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Greater Kansas City Employee Benefit Professionals Association

April  2015

Message from the President
by Denise Lambert 

 

Well wishes to everyone for a great spring. It's wonderful to see neighborhoods come alive again. I hope you're squeezing in time for outdoor hobbies, activities with family and friends and maybe a vacation or two. Spring also means your annual ethic CE is nearly here. COBRA and the ACA is the topic and I hear a COBRA ethics trivia game with audience involvement will be played. Our speaker, Amy Grace, with ERISA Logic, LLC plans to add some humor to the luncheon around this timely topic. Register at http://www.ebpa-kc.org for the Friday, April 17th luncheon. We hope you can join us.  
 
Your board, seminar and golf committee chairs have already accomplished a great deal for a June 10th annual seminar and August 31st annual golf tournament. They are dedicated to creating a meaningful learning experience, and a fun recreational and charitable event, respectively.

We've heard your requests for topics on ancillary products that often are not given the attention major medical plans receive. This year's annual seminar, More Than Medical - Accessorizing Your Health Plan, focuses on ancillary products important to every employee benefits plan.

There's a change of venue for the golf tournament to Brookridge Golf and Fitness which is open for registration and has some attractive sponsorships. As in past years, the success of this charitable event hinges on your sponsorship and participation. The benefactor this year is Newhouse. If you attended the February luncheon, you heard Kathy Stone recite her poem that tells her own story of domestic violence. Kathy is now the executive director of Newhouse and helps others who have suffered in abusive relationships.   Additionally, 100% of the proceeds from your purchases of mulligans go to this important nonprofit organization. In every way that you give, EBPA matches that amount to double the donation. Come out for the afternoon and enjoy the game, food, beverages, reception with prizes (more food and beverages) and the camaraderie of your peers!

It could be a soap opera, but unfortunately it isn't, as the healthcare world twists down the long and winding ACA path. In the most recent political events on Capitol Hill, the Republican majority Senate voted along with their House counterparts to pass budget blueprints setting the stage for a major clash with the White House over the framework of the national healthcare system along with appropriate levels of taxing and spending. Gaping key issues are unclear. However, as Congress reconvenes and if they can agree on a budget, they may avoid a Senate Democratic filibuster and be able to move forward with their plans to pass legislation to repeal and replace the ACA, if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down premium subsidies in nearly two-thirds of the states. No matter which side of the aisle you're on, there is more to come with the Supreme Court's vote in June.

To my fellow board members, it's a pleasure working alongside such honorable and professional people. As busy as you are attending to your own businesses and clients, you continue to raise the bar through all your efforts in your service to EBPA.        

Denise Lambert
EBPA President 

COBRA and the ACA -
Your Continuing Legal and Ethical Responsibilities
April 17, 2015
 
Time:   11:15 AM - 1:00 PM
Where: DoubleTree Hotel, Overland Park, KS

Our speaker, Amy Grace with ERISA Logic LLC,is an attorney. ERISA Logic is a benefits-only law firm, which Amy operates.  She started her employee benefits career as a clerk for the United States Department of Labor - Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA).  

 

She will address the following points:

  • Why COBRA is still relevant and required
  • Temptation to avoid COBRA and steer high cost individuals to the Marketplace
  • The duty to avoid reducing an employee's hours to get them off of the health plan
  • Increased DOL investigations
  • Effect of Supreme Court case
The registration fee is $36 for members and $46 for nonmembers. One hour of CE ethics credit is available for Kansas and Missouri is pending. Only 2015 members are eligible to receive the CE credits. There is a 48 hour cancellation policy.
Be A Golf Tournament Sponsor!
August 31, 2015

golf-ball-hit.jpg This year's EBPA Golf Tournament will be held Monday, August 31, 2015 at Brookridge Golf and Fitness Club in Overland Park, KS. Multiple sponsorship levels are available. Click on the appropriate link to the right to view the great sponsorship opportunities and complete your registration now.

Registration is 11:00-11:45 am. Boxed lunches will be provided after registration.  The tournament begins with a shot-gun tee-off at noon.  We anticipate a full field of enthusiastic golfers to make this tournament a terrific success! The tournament is limited to the first 116 paid golfers, so sign up immediately for your team's spot!  Team fees are $400.00 per team or $125.00 per player.  Click here to register. 
More than Medical -
Accessorizing your Health Plan

Our topic for the annual seminar this year is More that Medical - Accessorizing your Health Plan.  We will be highlighting ancillary products that are very important to a complete Employee Benefit Package and are often not given as much attention as a medical plan.

The seminar is schedule for Friday, June 19th from 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Ritz Charles.  Both breakfast and lunch will be served.  The event will provide 5 CE credits in Kansas and Missouri, including one Ethics credit.  The cost is $95 for members. 

More information will be forthcoming on topics and speakers.  Watch your emails!
Cadillac or Chevy?
by Laurie Stowe, Legislative Chair
Laurie Stowe

If you like your health plan you can keep it - and pay heavily for it. Beginning in 2018, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will assess health plan coverage providers an excise tax of 40% on amounts exceeding $10,200 for individuals or $27,500 for families. Thresholds are slightly higher for high-risk occupations and retirees aged 55-64, and the tax doesn't apply to "excepted benefits" such as disability, workers compensation policies, or stand-alone dental and vision benefits.

Employee and employer premiums as well as HSA, FSA, and HRA contributions are included in the calculation, but the IRS is expected to issue guidance on the requirements before the tax becomes effective in 2018. The responsibility for paying the tax falls to the "coverage provider" - the insurer, plan administrator, or Third Party Administrator - depending on whether the plan is fully insured or self-funded. The American Health Policy Institute estimates that 38% of employers with greater than 1,000 workers will have to pay the tax, and 17% of all employers will be impacted.

 

The motivation behind the Cadillac tax is to encourage the adoption of cost effective plans and transform employees into better healthcare consumers by reducing overuse of healthcare services. Some would suggest it's a way to reduce the number of health plans offering little to no cost sharing or premium contributions. By reducing premiums that are generally tax exempt, employer and employee tax liability is increased thus raising revenue to help offset the cost of ACA. As coverage providers reduce their offering of high-end plans, this seemingly levels the playing field by ensuring Americans have equal access to healthcare. Proponents are concerned about cost-shifting and calculations being tied to overall inflation vs. medical inflation. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates $120billion will be generated in excise tax between 2018 - 2024.

With wage freezes among the public and private sectors in recent years, many employers have chosen to partially offset this by offering expanded health benefits which will be different in light of needing to slim down coverage. There is some indication that the private sector is shifting to less generous coverage while adoption in the public sector has been slow. State and local governments are becoming increasingly concerned about the financial burden which will affect their ability to attract and retain talent, provide essential public services, and negotiate union contracts - all of which have the potential to raise local taxes.

Many employers have already assessed their potential tax burden liability in light of their current benefit and cost structure, accounting for the estimated inflation impact. Some options which may be available to health plans in order to come in under the excise tax threshold include increasing Deductible and/or Out-of-Pocket amounts, lowering premium and/or HSA, FSA, and HRA accounts contributions, implementing wellness and/or medication therapy management services, and providing members with health coaches and tools to assist them in locating the most effective healthcare providers.

Lobbying to repeal or make changes to this aspect of the ACA by various parties has already begun and is expected to accelerate in different forms on both sides of the aisle as 2018 draws closer. While more detail is expected at a much later date, thoughtful conversations should be had among insurers, plan administrators, Third Party Administrators and their consulting partners to assess the plan's options.

ebpa logo


2015  
Board of Directors


President
Denise Lambert
Vice Pres
Tracy Johnson
Secy/Treas
Melissa Henrich
Membership
Michelle Tagg
Public Rels
James Winne
Social Chairs
Joan Carter
Matt Baki

Seminar

Stacy Wells

Legislative
Laurie Stowe
Bylaws
Amy Angotti Bilbo
Pres Emeritus

Andy Dowell



April 17 Luncheon

COBRA and ACA
Register Here


August 31 Golf Tournament

Calendar of Events




April 17
Luncheon Meeting
Doubletree Hotel


May 7
Board of Directors Meeting
Grand Street Cafe


June 19
Annual Seminar
Ritz Charles


August 31
Annual Golf Tournament
Brookridge Golf
& Fitness Club


Past Presidents

1987-88    Vince Peyton
    1989    David J. Kiblen  
    1990    Sandra Ruder 
    1991    Pat Bolin  
    1992    Timothy Dorr 
    1993    Jim Walter 
    1994    Jan Lyon 
                Jack Lowry 
    1995    Jim Wolf 
    1996    Mark Whiting 
    1997     Bill Brown 
    1998    Marlene Riley 
    1999    Robert Mulvaney 
    2000    Marian Govreau 
    2001    Dale Johnson 
    2002    Denise Koch 
    2003    Bill Egelhoff 
    2004    Andrew Carter, Jr. 
    2005    Kevin Bur 
    2006    Scott Mitchell 
    2007    Susan Young 
    2008    Brenda Beachey 
    2009    Michelle Ohlde 
    2010    Ramona Farris 
    2011    Dawn DeCelles 
    2012    Matt Tritz
    2013    Judy Wood
    2014    Andie Dowell


Submission of articles should be made to Jim Winne, jwinne@triahealth.com.

2015  Greater Kansas City Employee Benefit Professionals Association.P.O. Box 40071, Overland Park, KS 66205