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The availability and affordability of health insurance and other employee benefits are among the most important issues you confront in your businesses today. We have joined forces with Liazon, a national benefits trendsetter, to bring you the real benefits innovation you demand. Liazon's Bright ChoicesÂ® program increases your benefits choices, lowers your cost and makes it easy for you to buy the benefits you need.
The program gives you access to:
â€¢ Eight health plan options with very competitive rates, ranging from traditional co-pay plans to HSA-qualified consumer-driven options, from which all employees of any Chamber member are free to select.
â€¢ Dental plans with multiple tiers of coverage and no participation requirements, including plans with orthodontia coverage, and vision plans that give you unparalleled options for the coverage you need
â€¢ Personalized guidance from a team of professionals, through Liazonâ€™s award-winning Bright ChoicesÂ® online technology, over the phone, and in-person
This is a level of benefit choice and breadth of options that no company would be able to access on its own, either by calling the insurance companies directly, or through a traditional insurance broker.
Check out our Benefits Marketplace at a Glance to learn more and view rates. http://content.liazonpartners.com/south_buffalo/south_buffalo-benefits.p...
Webinar Presentation: 2011 Bright Choices Program
Video 1 of 4: Part #1
Video 2 of 4: Part #2
Video 3 of 4: Part #3
Video 4 of 4: Part #4
To enroll in the Bright Choices program and choose your benefits:
Step 1: Completed by each employer
Before you and your employees can enroll in benefits, your company has to be set up in the Bright Choices program. Each employer needs to fill out and submit a Group Enrollment form (below, or call Kim Giesing at 716-507-8648 for a paper form).
Step 2: Completed by each employee
Once the company is set up in Bright Choices, each employer and employee can enroll in their personal benefits. Bright Choices will actually recommend the benefits plans that best meet each personâ€™s needs. To access the program:
â€¢ Go to http://www.myliazon.com
Group Identifier: southbuffalo
Username: First and last initials and the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number (no dashes or spaces)
Password: 4-digit month and day of your date of birth plus first 5 digits of your social security number (i.e., MMDDSSSSS)
â€¢ Browse and explore the online store and, when youâ€™re ready to enroll, click on Build Your Benefits to get started.
Paper forms are also available for enrollment. See below or call Kim Giesing at 716-507-8648.
Group Enrollment Form http://content.liazonpartners.com/south_buffalo/south_buffalo-group-enro...
Consumer Enrollment Form http://content.liazonpartners.com/south_buffalo/south_buffalo-personal-e...
Check out the article on CNNMoney.com detailing Liazon's health insurance innovation!
Lower Benefits Costs. With more choices, the new program lets you control your benefits costs and define how much you will contribute to benefits. It is a consumer-centric solution that allows you and your employees to buy the right insurance at the right price.
Marketplace of Benefits Choices. Liazonâ€™s program provides you with a full suite of employee benefits from leading carriers. Most are services that you can't access on a direct purchase basis. With our new Benefits Exchangeâ„¢, you can explore diverse plans and services - for health, dental, vision, life insurance, disability, supplemental health, and long term care insurance.
Benefits Consumerism. The award-winning Bright ChoicesÂ® Benefits Exchangeâ„¢ online store lets users assess benefits needs - both health and wealth - and build a personal Benefits Portfolio to meet those needs. Bright Choices provides all the tools, tutorials, and transactions to make you a more effective benefits consumer, and it lets you automate enrollment, eligibility, and billing. Complementing the Exchange is a consumer advocacy Helpline to answer benefits questions and assist with any problems.
Healthcare Reform Guidance (for print and/or post online)
Healthcare Reform: How does it affect me?
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) â€“ what is commonly referred to as the â€œHealthcare Reformâ€ â€“ has a wide array of changes that take place over the next few years, with the biggest of these changes taking effect in 2014. The two biggest items that we wanted to highlight for 2011 are mentioned and described below.
#1 â€“ Small Business Tax Credit for Insurance Premiums
The PPACA offers small businesses (including tax exempt organizations) the opportunity to take advantage of a tax credit for up to 35% of the premiums that are paid out for insurance premiums on behalf of their employees. This credit is taken on the businessâ€™s annual income tax return. To be eligible, you must meet the criteria below:
â€¢ Business must have fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees for the tax year of 2010
â€¢ Average annual wage per full-time employee must be less than $50,000
â€¢ Employer must pay at least 50% of the single coverage premium cost for health coverage
For more information, please reference Univeraâ€™s website at Univera Healthcare or the IRS website at http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=223666,00.html
TO FIND OUT IF YOUâ€™RE ELIGIBLE, USE THIS TAX CREDIT CALCULATOR FROM H&R BLOCK: http://www.hrblock.com/SBS/healthcare.html
Note: Sole proprietors (self-employed, no employees) are not eligible for the small business tax credit. However, the Small Business Jobs Act now allows (for 2010) self-employed individuals to deduct health insurance costs in calculating net earnings from self-employment for the purposes of determining self-employment taxes. For more information, please visit: http://www.irs.gov/publications/p502/ar02.html#en_US_publink1000179150.
#2 â€“ Purchasing Over-The-Counter Drugs Using Health Savings Account Funds
Many members have chosen to enroll in one of the High Deductible Health Plans (HDHP) which are qualified for a Health Savings Account (HSA). By utilizing a HSA, you are able to use pre-tax dollars to pay for medical expenses that are incurred throughout the year. The PPACA has changed the rules on using HSA dollars to pay for over-the-counter medicines and drugs. As it pertains to drugs and medicine, starting on January 1st of 2011, you will only be able to use your HSA dollars to pay for prescribed medications and insulin with your HSA dollars. You will no longer be able to use your HSA funds to pay for over-the-counter drugs (unless you have a prescription from your doctor). The language from the IRS and a link to its website are shown below.
â€œA. In accordance with Section 9003 of the Affordable Care Act, only prescribed medicines or drugs (including over-the-counter medicines and drugs that are prescribed) and insulin (even if purchased without a prescription) will be considered qualifying medical expenses and subject to preferred tax treatment.â€