eNews & Updates: Baker Administration Secures One-Year Waiver from Affordable Care Act Provision

| June 17, 2015
June 17, 2015
Baker Administration Secures One-Year Waiver from Affordable Care Act Provision

Baker Administration Secures One-Year Waiver from Affordable Care Act Provision Delays rate hikes for Massachusetts small businesses, employees due to federal healthcare reform  BOSTON – Governor Charlie Baker today announced that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has secured a one-year waiver from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), authorizing the Commonwealth to maintain the use of its existing rating factors that are otherwise prohibited under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Governor Baker made the request to Health and Human Services Secretary Burwell in April because of the concern about the impact the ACA market rules will have on small businesses.

“Protecting small businesses from massive insurance rate hikes is essential to making sure job creators continue to thrive here and I am grateful the Obama administration granted Massachusetts this flexibility,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The Commonwealth has been a national leader when it comes to making sure our residents are insured and able to receive the care they deserve and we must protect that progress.”

The waiver from U.S. HHS extends the Commonwealth’s current transition period first granted in 2013 and extended in 2014, allowing small group market issuers to continue using 2/3 of current ratings factors through January 1, 2017, after which the ratings factors will be reduced to 1/3, before being phased out entirely on January 1, 2018.

Massachusetts insured a majority of its residents under healthcare reform in 2006, establishing a state marketplace that merged small group and individual insurance markets. The ratings factors served as a protection for small employers who took on risks from the individual insurance market.

Click here to view the letter granting the extension from U.S. HHS Secretary Burwell to Baker Administration Health Connector Executive Director, Louis Gutierrez.

 

MassAHU Welcomes Matt Shadrick and Hails New Officers Take the Stage July 1st
Changes. No two board members exemplify greater stewardship and integrity of the Massachusetts Association of Health Underwriters than Marie Chalmers and Paul Pietro. Their dedication to the growth and management of MassAHU cannot be emphasized enough or appreciated more by colleagues. Thankfully, both Marie and Paul will remain active on the board as they hand over the torches of Secretary and Treasurer to two seasoned professionals and directors.

Marie Chalmers, Managing Director of Employee Benefits Services at The Bostonian Group Incorporated is passing the torch of Secretary to Joe Lawler, Benefits Consultant with The Gaudreau Group and who specializes in the corporate employee benefits market for firms of all sizes. Ms. Chalmers has over 35 years of experience within the Employee Benefits industry and oversees all operations of Marsh & McLennan Agency New England Region’s Employee Benefits Practice and is Managing Director of Employee Benefits Services at The Bostonian Group Inc. Marie was also a member of the U.S. Health Care Reform Task Force, responsible for educating clients and colleagues on the impact of this legislation.

Paul Pietro, Chairman of Mid-State Insurance in Worcester is handing over the torch of Treasurer to Todd McDonald, President of Aisling Partners, whose specialty is business consulting in the arena of employee benefits. Paul has a long history with MassAHU, serving as President from 2003 – 2005, past president 2005-2007 and the position of Treasurer for the last eight years. Paul has been so very instrumental in guiding the direction of the association and will continue to do so.

David A. Shore, VP Employee Benefits Practice Leader, Borislow Insurance, has a back to back tour of duty as President of MassAHU continuing his consistency of leadership and involvement representing MassAHU. As more legislative transitions and health care changes occur, the employee benefits professional will continue facing challenges. Christopher Powers, Senior VP with Benefit Development Group, a Risk Strategies Company, will continue his role on the board as President-elect and Mim Minichiello, Senior Partner and COO of EBS Capstone, will continue to serve as Vice President. This leadership and consistency helps MassAHU deliver a strong direction of advocacy that ensures ethical practices of its members and to advocate for the best possible application of all health insurance and related products and services.

Our “newbie” is Matt Shadrick, Executive VP leading the Employee Benefits division of Eastern Insurance. Matt has over 27 years of consulting and brokerage experience providing solutions to clients in the Employee Benefits, Outsourcing, and Property and Casualty arenas. He is MassAHU’s newest member on the board of directors for the 2015-2017 term. Matt has worked with small, medium and large employers in the delivery of HR consulting, health and welfare, retirement, communications, executive benefits, global benefits and numerous property and casualty solutions. Welcome!

Click here for listing of full board of directors who will continue to represent you.

 

Transition Year for Employers
RE: Earned Sick Time
Attorney General Maura Healey issues a revised and updated Safe Harbor for Employers with Existing Paid Time Off policy and a Notice of Employee Rights. Effective on July 1, 2015, the law applies to temporary, part-time, and seasonal employees, as well as full-time workers; seasonal employees who return to the same employer in less than a year’s time will be able to carry over all his unused sick time accrued within that year. Employees who work in multiple states will be able to count their non-Massachusetts hours toward their accrual of earned sick time. Companies that already offer sick time have until January 1, 2016 to comply based on the Safe Harbor provision.

 

2015 Legislative Actions
MassAHU’s Legislative Committee met via teleconference on June 5, 2015.

The following are updates from this meeting:

  • MassAHU is tracking the following Senate bill No. 574 An Act relative to equitable health care pricing, sponsored by Senator Benjamin Downing which has been filed. Both the House and Senate have referred the bill to the Health Care Financing Committee. This proposed legislation would regulate pricing negotiated between insurers and hospitals creating a range of prices that carriers/insurers would agree to pay hospitals. According to an article in the BBJ on June 3, 2015, by Jessica Barlett….“The prices can be no more than 20 percent the average amount paid to similar healthcare providers for the same service. The bill also seeks to limit the floor of prices for safety net hospitals as no lower than 90 percent of the average price.”
  • Mark Baron, Long Term Care committee chair, has been instrumental in helping develop a Long Term Care portal on the NAHU website as a resource for members. The LTC Portal is designed to help educate and create awareness about LTC insurance to the large number of agents who may not be familiar with this tool.  This should help them open the conversation with clients, help agents expand their business, and also understand the benefits of partnering with LTC specialists.
  • Members of MassAHU’s LTC committee will reach out to the Division of Insurance to engage in a dialog to help stabilize increasingly high premium rates, and to find thoughtful solutions with carriers, e.g. Genworth, who remain in the Massachusetts market selling LTC insurance and products.

MassAHU’s supports the following positions:


Reminder to check out NAHU Region 1 State Action Center! On this page, you will be able to find more information about legislation in your state and engage in Operation SHOUT. If you have any questions or concerns about legislation, contact your Staff Liasion to Region 1, Senior Director of State Affairs, Marcy Buckner.

 

 

September 24th: Save the Date – A Full Day to Earn Two Professional Certifications
September 24th 

Consumer Driven Health Care (4 CEU’s) This four-hour course provides technical, actionable information that can be used to help clients consider fast-evolving plans and implement them. Completion of this course will ensure a strong technical knowledge of the rules and regulations pertaining to various types of consumer directed health care options and proven methods for communicating those options to employers and employees in a compelling way. This course makes you stand out among your peers and improve your knowledge – all helping your clients.

Course Price: $210 members/$275 non-members

Registration at 7:30

Class Hours 8:00 – 12:00

Location: MassAHU 91 Cedar Street Milford, MA

Instructor: Scott Mardis

Self Funded Certifications (3 CEU’s) This three-hour course instruction will ensure that students understand the key technical components of self-funding and are better prepared to counsel their clients on the various benefits of elimination of most premium tax, lowering cost of administration, claims/administration and customer service for employees. Self-funding is one of the most effective ways employers can control the rising costs of healtcare coverage.

Lecture Price: $175 members/$260 non-members

Registration at 12:30

Classroom Hours: 1:00 – 4:00 pm

Location: MassAHU 91 Cedar Street Milford, MA

Instructor: Ruthann Laswick

**** NEW MEMBER INCENTIVE****Non-members who enroll for NAHU membership on the day of the event will be eligible for the NAHU member (rate) course fee. Membership application, membership payment and registration should be returned to the NAHU Professional Development department by fax 202-747-6820 or email professionaldevelopment@nahu.org.

In Two Weeks…..It’s Time for NAHU’s National Convention
NAHU’s national convention is being in held in New Orleans from July 28th thru July 1st. For those that may have been introduced to that N’Awlins’ classic – a Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane (a potent cocktail you will remember if you have ever tried to take home more than one glass) NAHU’s annual convention will be impactful. Attending from MassAHU will be Dave Shore, Julie Jennings, Jennifer Borislow, Brian Cavallo, Mark Gaunya and Kate Bardsley.A word about Mark…..he is running for the national position of NAHU Secretary. Mark has earned MassAHU’s endorsement and has the vision, energy and industry knowledge to make an excellent, thoughtful and progressive leader in building member value on the national level.

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Category: Newsletter Archive

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