The Updated 2018 Buyer's Guide - From the Desk of Allison Johnson
(Posted on 04/25/18)
The new 2018 Buyer’s Guide has arrived! Don’t worry though, the updated content is almost entirely new tips and tricks to make your life, and the lives of your clients, easier by explaining some commonly asked questions and scenarios.

As far as rule changes go, the only change we see for 2018 is the dependent age banding. The original rule stated that children 0-20 be charged the same rate, which was causing a huge jump for families once their kids reached age 21. To make this less of a shock, the rate bands were changed to 0-14, and then yearly increases for ages 15 +.

So, what clarifications did they include this year? First, on page 5, you’ll find some tips about eligibility and calculating participation. They’ve included reminders that at least one 30 hour FTE is required to establish eligibility, and that owners don’t count toward participation. These rules have been a point of pain, so it’s a good reminder for us and for groups to watch out for. Along the same lines, on page 8 they have clarified the Employer Open Enrollment rules to specify that only participation and contribution are waived, not the other eligibility rules.

Lastly, they added a significant amount of information about NJCC and COBRA coverage. This is my favorite part of the update! The tips start on page 14 and cover another page and a half. They have included reminders such as the responsibility of the employer to notify the carrier of termination, and to pay as billed and collect premium from the continuant; reminders to both the continuant and employer about payment requirements; and a reminder that you cannot elect NJCC/COBRA and then elect individual coverage.

Overall, the new Buyer’s Guide offers some excellent tips for brokers, employers, and members on some of the more confusing parts of the SEH rules. It is a great resource to help you and your clients navigate the world of employee benefits.