| Healthcare Reform for Dummies

stethoscope and an American flag

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a wide-ranging, complex set of laws that define how health insurance is applied to different groups. It’s designed to ensure that all eligible Americans have access to healthcare, though, sometimes, the new laws cause confusion. Here is a breakdown of where things are at our current juncture. (more…)


| Silberstein Selected as Finalist for Baltimore’s Best Places to Work Award

 

SIG is so excited to be named a finalist in the Baltimore Business Journal’s 2014 Best Places to Work! With so many awesome employers not only in Baltimore, but also the surrounding counties, we are thrilled to be included in this group of nominees.

 Baltimore Business Journal Best Places to Work award 2014

The BBJ’s “Best Places to Work” awards are given each year to recognize local businesses that make employees feel valued and engaged, inspire trust in management, and have a high employee retention rate.

 

Finalists are chosen based on results of a confidential employee survey, which helps to accurately determine whether employees are fulfilled and prospering in their current role at a company. So, ultimately, it’s really our employees that got us this far. Whether or not we make the final cut for Baltimore’s “Best Place to Work,” we know that we’re doing a great job to those who matter most: our people!

 

With that, we’d like to congratulate our clients who also made the cut: EntreQuest, The Shelter Group, Tribute Home Care, and Wallace Montgomery. At the finalists’ luncheon on October 16th, we hope to witness these companies–and their happy employees–rise to accept the “Best Place to Work” award. Together, we’re each doing our part to make Baltimore a healthier city in which to work and to live!

 

The Shelter Group logo

Wallace Montgomery logo

Tribute Home Care logo

EntreQuest logo

To find out what makes our business stand out, read more about Silberstein Insurance Group.

 


| High Stakes Decisions On The Affordable Care Act

July 22, 2014 marked a day when two different federal courts came out on opposite sides of the same question. In the morning, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit dealt a serious blow to the Obama Administration with a decision that called into question the structural integrity of the “pay-or-play” mandates under the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). Later in the day, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, sitting down the road in Richmond, came out on the other side of the question.

In Halbig v. Burwell, the Appeals Court for the District of Columbia Circuit, sitting in Washington, DC, sided with the plaintiffs and against the Obama Administration today when it held that the ACA, by its terms, does not allow for subsidies for individual coverage in exchanges established by the federal government. Today, a majority of the states-more than 30-have federally-run exchanges. This means that, at least according to this court, individuals purchasing insurance coverage on the federally-run exchanges will not be eligible for federal subsidies when they purchase insurance. (more…)


| No Pay-or-Play Penalty in States with a Federal Exchange?

No Pay-or-Play Penalty in States with a Federal Exchange? DC Appeals Court Holds that Premium Subsidies are Not Available to Enrollees in Federal Exchanges

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has dealt a serious blow to the Obama Administration today with a decision that calls into question the structural integrity of the “pay-or-play” mandates under the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”).

In Halbig v. Burwell, the Appeals Court for the District of Columbia Circuit, sitting in Washington, DC, sided with the plaintiffs and against the Obama Administration today when it held that the ACA, by its terms, does not allow for subsidies for individual coverage in exchanges established by the federal government. Today, a majority of the states-34-have federally-run exchanges. This means that, at least according to this court, individuals purchasing insurance coverage on the federally-run exchanges will not be eligible for federal subsidies when they purchase insurance. This is significant to employers because one of the triggers for assessment of a penalty against an employer under the ACA is that a full-time employee has obtained subsidized coverage on an exchange. If individuals in 34 states are not eligible for subsidies on the exchanges in those states, employers in those states cannot be assessed a penalty. (more…)


| Brokers May Begin 2015 Registration & Renewal for Federal Marketplaces

Agents and brokers must complete certain registration activities initially and annually in order to participate in the federally-facilitated Marketplaces (FFM). Step-by-step instructions for agents and brokers to register are available from the Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight. As an overview, the registration process is comprised of two parts:

  • Part I: Completion of training, testing, and execution of agreements on the Medicare Learning Network (MLN);
  • Part II: Creation of an FFM user account and identity proofing on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Enterprise Portal. (more…)

| SIG names Rachel Druckenmiller Wellness Director

Rachel Druckenmiller, who has served as the Corporate Health & Wellness Specialist at SIG since 2007, has been promoted to Wellness Director.

Rachel completed her certification as a Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN), the world’s largest nutrition school in December 2013. At IIN, she studied dozens of dietary theories, practical lifestyle management techniques and innovative coaching methods with some of the world’s top health and wellness experts. She also earned a Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies in April 2014.

In her role as Wellness Director, Rachel assists organizations in implementing health promotion strategies to improve the health of their employees and the culture of their workplace. She has guided both SIG and their clients to receive local and national wellness awards, and SIG has been recognized as one of Baltimore’s Healthiest Employers for the past two years and a Gold-Level American Heart Association Fit Friendly Company for three years running.

Rachel is certified as a Wellness Culture Coach and by the Wellness Council of America (WELCOA) as a Well Workplace Practitioner, Faculty Status. She earned a Master of Science degree with concentrations in Community Health Education and Health Administration from Towson University in 2012. Rachel has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and has co-authored several articles on health-related topics that have been published in academic journals.

In addition to her corporate wellness expertise, as a result of overcoming several personal health challenges, Rachel is passionate about spreading the message of the importance of eating real, whole food and using food to heal and energize the body.

She believes good health begins in the kitchen and writes a healthy living blog focused on sharing delicious and nourishing whole, unprocessed recipes. Her blog also includes tips and tricks, and health information to help you feel your best, most energized and healthiest. You can follow her blog, Rachel’s Nourishing Kitchen, at www.rachelsnourishingkitchen.com.

“We are so excited about Rachel’s certification as a Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and what it means for SIG and our clients. This training gives SIG the ability to continue offering innovative health and wellness services based on the needs and interests of our clients and their employees. We’ve seen the demand for wellness services grow over the years. This past year, clients have requested wellness culture audits, senior leadership management training, and employee interest surveys and focus groups. The follow-up feedback we’ve received is that clients want to offer their employees interactive health education workshops and health coaching and that their employees are wanting to get that help directly. As a trained health coach, Rachel will be able to guide our clients and their employees to live healthier and more energized lives. SIG believes that good health equals good business and an increase in employee recruitment, retention, engagement and productivity.”
-Richard Silberstein


| Calling an Audible: Considering the Private Exchange

Calling an Audible: Considering the Private Exchange

A recent coverage option available to employers is the private health insurance exchange. Despite its newness of availability, the private exchange is a coverage model that has become quite popular among many employers (larger ones, in particular). If you are considering a private exchange for your business, weighing these factors will help you to make the choice that best serves your needs, but first, let’s take a look at the model a bit more closely. (more…)


| The Ultimate Productivity Booster: Employee Wellness Programs!

employee wellness program

Increasing profits and retaining and recruiting skilled, productive, and engaged employees are goals common to most organizations. Theories about how to increase productivity abound, but there is one that we practice here at SIG that has served as a key differentiator for us. We’ve found that having a robust health and wellness program for our employees that supports them in being well and staying energized and focused has been key to our success. The approach we’ve taken can make a major difference in your workplace, encouraging employees to be happier, more focused, and more creative. Healthier, happier employees who are engaged in their work will be sick less, which means fewer visits to the doctor, less days out due to sickness, and more time invested in completing work. The following steps highlight a few factors to consider when creating and implementing your employee wellness program and how to ensure that you and your employee receive the highest benefit possible. (more…)



| New FAQs Address Summary of Benefits and Coverage Template and Other Affordable Care Act Topics

Filing Paperwork

The U.S. Department of Labor has released its latest set of FAQs regarding implementation of various provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Highlights of the FAQs are presented below.

Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) Group health plans are required to provide, without charge, a standard SBC form explaining plan coverage and costs to employees at specified times during the enrollment process and upon request. (For insured group health plans, the notice requirement may be satisfied if the issuer furnishes recipients with a timely and complete SBC.) (more…)