Year End 2004               

Happy Holidays from Group Benefits, Inc.

Happy Holidays to one and all!

We would like to extend warm holiday wishes to each and every one of you.  Have a safe and happy holiday season!  We will not be sending another newsletter out until the middle or end of February.

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Recent News from some insurance companies

We have received news from several insurance carriers recently.

BCBS-MO - The updated rates are available for individuals and medicare supplements.  The new rates are effective 1/1/05.

Standard Insurance Company - Has moved and their information is:  
          1401 Brentwood Blvd. Ste. 475
          St. Louis, MO 63144
          Phone: 314-961-0333
          Fax: 314-961-0344
          Toll Free: 800-224-1435

PacifiCare - PacifiCare has signed an agreement to purchace Pacific Life's group health business.  This is to be effective in early 2005.  PacifiCare has also acquired American Medical Security recently.  This will allow them to expand the position and focus on more affordable consumer-directed health pans.

HSA Bank - Has expanded their operations to a new location.  Their new information is:
          605 N. 8th St., Ste. 320
         
Sheboygan, WI 53081
          PH:  (800) 357-6246
          FAX:  (920) 803-4120

HumanaOne - The new 2005 individual health rates are now available.  They also have received approval for their individual HSA product effective 1/1/05.

AMS - They have made some rate decreases on the drug buy-up option offered to new and existing MedOne HSAvings** customers. With the premium decreases, the buy-up option will add no more than 5 % to the cost of the base plan. With five of their deductible options, the drug buy-up option will add no cost at all! They are the $3,000, $3,500, and $5,000 for individuals, and the $7,500 and $10,000 for families.

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HIPAA Business Associate Agreements

We have received several requests for a HIPAA Business Associate Agreement.  You can access this form on our website here:  www.grpbenefits.net/HIPAA%20Business%20Associate%20Agreement.doc

This has been reviewed for accuracy by our attorney firm and we think it should take care of your needs.  The form is in an unprotected Word format so that you can insert your company name or make adjustments to use with others.

It is also available from our Employer Forms page under non-specifi forms.

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New HSA Limits for 2005

On November 19, the Treasury Department and IRS issued guidance on the maximum contribution levels for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and out-of-pocket spending limits for High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) that must be used in conjunction with HSAs. These amounts have been indexed for cost-of-living adjustments for 2005. The minimum deductible required for HDHPs did not change.

 

Minimum Deductible

Maximum Contribution

Maximum Out-of Pocket

Single

$1,000

$2,650

$5,100

Family

$2,000

$5,250

$10,200

Catch-up Contribution for eligible individuals over the age of 55

$600

 

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Identity Theft!

We have posted information to help you protect yourself against Identity Theft.  We are hearing more and more about this. 

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We have a new short-term medical plan available!

We have added Time Insurance Company to the companies we represent.  This plan is a great solution for those who need a short-term policy for up to 12 months.  They also have a limited benefit plan for individuals and groups.  This will be available online in the next couple of weeks.

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Dependent Coverage Updates!

If you have a dependent child who is no longer eligible for insurance coverage and your plan covers them till the end of the calendar year you need to contact us as soon as possible if you need to get an individual plan for them.

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Until Next Time!

Have a safe and happy holiday season!  Our office close a little early on Friday, December 24th and Friday, December 31st.  We thank you for allowing us to serve you and your company.  We are looking forward to serving you in 2005!

Robyn Hamlin
PH:  314-438-0222

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Buck says Happy Holidays Too!

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Be sure to check out Buck's pages as he has new information and pictures every month.  His holiday pictures can be found here.

                          

 

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You can link our Provider directory pages to your intranet now.

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We have added a link to us page so that you can add employee forms and provider directories to your intranet.  This is an easy way to provide information to your employees so they always have access to current directory information.

 

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Join our mailing list

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If you have received this newsletter from someone forwarding it to you you can join our mailing list  and get your copy directly to your mail.

 

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Please take a short survey.

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We have a short survey that we would like you to take.  It is only two questions and no email address is required.  Thank you.                

 

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2004 Group Benefits, Inc.