohio health insurance and employee benefit issues.

Click here for more information

 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Time: 11:00 am–2:00 pm (Registration at 11:00 am & lunch served at 11:30 am)

Where: Hollywood Casino Columbus

200 Georgesville Rd, Columbus OH 43228

To register, visit www.columbusAHU.org/events

Anthem Updates: Changes to Commissions, Partnership with Samsung and American Well, and More

Anthem Partners with Samsung and American Well For Telehealth Access

Anthem customers with a Samsung Galaxy mobile device can now access LiveHealth Online through the Samsung Health application. This app enables customers to connect with U.S.-based, board-certified doctors for non-urgent medical care, 24/7.

 

Anthem Commission Statements are Changing

The way Anthem statements look and the way they are accessed will be changing soon for Individual, Small Group, and Large Group business. No changes will be made to the commission structure itself.

 

Register for the DocTalk Webinar!

Join Anthem’s DocTalk webcast to learn some tips and guidelines for maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle. Speakers Dr. Richard M. Lachiver, Regional Vice President and Medical Director, and Alison Szczawinski, a registered dietitian, will help simplify complex nutrition topics and choices in a world of misinformation.

DATE:  Tuesday, August 14
TIMES: 12:00 pm and 3:00 pm (EST)

Click here to register.

 

Register for Anthem’s Engage Webinar!

Find out more about Anthem’s mobile app and desktop experience that helps members take charge of their health and wellbeing. Join Anthem on August 7 or August 16 for an overview on how this program works to motivate and empower employees.

August 7 – 11:00 am to 11:30 am (EST)

August 16 – 2:00 pm to 2:30 pm (EST)

Medico Med Supp Rate Adjustment—Ohio

Effective October 1, 2017, Medico will implement a rate adjustment for Modernized Medicare Supplement renewals of policies issued on or after April 1, 2014 and new issues with an Application Date of October 1, 2017 or later. Applications dated prior to October 1, 2017 will have the rates in effect today even if the policy has a future effective date.

This rate adjustment is for the current product you can write in your state.

  • Plan G
  • -10% (decrease)
  • Plan N
  • -5% (decrease)
  • Plan F
  • 9.6%
  • Plan FHD
  • 5%
  • Plan A
  • 5%

Updated forms are available September 18, 2017.

ONLY ONE DAY LEFT: Refer Agents to Cornerstone and Earn $500

Do you know an agent that would benefit from Cornerstone’s services?


Cornerstone’s Refer-An-Agent Program is offering a bonus of $500* until March 31st for your referrals! Click here to refer an agent to Cornerstone.

After March 31st, the program will resume offering $250 for referrals.

 

*Certain restrictions apply. Ask your Cornerstone Rep for full details.

Cornerstone Meet N’ Greet: Gregg Amato

Gregg Amato

Gregg Amato, Director, Employee Benefits

Gregg Amato is Cornerstone’s newest addition to the Employee Benefits team with an extensive career in the health insurance industry. We sat down with Gregg to discuss his experience:

CS: Tell me about how you got started in insurance.

GA: Several years ago my cousin Joe encouraged me to get into the insurance business right after he became a Nationwide Insurance agent.  At first I resisted but soon found out that I really enjoyed the business.

 

CS: What is the best piece of advice that you can give to brokers?

GA: Hire people with good a work ethic that will treat your clients like family.

 

CS: Why do you enjoy working in the industry?

GA: I enjoy helping people navigate through the myriad of rules and regulations within the health insurance industry.

 

More About Gregg

Favorite hobby: Golf

Favorite movie: It’s A Wonderful Life

Best advice you’ve ever received: My father always told me to be true to yourself and always conduct business with honesty and integrity.


To contact Gregg, click here.

You’re Invited: Medicare DSNP Training with Anthem BCBS

Join Cornerstone and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield for a training event on Medicare DSNP plans. You won’t want to miss this valuable training on how to market these plans to your clients!

The agenda for this training seminar includes:

  • Eligibility and identifying prospects
  • The impact of MyCare Ohio
  • How to sell DSNP plans and their benefits
  • And tools that help you market these plans

 


DATE:  Thursday March 9, 2017

TIME:  8:30am – 11:00am

Registration will be from 8:30am to 9:00 a.m.

Training will go from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

PLACE:  Cornerstone- Cincinnati location
2101 Florence Ave. Cincinnati, OH 45206

To RSVP, click here.

Now for a Limited Time Only: Earn $500 for Your Agent Referrals!

Do you know an agent that would benefit from Cornerstone’s services?

Cornerstone has been in business for over 30 years as a trusted source to you, our agents, providing guidance and support in an ever-changing market. We are grateful that our business strategy is appreciated by you and we welcome the opportunity to assist your fellow agents.

Now, for a limited time only, refer Senior, Individual, and Employee Benefit market segment agents to Cornerstone and we will pay you $500 when they place their first paid application*.

*Certain restrictions apply. Ask your Cornerstone Rep for full details.

Hospital Indemnity: Solutions for Increasing Medicare Cuts

Ryan Carroll, Director Medicare/Individual

With the chaos of Obamacare and the disruption to the individual health insurance market, original Medicare benefits are being cut dramatically without drawing much attention. According to a report by the Congressional Budget Office, between 2013 and 2022, Medicare will reduce its spending by over $700 billion, including a $260 billion reduction on hospital services alone. This $700 billion burden will ultimately fall on the shoulders of Medicare beneficiaries, leaving them exposed to increased copays and bills that may have been previously covered by Medicare.

Ancillary products are available to fill gaps in coverage and it is important to understand the value they offer. A hospital indemnity plan is an inexpensive option that can protect policyholders for just dollars a day, paying out a cash benefit for some of the same services being reduced by original Medicare.

Like other indemnity products, a hospital indemnity plan pays a cash benefit to the policyholder in the event of hospitalization or another covered event. This cash can be used to pay the remaining piece of medical bills, such as a deductible, or it can be used for any unexpected non-medical expenses without tapping into savings as a result of a hospitalization. To be considered a hospital indemnity product, a plan must provide a lump sum benefit upon confinement in a hospital as defined by the plan. Many hospital indemnity plans have additional benefits that can be added to customize the product based on individual needs. Other optional benefits typically consist of, but are not limited to, a daily confinement benefit, a daily skilled nursing benefit, a doctor’s office benefit, an outpatient surgical benefit, and an emergency room/ambulance service benefit.

Be wary of the observation stay.

One of the major avenues that CMS uses to cut costs for Medicare is the classification of an “inpatient stay” versus an “observation stay.” This simple distinction plays a key role in not only determining if, or how, Medicare will pay for a claim, but also in determining whether or not someone is eligible to receive rehab or skilled nursing services covered by Medicare thereafter. To be considered an “inpatient,” the patient must be formally admitted by a doctor and must remain an inpatient for at least three consecutive days to receive rehab or skilled nursing benefits covered by Medicare.

In 2015 alone, more than 600,000 patients were in the hospital for three or more days, but were denied coverage for rehab services due to an observation classification. A video from NBC’s Nightly News with Brian Williams illustrates the significance of this distinction and displays the lasting effect it can have (click here to watch the video).

Not only can a hospital indemnity plan pay the policyholder cash regardless of their hospital classification, but it can continue to pay out benefits throughout the rehab or skilled nursing process.

The gaps and deductible costs of a Medicare Advantage policy may leave many Medicare beneficiaries dipping into savings to cover unexpected costs. A hospital indemnity plan offers an affordable solution that many are not aware of and it can go a long way to offset financial strain. The importance of these products will continue to grow alongside the cuts in Medicare spending.

Brokers, talk to your Cornerstone representative today to learn more about adding hospital indemnity products or other ancillary solutions to your benefits portfolio.


For more information, contact Cornerstone today.

Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plan

Greg Campbell, Director, Medicare and Individual

Greg Campbell, Director, Medicare and Individual

We have all seen and heard a lot about Medicare Advantage plans during this Annual Election Period (AEP). We have been inundated with TV ads, radio commercials, mailers and more regarding different Medicare Advantage plans that can be purchased during AEP, which ended December 7th. But what do you know about Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans (SNP)?

Growth of Medicare Advantage SNP continues at a steady pace. SNP programs (sometimes commonly referred to as “snip”) provide additional or enhanced benefits to qualified beneficiaries while affording the insurance broker a year-round selling opportunity. SNP can be broken down into two categories: dual eligible plans and chronic condition plans.

Dual eligible plans are designed for low-income individuals who are entitled to benefits from both the Federal Medicare and state-run Medicaid programs. Medicare always pays first and covers acute care services while Medicaid is used for premium, cost-sharing assistance, coverage for supplemental benefits and payment for services not covered by Medicare.

Additional or enhanced benefits of a dual eligible SNP can include an increased transportation benefit, nurse outreach, a more robust prescription drug plan, over the counter credits (for non-Rx supplies), and dental, vision and hearing benefits.

There are currently 13 million Americans who qualify for a dual eligible plan. Agent commissions are the same as Medicare Advantage plans sold during AEP with the added advantage of being able to sell SNP year round. This provides an excellent opportunity to assist members who would benefit from a dual eligible plan while providing the agent with sales opportunities outside of AEP. Numerous insurance carriers are devoting resources to this market and will assist agents with marketing and retention strategies.

Chronic needs plans are designed for Medicare eligible beneficiaries with ongoing medical conditions, such as chronic heart failure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and COPD. Chronic needs plans feature benefits that are designed to fill the gaps that a person with a chronic disease may encounter. Examples of additional or improved benefits include enhanced meal programs, transportation, a more robust formulary, nurse outreach, over-the-counter benefit, smoking cessation program, telemedicine, counseling services and nutrition counseling.

The insurance broker plays a vital role by assisting the member in sorting through plan options, understanding the qualification rules and explaining the value of a special needs plan. A qualified beneficiary may enroll in a SNP year round without being limited to an election period such as AEP.
Cornerstone will be conducting extensive SNP training shortly after AEP ends. Watch for upcoming invitations. And if you are not currently working with Cornerstone, please contact us so you can take part in this valuable opportunity.


For more information, contact Cornerstone today.

2017 Inflation-Adjusted Limits for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)

By Bill Mauch, Chief Financial Officer

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has set the 2017 inflation-adjusted limits for health savings accounts (HSAs), including the maximum annual HSA contribution, the minimum annual deductible for a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) and the maximum annual out-of-pocket expense for an HDHP.

For 2017, the maximum annual HSA contribution for individuals with self-only coverage will increase from $3,350 to $3,400, but the limit will remain $6,750 for individuals with family coverage. The minimum annual deductible and maximum annual out-of-pocket expense limits for HDHPs will remain the same for both self-only and family coverage. These amounts are updated annually to reflect cost-of-living adjustments.

The 2017 HSA catch-up contribution limit (fixed by statute) for participants who are 55 or older on December 31, 2017, remains at $1,000.

Limits have also been set for Flexible Spending Accounts, Transportation Fringe Benefits and Retirement Plans.

The table below outlines these benefit limitations for your reference and 2017 planning, and includes pertinent payroll tax amounts. These limits will need to be incorporated in relevant benefit plan communications for 2017.

BENEFIT LIMITATIONS

2017

2016

Annual HSA Contribution Amounts

Individual

$3,400

$3,350

Family

$6,750

$6,750

Catch-Up (Age 55 or older)

$1,000

$1,000

Annual Maximum Out-Of-Pocket Limits for HDHP

Individual

$6,550

$6,550

Family

$13,100

$13,100

Annual Minimum Deductible Amounts for HDHPs

Individual

$1,300

$1,300

Family

$2,600

$2,600

Flexible Spending Account Limits

Health Care FSA

$2,600

$2,550

Dependent Care FSA

$5,000

$5,000

Transportation Fringe Benefit

Parking

$255/mo

$255/mo

Mass Transit

$255/mo

$255/mo

Retirement Plans Limits

Annual Benefit under a Defined Benefit Plan

$215,000

$210,000

Annual Benefit under a Defined Contribution Plan

$54,000

$53,000

401(k) Elective Deferrals (excludes catch-up)

$18,000

$18,000

401(k) Catch-Up Deferrals

$6,000

$6,000

Key Employee Limit, Officer Test

$175,000

$170,000

Highly Compensated Employees

$120,000

$120,000

IRA Contributions: 49 and below

$5,500

$5,500

IRA Contributions: 50 and above

$6,500

$6,500

Taxes

FICA Tax for Employers

7.65%

7.65%

FICA Tax for Employees

7.65%

7.65%

Income Subject to Social Security Tax

$127,200

$118,500

Social Security Tax for Employers

6.20%

6.20%

Social Security Tax for Employees

6.20%

6.20%

Medicare Tax for Employers and Employees

1.45%

1.45%


For more information, contact Cornerstone today.