Your 2018 Health Plan Must Comply With ACA Rules Or You Risk

first_img Share Hero Images/Getty ImagesConfused about whether your health plan is ACA-compliant? To be sure you’re using your state’s official marketplace, start with HealthCare.gov, and click on “see if I can change.”Health plans that don’t meet the standards of the Affordable Care Act; work requirements for Medicaid coverage; changes to Medicare’s approved drug lists: As the ground continues to shift on health care coverage, I’m answering readers’ queries this week about these three different types of plans:I lost my job last year and my employer coverage ended in January. I bought a new plan through the marketplace that went into effect last month. I just received policy information, and it states that because the plan does not cover major medical services, I may have to pay additional taxes to the government. I was told that the plan didn’t cover major medical, but wasn’t told about any taxes. Will I be fined next year?It sounds like you bought a plan that doesn’t comply with the Affordable Care Act’s requirements, and if that’s the case you may indeed have to pay a penalty for not having comprehensive coverage when you file your taxes next year.The tax reform law repealed the individual penalty for not having health insurance, but that provision doesn’t take effect until 2019. So, for 2018, you may be charged the greater of $695 or 2.5 percent of your household income.The federal- and state-run marketplaces established by the ACA sell only comprehensive plans that cover 10 essential health benefits, including “major medical” services like hospitalization and prescription drugs.But some insurance broker websites call themselves marketplaces too, says Sabrina Corlette, a research professor at Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms. And that can be confusing. These companies may sell other insurance products — like short-term or accident coverage — alongside comprehensive plans that comply with the law.Ever since the health law was passed, “There have been opportunistic companies trying to take advantage of consumer confusion to make money,” Corlette says.If you aren’t happy with your plan, you may still be able to switch. Losing your employer coverage qualifies you for a 60-day special enrollment period to pick a new plan. Since it appears you’re still in that window, you may be able to choose a comprehensive plan.To ensure you’re using your state’s official marketplace, go to healthcare.gov and click on “see if I can change.” That will take you to your state marketplace, even if you live in one of the dozen or so states that run their own exchanges.I’m in a state that is looking into work requirements for Medicaid. At sign-up time, can I simply tell the exchange that I intend to be ineligible for Medicaid by refusing to work and get the premium tax credit to buy a private plan on the insurance marketplace?Federal health law regulations don’t clearly address the situation you describe, but the short answer is probably not, according to policy analysts.In general, people who are eligible for employer coverage or Medicaid — the federal-state health program for people with little income — can’t qualify for federal tax credits that help pay for premiums on plans sold on the health insurance exchanges.This year, Kentucky and Indiana became the first states to receive federal approval to require some Medicaid recipients to put in 80 hours each month at a paid job, school or volunteer work (among other activities), to receive benefits. Nearly a dozen other states have made similar requests.If you refuse to work, does that make you ineligible for Medicaid? The rules aren’t clear, says Judith Solomon, vice president for health policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.States might argue that someone in your situation is eligible for Medicaid — you just have to fulfill the work requirements, says Timothy Jost, an emeritus professor of law at Washington and Lee University in Virginia, who is an expert on the health law.There are other actions people could take — or fail to take — where this issue might come up. “You could argue that someone is not eligible because they haven’t completed the Medicaid application or provided the required documentation,” Jost says. “There are any number of requirements, but I can’t imagine someone saying they didn’t do those things and so they’re not eligible for Medicaid.”Whatever the rules, it’s unlikely that many people will be in a position to consider taking this stance. To qualify for premium tax credits, your income must be between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level (about $12,000 to $48,500 for an individual in 2018). But you’d also have to be eligible for Medicaid, generally with an income limit of 138 percent of poverty (about $16,750) in states that expanded coverage to adults. In addition, the Medicaid work requirements in your state would have to apply to you.I picked a Medicare Part D drug plan that covered all the drugs I take. But as soon as I got my first Novolin R prescription filled, they notified me that they don’t cover it anymore. Can they just switch it like that?Medicare drug plans can change their list of covered drugs, called formularies. If they’re doing so at the start of the new calendar year, as appears to have happened in your case, the plan may notify you of the change when you fill the prescription for the first time in the new year. At that time, the plan would typically give you a 30-day transition refill so you can switch to another drug that’s on the formulary or start the appeals process to continue taking your current insulin drug, Novolin R.If you and your doctor think it’s important that you have Novolin R and not another drug that is similar, you can ask your plan to make an exception to allow you to continue to take the drug.To go that route, you would need to get your doctor to “make the case for why that formulary drug is not the right drug” for you, says Casey Schwarz, senior counsel for education and federal policy at the Medicare Rights Center, an advocacy group.Copyright 2018 Kaiser Health News. To see more, visit Kaiser Health News.last_img read more

Books restoring a legacy

first_imgThese are the times when photographs  are digital and they are saved in the latest gadgets and written works are coming in an e-book format. Film-maker and actor Aparna Sen released a book on  photography titled ‘IMAGES’ and politician Jaya Jaitly released a book on contemporary art titled ‘VOICES’ at the India Habitat Centre on Monday.Edited by art historian and curator Dr Alka Pande, the books produced under the aegis of India Habitat Centre were released to also celebrate the completion of 15 years of the Visual Arts Gallery, which has showcased and promoted some of the most seminal exhibitions over the last fifteen years. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The book ‘IMAGES’ features seven seminal essays on the evolution, growth and importance of the art of photography by names like Bandeep Singh, Robert Pledge, Nathalie Herschdorfer and Ashim Ghosh apart from featuring works of eleven photographers who have been past winners of the annual Habitat Photography award since 2003.The book ‘VOICES’ features twenty decisive essays on the Indian and world contemporary art by influential names like Nissar Allana, Jaya Jaitly, Alka Pande, Jonathan Faiers, Raj Liberhan, Diana Campbell Betancourt, Peter Nagy among others apart from featuring the top twenty exhibitions at Visual Arts Gallery over the last 15 years. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixAfter the book release, eminent photographer Bandeep Singh read out excerpts from IMAGES which was followed by a book reading from his book NO COUNTRY by author Kalyan Ray. Young photographers who have been the past winners of India Habitat Centre Photography Fellowship were then awarded by Raj Liberhan, former director, IHC.Rakesh Kacker (Director, India Habitat Centre), Alka Pande (curator), Dr Linus Von Castelmur (Ambassador of Switzerland to India and Bhutan), Aparna Sen (filmmaker and actor), Jaya Jaitly (politician), Kalyan Ray (author), Bandeep Singh (photographer), Aditya Arya (photographer), Sandeep Biswas (artist), Avinash Pasricha (photographer) with wife Kiran, Madhu Jain (columnist), Humra Querishi (columnist), Harinder Singh with wife Kirandeep Kaur (art patron) among others were present on the occasion.last_img read more

KMC honours female sanitation workers

first_imgKolkata: INTTUC affiliated to the Kolkata Municipal Corporation Employees’ and Workers’ Union felicitated a few sanitationworkers and clerks of the civic body on International Women’s Day. State Power minister Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay presided over the felicitation event. This is for the first time, the services of civic body women employees and sanitation workers have been recognised. Chattopadhyay said the motto of the Trinamool Congress government was to empower women. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata BoseThrough Kanyashree, lakhs of girls could pursue their higher education, he said. He said: “Sanitation workers and those engaged in 100-day work scheme toil to keep the city clean. “But their work is seldom acknowledged. Women clerks of the civic body also work very hard round the year. By felicitating them we acknowledge their service inspire thousands of people.” Hundreds of civic body employees attended the felicitation event and support the mission of women empowerment.last_img read more

Twilio Flex a fullyprogrammable contact center platform is now generally available

first_imgYesterday, Twilio announced the general availability of Flex. Since its preview announcement in March, Flex has been used by thousands of contact center agents including support and sales teams at Lyft, Scorpion, Shopify, and U-Haul. Twilio Flex is a fully-programmable contact center platform that aims to give businesses complete control over customer engagement. It is a cloud-based platform that provides infinite flexibility in your hands. What functionalities does Flex provide to enterprises? Twilio Flex enables enterprises to do the following: Answer user queries using Autopilot Flex provides a conversational AI platform called Autopilot using which businesses can build custom messaging bots, IVRs, and home assistant apps. These bots are trained with the data pulled by Autopilot using Twilio’s natural language processing engine. Companies can deploy those bots across multiple channels including voice, SMS, Chat Alexa, Slack, and Google Assistant. With these bots, enterprises can also respond to frequently asked questions and if the queries become complex the bots can then transfer the conversation to a human agent. Secure phone payment with Twilio Pay With only one line of code, you can activate the Twilio Pay service that provides businesses the tools needed to process payments over the phone. It relies on secure payment methods such as tokenization to ensure that credit card information is securely handled. Provide a true omnichannel experience Flex gives enterprises access to a number of channels out of the box including voice, SMS, email, chat, video, and Facebook Messenger, among others. Also, agents can switch from channel to channel without losing the conversation or context. Customize user interface programmatically Flex user interfaces are designed with customization in mind. Enterprises can customize the customer-facing components like click-to-call or click-to-chat. It also allows adding entirely new channels or integrating new reporting dashboards to display agent performance or customer satisfaction. Integrate any application Enterprises can integrate their third-party business-critical applications with Flex. These applications may include systems such as customer relationship management (CRM), workforce management (WFM), reporting, analytics, or data stores. Analytics and insights for better customer experience It offers real-time event stream, a supervisor desktop, and admin desktop, which gives supervisors and administrators complete visibility and control over interaction data. Using these analytics and insights they will be able to better monitor and manage an agent’s performance. To know more about Twilio Flex, check out their official announcement. Read Next Twilio acquires SendGrid, a leading Email API Platform, to bring email services to its customers Twilio WhatsApp API: A great tool to reach new businesses Building a two-way interactive chatbot with Twilio: A step-by-step guidelast_img read more