Category Archives: Uncategorized

21st Century Cures Act Signed Into Law

On December 13, 2016, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act into law.  While the act covers mainly medical research and innovations, it also includes a provision for Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Accounts, also known as a QSEHRA.

What is a QSEHRA?

A QSEHRA is available to employers for plan years beginning after December 31, 2016 and can be a great option for employers who have less than 50 full-time employees and do not currently offer group health benefits.  The QSEHRA is established to reimburse employees for their  individual health insurance premiums and eligible unreimbursed medical expenses.  Premiums paid to purchase other group health coverage (e.g. through a spouse’s employer sponsored plan) are NOT eligible for reimbursement through the QSEHRA.  QSEHRA eligibility requirements must be the same for all eligible employees although the HRA benefits can vary based on the age and family-size of the employee.

QSEHRA Rules and Regulations

  • Annual benefits under a QSEHRA cannot exceed $4,950.00 per year for a single subscriber or $10,000 per year for a family.
  • Employers must report contributions to an QSEHRA on the employees’ w-2 each year.
  • Employees who utilize the QSEHRA must report the reimbursement to the Marketplace when applying for subsidies and tax credits.  The reimbursement may affect the amount of subsidy and tax credit that the employee receives.
  •  The employer must provide a statement to employees which contains the following information:
    • The amount of funds available through the QSEHRA
    • Instructions for the employee to provide the statement to the Marketplace when applying for a subsidy or tax credit
    • A statement indicating that the reimbursements are taxable if the employee does not have minimum essential healthcare coverage.

Questions about setting up a  QSEHRA?  Call Benefits Network at 724 940 9400 (Wexford Office) or 814 445 4943 (Somerset Office)

Benefits Network Acquires Somerset-based VCS Group Inc.

New consolidation makes Benefits Network one of the largest employee benefit firms in Western Pennsylvania and leading broker of UPMC and Highmark insurance product

Pittsburgh, Pa. – Benefits Network, a full service insurance firm in Wexford, Pa. has come to an agreement with Somerset-based VCS Group, to consolidate under the Benefits Network umbrella. The venture will make Benefits Network one of the largest employee benefit firms in Western Pennsylvania employing 26 people in their two locations. Benefits Network, driven by its expansive client base, will become one of the leading brokers of UPMC and Highmark insurance products in the region.

Benefits Network President David Straight says plans to consolidate operations have taken place over the last several months and were finalized Thursday, July 16. He expects a smooth transition, saying, “We have worked with VCS Group for the past decade and our employees are very familiar with each other. I’ve been impressed that both organizations share a similar culture where customer service and attention to detail is a priority.”

Benefits Network, now in its 17th year, is a perennial “Pittsburgh 100 Fastest Growing Firms” recipient and three times named as the #1 overall “Best Place to Work in Western PA.”

VCS Group Inc. was founded by Glenn E. Miller, Jr. in 1995. With 12 employees based in Somerset, the organization provides group and individual insurance products, employee benefit administration, health care reform consulting and employee education and support. In 2012, VCS Group opened Your Health Insurance Shop, a retail insurance store, to respond to the growing demand for individual health insurance brought on by the Affordable Care Act.

In coming weeks, the VCS Group name will be changed to Benefits Network and Your Health Insurance Shop will become a Benefits Network company continuing to serve the Medicare and individual health insurance market.

Miller, who plans to retire from VCS Group in the next several months, says, “This new venture brings tremendous benefits and enhancements to both our group and individual insurance customers.

Miller and Benefits Network President David Straight have worked with each other for many years and were both involved in forming E.MAP (Employers Medical Access Partnership) – a business coalition serving employers in Cambria, Somerset, Blair and Bedford counties.

Glenn Miller and David Straight
Glenn Miller and David Straight

Straight is Vice President of the board of directors for E.MAP and serves as Executive Director to two other coalitions – REHA (Regional Employers Health Alliance) serving employers in Washington, Westmoreland, Greene and Fayette counties and COG Care (Councils of Government) serving municipal government members in 29 counties in Western Pennsylvania.