Steve Tischendorf, Broker

Steve Tischendorf, Broker

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Congress Postpones Three ACA Taxes CONGRESS POSTPONES THREE ACA TAXES Posted by AHCP | Date: 02.16.2018 For the past several years, the insurance industry has been urging Congress to eliminate three unpopular taxes that were designed to help pay for the Affordable Care Act. They finally listened… sort of. While the taxes have not been eliminated, the House and Senate did vote to postpone the Health Insurance Tax (HIT), the tax on High Cost Health Plans, better known as the Cadillac Tax, and the Durable Medical Equipment (DME) Tax. This was part of the January 22 deal to keep the government open for three weeks. The same bill also reauthorized the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) for six years. Health Insurance Tax The Affordable Care Act also imposes a fee on insurance companies, or, as the IRS puts it, “each covered entity engaged in the business of providing health insurance for United States health risks.” The tax does not apply to self-insured employers, government entities, or certain nonprofit corporations. The tax went into effect in 2013 with the first filings due by April 15, 2014. There was a one-year moratorium on the tax for 2017, but the Health Insurance Tax resumed January 1 of this year. Because it is a tax on insurance premiums, the HIT does have a direct impact on the amount that consumers pay for health insurance. In fact, some insurance companies are actually showing the amount of the total premium that is attributable to the tax on their quotes. The January 22 deal provides a moratorium on the Health Insurance Tax for calendar year 2019, but does not eliminate the tax to be paid in 2018 on the 2017 data year. Cadillac Tax The so-called Cadillac Tax was originally scheduled to go into effect this year but was previously postponed to 2020. Now we have two more years before we have to start worrying about it. The tax, which is unpopular among lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, would charge a 40 percent excise tax on employer-sponsored health coverage that exceeds certain thresholds. Unfortunately, those threshold amounts are adjusted annually based on the consumer price index, not based on medical trend, so each year more and more employers would be subject to the tax, and the prevailing wisdom is that it would either cause employers to cut popular benefits like FSAs and worksite products or would lead to higher premiums for employees. Neither of those are desirable outcomes, which is why the insurance industry has been pushing back against the tax. At AHCP, we’re pleased with this two-year delay, but would like to see the tax eliminated altogether. Durable Medical Equipment Tax The tax on durable medical equipment, also known as the medical device tax, has been a big topic of debate ever since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law. As US News explains, the 2.3% excise tax applies to manufacturers and importers of pacemakers, prosthetics, and stents as well as advanced imaging technologies like X-rays, ultrasounds, MRIs, and CT scans. The IRS claims that the tax “generally does not apply to individual consumers,” but many argue that consumers will ultimately pay a higher price as a result of the tax. The medical device tax went into effect in 2013, but Congress suspended the tax in 2016 and 2017. The tax resumed January 1 of this year, but the January 22 bill again postpones the tax for two years, and the suspension is retroactive to January 1. Absent another bill postponing or repealing the DME tax, it is now scheduled to resume January 1, 2020. The latest two-year delay, according to Stat News, “will cost the federal government about $3.7 billion during that time period.” Chipping Away at the ACA In addition to the ACA taxes that have been postponed, recent legislation, regulations, and executive orders have also eliminated the individual mandate penalty starting in 2018, shortened the open enrollment period in the individual market, cut advertising for Healthcare.gov by 90 percent, and halted reimbursements to insurance companies for the cost sharing reductions. We don’t yet know what the cumulative effect of all of these moves will be, but it’s clear from the premiums they’re charging that insurance companies are nervous about selling individual plans. The hope, of course, is that there’s a method to their actions and that we might soon see a plan unveiled that will truly stabilize the individual market and encourage more insurers to offer coverage. This is an election year and congressional Republicans will certainly want to make good on their promise to replace the ACA. Democrats, on the other hand, will fight just as hard to keep it around. We’ll continue to monitor the situation and will let you know of any important changes.

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Insulin prices could be much lower and drug makers would still make healthy profits

businessinsider.com Prices for diabetes treatments have been notoriously expensive. As the cost of insulin in the US continue to rise, a new study suggests that manufacturers could make both human and analog insulins at low costs and still pocket a profit. The study also claims that more companies would need to enter t

ncpanet.org

NCPA Board Member Urges House Subcommittee to Eliminate "Gag Clauses"

ncpanet.org ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Sept. 5, 2018) — In testimony before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health today, pharmacist-owner Hugh M. Chancy urged support for draft legislation to prohibit restrictive contractual language, often referred to as "gag clauses," that may result in patients b...

blog.taxact.com

5 FAQs: Standard vs Itemized Deductions in 2018 - TaxAct Blog

blog.taxact.com Get answers to the top frequently asked questions on standard vs itemized deductions in 2018 so you know how the changes may impact your tax return.

commongroundhealthcare.org

Who is the Boss in the Doctor-Patient Relationship?

commongroundhealthcare.org If we found a magic lamp, we’d have a wish for our members: That they would be empowered to ask their doctor questions to understand the pros and cons of their health decisions, for both their heal…

[03/16/18]   Small Business Operators,

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[03/01/18]   Congress Postpones Three ACA Taxes
CONGRESS POSTPONES THREE ACA TAXES
Posted by AHCP | Date: 02.16.2018
For the past several years, the insurance industry has been urging Congress to eliminate three unpopular taxes that were designed to help pay for the Affordable Care Act. They finally listened… sort of. While the taxes have not been eliminated, the House and Senate did vote to postpone the Health Insurance Tax (HIT), the tax on High Cost Health Plans, better known as the Cadillac Tax, and the Durable Medical Equipment (DME) Tax. This was part of the January 22 deal to keep the government open for three weeks. The same bill also reauthorized the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) for six years.

Health Insurance Tax
The Affordable Care Act also imposes a fee on insurance companies, or, as the IRS puts it, “each covered entity engaged in the business of providing health insurance for United States health risks.” The tax does not apply to self-insured employers, government entities, or certain nonprofit corporations.

The tax went into effect in 2013 with the first filings due by April 15, 2014. There was a one-year moratorium on the tax for 2017, but the Health Insurance Tax resumed January 1 of this year. Because it is a tax on insurance premiums, the HIT does have a direct impact on the amount that consumers pay for health insurance. In fact, some insurance companies are actually showing the amount of the total premium that is attributable to the tax on their quotes.

The January 22 deal provides a moratorium on the Health Insurance Tax for calendar year 2019, but does not eliminate the tax to be paid in 2018 on the 2017 data year.

Cadillac Tax
The so-called Cadillac Tax was originally scheduled to go into effect this year but was previously postponed to 2020. Now we have two more years before we have to start worrying about it. The tax, which is unpopular among lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, would charge a 40 percent excise tax on employer-sponsored health coverage that exceeds certain thresholds.

Unfortunately, those threshold amounts are adjusted annually based on the consumer price index, not based on medical trend, so each year more and more employers would be subject to the tax, and the prevailing wisdom is that it would either cause employers to cut popular benefits like FSAs and worksite products or would lead to higher premiums for employees. Neither of those are desirable outcomes, which is why the insurance industry has been pushing back against the tax. At AHCP, we’re pleased with this two-year delay, but would like to see the tax eliminated altogether.

Durable Medical Equipment Tax
The tax on durable medical equipment, also known as the medical device tax, has been a big topic of debate ever since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law. As US News explains, the 2.3% excise tax applies to manufacturers and importers of pacemakers, prosthetics, and stents as well as advanced imaging technologies like X-rays, ultrasounds, MRIs, and CT scans. The IRS claims that the tax “generally does not apply to individual consumers,” but many argue that consumers will ultimately pay a higher price as a result of the tax.

The medical device tax went into effect in 2013, but Congress suspended the tax in 2016 and 2017. The tax resumed January 1 of this year, but the January 22 bill again postpones the tax for two years, and the suspension is retroactive to January 1. Absent another bill postponing or repealing the DME tax, it is now scheduled to resume January 1, 2020. The latest two-year delay, according to Stat News, “will cost the federal government about $3.7 billion during that time period.”

Chipping Away at the ACA
In addition to the ACA taxes that have been postponed, recent legislation, regulations, and executive orders have also eliminated the individual mandate penalty starting in 2018, shortened the open enrollment period in the individual market, cut advertising for Healthcare.gov by 90 percent, and halted reimbursements to insurance companies for the cost sharing reductions. We don’t yet know what the cumulative effect of all of these moves will be, but it’s clear from the premiums they’re charging that insurance companies are nervous about selling individual plans.

The hope, of course, is that there’s a method to their actions and that we might soon see a plan unveiled that will truly stabilize the individual market and encourage more insurers to offer coverage. This is an election year and congressional Republicans will certainly want to make good on their promise to replace the ACA. Democrats, on the other hand, will fight just as hard to keep it around. We’ll continue to monitor the situation and will let you know of any important changes.

nytimes.com

Why Your Pharmacist Can’t Tell You That $20 Prescription Could Cost Only $8

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/24/us/politics/pharmacy-benefit-managers-gag-clauses.html

nytimes.com States are moving to block “gag clauses” that prohibit pharmacists from telling customers that they could save money by paying cash for prescription drugs rather than using their health insurance.

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[02/19/18]   Don't keep renewing with your do-nothing broker. For years, I had a financial adviser who sucked, but I had used him so long, I didn't know just how bad he sucked. Most phone calls went unanswered, and were not returned. I finally managed to schedule a 15 minute meeting with him and he answered 5 calls during my 15 minutes. He made some promises to follow up and I didn't hear from him again until a year later when I submitted surrender paperwork. My account balance had declined more than $20,000 and I couldn't reach him to move it into something more secure, so I moved it elsewhere. It is AMAZING how many phone calls and letters he was able to send out during the 2 weeks it took the transfer to go through. I wish I had made the switch $20,000 sooner. In the past 6 months I have met with several small business owners who showed sizable room for improvement on their health insurance policies. Their current brokers made little to no effort to help them until after I showed them what I could do for them. Then the miracle happens and the do nothing brokers pull it out of their hat and the client stays with them. They still don't have the best they can get, but the improvement was enough to sucker them into giving him another chance. Why would anyone trust a broker who does this to them??? I don't work like that. I always put the client first and I always have time for their needs. You get my absolute best, starting on day one. Furthermore, I would never return to someone who doesn't treat me fairly. Fool me once, that's it. It IS possible to get small group health insurance that is better and priced lower. I do it all the time. Start saving today. Make the call. 920 395 8460

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Steve Tischendorf, Broker

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