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Revealing Significant Details Of Individual Health Insurance

Simplifying No-Hassle Products Of Employee Benefits Jobs

Silicon Valley Startups Paying For Employees To Get Pregnant

February 24, 2014

Obama budget without ‘chained CPI’ would protect federal retirement benefits

We got together and wanted to tackle the hardest problem that could be solved by applying data to it, says Huang. The health-care system is a broken system, but health care is big Fertility was an interesting place to start. How the App Works Using Glows smartphone app, users enter in information about their menstruation cycles, exercise habits, basal body temperature and more. Because we are a data science company at heart, we want to be able to connect that kind of information so over time we may resource be able to identify new factors [regarding infertility], says Huang. After plugging in personal information, Glow gives users immediate feedback regarding any fertility issues they could potentially have, like polycystic ovarian syndrome. The app also uses big data to estimate fertility levels each day. Huang says he hopes to help more women conceive naturally using Glows big data app. Helping Employees Get Pregnant Because many women would likely hesitate before letting their employer know they were trying to get pregnant, Huang stresses that the Glow for Enterprise benefit is entirely anonymous.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://smallbusiness.foxbusiness.com/entrepreneurs/2014/02/21/silicon-valley-startups-paying-for-employees-to-get-pregnant/

glow1.png This promotes loyalty and a stronger work ethic. Most employee benefits are tax deductible and not subject to the employer share of payroll taxes. This means as a business owner, you will save money, not spend money by providing benefits. For every $100 of benefits provided, the business will save at least $7.65, the equivalent of the matching Social Security and Medicare required by the employer. Just because the HCTC expired at the end of 2013 doesnt mean it is dead. Every year tax provisions expire and then sometime during the year Congress revives them and makes them retroactive to the beginning of the year. According to my sources, Congress will take a look at all 55 expiring tax provisions in the fourth quarter. Many of them will fly again.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://smallbusiness.foxbusiness.com/finance-accounting/2014/02/21/tax-benefits-health-insurance-and-fringe-benefits/

Employee Benefits

If you've done a lot of job-related flying and charged your expenses on your personal credit card, the frequent flyer or reward points that accrue are not considered a taxable benefit, even if your employer reimbursed you for all your expenses. This change in the tax rules was announced in 2009 and is in effect for all subsequent tax years. There are a couple of critical caveats, however, in order to keep the non-taxable status. For one thing, you can't convert the points to cash. For another, your employer's plan to award you those reward points can't be designed as a form of remuneration to avoid taxes. Taxable benefits: Personal use of a company car. Low-interest or interest-free loans from your employer.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/taxes/some-workplace-benefits-come-tax-free-1.1291257

Employee Benefits magazine – March 2014

Employee Benefits magazine cover March 2014 The measure would trim benefits by a combined $1,500 after five years for federal employees hired before the mid-1980s those taking part in theCivil Service Retirement System. Democratic lawmakers, federal-employee unions and veterans groups have strongly opposed the chained-CPI. Many of them signed on to a letter last week from Rep. Allyson Schwartz urging Obama to avoid using the alternative inflation index. Switching to a chained CPI would be devastating for seniors, veterans, federal retirees, disabled individuals and others, the letter said. Obama has indicated he is willing to consider the benefit cut again, even though it will not be part of his own proposal, according to a recent Wonkblog article . Already, the president accepted a measure that requires federal workers who were hired after 2013 to pay an additional 1.3 percent toward their retirement benefits. He signed that provision into law as part of the budget deal Congress passed in December. MORE:Budget deal protects current feds, but new workers will pay more toward retirement Federal-employee unions have lashed out against the cut. The American Federation of Government Employees has said repealing the measure will be one of its top legislative priorities this year. Congress has created a second-class and third-class retirement system in which new federal employees earn less than their peers for no other reason than the date they were hired, AFGE national president J. David Cox said in a statement last week.This is an outrageous assault on living standards for the next generation of federal employees, and AFGE will fight this with everything weve got. Follow Josh Hicks on Twitter , Facebook or Google+ .
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2014/02/24/obama-budget-without-chained-cpi-would-protect-federal-retirement-benefits/

Employee Benefits Administrator Helps Employers Make Sense of Recent Deadline Changes to “Pay or Play” Portion of Affordable Care Act

The few that still provide free health insurance, and more, are struggling to keep it up. That's the focus of a special report in this week's Business First, which looks at insurance and employee benefits. At many companies, employees are required to pay a portion of their health care costs. Those numbers are on the rise, as many companies can't afford to cover benefits in full any longer. Many small businesses are working with employee benefit companies to try and balance their expenses with the toll on employees. This week's Business First takes a look at employee contributions for healthcare. These figures are for all sized firms, for single coverage. 62 percent of workers pay up to 25 percent of their premium. 22 percent pay up to half of their premium. Only 14 percent don't pay anything. And two percent of workers pay more than half of their coverage. The numbers are for 2013.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.nbcnews.com/id/54435927/ns/local_news-buffalo_ny/t/employee-benefits/

The Tax Benefits of Health Insurance and Fringe Benefits

IRS logo tax 1040 form The Midwest-based employee benefits administrator breaks down the timing for the final ruling by company size and provides helpful details on other ACA rule highlights. Appleton, WI (PRWEB) February 20, 2014 An employee benefits administrator with card-carrying members in all 50 states, Cypress Benefit Administrators is helping employers understand requirement changes now that the shared responsibility (pay or play) deadlines within the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have again been extended. The Wisconsin-headquartered company serves many large-sized employers affected by this ruling and has been following all changes since its inception. It breaks down the new timing set forth by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in early February as it relates to when employers must provide a minimum level of affordable health insurance before penalties may be incurred. As Cypress explains, the pay or play requirements only apply to employers with a certain number of full-time employees or full-time equivalent employees (FTEs). Each year, this number must be re-assessed. Employers with fewer than 50 employees (including FTEs) There is no penalty for not providing health coverage to employees.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.jsonline.com/business/pressrelease/national-press-releases/employee-benefits-administrator-helps-employers-make-sense-of-recent-deadline-changes-to-pay-or-play-portion-of-affordable-care-act-246320051.html

The impact of an ageing workforce on a benefits strategy

Richard Wilson With this first step in our planned redesign, FreeERISA now highlights the most important plan facts in a graphical and easily understood dashboard. We calculate critical plan figures, red flags and more so that our community of advisors can spend less time sifting through data and more time pursuing sales," says Eric Ryles, Managing Director of Employee Benefits Data Products. "No other free 5500 database provides a better mix of search and analytical tools for the benefits and retirement industries." New 401k/Retirement and Employee Benefits Plan Research Tools and Data: The new FreeERISA features key plan facts and figures from the Form 5500 in a clean, graphical display. Visitors can now easily determine if a plan is a viable prospect without needing to first look through dense government documents. Information about plan strength indicators from Judy Diamond Associates' premium lead generation and plan research tool, Retirement Plan Prospector , is also integrated into the new FreeERISA plan dashboard. This includes general information about the plan's score and its number of red flags, both of which point to the quality of a plan's performance and structure. For the actual plan score and a list of the red flags, users are invited to subscribe to Retirement Plan Prospector. Links to news stories that are relevant to an individual plan will now appear alongside its dashboard to provide users with greater insight into the state of a plan and its market conditions. Finally, the tools that made FreeERISA a widely known resource for 5500 data for more than fifteen years are still central to the database. These include a simple search system and the ability to view reproductions of each plan's Form 5500. In the coming months, FreeERISA will continue to make improvements to its website and to the 5500-related news content throughout benefitspro.com to better serve the benefits and retirement communities. ABOUT FreeERISA The premier employee benefits and retirement resource on the Web, FreeERISA provides free access to all Form 5500s filed with the Department of Labor over the past two years, including data on retirement, health, life, and other benefit plans from more than 1 million U.S. companies.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://finance.yahoo.com/news/freeerisa-online-database-redesigned-better-142300896.html

Some workplace benefits come tax-free

Many employer-paid benefits are considered non-taxable in the hands of the employee, meaning they can be worth more after-tax than regular salary. And OMG companies are signing up! Because they care about their employees happiness! Just makes my little heart go pitter-patter. Glow, which launched last summer, uses health markers and fertility signs to help couples conceive. Its not unlike Ovuline, which drills down on the biological markers of a womans cycle to identify the best time for conception, such as body temperature, cervical fluid, and more. The difference is that Glow also offers a programGlow Firstthat couples can sign up for as a sort of insurance policy. Couples pay $50 a month, and if they dont conceive after 10 months, Glow will pay for their fertility treatments. Those who manage to conceive on their own forfeit their money, which will be pooled to help pay for other couples treatments. Glow for Enterprise is a service that companies can sign up for as an extra health benefit for their employees, covering the $50 a month so that there are no out-of-pocket expenses for employees. The average IVF cycle runs about $12,000-$15,000. Few insurance companies cover fertility treatments and the Affordable Care Act, which goes into effect in January, will not require insurers to cover it.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://vator.tv/news/2014-02-20-glow-for-enterprise-launches-as-unique-employee-benefit

Glow for Enterprise launches as unique employee benefit

Employees aged over 50 make up 27% of the UK workforce, and by 2020 that proportion is expected to rise to one-third, according to the Department for Work and Pensions report Employing older workers , published in February 2013. For many employees, this will mean having to save more of their income into a pension scheme to be able to afford to retire. Pensions auto-enrolment is helping to educate staff about the need to take responsibility for their own retirement income and save at least the required minimum contribution of 1% of salary into their pension. But the downside of the legislation, introduced in October 2012, is that it is creating a false sense of security, with many employees believing that pension scheme membership alone will automatically give them an adequate pension pot at retirement. Employers therefore have their work cut out to educate staff about their finances . Jo Thresher, head of money at work at benefits consultancy Jelf Group, says: Its about employers educating employees that [the minimum contribution of] 1% isnt enough, and just because theyve been put in a pension scheme doesnt mean theyve got a pension; it probably means theyve got a pot of money thats not worth very much. Employers could, of course, increase their own contribution levels, but this is not an easy proposition for HR and benefits professionals to pitch to their finance directors and fellow board members, particularly at a time when the world is just climbing out of recession. Darren Philp, head of policy at The Peoples Pension, says auto-escalation may be a more palatable proposition for employers boards to digest. This involves part, or all, of an employees future pay increases being paid automatically into their pension fund. As employees start getting pay rises, they might be encouraged to put a proportion of that into their pension and save for the longer term, he says. I think well hear more about this in the coming years. However, Philp warns that auto-escalation puts an onus on employers, and HR and benefits professionals to provide workplace financial education and management programmes to help staff understand the importance and implications of increased savings in the context of their desired lifestyle in retirement and the level of savings required to achieve this.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.employeebenefits.co.uk/benefits/pensions/the-impact-of-an-ageing-workforce-on-a-benefits-strategy/104031.article

The New FreeERISA Online Database is Here -- Redesigned to Better Serve the Retirement and Employee Benefits Communities

Summit Professional Networks logo. Or read the full Employee Benefitsdigital edition In this issue we announce the Employee Benefits Hot 100 benefits managers for 2014. You can read all about these movers and shakers in the benefits industry in Hot 100 on page 21 . As the UKs workforce ages, employers will have to reassess their benefits strategies to meet employees changing needs. Find out the key areas your HR department will need to review in Game changer (page 38) . Law firm Withers is a progressive organisation but has traditional values about benefits, keen to treat its employees in a personal way. Read Personal Touch (page 60) . Key articles this month include:
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.employeebenefits.co.uk/employee-benefits-magazine-march-2014/104200.article

California's Enrollment Website For Obamacare Goes Down

February 22, 2014

Add ObamaCare to unions’ woes

Amid a big marketing push, California's enrollment website for Obamacare coverage has suffered an unexpected outage due to software glitches. The website problems come at a crucial time as the Covered California exchange tries to persuade more uninsured people to sign up ahead of a March 31 deadline. The state exchange unveiled new TV commercials and radio ads this week aimed in particular at Latinos, who have been slow to enroll so far. The exchange is also urging more people to visit enrollment counselors, who rely on the state's online system. Covered California took its enrollment system down for scheduled maintenance and upgrades for 24 hours this past weekend. But problems have persisted and Thursday consumers were greeted by a message saying "the enrollment portion of the site is being worked on." Full coverage: Obamacare rolls out Covered California said website errors began occurring Wednesday and it said "engineers are working around the clock" to resolve the problem. "Covered Californias enrollment portal has been temporarily taken offline because of software malfunctions that were affecting the consumer experience," the exchange said in a statement. The rest of the exchange website, including its shop and compare calculator for different health plans, is still available as well as general information. Through mid-February, Covered California has enrolled 828,638 people in private health plans as part of the Affordable Care Act. California's website at coveredca.com has performed better than the federal exchange site, healthcare.gov, which had a disastrous launch in the fall.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.latimes.com/business/healthcare/la-fi-mo-covered-california-website-down-20140220,0,3785905.story

Obamacare enrollees hit snags at doctor The UAW blames Republican politicians and conservative groups outside agitators, if you will. Sen. Bob Corker, a former Chattanooga mayor, weighed in on opposing unionization at the plant during the voting, claiming a vote against the union would enhance the chances that VW would give the plant the right to build SUVs, adding hundreds of jobs. But the bigger problem was that the union had little to offer prospective members. Workers get little in return for paying dues that equal two hours pay monthly. There was a time when the difference between a union job and a nonunion job paid off. Unions offered job protection, steady wage increases and, most importantly, generous benefits, including first-rate health insurance. Indeed, the reason most employees receive health insurance through their employers is that unions demanded the benefit in their collective bargaining agreements during World War II when the National War Labor Board imposed a freeze on wages. The new benefit which was tax-free was so popular with workers that even nonunion employers adopted it in order to attract employees. But with the advent of ObamaCare, even that union advantage has disappeared. Not only is health insurance now available to everyone (though not everyone wants to pay for it), but unions cant bargain for the kind of Cadillac policies they once could. Even with union carve-outs granted by the administration, most employers will balk at gold-plated policies when forced to pay ObamaCares 40-percent excise tax and can do so with impunity as long as the plans they offer meet the ObamaCare minimum requirements.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://nypost.com/2014/02/21/add-obamacare-to-unions-woes/

Obamacare Attack Ad May Actually Expose Obamacare Success Story

Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) Status: Running for reelection U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican, speaks during a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday, May 28, 2013, on a utility plant for the new federal biosecurity lab in Manhattan, Kan. (AP Photo/John Milburn) Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Status: Running for reelection FILE - In this July 30, 2013 file photo, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) Sen.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/20/obamacare-ad-julie-boonstra_n_4823167.html

Rep. Tom Cotton: Obamacare Best Example of President's Failed Policies

These are of course the same DNC controlled outlets that come election time will shrilly repeat the semoxrat liberal "progressive " lies about how Republicans are hurting senior citizens. You can bet Bob Schoeffer will not tell you that in promotions for Deface the nation and for sure Wolf Blitzee, Cooper and Morgan will never bring it up. February 22, 2014 11:44 am at 11:44 am | wendel republican policies discrimination in Arizona ted Nuggents no increase in minimum wage voter rights womans rights. We are tired of a party that has only one note one goal. Where are the ideas and help the American people need. Stop paying these clowns they have stopped working for us. February 22, 2014 11:45 am at 11:45 am | Gurgyl These GOP idiots are so pathetic idiots to nag on this law which is the most dire needed law. Enough of these thugs. Yes, ACA IS A LAW. YOU PUT UP OR SHUT UP. It is a lawUSA needed for centuries.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2014/02/22/gop-again-highlights-obamacare-in-weekly-address/

Biden lowers ObamaCare enrollment projection

But it's not gone a day since without making headlines. Your summary of the past week in Obamacare: Young people need insurance because theyre knuckleheads, First Lady Michelle Obama told Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show. An ad slamming Obamacare using the case of a woman who said her leukemia treatments became unaffordable under the new law was debunked. The woman likely saved money under the new law , the Washington Post and other media reported. Anecdotes in similar ads also have been proven to be inaccurate or misleading. Huntsville restaurateur John Paul Hampton said he, his wife and his sister gave up their jobs in the family business and converted some employees to part time in order to get under the law's 50-employee threshold Polls show that people often support the Affordable Care Act, until pollsters call it 'Obamacare,' the blog Bustle reports. Al.com readers agreed , saying the word hurts health care reform efforts.
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Early House race tests Obamacare as election issue

"Initially, we talked about by the end of this period having seven million people lined up," he told a group in a coffee shop on Wednesday. "We may not get to seven but we're gonna get to five or six, and that's a hell of a start with people." ADVERTISEMENT Thats quite a difference from the confident predictions last fall, just before the rollout, from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "I think success looks like at least 7 million people having signed up by the end of March 2014," she told NBC last September. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office stuck with that estimate for the exchanges until just recently, when it lowered its projection from 7 million to 6 million. But the vice president is the first to mention a number as low as 5 million, suggesting doubts in the administration. In its report on signups through the end of January, the administration claimed 9.6 million total had gotten health insurance -- 3.3 million in the federal and state exchanges, and another 6.3 million in Medicaid, the health care program for low-income Americans. But a nonpartisan health care firm says the number of new signups in Medicaid from ObamaCare is much lower than 6.3 million. "It's about 1.3 to 1.8 million people who are new to the program The rest are part of the regular churn that are in and out," Matthew Eyeles, of the firm Avalere Health, said. And those in the regular churn -- those who come and go all the time wouldnt count as part of ObamaCare because they were already eligible before the health care law. For those new to Medicaid under the expansion encouraged by ObamaCare, the administration pays 100 percent of the cost for the first three years.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/02/21/biden-lowers-obamacare-enrollment-projection/

The week in Obamacare: A summary of news regarding the Affordable Care Act

1 because of it. Yet Obamacare's missed opportunity could be something completely unrelated to either of these criticisms. Obamacare's biggest missed opportunity According to a report released a little over a week ago by The Commonwealth Fund, a private research group that assesses a number of aspects of the health care system, the lack of Hispanic participation in Obamacare could be the law's greatest early stage shortfall. The Commonwealth Fund's report notes a bevy of startling numbers that represent both the incredible opportunity, and early stage failure, of Obamacare and officials to court uninsured Hispanics. The study notes that at least a third of all Hispanics are currently uninsured. Current RAND predictions over the next three years via the HHS estimate that 5.4 million people will gain insurance through Obamacare. Specifically, as it relates to Hispanics, The Commonwealth Fund's marketplace survey found that only 49% of Hispanics who are potentially eligible to receive a subsidy are aware of the marketplace in their state, compared to 63% for the national average. Furthermore, by the end of December just 19% of subsidy-eligible Hispanics had shopped for insurance on the marketplace exchanges compared to a national average of 24%. Four barriers to entry This lack of Hispanic participation represents a huge opportunity for Obamacare to boost its enrollment, but only if the government first understands what four factors are holdings Hispanics back from enrolling in the first place. Perhaps the greatest damage being done against signing up even more Hispanics is that only 26 states and the District of Columbia chose to take federal money and expand their Medicaid program. Some of the nation's largest states, including Florida and Texas, which are home to some 14 million Hispanics, will not be able to participate in the Medicaid expansion. That doesn't eliminate the potential that these Hispanic consumers in the remaining 24 states couldn't shop for insurance on the exchanges, but it does make it financially difficult for many of them to afford the insurance, even with a partial subsidy. Second, the Obama administration, HHS, and Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services simply aren't doing a good job in reaching out to Hispanics.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/02/22/is-this-obamacares-biggest-missed-opportunity.aspx

GOP again highlights Obamacare in weekly address

Thats not true. Five million Americans face cancellations, and the Presidents own estimates predict that tens of millions more will lose their plan. Many more are losing access to their family doctors, specialists, and local hospitals. And the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects Obamacare will cost the equivalent of at least two-and-a-half million full-time jobs." Meanwhile, the healthcare law adds trillions in new spending during a time of record debt and means less money in paychecks and less capital for businesses, Cotton said. "Less growth means less opportunity and more stress for families," noted Cotton. "And the Congressional Budget Office says well still have 31 million uninsured in 10 years the same number President Obama used to sell the law in the first place. He pointed out one of his state's constituents, a woman named Elizabeth, who says her monthly premiums "have risen 85 percent because of Obamacare's new coverage mandates." "Shes now forced to pay for things she does not want and cant afford, simply because Washington politicians and bureaucrats think they know whats best for her and her family," said Cotton. "Whats worse, Obamacare isnt just raising her premium costs. Elizabeth now takes home less total pay than she did in 2011 and thats after two raises and a promotion. Shes stopped shopping at locally owned businesses because she cant afford their prices, so Obamacare is hurting her local community, too." For such people, Cotton said, Obamacare is "anything but an amazing success story," and wrong for Arkansas and America. "Republicans in Congress are committed to stopping the harms caused by the Presidents policies, repairing the damage, and getting America working again," said Cotton. "Were advocating reforms that trust patients and their doctors not Washington bureaucrats.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/obamacare-gop-weekly-address/2014/02/22/id/554164

Is This Obamacare's Biggest Missed Opportunity?

Obamacare is on the ballot in a big way in a competitive House race in Florida that offers a preview of the nationwide campaign for Congress this fall. CAPTION By Associated Press, CLEARWATER, Fla. The candidates are Alex Sink, Democrat, and David Jolly, Republican, but Obamacare is on the ballot in a big way in a competitive House race in Florida that offers a preview of the nationwide campaign for Congress this fall. Republicans and their allies wouldnt have it any other way as they test the issues potency, even though their candidate may muddle the message, and other issues like Social Security may command a bigger role in deciding the winner. More business news Transcripts show uncertainty at Fed as 2008 crisis grew Ylan Q. Mui Documents released Friday indicate that Bernankes grasp of the situation seemed to come in fits and starts. Fannie Mae payments to U.S. to exceed bailout Dina ElBoghdady Fannie reported that it will pay the government $7.2 billion in March, for a total of $121 billion in dividends. U.S.
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Biden: We May Not Meet Obamacare Marketplace Goals

February 20, 2014

Catch of the Day: Republicans Fire, and Miss, at Obamacare

Still, Biden -- who famously called the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act a big f**king deal , said that the new marketplaces are nevertheless off to hell of a start. We may not get to seven million, we may get to five or six, but thats a hell of a start, Biden said while visiting a coffee shop in Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports . Im here to say thanks. In depth: Obamacare kicks off Biden was in Minneapolis for a private Democratic National Committee fundraiser but stopped at Moose & Sadies coffee shop specifically to talk about the Affordable Care Act. He met with four women who were invited there to talk about the law, the Star-Tribune reported. The Obama administration initially said it wanted to enroll seven million Americans in the new marketplaces by the end of the six-month open enrollment period, aligning its goals with nonpartisan projections about the marketplaces popularity. Yet when the marketplaces opened for enrollment in October, the significant technical problems with HealthCare.gov and some state-based Obamacare websites seriously slowed down the process. Last week, the administration reported that nearly 3.3 million people have selected marketplace plans as of Feb. 1. Health and Human Services officials have said they are satisfied with the pace of enrollment. 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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Morning Plum: How the GOP’s ‘Obamacare horror stories’ strategy works

ADVERTISEMENT "I dont care what the CBO says about the job impact of ObamaCare," said Michael Mandel of the Progressive Policy Institute. "ObamaCare has a far-reaching impact and part of that is going to be to encourage entrepreneurship." On NBC's Meet the Press, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., described how statistical job loss translates into advantages for individual families. "The single mom who is raising three kids [who] has to keep a job because of health care can now spend some time raising those kids.That's a family value," he said. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., offered a similar defense on ABC's This Week. "We're going to have parents being able to come home, working reasonable hours. People are going to be able to retire," he said. ObamaCare in particular presents a unique quandary for the most productive workforce the world has ever known.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/02/20/democrats-defensive-as-cbo-projects-job-loss-from-obamacare-minimum-wage-hike/

But apparently it is. So maybe it's not actually happening to very many people at all? For the details about this particular story, see Glenn Kesslers column in the Washington Post. See also a good item on testimonial ads from Bloomberg View's Francis Wilkinson. Seriously: Its not as if the occasional Obamacare horror story turns out to be exaggerated; every single one propagated by Republicans has fallen apart under scrutiny. Ive talked before about the lazy mendacity of these stories, and the incentive structure behind it: If you spend most of your time producing fodder for Fox News and other largely uncritical party-aligned media, then theres just no incentive for finding actual true stories to support your case, or actual compelling arguments to support your position. And given that, its no surprise that messages that are pegged for a larger and less partisan audience retain that laziness. Or maybe the audience, even for these campaign ads, is really just strong partisan Republicans; they are designed more for the purpose of generating enthusiasm than as a way to persuade voters. The lesson for Republicans? If you dont demand rigor on your own side, youre not going to get it. The lesson for the press?
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-20/catch-of-the-day-republicans-fire-and-miss-at-obamacare-.html

Karl Rove: GOP Must Show Voters It Has Obamacare Alternative

"Initially, we talked about by the end of this period having seven million people lined up," he told a group in a coffee shop on Wednesday. "We may not get to seven but we're gonna get to five or six, and that's a hell of a start with people." ADVERTISEMENT Thats quite a difference from the confident predictions last fall, just before the rollout, from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "I think success looks like at least 7 million people having signed up by the end of March 2014," she told NBC last September. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office stuck with that estimate for the exchanges until just recently, when it lowered its projection from 7 million to 6 million. But the vice president is the first to mention a number as low as 5 million, suggesting doubts in the administration. In its report on signups through the end of January, the administration claimed 9.6 million total had gotten health insurance -- 3.3 million in the federal and state exchanges, and another 6.3 million in Medicaid, the health care program for low-income Americans. But a nonpartisan health care firm says the number of new signups in Medicaid from ObamaCare is much lower than 6.3 million. "It's about 1.3 to 1.8 million people who are new to the program The rest are part of the regular churn that are in and out," Matthew Eyeles, of the firm Avalere Health, said. And those in the regular churn -- those who come and go all the time wouldnt count as part of ObamaCare because they were already eligible before the health care law. For those new to Medicaid under the expansion encouraged by ObamaCare, the administration pays 100 percent of the cost for the first three years. But it pays no additional funds for those already eligible, which is often one of the top three items in state budgets: "The state pays that bill," said former CBO Director Doug Holtz-Eakin. "If it's the expansion, the federal government pays the bill.So it matters a lot whether it's newly eligible or existing eligible who are signing up." Meanwhile, the vice president might have also irritated other officials by giving the wrong date for the end of enrollment. "There's a drop-dead date for the first round -- in the beginning of March," he told the coffee-shop gathering.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/02/20/biden-lowers-obamacare-enrollment-projection/

Obamacare's Arm's-Length Allies: H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt

Brian Haile AFP has already run an ad in Louisiana featuring Obamacare victims played by actors , even as the group is aggressively pressuring state legislators there not to expand Medicaid coverage to untold numbers of real people who would benefit from it. Meanwhile, Obamacare foes hyped the CBO report as proof two million victims would be thrown out of work, but it actuallyfoundthose not working as a result of the law would be doing so by choice,and may be better off,a fact Republicans have simply airbrushed out of the picture .And Bette in Spokane was featured in the GOP response to the State of the Union as another Obamacare victim, but in fact she hadnt availed herself of Obamacares options, and it remains unknown whetherher GOP Congresswomaneven tried to help her to do so. The broader GOP strategy is explicitly all about building a national narrative populatedonly with wrenchinghorror stories people who have lost coverage and seen premiums soar, and, now, desperately ill people who have seen their lives disrupted thanks to the heavy handed big government recklessness all these Dems stand for. In this narrative, people who have had their lives improved by the law and are now enjoying health coverage for the first time and the security and peace of mind that accompany it simply dont exist, and indeed, Republicans have actively discouraged such stories from coming into being . Meanwhile, many of the horror stories are turning out to be hyped, bogus, or distorted. But they will have huge sums of money behind them. And scrutiny of them will be met with charges of insensitivity to the victims.Just in case you didnt grasp the magnitude of the stakes here. * KEEP AN EYE ON THE MICHIGAN SENATE RACE: Related to the above: Politico has an interesting look at the Michigan Senate race, where an early anti-Obamacare ad barrage from Americans for Prosperity has produced an unexpectedly tight contest between Dem Rep. Gary Peters and Republican Terry Land. The crux: In the past three presidential elections, around 5 million voters have gone to the polls, compared with just 3.3 million in the 2010 midterms. In that election, just 10 percent of African-American voters came out to vote, compared with 16 percent who voted in 2012Democrats hope to turn out more than 3.5 million voters this year, largely by inspiring more minorities to go to the pollsWith the conservative Legislature pushing forward policies that have infuriated the left, including so-called right-to-work legislation weakening the power of labor unions, Democrats are bullish that turnout will be high as the party tries to take down GOP Gov.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2014/02/20/morning-plum-how-the-gops-obamacare-horror-stories-strategy-works/

Biden lowers ObamaCare enrollment projection

Jackson Hewitt and H&R Block ( HRB ) are doing it on their own as a customer service. My sense has been that they [government officials] just have a lot on their plate and Im not sure theyve fully appreciated the opportunity that tax preparers represent, says Stan Dorn, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute think tank in Washington. We havent really consulted with HHS [the Department of Health & Human Services], says Mark Ciaramitaro, H&R Blocks vice president of health services. We came to this conclusion ourselves based on our clients stated needs. H&R Block calls its service Helpth , for help with health. The tax preparers arent taking sides in whether the Affordable Care Act is a good law or a bad one, nor are they pushing their clients to sign up for coverage. Our role in this is pretty simple, says Brian Haile, senior vice president for health policy at Jackson Hewitt . If you dont like Obamacare, we understand, but its part of the tax code. There are tax consequences for those choices and we want to make sure you understand what those consequences are.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-02-20/obamacares-arms-length-allies-h-and-r-block-and-jackson-hewitt

Democrats are shifting their campaign strategy, Rove wrote. They will no longer try to run on the successes of Obamacare since half the country disapproves of it and instead ask voters to trust them to fix it. Democrats will claim "Republicans want to go back to the bad old days," Rove wrote. Video: Obamacares Massive New Rules Revealed ObamaCare Survival Guide That is why Republicans need to win over voters with their own ideas and not just talk down Obamacare, according to Rove. First, he said, Republicans need to tell voters that Democrats can't be trusted to repair the broken law. Rove cited a comment from then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as Congress considered the Obamacare legislation: "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy." Beyond criticizing the law, GOP candidates need to explain what alternatives they have to offer. "Republicans must present themselves as a party of change rather than simply one of opposition," writes Rove, a former deputy chief of staff to President George W.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/Karl-Rove-healthcare-Obamacare-The-Wall-Street-Journal/2014/02/20/id/553717

Obamacare Attack Ad May Actually Expose Obamacare Success Story

is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File) Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) Status: Running for reelection U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) speaks to members of the press during a news conference May 23, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) Status: Running for reelection FILE - Senator-elect Ed Markey gives a thumbs-up while speaking at the Massachusetts state Democratic Convention in Lowell, Mass., in this July 13, 2013 file photo.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/20/obamacare-ad-julie-boonstra_n_4823167.html

Obamacare And The Demise Of The 30-second Testimonial

February 19, 2014

The announcement turned out to be that Earnest and his colleagues were fired. When he built the stage, he said, he was building his own "coffin." Earnest didn't seem to have much doubt who was at fault. Mitt Romney made over a hundred million dollars by shutting down our plant," Earnest said to the camera, "and devastated our lives. The ad, produced by Priorities USA Action, a super-PAC supporting President Barack Obama, was something of a remake. Back in the 1994 U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts, Democratic media consultant Bob Shrum had sent a film crew to Marion and let the tape roll as bitter workers recounted how they had lost their jobs. Shrum's client, incumbent Senator Ted Kennedy, used the ads to rebuff a challenge from Romney. Romney always viewed the ads as dishonest. But they were powerful precisely because the workers delivered their messages in such intimate, personal and seemingly unvarnished terms. It's doubtful a consultant could have put such effective words in their mouths, or such compelling expressions on their faces.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-18/obamacare-and-the-demise-of-the-30-second-testimonial.html

Sebelius: No evidence Obamacare led to job losses

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius speaks about the Affordable Care Act during her visit to Community Health and Social Services Center (CHASS) November 15, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. "There is absolutely no evidence -- and every economist will tell you this -- that there is any job loss related to the Affordable Care Act," Sebelius said at an event in Orlando, according to WESH-TV. Republicans were quick to counter the secretary -- the National Republican Congressional Committee on Monday pointed to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO)s bombshell report that concluded that Obamacare would shrink the workforce by the equivalent of 2 million full-time workers by 2017. In depth: Obamacare kicks off When the report was released earlier this month, it was quickly added to GOP talking points that the party plans on using in the midterm elections . However, the CBOs conclusions were more nuanced than campaign rhetoric would suggest. The CBO report noted that the reduction in labor stems almost entirely from a net decline in the amount of labor that workers choose to supply, rather than from a net drop in businesses demand for labor. In other words, workers would choose to work less for various reasons -- they wouldnt be forced to work less. The report also noted that in the longer run, some businesses may reduce hiring or hire more part-time workers because of the requirement for businesses with 50 or more full-time employees to provide insurance coverage for their workers. However, it said there is no compelling evidence that part-time employment has increased as a result of the ACA at this time. Sebelius noted Monday, Part-time positions are actually down since 2010, not up. 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.cbsnews.com/news/sebelius-no-evidence-obamacare-led-to-job-losses/

Obamacare house party, with special guest Dr Jill Biden

Too bad nobody listened. By EDWARD LAZEAR, Politico Magazine The Congressional Budget Offices warning that the Affordable Care Act will cause employment to fall by the equivalent of 2.5 million full-time workers is just the latest of Obamacares negative surprises. Unfortunately, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosis statement that we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it is proving to be depressingly accurate. The laws defenders legitimately argue that it is not sufficient merely to criticize the Affordable Care Act; responsible action requires proposing an alternative. Fortunately, Republicans have a good one, and its been hiding in plain sight for the past seven years. The plan was first described in President George W. Bushs 2007 State of the Union Address, but it remains timely. This plan would remedy most of the major problems that exist in Americas health care system and cause less destruction with fewer adverse consequences than Obamacare.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://nation.foxnews.com/2014/02/19/bushcare-gops-answer-obamacare-hiding-plain-sight-years

BushCare - GOP's Answer to ObamaCare, Hiding in Plain Sight, for Years

The effort, backed by the group Moms Rising, calls for 75 and counting house parties in states like California, Florida and Texas. Why those states? They are home to some of the highest rates of uninsured Americans. In Texas, where Republican Governor Rick Perry has opted not to expand access to Medicaid or build a state-run marketplace for insurance, an estimated 6.2 million people dont have coverage about one quarter of the population. Florida had roughly the same proportion of its population without coverage, about 3.8 million people. In Los Angeles country alone, an estimated two million people lack insurance. And all three states are home to many Hispanics, a community in which an estimated one out of three people is uninsured . Moms Rising spokeswoman Ashley Boyd told Yahoo News that event hosts dubbed the Wellness Wonder Team are encouraged to have HealthCare.gov ready to go and to expect that some of their guests will be uninsured Americans looking for help navigating the website and assessing their options. Moms Rising, which claims a membership of about one million nationwide, will help hosts who ask put together their house party, bringing in an expert or pulling in guests via its email list. But hosts can also try to take overan existing social event, according to Boyd. Im planning to hijack my book club, she said with a laugh.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://news.yahoo.com/obamacare-house-party--with-special-guest-dr-jill-biden-021438741.html?.tsrc=yfpnewsapp

ObamaCare’s con artist & criminal problem

Shes accused of raiding the organizations funds for family expenses, personal travel and a laptop and lying to the IRS to obtain false reimbursements, and of inflating her unused sick and annual leave hours. The feds say she also bilked Montana homeowners who participated in the federal affordable housing program by charging them for a fake $750 warranty and a $1,000 fee for leasing tools. In a classic read dance of the lemons, McClure had bounced around successfully from government-funded job to job until now. The Montana state auditors office disclosed last week that shed managed three grants worth more than $2 million to implement ObamaCare in that state. She worked on the project for three years at an annual salary of $98,000. She was responsible for managing a broad range of contracts and making sure they got delivered on time, reports The Billings Gazette. To whom did she deliver them, you ask? State auditors will be trying to find out now. McClure faces trial in June and up to 20 years on each of eight charges of fraud and embezzlement.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://nypost.com/2014/02/19/obamacares-con-artist-criminal-problem/

Here's How Uninsured Latino Immigrants Can Still Receive Health Insurance Under Obamacare

February 17, 2014

A Health Reform Republicans and Democrats Agree On

The lack of adequate health care becomes increasingly salient when considering that polls consistently show that Latinos see diabetes as the biggest health problem for their own families, a problem which is no doubt linked to economic status. In a Harvard School of public health poll, one in five Latinos said that diabetes is the biggest health problem facing their families, when it was cancer just a few years ago, which is the major health problem perceived by the nation as a whole. Researchers have long cited diabetes as a threat for the nation's Latino population, including those of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, South American and Central American heritage, with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reporting that Hispanic adults are 1.7 times more likely than non-Hispanic white adults to have been diagnosed with diabetes and 1.5 times more likely to die from diabetes. Similarly, one in five Latinos who have received medical care during the past twelve months rate the health services they received as fair to poor, over half of all Latinos are not confident that they would have enough money or health insurance to pay for a major illness, and significant numbers of total Latinos give low ratings to quality of available housing in the area where they live, the public transportation system and availability of recreational facilities for exercise and sports. All of these factors play a role as recent studies show that Hispanic children who play sports are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables, which is also generalizable to children at large. A report published in the American Journal of Health Promotion found that the more sports were played among boys the greater the amount of fruits and vegetables in a diet. Boys on one sports team had 1.8 times the odds of eating vegetables, while boys who played on three sports teams had a 3.4 times higher chance of eating vegetables.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.latinpost.com/articles/7442/20140217/heres-uninsured-latino-immigrants-still-receive-health-insurance-under-obamacare.htm

Sources confirmed that the stone arena was filled to capacity for the highly anticipated spectacle, with over 90,000 officials attending from providers as far away as WellPoint, Kaiser Permanente, and HCSC to see if the patient could survive an intense, brutal struggle with the advanced stage III illness. Today we bring you one of our most thrilling challengers to date: a 57-year-old caucasian male with preexisting high blood pressure and a family history of heart disease, said Blue Cross Blue Shield CEO Scott Serota from an extravagantly decorated box seat, his booming voice immediately silencing the raucous masses of middle-aged executives. He holds a privately purchased Aetna PPO with a $400 monthly premium and $1,500 annual deductible, but faces the fight of his life against an aggressive form of multiple myeloma, one of the most ruthless killers known to man. Bring out Aetna member #ABP80424! Serota continued as the withered patient was wheeled into the sand-filled arena on a small gurney to loud boos and whistles. Let the battle commence! According to reports, the policyholder, who was equipped with limited resources of his own during the fight, immediately faced the punishing and grave challenge of successfully submitting claims for a preliminary consultation with an out-of-network oncologist. As a slew of taunts and jeers rained down from the hordes of health insurance professionals, sources said the increasingly weary combatant suffered a crushing blow upon receiving a $60,000 bill for one week of inpatient care that exceeded his plans hospitalization coverage limit. A tense hush reportedly fell over the arena moments later when a CT scan showed the cancer on the brink of remission, though the stadium soon erupted into emphatic cheers when the patient was not approved for further sessions of targeted chemotherapy that were deemed medically unnecessary. Hes putting up a pretty strong fight, but they really need to put an end to this soonhes starting to cost way more than he puts into his annual policy, Humana executive vice president James E. Murray said as the patient, after making notable progress in obtaining a referral from his primary care physician, was instantly bombarded with an overwhelming barrage of indecipherable paperwork required to justify a follow-up appointment at his radiation therapy clinic.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.theonion.com/articles/delighted-health-insurance-executives-gather-in-ou,35289/

Smart Choice for Health Insurance Webinar

Alternatively, buyers who choose a less expensive Bronze plan get to keep 100% of the savings from making that choice. Any extra expense is paid with after-tax dollars. Any reduction in expense increases the buyers after-tax resources. Since most other consumption is also paid for with after-tax dollars, this puts health insurance premiums and other goods and services on a level playing field. With a fixed sum tax credit, buyers are not encouraged to over-insure or under-insure. Every costly feature of health insurance (lower deductibles and copayments, wider networks, more generous benefits) will be at the expense of all other ways of spending the consumers dollars. ObamaCare is, of course, a Democratic health reform. But all the Republican health reform proposals make use of this idea as well. If there is a fault in ObamaCare in this regard it is that it doesnt go far enough. The credit vanishes after family income reaches 400% of poverty and the traditional subsidies (described above) kick in.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.forbes.com/sites/johngoodman/2014/02/17/a-health-reform-republicans-and-democrats-agree-on/

Personal Accident and Health Insurance Investments in Thailand to 2017: Market Databook - New Market Research Report

Ling Zhu, University of Houston political science assistant professor, and PhD candidate Markie McBrayer found Texas and California, two of the nations largest, racially and ethnically diverse states with high rates of uninsured residents, are headed in opposite directions in health insurance enrollments because of politics. California, with almost 18 percent of its population uninsured,expanded Medicaid to cover more people and funded groups and organizations to help people sign up for coverage. Since Feb. 1, an estimated 728,000 Californians have selected health insurance plans. In contrast, Texas leaders, who have been outspoken in their opposition to the 2010 health care law, have not expanded Medicaid, which would cover about 1.5 million uninsured residents. They also did not establish a state health insurance marketplace and require navigators, who help residents sign up for coverage, to get 20 hours of training on top of the 20 to 30 hours mandated by the federal government. About 207,500 Texans have selected marketplace plans. U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius appeared in Houston last week to encourage people to enroll in coverage. Heres a link to the research .
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://blog.chron.com/healthzone/2014/02/politics-affects-california-texas-health-insurance-enrollments-research-finds/

Finessing Health Coverage: When To Buy Insurance For A New Baby

- This report provides you with a breakdown of market data including data on government securities, corporate bonds, investment funds, cash in bank/hand, other investments and total investment income. - This report allows you to plan future business decisions using the forecast figures given for the market. About Fast Market Research Fast Market Research is a leading distributor of market research and business information. Representing the world's top research publishers and analysts, we provide quick and easy access to the best competitive intelligence available. Our unbiased, expert staff is always available to help you find the right research to fit your requirements and your budget. For more information about these or related research reports, please visit our website at http://www.fastmr.com or call us at 1.800.844.8156. Browse all Insurance research reports at Fast Market Research You may also be interested in these related reports:
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.sbwire.com/press-releases/personal-accident-and-health-insurance-investments-in-thailand-to-2017-market-databook-new-market-research-report-460079.htm

Politics affects California, Texas health insurance enrollments, research finds

We're heading into the home stretch to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act this year. The open enrollment period ends March 31 for most people. But there are exceptions. And they are the subject of many of our questions this month. For example, Diane Jennings of Hickory, N.C., has a question about her young adult daughter, who's currently covered on her father's health insurance. "When she ages out of the program this year at 26, in October," Jennings asks, "she'll have to get her own insurance through the exchange. But as she [will have] missed the deadline of March 2014, will she have to pay a penalty?" There shouldn't be any penalty. Turning 26 is one of those life changes that allows you to buy insurance from the health exchange outside the normal open enrollment period . In this case, since the daughter knows when this will happen, she can make the switch in advance; you can sign up as many as 60 days before you'll need coverage. This is a function the federal government just recently added to the Healthcare.gov website. When you log into your account there's a new button that's marked 'report a life change.' You click on that button and it should guide you through the process. Kaitlyn Grana of Los Angeles is also a young adult on a parent's plan her mother's.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://app1.kuhf.org/articles/npr274661903-Finessing-Health-Coverage-When-To-Buy-Insurance-For-A-New-Baby.html

The cost of coverage: Students weigh drawbacks, benefits of University health insurance plans

(See also University students reach out to international peers ) The drawback of the plan is that some students have to pay out-of-pocket for services that are not covered out of network. This issue can be further complicated for international students due to government regulations. The UHCSR plan covers 80 percent of costs incurred within in-network clinics, which would be the Student Health Center at the University. One hundred percent of preventative services are covered; however, no coverage is offered for routine dental treatment, eye glasses, hearing aids and tests and elective abortions. The No.1 benefit that you would see is that we actually have a connection with the insurance company, Charter Morris, director of Capstone International Services, said. Morris oversees 1,670 international students, 1,600 of whom are on the Universitys health plan as of Fall 2013. Morris cited a situation where UA staff interceded for a student who was denied hospital coverage after a car accident. He said they were successful in securing the students benefits due to their knowledge of the insurance companys policies. When there is an issue or a claim thats not being processed, we can actually get in touch with the insurance company, Morris said.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://cw.ua.edu/2014/02/17/the-cost-of-coverage-students-weigh-drawbacks-benefits-of-university-health-insurance-plans/

Delighted Health Insurance Executives Gather In Outdoor Coliseum To Watch Patient Battle Cancer

The workshop is free but registration is required. For more information, contact MSU Extension educator Brenda Long, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) , 616-527-5357. With the help of the Smart Choice for Health Insurance curriculum consumers will be able to answer the three important questions when making a Smart Choice health insurance decision: WHY? Why do I need health insurance? Why is it important? What do I need and want? What are my choices? How much will it cost? How much can I afford? The Smart Choice workshop offers tools to give people confidence and help them build their smart shopping skills. Through Smart Choice, participants will find tools they can use, such as: Definitions you will need to understand health insurance Sample insurance plans to show how insurance plan information will look Case studies to help illustrate how individuals in certain situations assess their health insurance needs Worksheets to help you make your own Smart Choice insurance purchasing decision. Worksheets include My Health Insurance Needs; My Health Insurance Plan Comparison; My Monthly Spending Plan For more on MSU Extension's efforts to educate consumers, small business owners, farmers and others on the Affordable Care Act and health insurance options, visit the Affordable Care Act Road Map .
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://msue.anr.msu.edu/events/smart_choice_for_health_insurance_webinar10

The Affordable Care Act Keeps Insurance Companies As Middleman Between Patients And Doctors: Ursula Rozum

February 16, 2014

Tuesday: Impact of the Affordable Care Act on the Free Medical Clinic

Mitt Romney. When Senate and House versions of what we now call "Obamacare" were introduced in fall 2009, one the world's leading professional medical journal, The Lancet, dedicated its cover to the following quote: "The health-care reform process exposes how corporate influence renders the U.S. Government incapable of making policy on the basis of evidence and the public interest." The health care reform which eventually passed in 2009 was largely written by Liz Fowler , vice president of policy at the nation's largest and most profitable health insurance company, WellPoint . To be fair, the ACA does contain some progressive reforms. People with pre-existing health conditions do not need to be afraid of health insurance providers denying them coverage and routine checkups are covered and more women can access contraception and routine gynecological exams for free. The ACA also raises Medicaid eligibility from the poverty line up to 133 percent of the national level. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court gave states the right to refuse this fully-funded federal benefit, and now 25 states led by anti-social politicians are refusing to expand Medicaid coverage to some of the poorest in their state. The main problem with the ACA is that it maintains the leading role of for-profit corporations in our health system. While more people will now have health care, insurance and pharmaceutical companies will continue to exploit and obstruct what should be a personal and trusting relationship between patients and doctors. The United States' private health insurance system is expensive and inefficient - we spend more on health care than other industrialized nations. In 2011, per capita spending on health care in the United States was $8,508, 17.7 percent of GDP, meanwhile Canada, France and Britain spend much less, between 9.4 percent and 11.6 percent respectively, according to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Health (OECD) Data from 2011.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.syracuse.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/02/the_affordable_care_act_keeps_insurance_companies_as_middleman_between_patients.html

Louisiana Affordable Care Act commercial highlights fraud

Susann Stacy Facebook Selfie The purchasers annual household income is below the threshold for IRS tax filing statutes. Also, some Americans may be granted a tax exemption for religious beliefs, not being a U.S. citizen, being in prison, or belonging to an American Indian tribe. Of the specific, remaining ACA-related tax issues, here are some that may have the most impact on working Americans. Tax on income A new $123 billion tax on investment income, which took effect in January 2013, places a 3.8% surtax on investment income on households with more than $250,000 in annual income or $200,000 for individuals. Individual mandate A new $65 billion tax on both the individual mandate and the employer mandate, which took effect in January 2014. Anyone who doesnt buy qualifying health insurance will have to pay an income surtax. This extra tax is calculated by taking the higher of the listed percentage of adjusted gross income (AGI) or the dollar figure shown below: 1 Adult Source: PPACA Legislation, pages 317-337 On the employer side, companies with 50-or-more employees face taxes of $2,000 (non-deductible) for not offering health coverage, per employee. Cadillac tax A $32 billion excise tax on so-called Cadillac health insurance plans favored by more affluent Americans.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.forbes.com/sites/investopedia/2014/02/14/new-taxes-under-the-affordable-care-act/

New Taxes Under The Affordable Care Act

But Florida Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association recently released an alert to its members to help them understand two new changes to the act. Regulations were released Feb. 10 that make some changes in the timing of the Affordable Care Act rules : The employer responsibility provision will generally apply to larger firms with 100 or more full-time employees starting in 2015 and employers with 50 or more full-time employees starting in 2016. In other words, employers with fewer than 100 employees will not be subject to the penalty for not providing health care insurance until 2016. In regard to seasonal employees, those in positions for which the customary annual employment is six months or less generally will not be considered full-time employees. This is a change from the previous rule which defined a seasonal employee as one who works for less than 120 days. As the full extent of the latest rules are examined, FFVA's Labor Relations division will provide an updated analysis. Additionally, the IRS has posted a question and answer document here.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://southeastfarmpress.com/vegetables/changes-affordable-care-act-may-affect-farming-operations

Where the issue becomes a bit foggy is the hiring of actors who 'act' like their stories are real -- but none of the stories can be traced to real facts, actor or not, the stories seem to be non-existent. Wait -- was there a disclaimer placed into the commercial stating, "the people in this ad are actors and actresses, the stories told are make believe?" Not from the information being reported today and yesterday. The commercial doesnt stop short of unverifiable horror stories, but also gives viewers an idea how they can help stop the ACA, by voting against Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu. Sen. Landrieu is currently running a tough race in a red state yet polls are showing that she could gain enough votes to win. The ad is seen as a tool to push voters away from Landrieu. Sen. Landrieus Campaign Manager, Adam Sullivan, said its bad when there is no evidence to the ads information. He said it was backed by the Koch brothers in an attempt to attack Sen. Landrieu, and now -- they just wasted time and money on an ad that doesnt hold any veracity and is completely misleading.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.examiner.com/article/louisiana-affordable-care-act-commercial-highlights-fraud

Changes in Affordable Care Act may affect farming operations

I paid online but have yet to receive information or even a card. So if I have an emergency, Im set. But until I get my policy information, I cant get a doctors appointment or prescriptions. Once I get everything figured out, it will be a much better plan. Also having sign-up trouble is Michelle Dorrance, one of the most acclaimed tap dancers in the world. Dorrance, who grew up in Chapel Hill before going off to New York, was doing without insurance last year when she had a potentially serious problem with a piece of glass stuck in her foot for which she put off treatment because she couldnt afford it. I had an infection for a while, and it was pain and discomfort more than anything else, Dorrance said. It could have been worse. I ended up going to see a podiatrist Id seen in the past, but it was a lot of money out of pocket to get it dealt with. Now, signing up for insurance is something I need to take care of. Im nervous about getting really injured without insurance. My body is my livelihood. Benefit shows One effect the ACA might have is to render obsolete a longtime staple of local music, the benefit show for an ailing uninsured artist facing a crisis.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/02/15/3622343/heath-care-law-offers-new-shelter.html

Heath care law offers new shelter for artists

Vargas will be the guest speaker during the lunchtime meetingin the Social Hall of the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church. Vargas presentation is scheduled to start at noon Tuesday. The Free Medical Clinic of Oak Ridge was established to provide free healthcare and to promote a healthy lifestyle to low-income clients in Anderson, Morgan, and Roane counties who lack health insurance and cannot afford medical care, a press release said. Vargas will discuss the issues that are faced by the segment of the Tennessee population that is eligible for neither the Affordable Care Act insurance subsidies nor TennCare, the release said. Lunch with the League is open to the public, and it is sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Oak Ridge. There is no cost to attend the Tuesday meeting, and reservations are not needed. Box lunches will be available starting at 11:30 a.m. on a first-come, first-served basis for $8, or you may bring your own. Coffee and tea are provided.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://oakridgetoday.com/2014/02/16/tuesday-impact-affordable-care-act-free-medical-clinic/

Mitt Romney: Obamacare Implementation An 'unmitigated Mess'

February 15, 2014
http://www.benefitsplanningservice.com/broker-of-record-letter/

We're looking at 2.5 million discouraged workers thanks to ObamaCare

And there's a question being asked not just by conservatives but by liberals, we had Jonathan Turley, a very left-leaning professor of law, who supports the president on the program last night who suggested this is becoming a lawless presidency, your thought. ROMNEY: Well, it's a real mess. Look, the implementation of Obamacare is one part of the problem. I think the bridge of promise and the whole structure of the house put together is the biggest problem. But the implementation having been an unmitigated mess and the people who need relief from the imposition of Obamacare are the American families and that is the group that deserves to get some relief from this act. And I think it has been very disappointing and very revealing to see the president go through and make -- make these changes, which is a very tacit, and in fact, explicit recognition that the law isn't working and that this administration has not done the job they promised they would do. KELLY: Many people feel the only real chance of reversing this law now is to elect a republican president. And to have the republicans win control of the senate and do it legislatively in the next presidential election. I know you have been asked, including recently whether you would consider a third try at the presidency. And there are polls including out of New Hampshire that place you as a frontrunner, you said no, that you are not going to do it. Let me ask you this, are there any circumstances under which you would consider running?
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://nation.foxnews.com/2014/02/14/mitt-romney-obamacare-implementation-unmitigated-mess

Obamacare enrollment push for the young enters 11th hour

The federal government forms for applying for health coverage are seen at a rally held by supporters of the Affordable Care Act, widely referred to as Why not make that decision earlier, when his administration decided to delay the employer mandate for small businesses?I guess he just felt like it. With all the recent delays that the president has made, you would think that he would finally agree to give everyone a delay.He clearly should bite the bullet and delay the individual mandate.A recent poll by Bankrate showed that less than half of the respondents were aware of the March deadline that would require individuals to carry health insurance or face a penalty under Obamacare.Also, 62 percent of the respondents believe thatdeadline will be pushed back.Can they be blamed for this cynical conclusion? The administration is facing a difficult time convincing individuals that they are serious about forcing individuals without health insurance to pay the penalties, which will cause even greater confusion during the tax-filing season.It will take more than an advertising blitz to persuade individuals to enroll.Maybe the administration should try some scare tactics. Itsnew Obamacare slogan for spring 2014 can be enroll or else ... pay the price. Continuing to add to the Obamacare saga, small businesses are facing uncertainty and fear about the impact of the law.According to a recent survey by Merchant Cash and Capital, nearly 40 percent of small business owners are unsure about how Obamacare will affect their businesses.One in four respondents said they would halt any growth initiatives in the near future as a result of the Act. And one in five said they would put new hiring on hold as they deal with increasing operational expenses. [ Check out our editorial cartoons on President Obama. ] With a lagging economy and weak unemployment numbers, greater uncertainty and fear among business owners will impact the future economic outlook and confidence in the United States.MCC CEO Stephen Sheinbaum stated, Continued fear and doubt surrounding the rollout of Obamacare could potentially temper the economys positive momentum. President Obama will continue to have a difficult time figuring out a way to dispel the fears of business owners and the majority of Americans who disapprove of Obamacare.His willingness to make sporadic and last minute changes is indicative of a greater problem, which is causing anxiety among businesses and individuals.And we have yet to feel the long-term negative effects of Obamacare, including more individuals dependent on subsidies, discouraged workers who may decide to leave their jobs because of Obamacare and higher premiums for the middle class. According to the Congressional Budget Office, 2.5 million Americans will leave the workforce as a result of Obamacare, because they can work less and still have affordable health care.In other words more Americans become dependent on the government and take a seat in the wagon, while there are fewer Americans helping to pull the wagon. President Obama will need to check on his feelings to see how he plans to address and fix those problems.He may want to seek advice from Republicans.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.usnews.com/opinion/mercedes-schlapp/2014/02/14/obama-keeps-changing-obamacare-on-a-whim

Obamacare Changes Are 'Dangerous' Precedent, Lawyers Say

Since 1946, when a president's approval rating was below 50 percent in such elections, his party has lost on average 36 House seats, according to the Gallup polling firm. When it is above 50 percent, they lose on average 14 seats, Gallup said. The healthcare issue was an important topic at the Democratic gathering at a waterfront resort. Before Obama spoke, the Democrats heard during a closed session from Ari Goldmann, a 32-year-old independent contractor and waiter who lives in Washington. A Democratic aide said Goldmann told the lawmakers he was "beyond thrilled" when he was able to get health coverage under Obamacare after his insurance company told him it was canceling his plan. Democrats hope to circulate more such stories in the months ahead as they scramble to win public approval of Obamacare and boost their election prospects. At a closed-door portion of his meeting with Democrats, another party aide said Obama told the gathering that "underlying policies in the (healthcare) program are working, but of course there are glitches.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/14/us-usa-congress-democrats-idUSBREA1C23H20140214

At the ObamaCare Improv

The group says it is planning "a barrage of efforts," which it declined to detail. CONCERN OVER PRICE HIKE Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act barred longstanding insurance market practices that imposed sharply higher prices on people who were sick or older. That puts the onus on the program to spread insurers' risks between policyholders who need lots of medical attention and younger consumers who tend to be healthy and cheaper to insure. The concern is that the fewer young adults sign up, the higher insurance costs may have to rise for 2015. A Massachusetts health insurance marketplace, launched in 2007 under former Republican Governor Mitt Romney and widely seen as the prototype for the Obamacare exchanges, took nine months to breach the 30 percent mark, according to an analysis by Jonathan Gruber, an MIT professor and an architect of Obamacare and Massachusetts' earlier reforms. Gruber and other experts say reaching about 30 percent participation is a more reasonable goal for Obamacare in 2015 than 2014 given its challenges, including bitter partisan opposition, scant funding, and a public that is largely misinformed about the law and the botched HealthCare.gov launch. "It's going to take two or three years minimum to do what Massachusetts did," said Brian Haile, senior vice president for health policy at Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc., a tax preparation service that is promoting Obamacare enrollment. Analysts at the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation maintain that even if youth enrollment remains unchanged at 25 percent, it would add only 2.4 percent to 2015 premiums because the law compensates insurers for unexpected losses.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/14/us-usa-healthcare-enrollment-idUSBREA1D06X20140214

Obamacare payment system will take months to complete, White House says

timely data relating to the payment of premiums by enrollees, Carney said. In depth: Obamacare kicks off The administration reported earlier in the week that nearly 3.3 million people have selected plans on the Obamacare marketplace as of Feb. 1. However, insurance companies are saying that about 20 percent of those people failed to pay their premiums on time and consequently didnt receive coverage in January, the New York Times reports . I think people are enrolling in multiple places, Aetna CEO Mark T. Bertolini reportedly said. They are shopping. And what happens is that they never really get back on HealthCare.gov to disenroll from plans they prior enrolled in. Carney said that the administration cant confirm that percentage until its automated payment system is running.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.cbsnews.com/news/obamacare-payment-system-will-take-months-to-complete-white-house-says/

Obama seeks to allay Democrats' fears on Obamacare

U.S. President Barack Obama waves before departing the White House in Washington, February 14, 2014. REUTERS/Larry Downing Mistakes in initial estimates consistently worked to make it easier to pass ObamaCare. As if the nanny state hasnt gotten out of hand with government telling everyone exactly the type of insurance, what medical care we can receive, what doctors we can see, and what foods we can eat, now the government claims it wants to micromange the number of hours we work. The Obama administration has been explaining that discouraging people from working is something good. We are told that those who stop working or work less will be better off. Why? They will have more time to do other things like spending time with their families. One of ObamaCares architects, Jonathan Gruber , gave a hypothetical example of the type of person who might be helped in the Los Angeles Times recently. He wrote about a 62-year-old man who wanted to retire early, but was trapped in his job and forced to continue working so that he could continue getting health insurance. As Gruber notes: this is a good outcome. But people feel they have to work for all sorts of reasons. For example, they may need money to send their kids to college or pay the mortgage on their house. Gruber confuses what is good for an individual worker and what is good for the country. Sure, the worker who can quit his job is better off. But would it be good if welfare payments could let all workers quit working? On a recent edition of Meet the Press, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) justified ObamaCare by giving another example: The single mom, who's raising three kids (and) has to keep a job because of healthcare, can now spend some time raising those kids. That's a family value. But it isnt just single moms with kids who are going to stop working or cutting back hours.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/02/13/were-looking-at-25-million-discouraged-workers-thanks-to-obamacare/

Under his latest order, employers with 50 to 99 workers will have another year before they are required to provide insurance coverage for workers or pay a penalty. Companies that employ 100 or more workers have until 2015 to ensure that a percentage of fulltime staffers are covered, starting with 70 percent before requiring full coverage three years from now. "This was an example of, administratively, us making sure that we're smoothing out this transition," Obama said of the changes. "Where we've got companies that want to do the right thing and they're trying to work with us, we want to make sure that we're working with them as well," Obama said. "And that's going to be our attitude about the law generally how do we make it work in an optimal sort of way." Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer, appearing Monday on Fox News' "Special Report," said that Obama's actions reeked of politics. "These are not adjustments or transitions," he said. "These are political decisions to minimize the impact leading up to an election. And it's changing the law in a way that you are not allowed to do. "This is stuff you do in a banana republic. It's as if the law is simply a blackboard on which Obama writes any number he wants, any delay he wants on any provision." Story continues below video. Sandefur said it was important to note that the president was not actually changing the law, but rather instructing his subordinates to ignore violations of the law.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/employer-mandate-delay-obamacare/2014/02/14/id/552873

Obama's Obamacare Whims

Editorial cartoon on unemployment. "Thats a possiblity under the new ObamaCare going on right now." In fact, one conservative group, Americans for Prosperity, is running an ad on exactly this subject, featuring a woman with lupus, an auto-immune disease. She starts by saying, "I voted for Barack Obama for president. I thought ObamaCare was going to be a good thing." But Emilie Lamb says she later got a letter saying her insurance was canceled because of ObamaCare, pushing her premiums from $52 to $373 a month. "I'm having to work a second job, to pay for ObamaCare, she adds. For somebody with lupus, that's not an easy thing. If I can't afford to continue to pay for ObamaCare, I don't get my medicine. I don't get to see my doctors." One of the problems is that drugs for some diseases such as MS do not have generic versions. So without cheaper alternatives and no help from ObamaCare, patients could face huge personal out-of-pocket bills, forcing some to skimp on their medications. Kantor worries that "this may drive more patients" to not buy their medicines, "which we know is dangerous," he says. "We know MS can be a bad disease when youre not treating it. When youre treating it, for most people they handle it pretty well, but we know when you dont treat (it), its the kind of disease where people end up in wheel chairs potentially." In the commercial market, of course, drugs not on a preferred list would also be more expensive, but with a major difference, according to Gottlieb.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/02/14/obamacare-patients-with-serious-pre-existing-diseases-could-face-expensive-drug/

ObamaCare patients with serious pre-existing diseases could face expensive drug costs

14, 2014 6:46 p.m. ET President Obama predicted at the House Democratic retreat on Friday that "10 years from now, five years from now" people will look back on the Affordable Care Act as "a monumental achievement." He's right in the limited sense that, given the delays he has sanctioned so far, it will take years before anyone can tell if it works. Now that we've had more time to parse this week's announcement of a second delay of the employer mandate, the political reason for the carve-out is becoming clearer. Far from the economic relief that the White House claimed, the rule is meant to turn back the lifeboats toward the capsized ObamaCare ocean liner so the women and especially the children can help with the rescue. Enlarge Image AFP/Getty Images The statutory mandate requires businesses with the equivalent of 50 full-time employees based on a 30-hour work week to cover all workers or else pay a fine, starting Jan. 1, 2014. Mr. Obama is pushing the deadline back to 2016 for a new business category the White House waved into existencethose with fewer than 100 workers. Plus, all employers above that threshold will have to cover a mere 70% of their work force that year, not the law's pre-rewrite 100%.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303704304579382881038848514

Council Mulls New Employee Benefits Package:

February 13, 2014

Employee perks: How to get your employer to add new perks to the benefits plan

Valentine Quick Clicks Award-winning Celtic band, RUNA, has roots in Lehigh Valley City Administrator Glenn Steckman did not get far into review of the proposed changes before he was stopped by Mayor Sal Panto Jr., who repeatedly objected to proposed 15 vacation days that employees hired after Jan. 1 will receive. Its excessive, said Panto. He said workers should get 10 vacation days, not 15, when they are hired. The vacations were a small piece of a larger plan outlined by Steckman, who said his goal is to claw back Eastons benefits to bring the citys finances to a sustainable model, so Easton doesn't sink into the same dire straits other cities face across the country. The sick leave bonus is one of the benefits proposed to be struck from the benefits package. Currently, city workers who dont use sick leave from January 1 through Dec. 31 of each year are eligible to receive a bonus of $500. Also targeted for elimination is longevity pay, which paid workers with 25 years on the job a $3,500 bonus, $2,800 for 20 years; $2,100 for 15 years; $1,400 for 10 years and $700 for five years. A number of changes are proposed for health care benefits. Co-pays would increase from $20 to $45 next year for someone designated single, and from $60 to $100 for a non-single. Beginning in 2016, for workers whose spouses have health care insurance available through the spouses employer, the spouse will be required to have health care insurance from their employer.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.wfmz.com/news/news-regional-lehighvalley/council-mulls-new-employee-benefits-package/-/132502/24425378/-/6vnj4u/-/index.html

Greater Productivity The production increases associated with BYOD workplace policies result not simply from the benefits of mobile computing, but also due to greater familiarity with hardware and software. By allowing individuals to use their own mobile devices including laptops, tablets, and smartphones you are in effect allowing them to choose the tool they feel is best fit for the job. Mechanics have long since purchased their own tools; the BYOD policy adopts this philosophy for the white-collar workplace environment. More Efficient Communication This benefit is fairly self-explanatory. Mobile devices make mobile communication possible, which means employees are never out of reach. Email, WiFi-enabled Skype, and cellular phone service have brought the future of communication, long envisioned in such pop culture staples as Star Trek, into the present. Reduced Overhead Costs In the past, procurement costs were something that needed to be carefully measured, lest a business quickly overextend itself in the purchase of needed workplace devices. In fact, many businesses would have to take out loans for such purchases, meaning that by the time the business were able to reinvest in tools and technology, the existing infrastructure would be hopelessly out of date. A BYOD workplace policy eliminates both of these downsides: a business can reap the benefits of the most state-of-the-art technology without having to make but the most tertiary investments in management software.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/advisor/simple-ways-employees-employers-benefit-byod-policy-140037647.html

Easton looks to curtail non-union employee benefits

Mayor Sal Panto Jr.'s administration wants to end longevity bonuses, cut out the practice of allowing employees to sell back unused vacation days, and erase a bonus for not using sick time. The measures are aimed at reducing expenses for the three dozen nonunion employees who work mostly as supervisors and in administrative roles. The new benefits package could go into effect in 2015. City Council will take another look at the proposal in two weeks. Automatic Data Processing, Inc. In another move mirroring practices in the private sector, Easton will force the spouses of nonunion employees who have health care coverage available from their employers to take that coverage instead of the city's. Co-pays for health care will also rise more than doubling for those who are single, and going from $60 to $100 per pay period for families. The latest on traffic, delays and road construction delivered to your mobile phone. Click to sign up to receive text alerts! Vacation allowances remain generous, with new employees having three weeks of vacation and 12 sick days. Panto said he wanted to whittle vacation back to two weeks for new employees, and curb sick days as well, but City Administrator Glenn Steckman said the proposal already cuts several popular benefits. Nonunion employees will still be able to accumulate up to 60 sick days and 30 vacation days which would be credited to them upon retirement.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.mcall.com/news/local/easton/mc-easton-city-employee-benefits-proposal-20140212,0,6679897.story

Nominate your Employee Benefits Professional of the Year

If youre unaware of where this information is located, ask your manager or HR representative. Dont delay in using the benefits and perks provided. The faster you can take advantage of these helpful perks, the more likely youll achieve your goals. How can you ask for a perk that your company doesnt currently offer? Do your research. Research a variety of print and online publications to see what kind of perks are common in your industry. Emphasize the business aspect. Rather than focusing on your personal life, adopt your managers point of view and explain how the perk would benefit the company.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.examiner.com/article/employee-perks-how-to-get-your-employer-to-add-new-perks-to-the-benefits-plan

Simple Ways Employees and Employers Benefit From BYOD Policy

Simple Ways Employees and Employers Benefit From BYOD Policy image mobile devices experience We have received a number of nominations for this Employee Benefits award , but are certain that there are many more unsung heroes of the benefits world who are equally deserving of this title. So, we want to hear about them. Simply email their name, job title, organisation and one line stating why they deserve this award to debbie.lovewell-tuck@centaur.co.uk Employee benefits professionals of the year are individuals that have made an impression on the industry, be it publicly or behind the scenes. They are often the go-to people for help and advice, as well as those blazing a trail through the industry. Does this sound like anyone you know? Maybe its your benefits or reward director or manager? Or someone that you look to for guidance outside your own organisation?
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.employeebenefits.co.uk/events/employee-benefits-events-news/nominate-your-employee-benefits-professional-of-the-year/104121.article

Aol’s Tim Armstrong Violated Decency, Not Employee Privacy Protections

February 12, 2014

How Obamacare ate AOL’s retirement plan

Within minutes of Armstrongs utterance, Fei wrote in her essay, my husband began fielding questions from colleagues: Wasnt the CEO talking about his baby? From a legal perspective, however, this shows that the husbands co-workers already knew about his premature baby. For employees who didnt know, nothing Armstrong said would have revealed his identity. Assuming the disclosure was legal, it raises the question of why Armstrong, the leader of a multibillion-dollar company, would even know that level of detail about two employees in the first place? Thats probably because AOL, like most big employers , largely self-insures. According to the companys employee benefits website , last year it offered health plans through two networks: Cigna ( CI ) and Kaiser Permanente (and only Cigna operates in New York, where Fei lives). AOL self-insures the Cigna plans, which means the company directly plays for all of the costs its employees accrue. Farnsworth says the CEO of the large company where he previously worked would sometimes get deeply involved in reviewing health expenses, asking for numbers and seeking ways to slow the annual rise in spending. If you are spending $100million on claims each year, and 2percent of that is coming from two claims, its good to know, the attorney says. While the costs of premature births are hard to predict, some expensive health problems are more preventable.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-02-10/aols-tim-armstrong-isnt-unusual-for-tracking-employee-health-costs-and-its-not-illegal

AOL CEO Says Obamacare Forced Company To Reduce 401(k) Benefits

A few weeks ago, Target ( TGT , Fortune 500 ) said it will stop offering health insurance to part-timers and instead help them buy coverage on the state and federal exchanges. Last year, United Parcel Service ( UPS , Fortune 500 ) and University of Virginia said they are dropping coverage for employees' spouses that have access to benefits elsewhere because of Obamacare. Here are the major Obamacare fees and taxes that employers say will raise their costs: Transitional reinsurance fee: This fee will be imposed on employers for the next three years and will go toward helping the state-based insurance exchanges pay for large claims. The fee will be $63 per insured member in 2014, but is expected to decrease in the latter two years. Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute fee: This charge will go to pay for a new agency tasked with giving patients a better understanding of the prevention, treatment and care options available, and the science that supports those options. Employers were charged $1 per insured person in 2013 and will pay $2 in 2014. The fee then increases with inflation in health care spending for the next five years. Health insurer fee: This annual fee is aimed at helping pay for the implementation of ACA. It will be about 2.5% of total premiums in 2014 and is expected to go up to 4% by 2017. Beyond that, it will rise with the growth in premiums. Insurers are expected to pass this fee through to employers. 'Cadillac' tax: Starting in 2018, employers who offer rich benefit plans -- where the total premium will cost more than $10,200 for an individual plan or $27,500 for family coverage -- will have to pay the so-called Cadillac tax, a 40% tax on the amount over the threshold.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://money.cnn.com/2014/02/06/news/economy/aol-obamacare/index.html

Simple Ways Employees and Employers Benefit From BYOD Policy

Simple Ways Employees and Employers Benefit From BYOD Policy image mobile devices experience Kyle O'Keefe , Regional Vice President of specialized staffing firm Robert Half (roberthalf.com), discusses how to take advantage of existing employee perks and how to develop a plan to get your company to add more perks to the plan: How can employees find out which perks their employer offers and use them to their benefit? Companies typically outline their benefits and perks on their intranet or employee handbook. If youre unaware of where this information is located, ask your manager or HR representative. Dont delay in using the benefits and perks provided. The faster you can take advantage of these helpful perks, the more likely youll achieve your goals. How can you ask for a perk that your company doesnt currently offer? Do your research. Research a variety of print and online publications to see what kind of perks are common in your industry.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.examiner.com/article/employee-perks-how-to-get-your-employer-to-add-new-perks-to-the-benefits-plan

Companies should make the most of employee evaluations

Photo - 
Kristin Simpsen
A labor and employment attorney with McAfee & Taft
 <strong> - 
PHOTO PROVIDED
</strong> The Washington Post reported Tuesday that AOL quietly made a major change to its401(k) plan by switching its match to a lump sum at the end of the year, rather than contributing with every paycheck. The benefit is only available to employees who are still active on Dec. 31. Retirement experts widely agree that the change hurts all employees--not just those who leave mid-year--since savers miss out on the benefits of investing more money throughout the year, a strategy known as dollar cost averaging. When he was asked on CNBC this morning why AOL was making the change, Armstrong said it was to spare employees from what he described as the added costs of Obamacare. Here's the video: "As a CEO and as a management team, we have to decide: Do we pass the $7.1 million of Obamacare cost to our employees? Or do we try to eat as much of that as possible and cut benefits?," said Armstrong in the CNBC interview. He added,"For employees leaving to go to other employers, not matching those programs was probably the last thing on the list for us in terms of employee benefits that we wanted to keep." Armstrong said he was having a townhall meeting today with employees to talk about the topic more. During that meeting, Armstrong added another reason: Two women at the company had "distressed babies." "We had two AOL-ers that had distressed babies that were born that we paid a million dollars each to make sure those babies were OK in general," said Armstrong, according to a transcript first obtained by Capital New York . "And those are the things that add up into our benefits cost. So when we had the final decision about what benefits to cut because of the increased healthcare costs, we made the decision, and I made the decision, to basically change the 401(k) plan." Companies typically move to giving out 401(k) matches in a lump sum because they're cutting costs overall and having trouble raising their profits. But Armstrong said in the CNBC interview that the companys fourth quarter performance was Olympian. Its the best results weve put in in the last decade, said Armstrong.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/02/06/aol-chief-cuts-401k-benefits-blames-obamacare/

AOL CEO Reverses Controversial Benefits Decision, Wife of Staffer Steps Forward

And those are the things that add up into our benefits cost," he said . Armstrong's explanation, which partially linked the 401(k) changes to childbirth costs, was criticized as insensitive and unclear. "AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, who makes $12m a year, takes away retirement money from employees for cost of sick babies," tweeted Guardian editor Heidi N. Moore to 45,000 followers. Armstrong made $12.1 million in 2012 -- four times his 2011 salary, according to public filings. The idea that costly pregnancies would increase AOL's future employee benefit costs doesn't make sense, said Gary Claxton, the co-director of the Program for the Study of Health Reform and Private Insurance at the Kaiser Family Foundation. Those expenses shouldn't have any effect on costs.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/06/aol-401k_n_4738649.html

AOL chief cuts 401(k) benefits, blames Obamacare and two “distressed babies”

Have we finally overcome the fear of BYOD by seeing its real benefits? Simple Ways Employees and Employers Benefit From BYOD PolicyLets face it: the world is now mobile. Being tied down by desktop computers is a thing of the past, and the ways that computers can and should be used in the workplace is starting to be reevaluated by businesses across the country and the world. With mobile devices making communication and production easier and more efficient than ever, more and more businesses have started to adopt a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) workplace policy (in fact, 87 percent of companies currently allow individuals to bring their own devices to work). And not simply in response to the times or because they can, but because such workplace practices have shown to produce real benefits. A Tool That Provides Many Rewards The term mobile device is a bit of an ambiguity. While its understood that it refers to devices that are, well, mobile in nature, it may not be understood that it doesnt only refer to smartphones. Mobile devices also include laptops and tablets amongst other electronic tools. Though the BlackBerry BYOD revolution of the early part of the 21st century was recognizable and easy to pin down in that it referred specifically to a new workplace culture in which individuals accessed emails and other communications through their own BlackBerry handsets the new BYOD trend is more pervasive and wide-reaching. Increasingly, employees are providing all of the tools that they need in the course of their workplace duties: smartphones, tablets, laptops, and even accessories. If this seems drastic, it is only because such a shift in the industry has shown to be beneficial for employees and employers alike these benefits being: Improved Employee Morale It may seem counter-intuitive that employees furnishing their own workplace tools would improve morale. After all, such a practice involves cost on the part of the employee.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/advisor/simple-ways-employees-employers-benefit-byod-policy-140037647.html

AOL cuts benefits, blames Obamacare

See also: AOL CEO Apologizes for Firing Patch Exec in Front of Hundreds of Employees In a transcript detailing the offending comment, published by Re/Code on Feb. 6, Armstrong said: We had a $7.1 million bill from the Obamacare act in general and we had multiple other things that happened at the company healthcare-wise. Two things that happened in 2012 we had two AOLers that had distressed babies that were born that we paid a million dollars each to make sure those babies were okay in general. The benefits change in question specifically referred to Armstrongs plan to delay the delivery of employee matching 401(k) payments, delivering them in a single lump sum, which would be paid after the year in which the benefit was earned. In addition to a follow-up internal memo , presumably designed to quell the anger surrounding his comments, Armstrong further backed up his viewpoint during an appearance on CNBC, during which he specifically cited Obamacare as part of the issue affecting the companys benefits package for employees. Immediately following the wide exposure of Armstrongs comments, the publics outrage was made plain via social media. A number of well-known media professionals knocked the already embattled CEO for what many viewed as a callous approach to cost cutting. Tim Armstrong is not apologizing for blaming high-risk pregnancies for benefit cuts.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://mashable.com/2014/02/09/aol-ceo-reverses-controversial-benefits-decision-wife-of-staffer-step-forward/

These days, when the chief executive of a major public company, like AOL Inc.s Tim Armstrong tries to reduce employee-benefits costs, the troops do not suffer in silence. They go viral, and we all get to join the debate. Armstrong announced the change in retirement benefits last Thursday and then reversed the decision on Saturday, with an apology that, inevitably, also went public instantly. In between, he explained the decision with some truly odd logic in which he blamed Obamacare and two AOL employees babies for the need to reduce the costs of employee retirement benefits. Carol Kopp is a Minyanville contributor Armstrongs logic went like this: The Affordable Care Act, also referred to as Obamacare, is costing the company $7.1 million per year. In addition, two employees had distressed babies (his exact term) with unexpected health-care needs that cost $1 million each. Ergo, we must reduce employee benefits by $9.1 million. Even the facts behind those numbers are still being debated online. First, will the health care-reform law cost AOL /quotes/zigman/577531/delayed/quotes/nls/aol AOL -1.46% , or any major American company, millions of dollars per year? Second, did AOL really directly pay the bills for those two million-dollar babies? The company is self-insured, with a third-party administrator handling the paperwork, but such programs are usually backed up by reinsurance.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-obamacare-ate-aols-retirement-plan-2014-02-12

Employee perks: How to get your employer to add new perks to the benefits plan

Valentine As a result of these hazards, some have argued for the death of performance reviews. Q: What are the benefits of a good performance evaluation system? A: Turnover is expensive. Good employee evaluations will identify areas of improvement for your employees. A well thought out system allows employers to ensure that employees are well matched with appropriate tasks for skill levels. Additionally, a successful system will give employees a sense of challenge and ownership in their work that is brought about by goals to improve and advance in the future. A good system will motivate and challenge employees and give employers and employees the opportunity to have a continuous dialogue about development and progress.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://newsok.com/companies-should-make-the-most-of-employee-evaluations/article/3932401

Obamacare Enrollment: Mayors Hold The Key

February 10, 2014

Obamacare tweaked again: Medium-sized businesses given more time

It also helps that the politics isnt as charged in the heartland. Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio), a former two-term mayor of Dayton, opposes Obamacare. Still he said he would have advocated for his constituents to access benefits, drawing on the trust that a mayor has in a community. I dont see the mayors wanting to stand up and try to change public opinion, he said. I do see them as wanting to make certain that everybody whos able to get benefits under the law get it. It doesnt matter if youre for it or against it, you want your community to get the greatest benefit from it. Thats not always the case. I think its a bad idea thats been implemented even worse, said Scott Smith, the Republican mayor of Mesa, Ariz., whos seeking the GOP nomination for governor of Arizona this year. Smith, who also chairs the U.S.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.politico.com/story/2014/02/obamacare-enrollment-mayors-103306.html

Obamacare enrollment forms are shown. | AP Photo Larger businesses those with 100 or more full-time employees also got a break in the new regulations issued Monday by the Treasury Department. Starting Jan. 1, 2015, larger businesses must cover only 70 percent visit homepage of their employees, and have until 2016 to cover 95 percent, or face penalties. Originally, larger businesses had to cover 95 percent of employees in 2015. RECOMMENDED: How much do you know about health-care reform? Take our quiz! The moves are aimed at making it easier on employers to comply with the law, a Treasury official said. While about 96 percent of employers are not subject to the employer responsibility provision, for those employers that are, we will continue to make the compliance process simpler and easier to navigate, Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy Mark J. Mazur said in a statement. Todays final regulations phase in the standards to ensure that larger employers either offer quality, affordable coverage or make an employer responsibility payment starting in 2015 to help offset the cost to taxpayers of coverage or subsidies to their employees. The regulations also push preparations for the start of the employer mandate for medium-sized businesses away from the November 2014 midterm elections. Republicans are planning to use Obamacare as their No.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2014/0210/Obamacare-tweaked-again-Medium-sized-businesses-given-more-time

Obamacare’s $70 billion pay cut

The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS. 2014 Cable News Network.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://money.cnn.com/2014/02/10/news/economy/obamacare-employer/

Obamacare employer mandate eased

obama obamacare Please include me in third party offers. Obamacare is failing. Faced with this unpleasant reality, President Obama offered up during his State of the Union address his only remaining defense of his eponymous program:There is no alternative.[M]y Republican friendsif you have specific planstell America what youd do differently.We all owe it to the American people to say what were for, not just what were against. We accept the challenge. The 2017 Project, with which were associated, has developed an alternative to Obamas 2,700 pages of federal largess.The proposal builds upon prior efforts by conservative policymakers and thinkers, including recent proposals from the House Republican Study Committee (RSC) and a trio of senior GOP senators (Tom Coburn, Richard Burr, and Orrin Hatch).It would solve the three core problems that called out for real reform even before the Democrats passed Obamacare:getting more people insured; dealing with the problem of preexisting conditions; and lowering costs.In providing politically attractive and substantively sound solutions to these three core concerns, it would justify bringing an end to Obamacare, and thus would pave the way for full repeal. Just as important as what our proposal would do is what it wouldnt do.It wouldnt force anyone to buy insurance. It wouldnt auto-enroll anyone in any plan. It wouldnt reduce the tax break for employer-based insurance (aside from closing the tax loophole at the high end). It wouldnt cost anywhere near the $2 trillion over a decade that Obamacare would cost. It wouldnt undermine religious liberty. It would allow Americans to keep their current plan if they like it.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/winning-alternative-obamacare_778872.html

A Winning Alternative to Obamacare

Capitol at night If your income goes up, your subsidies go down. This means Obamacare effectively traps people in lower-income jobs by imposing an additional tax on every dollar of additional income they earn. Working hard to earn a promotion or get a raise, or taking on additional part-time work all the things people do to pursue the American Dream are discouraged by Obamacare. As Keith Hennessey, former chairman of the White House National Economic Council, explains it , Obamacare punishes additional work, education, job training and professional advancement, anything that generates additional income for those trying to climb into the middle class. This makes a mockery of the opportunity agenda President Obama announced with such fanfare in his State of the Union address a few weeks ago. In his address, Obama bemoaned the fact that over the past four years, average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled. Put aside for a moment the fact that Obama is describing the economy after five years of his economic stewardship.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/marc-thiessen-obamacares-70-billion-pay-cut/2014/02/10/f4de89d6-9259-11e3-b227-12a45d109e03_story.html

The GOP Thinks Obamacare Is Making You Lazy

More demand, and greater labor costs, could push health care prices upward even as other effects of health reform push them down. But it's more likely that repealing the bill will have a negative impact on jobs than retaining it. The Affordable Care Act Would Add To The Deficit The only thing more important than painting the Affordable Care Act as a certain killer of jobs was to paint it as a certain murderer of America's fiscal future. Surely this big government program was going to push indebtedness to such a height that our servitude to our future Chinese overlords was a fait accompli. As Ryan Grim reported in May of 2010, the CBO disagreed:

Comprehensive health care reform will cost the federal government $940 billion over a ten-year period, but will increase revenue and cut other costs by a greater amount, leading to a reduction of $138 billion in the federal deficit over the same period, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, a Democratic source tells HuffPost. It will cut the deficit by $1.2 trillion over the second ten year period. The source said it also extends Medicare's solvency by at least nine years and reduces the rate of its growth by 1.4 percent, while closing the doughnut hole for seniors, meaning there will no longer be a gap in coverage of medication.
Recently, the CBO updated its ten-year estimate by dropping off the first two years of the law (where there was little to no implementation) and adding two years at the back end (during which time there would be full implementation). As you might imagine, replacing two years of low numbers with two years of higher numbers increased the ten-year estimate. But opponents of the bill immediately freaked out and declared the costs to have skyrocketed. As Jonathan Chait reported:
The outcry was so widespread that the CBO took the unusual step of releasing a second update to explain to outraged conservatives that they were completely misreading the whole thing: "Some of the commentary on those reports has suggested that CBO and JCT have changed their estimates of the effects of the ACA to a significant degree. That's not our perspective. ...
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/09/gop-obamacare-lazy_n_4755497.html

Louisiana Obamacare insurer unmoved by legal challenge on its AIDS policy

Those with lower incomes, including many people with HIV-AIDS, were supposed to be covered by Medicaid, the joint federal-state health insurance program for the poor, but Louisiana did not expand the program as the ACA intended so as to make them eligible. Louisiana Blue has cited the need to prevent "potential fraud, waste and abuse" as its reason for refusing third-party payments, including those from the government. Healthcare advocates are concerned, however, that the policy is instead an effort to minimize the number of people with HIV-AIDS the company insures. Louisiana Blue "has the best drug plans for HIV," said Moriba Karamoko, director of the Louisiana Consumer Healthcare Coalition, who has been trying to help resolve the impasse. "They're the only ones that cover the single-tablet regimen" prescribed to control HIV; other plans cover multi-pill HIV treatment, which patients find onerous. "They're worried that they'll end up with everybody" with HIV-AIDS, said Karamoko. The Lambda Legal complaint, filed with the Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CMS's parent agency, asks the government to investigate the insurer and could lead to a faster resolution than a lawsuit, explained Lambda director of constitutional litigation Susan Sommer.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://news.yahoo.com/lousiana-obamacare-insurer-unmoved-legal-challenge-aids-policy-224805681--sector.html

Obamacare Mandate for Many Businesses Pushed Back a Year

Under the law, companies have to meet certain coverage requirements or pay a penalty of as much as $2,000 per worker. Companies with more than 100 employees still have to comply by 2015, the Treasury Department said. However, they do get a break. These companies can avoid penalties by offering coverage to 70 percent of their full-time employees in 2015 and 95 percent starting in 2016.Companies with fewer than 50 employers are largely exempt already. Related: Aetna CEO Says Company May Opt Out of Obamacare The delay is one of a long line of pushbacks for Obamacare, which saw a rocky rollout for individuals late last year. Systems for signing up members failed, forcing the government to delay compliance and walk back certain coverage requirements. Because of complaints from the business community, the employer mandate under the Affordable Care Act had been pushed back last July for all companies, from 2014 to 2015. The new delay lengthens that period for a full year. Companies are getting some other breaks. For instance,employers wont have to cover seasonal workers, defined as those working for fewer than six months. Also, new rules clarify the sticking point of whether volunteers are considered full-time workers.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://finance.yahoo.com/news/obamacare-mandate-many-businesses-pushed-215649277.html

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