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1809, 2020

What is HIPPA?

By |September 18th, 2020|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

HIPPA is an acronym. It stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Congress passed the act in 1996. HIPPA does the following:

  • Provides the ability to transfer and continue health insurance coverage for Americans and their families when they change or lose their jobs;
  • Reduces healthcare fraud
  • Mandates standards for health care information on billing
  • Requires the protection of health information


Portability refers to an employee’s option to retain certain benefits when switching employers. Things such as 401K accounts and some pensions have portability. This plays a part in what we call rollover, specifically IRA rollover. An IRA rollover occurs when employees change jobs. The old employer’s retirement administration has to transfer the account balance to the new employer. Taxes do not have to be paid when a direct rollover transfer is made. 401K accounts can rollover also.

Covered Information

HIPPA must protect all of an individual’s identifiable health information. Medical offices refer to an individual’s health information as “protected health information”.

This refers to information such as:

  • A person’s past, present, or future physical or mental health conditions.
  • Any health care provided to a person such as clinical notes or lab results related to medical care.
  • Past, present, or future payments related to health care (e.g. billing records)

Healthcare providers and insurers create and store this information. HIPPA also protects all demographic information and any information that can identify a person, such as names and addresses.

Rules on Disclosing Information

HIPPA makes it so that no one can access your information unless the individual who is the subject authorizes it. HIPPA allows doctors to disclose health information if the privacy rule permits or requires it. There is a difference in between information that HIPPA permits doctors to share and information that doctors must share. This has caused a lot of confusion when it comes to HIPPA. When doctors are required to disclose information they have to give the information. When doctors are permitted to disclose information there are allowed to but don’t necessarily have to. This means that they can refuse to give out the requested information. They are legally allowed to do so.

Minimum Necessary Requirement

HIPPA’s privacy rule has a principle of minimum necessary use and disclosure. This means that when health care providers share information, they can’t just disclose anything. They can only give information out on a need-to-know basis. Also, they only focus on what’s relevant and necessary. The minimum necessary requirement does not apply to all disclosures. If your doctor refers you to another doctor, they can send your whole medical chart along. If a doctor is speaking to your family at the hospital, HIPPA limits what he or she shares to “necessary and relevant information”.

Release Forms

Every time you go to a new doctor you sign a HIPPA release form. Now, what is that exactly?

That is a form saying that this doctor can access your health information. They have you sign this so that they have written proof you gave consent. These forms are, technically, not required by HIPPA. These forms are optional, but they serve as a type of insurance or protection for the doctors. Also, they want to avoid being accused of not protecting a patient’s rights and confidentiality.

1109, 2020

Life Insurance Basics, Part 2

By |September 11th, 2020|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: , |0 Comments

Welcome back to our discussion about life insurance, where we finish outlining the different types of life insurance as well as other basics.

Variable Life Insurance

Variable insurance is a type of permanent life insurance that has an investment aspect. This type of policy has a cash value aspect that is invested in sub-accounts. Those sub-accounts act like a mutual fund. A mutual fund is a pool of money that the manager invests in stocks, bonds, and money markets. This type of policy is the only time that has this type of investment opportunity. The cash value will fluctuate based on how the investment sub-accounts grow or drop.

Variable Universal Life Insurance

Variable universal life insurance is a combination of 2 types of permanent life insurance. It has the flexibility of the universal life insurance policy, but the investment opportunities of the variable life insurance. When you separate the savings or investment part and the death benefit parts of this life insurance type, the risk falls on the insurance policyholder. The policyholder might have to pay higher monthly premiums to cover the cost of the insurance and rebuild the cash value.

Survivorship Life Insurance

This type of life insurance is a policy that covers two individuals. This policy only pays out after both people have passed. So the second policyholder doesn’t receive any money when the first policyholder dies. These types of policies are much easier to qualify for than others. That is because the life insurance companies are less worried about the health statuses of the policyholders.

Life Insurance Payouts

Other than the types of life insurance, one of the most common misunderstood life insurance basics is the payout. Life insurance companies pay the policy out to beneficiaries when a policyholder dies. The beneficiary will need to file a claim to the insurance company and then submit a copy of the death certificate. If there are multiple beneficiaries, the plan will lay out how the payouts will work. There are 6 main life insurance payout options:

  • Lump-Sum– This is the simplest form of a payout. It would be a single deposit from the insurance company
  • Installment Payments– This is where the life insurance policy will pay out a percentage over a number of years, such as 20% over a five-years. The beneficiary usually earns interest on the unpaid amount while the insurance company holds it.
  • Straight Life Income– This is when the insurance company will pay out the policy to the beneficiary over the rest of their life. No matter how long the beneficiary lives, the amount will be paid out on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis.
  • Life Income with Period Certain– If the beneficiary dies, this payout option ensures that for a period of time a payment will be made, such as for 20 years after the death of the policyholder.
  • Joint Life with Survivorship– This payout option is based on the lives of 2 people and will continue paying as long as one of them is alive. A period certain payout can be added to this payout option.
  • Interest Only– This option lets the insurance company keep the insurance amount and the beneficiary receives the interest generated from the principal amount of the policy.

By The Numbers

  • 54% of American adults have life insurance
  • Most financial advisors would say to have 10-15x your annual income in life insurance
  • 40% of those insured wish they would have bought their policies at a younger age
  • Women typically pay 1/3 for life insurance versus men.
709, 2020

Life Insurance Basics: Where To Start

By |September 7th, 2020|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: |0 Comments

Life insurance is an important companion to health insurance. It is a contract between a policyholder and an insurance company that guarantees a named beneficiary will receive a death benefit if the policyholder dies. Life insurance is based on the need of the policyholder. When looking at plans, you need to decide what kind you need, there are quite a few different types.

What To Consider

The first thing to consider when looking for life insurance is how long you’re wanting coverage. Term insurance plans are set up to only last a certain amount of years, whereas permanent insurance is set up to last until a policyholder passes away. Next, you should consider how much life insurance you want. That will determine what your monthly premium payment is. You should consider if at any time you’ll want to borrow from it. Certain types of insurance plans have a cash value you can take a loan from. A beneficiary is someone who will receive the money when a policyholder dies. That is something to consider when looking for policies also.

Types of Insurance

The main types of life insurance are term and permanent. Term insurance plans can be bought in many different year spans. There are quite a few such as yearly renewable, 5-year renewable term, 10-year, or 20-year. There is even a 30-year term insurance plan. Permanent insurance has five main types. Those types are as follows:

  • Whole
  • Universal
  • Variable
  • Variable Universal
  • Survivorship

Term Insurance

Term Life insurance is a type of policy that only covers a specified amount of time, usually 20-30 years. These plans are much less expensive than other types of plans. That is because there is no cash value until the policyholder passes away. If a policyholder outlives their policy, they can renew a policy for longer if they want. Term insurance is most affordable when you buy at a younger age. The younger you buy insurance the less risk you pose for insurance companies.

Whole Life Insurance

Whole life insurance is permanent, which means it will cover the policyholder for the duration of their life. A policyholder must make the payments on time for the policy to stay active. Along with paying out a death benefit, whole life insurance policies carry a savings component that will accumulate cash value over time. The savings component can be invested or the policyholder can borrow against it whenever they want. This can serve as a source of equity.

Universal Insurance

Universal life insurance is permanent with a savings element, but low premiums like term insurance. Most of these insurance policies have flexible premium options. Some require a single premium (single lump-sum) or fixed premiums (scheduled). These policies usually have the minimum premium payments required to keep the policy active. They can change while active. Policyholders can change their premiums and death benefits. Policyholders can remit premiums that are more than the cost of insurance. The excess premium is added to the cash value and accumulates interest. Policyholders can make withdrawals on the cash value, but they will have to pay taxes on that money.

Come Back

Come back next week to continue learning the different types of life insurance and what kind of benefits they have to offer.

2808, 2020

Affordable Care Act Basics, Part Two

By |August 28th, 2020|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: , |0 Comments

The Affordable Care Act, which people also refer to as ACA, PPACA, or Obamacare, is a federal law concerning health care coverage. The act stems from the Obama Administration’s desire to expand healthcare coverage and Medicaid, as well as encourage innovation. Obama’s signature goes on the ACA in 2010, and the states implement changes by 2014. Last week, we reviewed key Affordable Care Act basics, such as what the Federal Poverty Level is as well as the main purposes of the ACA. This week, we are looking at more Affordable Care Act basics key protections the ACA affords as well as federal provisions that help achieve the ACA’s goals.

Rights & Protections

The ACA affords Americans some very specific rights and privileges. If you get a new insurance plan, these things should be on there. But there are a handful of plans that insurance companies grandfather in, so check your plan for coverage today. So here are some things that plans must do.

  • Cover individuals with pre-existing conditions, as well as not charging more for it.
  • Offer free preventative care.
  • Provide young adults with more options.
  • Abolish lifetime and annual limits on coverage of essential health benefits.
  • Assist customers understand what type of coverage they get.
  • Protect your choice of healthcare provider as well as protect you from retaliation from your employer.
  • Give mothers breastfeeding support and equipment.
  • Birth control counseling and cost coverage.
  • Include mental health and substance abuse services in the category of essential health benefits.
  • Allow people to appeal health plan decisions and have an outside party review them.

The ACA also holds insurance companies accountable for rate increases and prohibits them from dropping a client when that client gets sick.

Federal Provisions

The three main purposes of the ACA are to improve the availability of coverage, expand Medicaid, and support cost saving innovations in health care delivery. There are quite a few steps the federal government takes to achieve those goals. We only have space for some of the provisions on this page, for a full list, check out the National Conference of State Legislatures website. In addition, there are exceptions to a few of these provisions, consult with your local health insurance company to find out further details.

Availability Of Coverage

  • Make employers help their workers get coverage. However, some small businesses are exempt.
  • Give small businesses that help cover employee health insurance costs with tax credits.
  • Insurance plans must cover young adults on parents’ plans.

Medicaid Expansion

  • Give Medicaid coverage to people with incomes below 133% FPL.
  • Improve care coordination between Medicare and Medicaid.
  • Medicaid must cover services to help pregnant individuals on Medicaid stop smoking.


  • Comparative studies to research the difference in effectiveness of different treatments. Then, implement that research.
  • Collect and report data to analyze health disparities between populations of different demographics.
  • Invest in health information technology.
2108, 2020

Affordable Care Act Basics: An Introduction

By |August 21st, 2020|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: , |0 Comments

The Affordable Care Act, also known as ACA or Obamacare, is a health care coverage act from the Obama Administration. President Barack Obama signed the act in March of 2010. Since then, the ACA is a hotly debated topic in homes and on news stations. However few people understand the purpose and the full extent of the bill. This week and next week we are breaking down Affordable Care Act basics. Read on to learn what the federal poverty level is, the purpose of the Affordable Care Act, and other basics.

Federal Poverty Level

When it comes to the Affordable Care Act, there are many references to the “federal poverty level” (FPL). But what is that really? The FPL is an exact dollar amount that the Department of Health and Human Services calculates every year. FPL represents the minimum amount of income that an individual or family needs to cover the necessities of life, including shelter, food, clothing, and transportation.

The government uses FPL to determine your eligibility for government benefits. For example, take Tom. Tom is a single man who lives alone, and his annual income is only $17,000.  For a single person, 138% FPL is $17,609. Tom makes below 138% FPL so he qualifies for Medicaid if his state has wider Medicaid coverage.

Income Under 100% FPL

You likely do not qualify for Medicaid from income, nor do you qualify for a Marketplace insurance plan.

Income Under 138% FPL

If your state expands Medicare coverage, you qualify for Medicaid from your income.

Income 100% to 400% FPL

You qualify for government subsidies that lower your monthly premium so you can access a Marketplace insurance plan.

The Big Picture

The Affordable Care Act has three primary purposes that the entire act revolves around. All of the provisions and the design of the act exist to meet those purposes. If you want to understand the ACA, it is essential to understand these big picture goals.


Firstly, the ACA addresses an issue that gives much cause for concern in America – how many people have no health insurance coverage. At the time of the signing, over 46 million Americans are without health insurance.

The focus is especially heavy on families who are at or just above the poverty level. The government provides subsidies that keep costs as low as possible.

Expand Medicaid

Medicaid provides health insurance coverage for low income people, including families. Both the state and federal government fund Medicaid, which causes some issues when the federal government tries to expand it.

Nevertheless, expanding Medicaid is one of the big goals of the ACA. Ultimately, they want Medicaid to cover all adults with income under 138% of the federal poverty level. Find out more about those exact numbers here.

Support Innovation

Finally, the ACA strive to support innovative ways to deliver medical care. Especially those innovations that lower the cost of health care.

Come Back

Come back next week to learn more about the ACA, including key federal provisions as well as how the law protects you.

1408, 2020

Medicare Basics: An Introduction To Medicare

By |August 14th, 2020|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

If you are an older adult, you have definitely heard of Medicare. Even if you are younger, you know the term, even if you do not know what it means. This week we are breaking down the Medicare basics. Read on to learn about what exactly Medicare basics are and who is eligible.

 What Is Medicare?

Medicare is a nation-wide insurance program for Social Security recipients. The recipients must meet one of two criteria: they are at least 65 years of age or they are permanently disabled.

Medicare Vs Medicaid

Medicaid is a welfare program, while Medicare is not. Medicaid is a program that provides medical coverage to low-income families and individuals.

Part Of Medicare

There are four parts of Medicare. While part A and B are the most substantial, all four cover different components of health. For more detailed explanation of the parts of Medicare, check our article here.

Part A

Part A is hospital coverage. Medicare automatically awards part A to everyone who earns coverage. This covers hospital stays, hospice care, and nursing homes.

Part B

Part B covers doctor services and outpatient care. In addition, part B takes care of lab work, screenings and medical equipment. However, part B does have an associated cost.

Part C

Part C combines Medicare with private health insurance. You might also hear part C as “Medicare Advantage”. It combines parts A and B as well as additional coverage options through private health insurance.

Part D

Insurance experts refer to part D as the prescription drug plan. This plan covers a portion or al of an individual’s prescription drug costs.

Medicare Eligibility

Medicare has more open eligibility than most people initially believe.

Firstly, the most common group of people that Medicare covers are individuals who earn Social Security in addition to an age qualification. That is, they must reach 65 years of age or older.

Then, the next most common are individuals who earn Social Security for at least 24 months.

In addition, there are many smaller groups of qualified individuals. Read more about those groups here.

Where To Enroll

Luckily, it is not too difficult to enroll in Medicare. Local Social Security Administration offices accept enrollment. In addition, Railroad retirees enroll through their Railroad Retirement Board. Finally, enroll online through the Social Security Administration website.

If You Need Assistance

Contact NHIA to learn more about Medicare coverage. Also learn about BlueMedicare supplements A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, N as well as BlueMedicare Advantage plans.

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