The Business Council of Alabama has joined the Coalition to Save Medicare Advantage Retiree Coverage by signing a letter that was sent this week to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt. The letter urges Slavitt to rescind proposed cuts to the Medicare Advantage Retiree Coverage that is valuable to both retirees and their former companies.
The coalition of 50 stakeholder organizations representing organized labor, retired teachers, municipal governments, private employers, and Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, the Coalition to Save Medicare Advantage Retiree Coverage urged Slavitt to eliminate the proposed cut to MA Retiree Coverage. It’s also known as Employer Group Waiver Plans in the 2017 Final Notice set to be released April 4.
“We are all committed to ensuring retirees have access to high-quality, affordable health care coverage,” the letter states. “We share serious concerns about the impact the proposed cut will have on MA retiree coverage.”
The coalition reports that CMS’s own analysis confirms that MA Retiree Coverage will be cut by at least 2.5 percent if this proposal is implemented. This new cut could lead to higher costs, reduced benefits and fewer choices for 3.3 million retirees in 2017, the Coalition said.
“All across the nation, retirees, from all walks of life, value the high-quality, affordable health care provided by MA Retiree Coverage,” the BCA-signed letter said. “We urge CMS to protect seniors enrolled in MA Retiree Coverage by rescinding this proposed cut.”
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Persuader Rule Could Silence Manufacturers
National Association of Manufacturers (Micetich 3/23) “National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons issued the following statement after the Department of Labor finalized the persuader rule:
“This unwarranted action by the Department of Labor will further restrict employers’ ability to educate and inform employees on essential issues in the workplace. For small and medium-sized manufacturers especially, this ‘revision’ could silence employers for no good reason. This is just the latest in a series of so-called ‘tweaks’ from the Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board, which, in reality, are overreaching and drastic overhauls to longstanding policy that will fundamentally upend the manufacturing workplace. The NAM will aggressively pursue legislative and legal action to overturn this dangerous, unnecessary rule’.”
To learn more about the NAM and their labor priorities, visit their website.
Obamacare’s List of Broken Promises to Small Businesses Keeps Growing
U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Harrison 3/23) “Harold Jackson has always taken pride in offering high quality, affordable health insurance to the employees at his 20-person medical supplies company in Lafayette, Colo. But it hasn’t been easy to keep that up in recent years. Since Obamacare was passed in 2010, his small medical supply company’s premiums have shot up from an average of $12,840 for a family plan in 2010 to $16,380 this year, while the out-of-pocket-maximums and deductibles his employees are faced with have spiked, as well. During that same period, the level of benefits has diminished, meaning his company and his employees are paying more and more for less and less coverage.
“But there was at least a silver lining in the law – an incentive, if you will … [i]t’s known as the law’s Small Business Health Insurance Tax Credit, through which the authors of the law promised companies with fewer than 25 employees that the government would help foot the bill for small businesses that offered health plans to their workers, under certain circumstances. Alas, another Obamacare promise broken.
“‘This tax credit does not help me in any way to provide affordable health coverage to my employees’, Jackson explained during a hearing held by the House Small Business Committee’s subpanel on economic growth, tax and capital access on Tuesday.
“For starters, the application for the credit requires small firms to hand over a wealth of information that very few (if any) keep on hand about not only their employees but about employees’ spouses, as well – including their tobacco history and social security numbers. Second, the tax credit is only available to small businesses that buy health plans through Obamacare’s new online insurance portals, known as SHOP exchanges. And finally, there’s perhaps the most prohibitive component of all: the tax credit’s earnings cap. In order to apply for the tax break, the company’s employees, including the owners, must not make on average more than $50,000 per year.
“Combined, these barriers have prevented … the law’s few potential perks for small businesses from being of any use to an untold number of small businesses around the country. In fact, as few as 4.5 percent of eligible companies claimed the tax credit in 2014, according to government estimates. As the implementation of the health care law moves forward, it’s imperative that we identify and fix provisions like the small business tax credit that simply aren’t working. This includes eliminating other unworkable components like Obamacare’s Cadillac Tax, medical device tax, and health insurance tax, all of which will send health costs soaring ever higher for small companies and their employees.”