In a surprise move that offers welcome help for small employers, the President has signed legislation that eliminates an Affordable Care Act (ACA) restriction that precluded employers from paying for individual coverage. Specifically, the law nullifies the ACA’s $100 per-person-per-day penalty that applied if an employer fails to integrate their HRA with a Qualified Group Health Plan.
Cowan's goal has always been to provide the best service and care for our clients. In that spirit, we want to share some recent changes to our services. Beginning in 2017, we will be focusing our services exclusively on employers.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released final 2016 Forms 1094-C and 1095-C and Forms 1094-B and 1095-B. While the changes to these forms are minimal from the 2015 forms, there are some important updates you should be aware of.
Pricing for pharmacy changes so rapidly that if you’re not reviewing your contract on a monthly or quarterly basis, you’re probably in a stale contract. RxBenefits offers a free analysis that can provide visibility into how your pharmacy benefits contract is performing.
We’ve gone from an active society to one that now spends large amounts of time in idle positions: at work, on the commute, watching TV. It’s no wonder that obesity is at an all-time high. Our bodies were made to move, not be static, which is why extensive periods of sitting are the root of many health problems.
This week, the IRS released new regulations for calculating ACA affordable coverage when employers offer cash-in-lieu of benefits. These modifications affect employers offering cash-in-lieu, waiver, or opt-out payments to employees under a qualified arrangement. If you fall into one of these categories, keep reading to find out what has changed and how you can adapt.
Chances are that you’ve recently received your first Health Insurance Marketplace (HHS) Inquiry from the Department of Health and Human Services. If so, you are likely wondering how you need to respond. We’re here to help! After reviewing the letter and the online appeal form, we have created this step-by-step guide to help you determine what action is required, avoid penalties, and — if needed — file an appeal.
Private exchanges are marketplaces administered by a private organization that allow individuals and employers to purchase health insurance coverage. By implementing a private exchange benefit program, organizations can reduce total health care costs, provide consumer choice, and reduce the HR administrative burden.
Are you ready for ACA reporting deadlines and verification audits by the IRS? Join Cowan, a Division of HUB International and Jack McStravock, expert from HUB International on March 8th at 8am to learn how you can prepare and protect your organization.
As you begin to file your taxes, last-minute questions will inevitably come up—especially surrounding forms that are new to this year. Here is a short summary explanation of the various 1095 forms that you may receive in regards to your health coverage for 2015.
Employers who want to integrate their wellness program and health plan tightly received a favorable court ruling. This is the second court to rule in favor of an employer's plan when challenged by the EEOC.
Healthcare reform has brought about a number of mandated changes to how employers provide benefits. Here's a look at promising trends for offering cost-effective benefits in 2015.
President Obama has signed into law the Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees (PACE) Act. The House of Representatives passed H.R. 1624 on September 28 through voice vote and the Senate, through unanimous consent, passed the legislation on October 1.
If you’ve ever asked yourself what the rhyme or reason is to your health plan and retirement plan limits, you’ve come to the right place. We have put together a one-page document that illustrates all the current guidelines affecting your benefits.
If you were one of those employers waiting to see the outcome of this Supreme Court decision before moving forward with compliance, now is the time!
The results are in from Cowan’s 2015 Annual Client Survey. This survey asked our clients about their experience working with Cowan Benefits over the past year. Based on those responses, we are proud to report outstanding client satisfaction!
The IRS has recently released new draft forms for 2015 to help employers report health coverage and compliance with the Affordable Care Art (ACA).
Due to the confusion around the regulations and lack of clarity, the IRS is granting temporary relief for small employers that may be failing to follow the regulations.
Cowan is proud to sponsor the 2nd Annual Bluebird In The Boro: A Benefit for Alive Hospice! This three-night concert series brings the Bluebird Cafe experience to Rutherford County March 2-4 with 12 hit songwriters in the round at Mayday Brewery.
The sweeping changes brought about by the ACA will continue to be implemented through 2016. As a business, what are your obligations, and what happens if you don't meet them?
Large employers are now required to report information to the IRS about their full-time employees. Make sure you are compliant by reading about the specific requirements you face.
One of the most significant effects of the Affordable Care Act has been the emergence of private exchanges. Adoption of this model of coverage is expected to gain more traction over the next few years.
With a surprisingly successful start, US Soccer overtook the country this week at a level similar to March Madness. I want to stretch this nationalism a bit; we need this World Cup-level of national attention and pride focused on improving our health.
Plan sponsors of self-insured group health plans are required to pay the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute fee by July 31 of this year. The IRS has released the 2014 Form 720 that plan sponsors will use to report and pay this fee.
Are you considering offering Health Savings Accounts to your employees? Learn more about the benefits of using these as an alternative to traditional health insurance.
Employers are looking for new ways to find the balance between the high costs of ACA compliance and keeping their employees happy.
Employers must consider new regulations for domestic partners and same-sex spouses with regards to eligibility for employer-sponsored health plans.
New research puts Franklin-based Cowan Benefit Services on the top ten list of the nation's largest benefits broker specialists. According to the latest survey from Business Insurance, Cowan jumped four spots, climbing from 14th-largest in 2012, to 10th-largest in 2013.
Many early retirees fear they do not have options for health insurance until they become eligible for Medicare, but there are plenty of solutions to choose from.
Across the country, many benefit brokers assisting consumers on the Affordable Care Act's public health insurance exchanges were at a loss when it came to the scant number of insurer options available in their market for their clients.
New research shows that individuals that are enrolled in silver plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace could be paying more than twice as much on prescription medications than they would under a comparable employer plan.
The public exchange is a true open market in the parts of the country where there is enough competition. This is not the case for private exchanges.
Recently released updated model COBRA notices include language on enrolling in individual Marketplace coverage, as well as the one-time opportunity for current COBRA participants that received outdated COBRA notices to enroll in individual Marketplace coverage until July 1, 2014.
On May 15, sixty Cowan employees participated in a team building event. Teams were randomly selected for a photo scavenger hunt and teams were assigned a list of photographs to take of places, things, and activities found in downtown Franklin, Tennessee.
Open enrollment for 2014 health insurance coverage ended Monday, March 31st. If you didn't enroll, the only way you'll be eligible to get covered this year is through special qualifying events.
Selecting a health insurance plan can be overwhelming—there are over 100 plans to choose from in Tennessee alone—but if you know what to look for, it can be simple to choose a plan that fits you and your family best!
Some providers may offer plans with lower deductibles, while others can offer a better network of doctors or have better prescription drug copayments. The question is: How do you decide which company is best for you personally? Here are a few things to look for that will help you determine which provider may suit you best.
If you feel too busy or unsure how to navigate the world of insurance on your own, you could benefit from using a broker. A broker will do the hard work for you, so that your life is easier and you have more time to focus on the things you love.
Last fall, many people received cancellation notices because their existing policies did not meet all the requirements under the new Affordable Care Act regulations. The administration has already granted a one-year reprieve, and this second round of pushing cancellations past the election cycle appears to be political.
Whether you consider yourself a health insurance genius, a newbie to the world of insurance, or somewhere in the middle, there are a few things to be aware of even after you've purchased your 2014 health insurance plan.
Early reports show that individuals purchasing coverage on the Marketplace are very cost conscious. Most of these individuals are buying bronze or silver plans, trading lower monthly premiums for higher annual deductibles and out-of-pocket limitations.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 3.3 million people enrolled in health insurance plans offered through public exchanges as of February 1, 2014. This is 1.1 million more people than were enrolled as of January 1—a 50% increase in enrollment.
We're in 2014 now—the year the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare," kicks its regulations and penalties into gear. You've probably heard plenty of news about the importance of having health coverage, but do you know WHY it's so important?
In follow up to the recent news about the FSA Use-or-Lose rule change to allow healthcare FSA carryovers, we are offering the following additional Q&A based on questions received and current guidance from the IRS.
The Affordable Care Act requires insurance carriers to cancel any individual, family or small group plan that is not "grandfathered" or that does not cover the required essential benefits and meet all government regulations.
The centerpiece of America's health reform is the online exchange at www.healthcare.gov—where individuals can shop for qualified coverage. The Marketplace launched October 1, but has been dogged with glitches.
Cowan is proud to be a sponsor for the third annual Memphis Miles for Myeloma race.
Cowan's top priority is to help better the quality of life of our clients and employees and we're always thrilled to share when a health improvement story comes along. Read one person's account about how technology gave them the boost they needed to get healthy:
My brother is 27 and lives in Massachusetts. He was covered under our parent's plan until his birthday last June. He was one of the first to benefit from Obamacare's expansion of coverage to adult children...
The centerpiece of health-care reform is the individual exchange where people can buy individual insurance without any medical underwriting and with no restrictions on pre-existing conditions. The plans will be offered by insurance carriers, must meet the strict plan...
Employers are required under the new health-care legislation to inform employees of the availability for coverage through state or federal exchanges, now called the Health Insurance Marketplace. This notice provision has been part of the law, but we have been waiting for this release of the model notice...
Cowan was honored to be a sponsor for this year's Alive at the Bluebird, an event hosted by Cowan client Alive Hospice. This event raises funds so Alive Hospice can continue to provide services to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay...
The Middle Tennessee Society for Human Resource Management and the Middle Tennessee Employee Benefits Council will host the 2013 Tennessee Employee Benefits Conference on May 17 at the Nashville Airport Marriott...
As required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), Tennessee has defined its rating and service areas, as well as its size limit for the small-group market...
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam announced that he will not expand TennCare rolls under the Affordable Care Act, but instead is working to leverage the available federal dollars to purchase private health insurance for Tennesseans who would not otherwise have access to coverage...
If you are an employer that will have employed an average of 50 or more full-time equivalent employees for the 2013 calendar year, then you will be subject to the employer shared responsibility provisions next year under PPACA. If there is any possibility that this may apply to you...