Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Medicare and Employers with Less than 20 Employees/COBRA Pit-Fall

When employees reach age 65 they have decisions to make regarding Medicare.  These decisions could have serious consequences.

Employers with less than 20 employees

Employees participating in the company health insurance MUST enroll in Medicare Part B when turning 65. In groups with less than 20 employees the government considers Medicare the employee’s primary insurance and the employer provided insurance as secondary coverage.

The employer can subsidize the cost of an employee’s Medicare Part B and Medicare subsidy. This has typically proven to be less expensive than the insurance companies individual group health rate.

How can COBRA trip up Medicare enrollment?

Employees older than age 65 who deferred Medicare enrollment typically receive an eight-month special enrollment period, starting the month after employment ends or their group health insurance ends, whichever happens first. Employees should beware that if after ending employment they elect to use COBRA for their insurance for more than eight months (and COBRA coverage is generally available for up to 18 months), then the penalties for missing the special enrollment period and enrolling late are significant and, in the form of higher premiums, continuous.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Supreme Court Blocks Vaccine-or-Testing Rule

 The U.S. Supreme Court today blocked the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA’s) emergency temporary standard requiring businesses with at least 100 employees to ensure workers are vaccinated against the coronavirus or wear masks and undergo weekly COVID-19 testing. But it allowed the federal government to require COVID-19 vaccination for health care workers at Medicare- and Medicaid-certified providers and suppliers.

The first decision criticized OSHA’s rule as a “blunt instrument” that “draws no distinctions based on industry or risk of exposure to COVID-19.” It also called the rule a “significant encroachment into the lives—and health—of a vast number of employees.”

In the second decision, the court noted that “health care workers around the country are ordinarily required to be vaccinated for diseases.” The Occupational Safety and Health Act does not plainly authorize the rule, the court stated.

Shrm 1-13-22