Monday, June 29, 2015

Monday LinkageFest

■ Death. Taxes. Health Insurance. New ObamaTax forms are soon to be on their way (most likely):

"If the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) implements the current rules as planned, insurers will have to send 1095-B coverage notice forms for the 2015 plan year in early 2016."

What's that mean? It means that large employers will have to send these forms to covered employees (kind of like W-2's or 1099's), which employees will then need to enclose with next year's tax returns. The ostensible reason is to allow the Feds to confirm that said taxpayer did, indeed, have appropriate coverage.

Exit question: who really believes that these forms won't ultimately result in additional taxes?

■ A few short weeks ago, it was the prospect of UHC eyeing Aetna, and Anthem smacking its lips over Humana. But things are never what they seem:

"Aetna, the second-largest U.S. health insurer by market value, is closing in on an acquisition of Humana"

First, consider me gobsmacked: I coulda sworn that UHC occupied the #2 slot. Second, expect this kind of consolidation to continue as profit margins shrink and companies vie to position themselves as administrators of the coming Single-Payer scheme.

■ Folks in smaller groups ought not be pointing and laughing at Item #1 above:

"Employers in the 51-100 employee size bracket are anxious about the prospect of being added to the “small group” market that under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) currently cuts off at 50 employees."

And why is that?

Well, those considered "small groups" have more stringent coverage requirements than their larger brethren, including the "10 Essential Health Benefits" mandate. Net result: "an immediate impact on premiums due to new rating rules."

And they don't mean "downward."
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