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Posted by Tracy Dacus on May 31, 2013 - 4:51pm
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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) released a statement today that after lengthy contract negotiations with Memorial Hermann, the Houston-area hospital group will no longer be a part of the BCBSTX BlueChoice® PPO/POS, HMO Blue® Texas, Traditional/Par Plan and Blue Medicare Advantage networks effective July 1, 2013.

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Posted by Tracy Dacus on May 30, 2013 - 10:05am
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Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, individuals and employees of small businesses will have access to insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) health insurance exchanges (Exchanges). Open enrollment under the Exchanges will begin on Oct. 1, 2013. 

ACA requires employers to provide all new hires and current employees with a written notice about ACA’s Exchanges. This requirement is found in Section 18B of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

On May 8, 2013, the Department of Labor (DOL) released Technical Release 2013-02 to provide temporary guidance on the Exchange notice requirement. This temporary guidance will remain in effect until the DOL issues regulations or other guidance. According to the DOL, future regulations or other guidance will provide employers with adequate time to comply with any additional or modified requirements.

 

 

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Posted by Andy Adams on May 22, 2013 - 3:09pm
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The Affordable Care Act requires "applicable large employers" (ie, employers with 50 or more full-time or full-time equivalent employees) to offer "minimum essential coverage" (MEC) to its employees.  If the employer does not offer the required coverage, it will be subject to a $2000 per year penalty if any one of its employees obtains a premium credit to purchase health insurance through a health exchange after January 2014.

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Posted by Tracy Dacus on May 21, 2013 - 5:54pm
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We’ve been seeing a ton of press about Angelina Jolie over the past week.  Her decision to opt for a double mastectomy to try to avoid breast cancer has been called ‘brave,’ ‘courageous,’ and ‘decisive.’  Others are concerned that the general public will not understand that this extreme measure is not for every woman at risk for breast cancer.  Her story has made breast cancer front page news without a pink ribbon in sight.

 
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Posted by Tracy Dacus on May 21, 2013 - 10:26am
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We are all saddened by the loss of life caused by the tornado that devastated suburbs of Oklahoma City.  If you're wondering how you can help, USA Today posted this information on relief organizations:

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross has several shelters open in Oklahoma and Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles have begun delivering hot meals throughout the affected areas. The Red Cross is also working to link loved ones in Moore who are OK through a website called Safe and Well. Text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10 to American Red Cross Disaster Relief, donate online, or donate by phone at 1-800-RED CROSS.

 
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Posted by Tracy Dacus on May 17, 2013 - 5:38pm
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Since we wrote last week about our lack of confidence in the IRS running health care, the government agency has been blasted with controversy this week over targeting the Tea Party and other conservative political groups for extra scrutiny over tax exemption status.  Yesterday ABC News confirmed that the IRS official in charge of tax-exempt organizations between 2009 and 2012, Sarah Hall Ingram, is now the director of the Affordable Care Act office of the IRS.  Her former deputy commissioner Joseph Grant is taking the fall, as he was just appointed to lead the tax-exempt office in the beginning of May and has already announced his retirement.  The scandal does not increase public confidence in the agency to execute the extremely complicated PPACA, especially if you're a Tea Party member!

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Posted by Tracy Dacus on May 10, 2013 - 9:50am
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A few weeks ago we told you about the giant African land snail, the slimy pest that grows as big as a rat and can eat through stucco and plastic (that story here).  They’ve become a real problem in Florida, and are multiplying quickly since one snail can produce 1200 eggs a year.  Not only can they eat their way through homes and gardens, they also carry meningitis and can even prove deadly to humans.  So earlier this week when a woman in Briar Forest found a very large snail in her garden, Houston started preparing for a full-on snail invasion. 

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Posted by Tracy Dacus on May 7, 2013 - 3:54pm
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While U.S. businesses figure out how to handle the Affordable Care Act, the Internal Revenue Service is gearing up for the huge task of deciding who pays for it and how much.    When the Supreme Court upheld the law last year, it put the IRS in charge, allowing the agency to enforce the mandate through tax penalties.

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Posted by Andy Adams on April 29, 2013 - 10:26am
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ATTENTION EMPLOYERS AND SUPERVISORS OF CDL (DOT) DRIVERS!

Join ASA-HC for a training DOT compliant session regarding Reasonable Suspicion Drug and Alcohol Training for supervisors. Mike Macomber, Vice President of Risk Management for Adams Insurance Service, will conduct.

The session is DOT compliant for all supervisors and human resource individuals who supervise CDL drivers covered by DOT. 

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Posted by Andy Adams on April 25, 2013 - 3:28pm
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HB 1468's fate is not looking good if it cannot escape the House Business and Industry Committee.  This bill provides the fix to the XL Specialty problem that is giving company's with large workers compensation deductibles fits due to the constraints placed on communications by the insurance carriers.

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