Health Insurance Exclusions Resulting from Health Care Reform

Despite what proponents of the  Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act say, the law doesn’t change everything. In fact, according to HealthPocket, many services often excluded from insurance coverage before health reform remain that way under PPACA. HealthPocket, in analyzing 3,094 health plans in the 2014 individual and family health insurance market, examined what medical services were most frequently excluded from health insurance coverage in 2014 and compared the results to the most common exclusions in the pre-reform health insurance market. HealthPocket found that 80 percent of exclusions remained the same between the 2013 and 2014 lists of medical services most frequently not covered by plans in the individual health insurance market. Still, of course, some have changed. Here are the top 10 health care services most often excluded under PPACA: 10. Weight loss surgery Percentage of plans excluding benefit: 59 percent There have been great strides in just a … [Read more...]

Change to FSA “Lose it or Lose it” Rule

Yesterday, the Department of Treasury announced a major policy change that will impact Flexible Spending Account (FSA) plans. In what is being hailed as a hugely positive development for administrators, employers, and FSA participants, the Treasury has modified the "use it or lose it" provision to allow for a limited rollover of FSA funds. Details are as follows: Effective for the 2014 plan year, employers will have the option to allow FSA plan participants to roll over up to $500 of unused funds at the end of the plan year. Effective immediately, employers with an FSA plan that does not include a grace period will have the option to allow current FSA plan participants to roll over up to $500 of unused funds at the end of the 2013 plan year. RTS will continue to apprise its members of critical information impacting them as employers and contributing to their profitability and overall success! … [Read more...]

How the Government Shutdown Impacts Your Business!

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The government shutdown has entered into day four with no signs of stopping. This week the Small Business Administration began functioning on a limited basis and stopped approving a majority of its small business loans, but business loans are not the only thing being interrupted. Here are some more ways your small business could be affected: National Parks National parks like Yosemite National Park, which got shut down on its 123rd birthday, have forced many federal employees to stay home during the shutdown. However, many small businesses that depend on the tourist traffic these parks generate are being hurt as well. 278 million people visit the 401 areas of the National Park System and hotels are some of the hardest hit. Yosemite Miner’s Inn received 10 cancellations within the first hour of business on Tuesday. EEOC The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is operating a limited number of services. Only claims that are within 30 days of expiring will be reviewed during … [Read more...]

Employer Mandate Delayed

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The Affordable Care Act has thrown businesses another curve ball. Up until yesterday, employers with more than 50 full-time-equivalent employees (FTEs) were calculating the costs of offering their employees ACA-compliant health insurance versus paying a penalty. Yesterday, the U.S. Treasury released a statement that businesses with more than 50 FTEs that fail to offer ACA-compliant health insurance will not see penalties until 2015. An excerpt from the press release states: "Over the past several months, the Administration has been engaging in a dialogue with businesses – many of which already provide health coverage for their workers – about the new employer and insurer reporting requirements under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). We have heard concerns about the complexity of the requirements and the need for more time to implement them effectively. We recognize that the vast majority of businesses that will need to do this reporting already provide health insurance to their workers, … [Read more...]

Important Update!

Today, the Obama administration announced that the employer mandate aspect of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will be delayed by one year. This mandate requires businesses with 50 or more workers to provide health insurance coverage to employees. As a result, the administration will start enforcing the mandate in 2015, rather than January 1, 2014, in an effort to give businesses more time to prepare. There will be additional changes tied to this delay, and the administration has stated that they will provide formal guidance within the next week. Retail Tire Solutions is working hard to understand the specifics surrounding this ruling, and will continue to provide updates through Legislative Alerts and on our blog - … [Read more...]

What is next in Health Care Reform?

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The effective date of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) was March 23, 2010, although various provisions have their own effective dates from January 1, 2010, (the small business income tax credit) through 2018. The start of 2013 saw the launch of a number of key provisions, among them Medicare tax increases, limits on Health FSA deferrals and the requirement that W-2 reporting note employer and employee payments for certain health care items in 2012. But 2014 is the year when most core pieces of PPACA will be put into effect, notably the mandates that employers with 50+ employees provide health insurance and that individuals obtain minimum essential health coverage for themselves and their dependents, whether or not they have access to coverage through their employer. Equally momentous, beginning Jan. 1, 2014, states are required to have opened a state-run health insurance exchange, or to have partnered with the federal government to open an exchange. In … [Read more...]

Thinking about Adding a Technician?

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  What Comes First? The Cart or the Horse?   If I had a dollar for every time a Tire and Service Owner told me that he couldn't afford to add a technician ... well I would have a few extra bucks ;-). In most cases, adding another technician is the best avenue to increase your revenue and improve your customer service.  So why do so many dealers struggle to add additional technicians? Here are the top 5 reasons: Can't afford the additional payroll. Will take away work from other technicians. Not enough car count. Can't find qualified techs. Not enough time to hire. While all may be valid reasons, I have found that most dealers just need some help figuring out HOW TO GROW!   To get you off on the right foot, here is some "Stuff" to THINK ABOUT when adding technicians:   There should be a strong correlation between what you spend in payroll and in the case of adding a technician, service sales (total sales minus tire sales). Shoot … [Read more...]

The New Reality – Tires as Loss Leader?

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All Tires $5.00 over cost! Tire Loss Leader pricing is becoming a prevalent form of advertising for large and regional chains as they work to maintain market share against like competitors and surging New Card Dealers. Independent Tire Dealers are watching tire margins shrink  (further) as they struggle to match large and Regional Tire Chain pricing.  Once a strategy regulated to the Car Dealers, advertising "dollars off store cost" is now being  adopted by an alarming number of large retailers.   How can an Independent Tire Dealer Compete with this strategy? While the thought of competing with Large Chains head to head may be daunting for some Independants, I believe that the Independent Tire Dealer can still compete and thrive against the Big Guys.   Here are a few strategies that Independents are using to  fend off the competition: Figure out what your competitive advantage is - and leverage it! Offer value added services such as a complementary car washes, … [Read more...]

Private Exchanges Gaining Momentum

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Private health insurance exchanges may be gaining traction. According to research from Mercer, 56 percent of employers are considering moving to this model for active or retired employees, tripling in number over the last year. That's good news for RTS, which will help employers and employees by offering them a one-stop-shop for their benefits from multiple insurance providers. Open enrollment will begin this fall with the first policies going into effect on Jan. 1, 2014. Patrick Murphy believes that private exchanges will help employers better manage their costs and reduce their administrative burden while ensuring that employees have easy access to the coverage they need. Because of these advantages, RTS plans to introduce a private exchange for 2014 and beyond. With a private exchange, the model turns to a defined contribution benefits approach, allowing the employer to provide a set amount for employees to spend on benefits. This leads to more stable, predictable costs. … [Read more...]

“Cadillac” Tax Reduced

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The “Cadillac tax” that is part of Obamacare might not cost employers nearly as much as initially estimated. The Congressional Budget Office projects in a new report that taxes on employers' high-premium insurance plans will generate roughly $80 billion over the next 10 years. That figure represents a decline of almost 42 percent from the $137 billion in excise tax revenue in the CBO’s February forecast. Starting in 2018, the IRS will impose a 40 percent excise tax on employer-sponsored health benefits totaling more than $10,200 for individual coverage and $27,500 for family coverage as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The 40 percent non-deductible tax takes is designed to discourage plans from including features that promote over- or unnecessary use of medical care, such as low or non-existent deductibles and co-pays. The CBO’s latest report says that it lowered the forecasted excise tax revenue figure because of new trends in employer-sponsored … [Read more...]