|In This Issue|
||Happy Holidays from the NCMS Plan and MMIC
||Understanding the Employer Shared Responsibility
||HSA Contribution Limits in 2015|
||Help Your Employees Achieve a Healthy Weight in
||Be a Healthy Host this Holiday Season|
Happy Holidays from the NCMS Plan and MMIC Agency
One of the real joys this holiday season is the opportunity to say
thank you and wish you the very best for the new year. We appreciate your
loyalty and the loyalty of the hundreds of practices across the state that
participate in the NCMS Plan.
May this season bring you the gifts
of peace, hope and joy. We wish you continued success in the new
Pictured (L to R): Diane Irvine, Nancy Johnson, Gary Bossert, Aya
Wallace, Barry Hill, Rachel Eaton, and George Fanelli
Understanding the Employer Shared Responsibility Mandate
Whether you manage a large practice or one that is growing, it's time
to think about compliance with the ACA's employer shared responsibility
(or "pay or play") mandate. The mandate was delayed last year...a relief
to everyone...but now it's here and it is packed with deadlines, reporting
requirements and details that could be confusing.
So, first off,
who is impacted by the Employer Mandate?
For employers with
50-99 full-time employees (including full-time equivalents), the mandate
is delayed until 2016. These practices are still required to report on how
many workers are covered in 2015. The delay, though, is only available to
practices that did not make changes to their workforce or benefits (e.g.
did not reduce workforce to get under 100, reduce overall hours to qualify
for benefits from 2/9/14 to 12/31/14; or eliminate or reduce coverage from
2/9/14 to 12/31/14).
Employers with 100 or more full-time
employees will be required to provide health coverage to at least 70
percent of full-time employees in 2015. In 2016, these practices will be
required to cover at least 95 percent.
Practices with fewer than
50 employees are not subject to the Employer Mandate.
By 2016, all
large practices will be required to comply with the Employer Mandate,
which includes the following key provisions:
Must offer coverage
to full-time employees (those working an average of 30 hours or more per
Coverage must meet minimum value (cover at least 60
percent of medical costs).
Coverage must be affordable
(employees' share of premiums cannot exceed 9.5 percent of the employee's
Failure to comply with these requirements could result in
hefty penalties. As a participating practice in the NCMS Plan, you already
should be offering health insurance to all employees working at least 30
hours (or 24 hours) per week. Additionally, all NCMS Plan health products
meet minimum value, covering at least 60% of medical costs. What only you
will know is whether coverage is affordable based on the wages of your
employees. If the premium deduction for an employee's individual coverage
on your least expensive option does not exceed 9.5%, the coverage is
deemed affordable. If coverage is not affordable, your practice could be
subject to a penalty if the employee obtains coverage with a premium
subsidy through the federal exchange.
The Employer Mandate can be
confusing and this is only a brief summary. If you have questions or would
like further information, please contact your NCMS Plan agent or our
office at (800) 662-7917.
HSA Contribution Limits in 2015
Health Savings Account (HSA) contribution limits change slightly from
year to year. According to the IRS, the HSA contribution limits in 2015
are $3,350 if an employee has individual coverage or $6,650 if they have
family coverage. And if an employee is 55 or older, they can put in an
additional $1,000 anytime during the year. Contributions are pretax if
made through your practice or tax-deductible if an employee makes them on
their own. Employees have until April 1, 2015, to make HSA contributions
A Health Savings Account can be a valuable savings tool
when paired with a qualified high deductible health plan. Contributions
are sheltered from income taxes, the money grows tax-deferred, and the
funds can be withdrawn tax-free for medical expenses. If you would like to
learn more about HSAs and high deductible health plans, or have questions,
contact your NCMS Plan agent or call us (800) 662-7917.
Question: George, we recently switched our Health Savings Account
(HSA) adminstrator from BenefitWallet (BW) to HealthEquity (HEQ). I'm
confused about what will happen to the money in my employees' and
physicians' BW HSAs when their HEQ HSAs are opened. Can you tell me how
this will work?
Answer: You may recall in the last issue of
CHOICES (Sept '14) we described the change in HSA administrators
and how it will impact practices over the next few months. Your practice
has the option of remaining with BW or working with HEQ going forward.
However, the HSA balances that exist in BW HSAs will not transfer
automatically over to the new HEQ HSAs. Each accountholder must act
independently if they choose to transfer their balance. They may also
choose to do nothing and spend down their BW balance while also depositing
money into their new HEQ HSA. Their is no rule that prevents an
accountholder from having more than one active HSA as long as combined
contributions into either or both accounts do not exceed IRS limits.
When a new HEQ HSA is opened, employees receive a welcome kit that
includes an HEQ debit card. Employees should not destroy their BW debit
cards until after the BW account is closed or funds have been depleted or
transferred. The BW debit card will still work and allow access to HSA
funds in that account.
A member can transfer or rollover
their HSA balance. For transfers, BW will process a member's request as a
Trustee-to-Trustee transfer and send a check for them directly to HEQ. BW
does charge a $25 check issuance fee for this service. The funds should be
received and available within 3-6 weeks. No tax form will be issued by
either party since the transaction is simply a balance transfer.
For rollovers, accountholders can only request one rollover every
12 months. A 1099-SA tax form will be issued by BW to report the
distribution and a 5498-SA tax form will be issued by HEQ to report the
For more information and step-by-step instructions for
initiating a transfer or rollover from a BW to HEQ HSA, review this Rollover/Transfer Guide. If you have additional
questions about the transition from BenefitWallet to HealthEquity, contact
me directly at (919) 878-7561 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Help Your Employees Achieve a Healthy Weight in 2015
Is 2015 your year to lose weight & get fit? Look no further
Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less (ESMMWL) is the right program for
Effective upon your renewal August 1st, 2014 or after, the
NCMS Plan provides coverage for ESMMWL, a 15-week online weight management
program that promotes healthy eating and physical activity. ESMMWL is a
preventive care benefit covered at no charge. To enhance the level of
engagement, however, members will be required to pay a $30 fee at the time
of registration that is returned upon significant completion of the
Members can access ESMMWL in an online interactive,
real-time classroom format led by a credentialed Registered Dietitian.
Members select the class that best suits their schedule morning,
lunchtime, and evening classes available. New 15-week series begin
monthly, so there are plenty of opportunities to participate.
NCMS Plan is committed to helping you realize the benefits of an effective
health promotion program and equipping your employees with multiple
strategies to eat, move, and live mindfully. We recognize that addressing
weight management at the practice level can be a challenge. Its a
sensitive, far-reaching issue. Beyond effecting individual health and
quality of life, obesity and obesity-related illnesses such as diabetes,
heart disease, and even several cancers can lead to lower productivity and
higher health care costs.
For additional details and to offer this
program to your employees, contact Jason Horay directly at (919) 878-7560
Be a Healthy Host this Holiday Season
If youre hosting this years holiday gathering or organizing your
practice's holiday party, you have an advantage. You have the opportunity
to serve great tasting healthful foods. Follow these tips for a happy (and
healthy) holiday party:
Use healthier substitutions when cooking
and baking to save on fat and calories. Substitute nonfat or low-fat milk
instead of whole milk. Choose low-fat cheese. Swap one egg with two egg
whites. Mix in unsweetened applesauce instead of oil when baking. For more
substitutions, check out Recipe Ingredient Substitutions.
healthy version of a favorite holiday dish. Chances are, your guests wont
notice and youll feel great knowing youre serving something healthier.
Offer whole grains. Serve low-fat dip or low-fat cheese with
whole grain crackers or bread. Add whole wheat rolls to your dinner menu
instead of white rolls.
Think fruits and vegetables. Serve
fruits and veggies on appetizer trays. Try to include fruits and
vegetables on at least half of your serving table to give you, and your
guests, lots of great low calorie options to fill up on. Try unique
vegetables like baby zucchini or edamame.
Add some beans. Fiber
fills you up faster and keeps you full. Serve a bean dip or mix beans into
appetizers or salads.
Cook up lean meats and fish. These are
lower in fat and calories and offer a great alternative to heavier fare.
Try shrimp, grilled or broiled salmon, roasted turkey breast, or lean
Make mini-desserts. Serve sweets in small baking
cups or cut cakes and brownies into small bite-size pieces. Bake bite-size
cookies. With smaller choices, guests can taste two or three desserts
without getting stuffed or feel like they are missing out by only trying
one slice of pie.
Have low-calorie beverages on hand. Allow
guests to choose from a variety of healthy options such as, diet soda,
seltzer water, light beer, mineral water and coffee.
around. Turn on some festive music and clear space for a dance floor. Tell
your guests to bring a warm jacket for an after dinner stroll to see the
holiday lights. Make it a game night with charades or Catch Phrase.
About the North Carolina Medical Society
Established in 1849, the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) is
devoted to representing the interests of physicians and protecting the
quality of patient care as the largest physician organization in the
state. The NCMS Plan, sponsored by the NCMS, is the only statewide
employee benefits plan designed specifically for North Carolina
For more information about many other benefits of NCMS
membership, visit http://www.ncmedsoc.org/.