Secova Reports Healthcare Provisions In The Stimulus Bill

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Legislative Language to Health Provisions

It is important that we look way past the action rhetoric and learn how these measures are going to affect businesses in general. Are these measures going to enhance a business's ability to succeed or, conversely, will it add a new time-consuming task that limits a company's capability to compete in the marketplace?

Secova, a leading provider of human resource and benefits management services, today released a summary of the healthcare provisions in the $787 billion stimulus package. In the face of the significant changes from Barack Obama’s new administration, Secova is working diligently to identify all possible areas of impact to assist businesses in understanding the healthcare provisions signed by our president on February 17, 2009.

“On a legislative note, this law is very new and there are still many unanswered questions that the administration must address,” said Chris Bognanno, Policy Liaison for Congressman John Campbell. “The Congressman believes it is imperative that these questions regarding the newly passed healthcare provisions be answered in a detailed and timely manner so businesses can avoid any disruption during this economic crisis.”

The following is an overview based on analysis from Secova experts on the legislative breakdown provided by the Congressman’s office, detailing the healthcare provisions effective immediately.

Legislative Language to Stimulus Health Provisions

1. Provisions for Cobra: Jobless workers can temporarily keep group health benefits under the 1986 Cobra law, but the cost is often prohibitive because they must pay the entire premium, including the employer’s share. Under the stimulus bill, the federal government would offer premium subsidies to laid off individuals electing COBRA continuation in coverage from their former employers, paying 65% of the costs up to nine months.

The aid would be available to workers who lose their jobs between September 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009. The provision is for $25.1 billion. To qualify workers must certify that eligibility to individuals with adjusted gross incomes does not exceed $145,000 and families do not exceed $290,000. In addition, the conference report does not include the language in the house bill that would permit former employees over age 55, or those with at least 10 years of service with the employer, to remain on COBRA until becoming eligible for Medicare.

For additional information on COBRA and what it means to corporate benefits administration we have provided you with Secova’s Help Book that can be downloaded through this link: ARRA – COBRA Subsidy Administrative Compliance Strategy.

2. Qualifying Individual Program: Extends 12 months, through December 2010, the Qualifying Individual program, which provides assistance through Medicaid for low-income seniors to pay their Medicare premiums, at a cost of $562 million. The original house bill did not include this provision.

3. Medicaid Assistance to States: The final bill provides a huge infusion of federal money to the states for Medicaid, the health insurance program for low income people. A compromise was reached between the House and Senate formulae for the $87 billion increase in the federal Medicaid match. 65% of the increase is provided on an across – the – board basis, with the remaining 35% allocated to states experiencing high unemployment. Without the money, states say they would probably cut the program, so that many people would lose coverage at a time when the need is growing.

Medicaid for the Unemployed: The language was removed from the House Bill that would have created new entitlement for individuals receiving unemployment assistance to receive Medicare benefits fully funded by the federal government at a 100% match rate.

“Details really count,” said Joel Carter, Secova. “It is important that we look way past the action rhetoric and learn how these measures are going to affect businesses in general. Are these measures going to enhance a business's ability to succeed or, conversely, will it add a new time-consuming task that limits a company's capability to compete in the marketplace?"

As employers wait for the Department of Labor Department, Treasury and the Department of Health and Human Services to outline the specific requirements, Secova is proactively working with these and other federal agencies to provide the detailed information and service solutions to ensure compliance.

About Secova:
Secova Inc. is based in Newport Beach, Calif., and is a leading technology solutions company focused on the benefits administration and management markets. The Secova management comprises industry veterans who have managed large consulting practices for the healthcare industry. The company has global delivery centers in the U.S and India.

This press release was distributed through eMediawire by Human Resources Marketer (HR Marketer: http://www.HRmarketer.com) on behalf of the company listed above.

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Sarah Soss
Secova
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