What Businesses Must Understand About Health Care Reform for 2011 and Beyond

CHARLESTON, S.C. —Trying to find answers about health care reform can be like looking for a needle in a haystack for the average business. The David Gilston Insurance Agency, which supports brokers and agents throughout South Carolina, is helping businesses sort through massive amounts of new mandates to understand what the law requires of them and how their employees and bottom line will be affected.“Our objective is to alleviate some of the shock and confusion by informing our agents and their clients of upcoming changes and mandates,” says Tom Swayne, president of the Gilston Insurance Agency. “We have found that most employers don’t have the time or the resources to stay on top of health reform, which is why our approach is more proactive. We’ve conducted several health reform meetings for clients and also post regularly to our reform blog to provide the most up-to-date information.”   Here are a few of the items discussed on our blog that employers may not yet be aware of:Employers must give all Medicare-eligible members a written notice indicating whether their drug benefits under the group health plan are “creditable,” or that the coverage is expected to pay on average as much as the standard Medicare prescription drug coverage. Companies must provide employees with a written notice of their rights under the Children Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA).If an employer plan is grandfathered, the company must inform employees, also in written form.There is now additional information required on employees’ W-2 forms, including listing the cost of their health insurance. While it is optional for employers in 2011, it will be mandatory in 2012.Some businesses are eligible for a new small group tax credit, but it may end up being more cost effective for a business to use insurance as a tax deduction rather than taking the credit. For more information regarding health care reform and how the changes affect businesses, visit the David Gilston Insurance Agency’s Health Insurance Reform blog at www.dgilston.com. About the Gilston Insurance AgencyFounded in 1962, the David M. Gilston Insurance Agency supports insurance brokers and agents across the state of South Carolina through its Columbia and Charleston locations. The agency’s behind-the-scenes role gives agents the service, education and assistance they need to provide quality, timely and informed service to their business and individual clients. For more information, visit www.dgilston.com or call 843-571-1155 in Charleston or 803-772-3122 in Columbia.

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