“Healthcare costs are a major concern for millions of people all over the nation, including you. Working for The Phia Group allows us to make a difference by containing those costs, and sharing what we've learned and done with a gracious audience.”

JENNIFER COSTA
Director, Recovery Services

 
Blog

Recent Posts

  • An Objective Analysis and Response to Elizabeth Warren’s “Ending the Stranglehold of Health Care Costs on American Families”
    November 7, 2019
    Below I will parse out some of the statements made by Senator Elizabeth Warren in her recent policy paper, titled “Ending the Stranglehold of Health Care Costs on American Families.” Note that my attempt in so doing is to provide a response to some of the comments made by Ms. Warren, based upon my own experiences, observations, and understanding of health care and health insurance; without discussing any of my own political attitudes or personal biases. This is not meant to be a reflection of my own, or The Phia Group’s, attitude or position as it relates ...
  • Happy (Almost) New Plan Year!
    November 6, 2019
    For employers who sponsor calendar year self-funded group health plans, the Fall season can be a very hectic time of year. This is usually the time of year that many employer plan sponsors begin reviewing their benefits in the context of the evolving needs of their workforce, and of course, plan costs. Based on my own experience in preparing The Phia Group health plan for the 2020 plan year, I have compiled several helpful tips for employer plan sponsors to keep in mind as they review their group health plans for the new plan year.
  • Hospitals Jump Into the Fray – New Lawsuits Against Opioid Manufacturers
    November 4, 2019
    In August, a $572 million Oklahoma ruling came down against Johnson & Johnson – the first major ruling against a drug manufacturer for its role in America’s ongoing opioid crisis. The holding found that the drug manufacturer’s advertising and marketing helped flood the state with dangerous painkillers, and it dominated the news cycle as the first major “loss” for a drug manufacturer in a case of this type (many similar claims have been settled out of court. It also sparked a firestorm of speculation about who will come out of the woodwork making such claims against various ...
  • The Tower of Babel – Talking Heads Talking Past Each Other
    October 31, 2019
    As the 2020 Presidential Election draws closer, the topic of healthcare continues to dominate the airwaves. Be it media or debate, this is one of the (if not the) issue about which everyone is talking; but pay close attention and you’ll notice they aren’t all speaking the same language.
  • Don’t Get Bit: Avoid Falling Into the COBRA Snake Pit.
    October 28, 2019
    Similar to a number of my millennial counterparts, my introduction to “COBRA” coverage did not occur during a college class or work project, but rather as a 26 year old kid who had to face the reality that relying on my parent’s health care coverage wasn’t going to last forever. Although a bit more expensive for me, COBRA was relatively simple from the qualified beneficiary’s perspective. Unfortunately, COBRA is lot less simple when looking at it through an employer’s eyes, especially when that employer self-funds its group health plan.
  • Battle Lines Drawn over Medicare for All in the Latest Democratic Debate
    October 21, 2019
    The fourth Democratic debate featured the largest crowd of candidates yet (twelve) debating everything from healthcare to billionaires to automation. On healthcare in particular, though, this debate sharpened distinctions between the Democratic candidates. The moderate candidates wasted no time in launching their most aggressive and detailed attacks on Medicare for All, the signature policy of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (D-VT), the staunchest defenders of Medicare for All, found themselves repeatedly on the defensive, defending the proposal’s multi-trillion dollar price tag and its eventual abolition of the employer-sponsored health insurance.
  • The “Greatest of Three” Rule & Barriers to Compliance
    October 17, 2019
    Although seeing a plan get sued over a denial is certainly never a good thing, it is the only way to compel useful guidance, and perhaps even create meaningful regulation of the entities that possess, but will not provide, the information that plans need to comply with this federal regulation!
  • The Health Care Tug-of-War
    October 15, 2019
    Forgive me, but I want to take a minute to look at the politics of the health care debate. I know, the conversations around impeachment, gun control, immigration, and the 2020 election eat up a lot of the oxygen in the room. Plus, new evidence suggests that being politically engaged is a significant source of stress in our daily lives, and comes with its own emotional cost. Nonetheless, the discussion surrounding what path the American health care system should take is a fundamental concern to our industry, and it seems well worth taking a moment to examine the possibilities. ...
  • The Art of the Pill: Will Trump Fully Buy Into an International Price Index?
    October 7, 2019
    On September 19th, Speaker Pelosi revealed a progressive solution to a problem currently consuming roughly 1.3% of the U.S. GDP and costing patients approximately $61 billion in out-of-pocket expenses. Pelosi’s proposal, expected to hit the House floor in mid-October, mirrors the Trump Administration’s October ‘18 proposal to lower prescription drug costs. Both proposals would index U.S. drug prices to that of foreign markets, such as Canada, Britain, and Japan, known as an international price index, or IPI. The proposals also create authority in the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to negotiate prices with pharmaceutical manufacturers. Both proposals ...
  • Patients are Increasingly Being Sent to Collections and Finding Themselves In Court – Sued by the Providers That Swore to Protect Them
    September 20, 2019
    According to a report, court clerks in various geographic regions are witnessing a clear and undeniable uptick in the number of lawsuits being filed by hospitals and providers against patients. Even the CEO of the hospital targeted by the report agrees that they “are no different from hospitals all over the Country that are suing patients” … “This is a national phenomenon.” The hospital executive went on to tout the fact that they successfully win cases – filed against their own patients – 99% of the time; but a representative of the court opined that this horrendous ...
  • Department of Labor Issues FAQs to Clarify Mental Health Parity Regulations
    September 19, 2019
    On September 5, 2019, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued FAQs in an effort to promote compliance and clarify confusion surrounding the final mental health parity regulations. Generally, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equality Act (MHPAEA) requires that any quantitative (ex. visit limits and out of pocket amounts) and non-quantitative (ex. medical management, step therapy and pre-authorization requirements) treatment limitations on mental health conditions or substance use disorder (MH/SUD) benefits are offered in parity with medical and surgical benefits. Essentially, mental health parity laws ensure that group health plans, who choose to offer MH/SUD benefits (self-funded plans ...
  • Number of Uninsured Increases for First Time Since Passage of the ACA
    September 16, 2019
    In September, the U.S. Census Bureau issued its report on Health Insurance Coverage in the United States (for 2018). A primary finding of that report generated significant media coverage: for the first time since 2009, the number of Americans without health insurance increased. There are many possible explanations for this increase; however, with 2020 presidential hopefuls out in full swing, blame is being placed primarily on the Trump administration and its efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”).
  • Lots of Moving Parts
    September 11, 2019
    As those of us involved in self-funding know, there are multiple considerations involved in most decisions. Even something as simple as negotiating a pre-payment bill can involve questions such as: (1) Will the stop-loss carrier reimburse the negotiation fees? (2) Will the agreement hold up if the provider or plan changes its mind? (3) Does the TPA incur liability if it enters into the agreement on behalf of the health plan? (4) How should the TPA treat patient responsibility pursuant to the agreement? ...etc.
  • Controversy Surrounds the Most Expensive Drug in the World
    August 13, 2019
    In May of this year, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved the most expensive drug in the world, Zolgensma. The drug was developed by Swiss drug maker, Novartis, and costs $2.1 million for the one-time single dose. The drug maker will spread the burden of the high cost by allocating payments for the drug over a 5- year plan at $425,000 a year.
  • Don’t Confuse Appeals with Balance-Billing!
    August 6, 2019
    If you draft, administer, or otherwise manage self-funded health plans, you are likely very familiar with the appeals submission timeframe requirements within the SPD. The relevant regulations prescribe certain timeframes within which a health plan must allow an appeal, and a health plan is certainly free to allow longer periods of time, but abiding by the legal minimums tends to be the common practice.
  • There’s a New Notice on the Block
    July 31, 2019
    On July 17, 2019 the Internal Revenue Service issued Notice 2019-45, and, if our consulting question inbox is any indication, caused quite a stir in our community. At least among the groups offering HSA-qualified high deductible health plans.
  • Health Care “Cadillac Tax” Repeal Bill Passed by the House
    July 24, 2019
    The U.S. House of Representatives recently voted to abolish the so-called "Cadillac Tax" on employer-sponsored, high-value health plans, which was scheduled to take effect in 2022. If the Senate passes the measure, and the president signs it into law, the threat employers have faced from the tax will finally be over. The House passed H.R. 748, the Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act, with an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 419 to 6. The Senate will now decide whether to vote on the measure.
  • Final Individual Coverage HRA Rule Released
    July 22, 2019
    Recently, the Trump administration released a finalized rule establishing the conditions under which employers can utilize HRAs to subsidize their employees’ purchase of individual coverage, including coverage on the Exchange.
  • The Conscience Rule’s Effective Date is Delayed
    July 10, 2019
    On May 21, 2019, Health and Human Services (“HHS”) published the Final Conscience Rule with an effective date of July 22, 2019, which allows the denial of certain health care services for religious reasons. This rule protects providers, individuals, and other health care entities from having to provide, pay, or refer services such as abortion, sterilization, or assisted suicide. The rule also protects those providers, individuals, and other health care entities from discrimination on the basis of their exercise of conscience in HHS-funded programs. The intent of this rule is to protect religious and moral objections from having to ...
  • Network Contract Drafting: You’re Doin’ It Wrong
    July 1, 2019
    Our consulting team recent came across a network agreement that had the interesting nuance of indicating that the provider would bill amounts that were line with market standards.
  • Everything I Ever Needed to Learn, I learned in Pre-School!
    June 26, 2019
    As the saying goes, many of the basic skills we need to be effective in life are taught to us early. “Use your words” – a common instruction given to young children who are struggling to express themselves or communicate effectively, is an instruction I still use daily – albeit with a slight adjustment. Especially with matters relating to plan administration, words alone aren’t enough! it’s important to use the correct words to avoid any confusion and ensure that everyone reading the plan understands exactly what you mean!
  • IP Law vs. Drug Prices – Round Two, Fight!
    June 24, 2019
    Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar’s recent rule requiring drug manufactures to include the list prices of their drugs in their television ads is being received by big voices in the industry with about as much enthusiasm as you might expect. Although the rule will not take effect until July 9, big-name manufacturers Merck, Eli Lilly, and Amgen, with the Association of National Advertisers in their corner, are suing HHS and Secretary Azar to block the policy on a combination of likelihood of confusion and First Amendment grounds. Lawsuit aside, the HHS rule drew heavy inspiration from ...
  • No No-fault – Michigan Revamps its Auto Insurance Rules
    June 19, 2019
    Recently, the Michigan Senate passed sweeping legislation in an effort to get their auto insurance rates, which are the highest in the nation, under control. The main way Michigan aims to accomplish this is by eliminating their requirement that auto insurance policies carry unlimited “Personal Protection Insurance” (commonly referred to elsewhere as “Personal Injury Protection” or “PIP” coverage), which is no-fault first party medical coverage. Under the old system, with exposure to the carrier being quite literally unlimited, premiums predictably climbed to unsustainable levels.
  • MA PAID FAMILY & MEDICAL LEAVE UPDATE: Required Contributions Delayed…and Increased
    June 17, 2019
    The commencement of the required contributions for the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave (“PFML”) program was scheduled for July 1, 2019, but on June 11, 2019, Massachusetts Governor, Charlie Baker, along with members of the Commonwealth’s House and Senate, issued a joint statement agreeing to postpone the start of required contributions for the PFML program by three months. While the legislature will need to pass an emergency bill before the delay is official, this announcement is welcome news for employers scrambling to comply with what was supposed to be a July 1 contribution start date. Adversely, this announcement ...
  • Will Sex Discrimination be Re-Defined?
    June 6, 2019
    Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability with regards to certain covered entities’ health programs. A covered entity is one that receives federal funding as outlined in the ACA.
  • List Prices in TV Ads: Will This Help?
    May 31, 2019
    Last May, we extensively covered the Trump administration’s American Patients First blueprint. That document outlined four strategies for tackling the problems Americans face with respect to high prescription drug prices: boosting competition, enhancing negotiation, creating incentives for lower list prices, and bringing down out-of-pocket costs. The strategies called for some specific, ambitious proposals, including considering fiduciary status for PBMs. One of those proposals was to require drug companies to disclose list prices in television ads. Nearly a year later, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) has published the first final rule on prescription drug price transparency.
  • Denial & Appeal Case Study: A Deep Dive (Literally)
    May 28, 2019
    Here’s a case study that crossed my desk recently: A self-funded health plan incurred a claim for a member who went scuba diving, against his doctor’s explicit orders. The activity itself is far from hazardous; for many individuals, scuba diving can be a fun and rewarding activity. In this particular instance, however, the member’s physician told the member – and I quote from the medical records – “I highly recommend against it.”
  • IP Law vs. Drug Prices
    May 20, 2019
    Pharmaceutical companies and rapidly rising drug prices have been eating up a lot of the oxygen in the conversation around healthcare costs. From pharmaceutical executives and PBMs testifying before Congress to President Trump’s May 9 remarks from the Roosevelt Room calling for Democrats and Republicans to unite in a legislative effort to end surprise medical bills.
  • CMS Finalizes Drug Price Transparency Rule
    May 17, 2019
    The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) has finalized yet another rule demonstrating the agency’s commitment for greater transparency in the healthcare industry. On May 8, 2019, CMS finalized the “Regulation to Require Drug Pricing Transparency”, which will require prescription drug manufacturers to provide the Wholesale Acquisition Cost for their products in direct-to-consumer television advertisements. Under the final rule, drug makers will have to post the list price of a typical course of treatment for acute medications like antibiotics or for a 30-day supply of medications for chronic conditions. These consumer ads will be required to have a ...
  • Big Pharma Executives Testify Before Congress (Again)
    May 3, 2019
    Executives from major drug companies testified before the Senate Finance Committee. Read about their proposed solutions for price increases & transparency.
  • The Final AHP Rules Take a Hard Hit (Part 2)
    April 29, 2019
    The courts recently vacated the provisions set by the AHP rules. Learn more about future implications these changes may have for you and your employer.
  • Beware The “Lesser Of”
    April 23, 2019
    Learn more about avoiding problems with the plan document obligating the Plan Administrator to pay less than the amount required by a separate contract.
  • Suicidality On the Rise Amongst Missouri’s Child Medicaid Population
    April 10, 2019
    A recently released study highlighted some alarming numbers relating to the rates of suicidal thoughts and actions among children. Click to read more.
  • New DOL Opinion Letter: Employers May Not Delay FMLA Leave Designations
    April 8, 2019
    The Department of Labor recently stated that an employer may not delay designating a leave of absence, as a leave under FMLA. Learn what this means for you.
  • Be Transparent – Tell Me What You Really Want!
    April 3, 2019
    Diving deeper into the transparency of healthcare costs, what do you really want? The best or the most expensive?
  • The Final AHP Rules Take a Hard Hit
    April 1, 2019
    A federal court has ordered certain provisions of President Trump’s Association Health Plan (“AHP”) Final Rule to be vacated. Learn what that means for you.
  • ERISA Violations Due to Restrictive Claim Guidelines
    March 25, 2019
    A recent case development has added another layer to compliance when it comes to covering mental health benefits. Click to read more.
  • FDA Chief Resigns – Why It’s A Loss for Self-Funding
    March 20, 2019
    Scott Gottlieb was recently relieved of his duties as the commissioner of the FDA. Learn more about what his departure means for the healthcare system
  • RBP: Sticking It To The Man
    March 18, 2019
    Employers primarily choose to utilize reference-based pricing programs to cut costs. Learn more about the real benefits of these methodologies.
  • Drug Importation: A Word of Caution
    March 7, 2019
    A rising trend has been the procuring prescription drugs from abroad. Learn more about the potential risk most employers don't consider with these programs.
  • The Opioid Crisis: How Employers & Self-Funded Health Plans Can Combat This Epidemic
    March 5, 2019
    Each year more and more Americans overdose on prescription opioid drugs. Learn more about how employers can combat the epidemic.
  • Too Early to Worry About 2020? Never!
    February 27, 2019
    It's never too early to start planning. Learn more about the two things health plans should pay attention to with the recent and future ACA changes.
  • To RBP, or Not to RBP: That is (one) of the Question(s)
    February 25, 2019
    It’s assumed health insurance is included in an employment package. What was once a benefit is now an entitlement. Learn if RBP is for your business.
  • The New Medicare and Medicaid Bills
    February 19, 2019
    Learn more about the Medicare for All Act of 2019 and how it would transform U.S. health care system if it is passed.
  • Hey, Watch Your Language!
    February 13, 2019
    Learn more about why using clear and accurate language is important in reference-based pricing plans.
  • New Action on Drug Pricing: Medicare-Like Rates?
    February 11, 2019
    The cost of insulin to treat patients with type 1 diabetes has doubled since 2012. Learn more about the bill that could help prevent further increases.
  • Self-Funding Comes in Many Forms - When Describing, Take Care to do so Accurately!
    January 29, 2019
    The Phia Group understands that many self-funded plans do not utilize the hybrid approach. Learn more about self-funded health plans.
  • Not An Enemy
    January 23, 2019
    The Phia Group explains how the insurance providers are not always your enemy and the hospitals' role in health coverage pricing. Click to read more.
  • Your Plans to Offset May be Offset
    January 21, 2019
    The self-funded industry took a hit when UnitedHealth won a lawsuit about their cross-plan offsetting. Learn more about the case & cross-plan offsetting.
  • The Government Shutdown's Impact on the Texas v. U.S. Case
    January 16, 2019
    The Phia Group shares their expert opinion on how the government shutdown's impact on the Texas v. U.S. Case. Click to read more!
  • Blocking the Birth Control Rule
    January 15, 2019
    Contraception for women has been a hotly debated topic due to a new Trump administration rule. Learn more about the states that blocked these rules.
  • EEOC Vacates ADA and GINA Wellness Incentive Rules
    December 21, 2018
    The Phia Group explains how the new EEOC's final rules on ADA and GINA will affect you. With a lack of rules, employers may have compliances risks.
  • Stop-Loss: The Forgotten Player in the Reference Based Pricing Game
    December 20, 2018
    Learn why you need to put stop-loss high up on the laundry list of considerations when choosing to adopt referenced-based-pricing.
  • A Texas Judge Strikes Down Obamacare – Our Take
    December 17, 2018
    The Phia Groups shares their expert opinion on Texas striking down on Obamacare. Learn more about how it could affect your future healthcare coverage.
  • Take Two Premiums and Call Me in the Morning...
    December 6, 2018
    Too many people are confusing the term ‘health care’ with ‘health insurance.' Learn more about how we break down the difference at Phia Group.
  • Responding to a IRS Letter 226J: Considerations and Common Mistakes
    December 5, 2018
    If you are an applicable large employer, IRS could possibly be sending a Letter 226J notice your way. Will you be ready to respond accurately within 30 days?
  • Objectives for the CVS Health and Aetna Merger
    December 3, 2018
    The CVS Health and Aetna merger was granted preliminary approval from the DOJ in October. Will it benefit them or the patients more? Click to learn more!
  • You Down with RBP? (You May Already Be!)
    November 28, 2018
    Reference-based pricing is one of the most mysterious self-funding structures out there. Learn if your plan falls under RBP, today!
  • Trump Administration Finalizes ACA Contraceptive Mandate Exemption Rules
    November 26, 2018
    The Trump Administration recently released new rules that expand the scope of contraceptive mandate exemptions. Click to learn more about the rules.
  • OSHA Publishes Guidance on Post-Accident Drug Testing
    November 14, 2018
    OSHA recently released an official memorandum regarding their stance on drug testing. We break it down in more depth and tell you what you need to now!
  • Healthcare on the Ballot, and a Free Side of Fries
    November 5, 2018
    Phia Group takes a step back and takes a deeper look of healthcare and political promises. Learn how these pledges affect your insurance expense.
  • The Proposed HRA Rules v. the Current Regulatory Landscape
    October 31, 2018
    In October of 2018 the government issued proposed regulations on health reimbursement arrangements. It's not too late! Learn how this may affect you.
  • SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act
    October 29, 2018
    It is no secret that this country has an opioid epidemic that has a rising death toll and price tag attached to it. Click here to learn more.
  • HHS Proposes Drug Transparency Rules for TV Advertisements
    October 17, 2018
    Drug transparency rules have been proposed for TV advertisements. Find out more about these potential industry-changing regulations, today!
  • Is Your Life Insurance Policy Subject to ERISA?
    October 3, 2018
    Is your life insurance policy subject to ERISA? Learn how to find out if it is and what that might mean for you if your insurance policy is subject to it.
  • Communication Breakdown – More Lessons Learned from My Wife’s Battle Against Lymphoma
    October 1, 2018
    Listen to Phia Group's podcast, "Empowering Plans." This episode discusses the importance of communication & diligence when dealing with cancer medication.
  • Wilderness Therapy Exclusions Causing Mental Health Parity Concerns
    September 26, 2018
    The plan exclusion of wilderness therapy has spurred some lawsuits based on alleged violations of the MHPAEA. Click here to learn more about the lawsuits.
  • REMINDER: Medicare Part D Creditable Coverage Notices Due to Certain Employees by October 14th
    September 24, 2018
    Do you deserve to be receiving these benefits? Find out more about the Medicare coverage that is due to employees by October 14th. Learn more today!
  • A Contract By Any Other Name
    September 19, 2018
    Are you using reference-based pricing? If you answered yes, make sure you're doing it right. Click here to contact Phia Group's Consulting team & learn more!
  • The Kavanaugh Hearings: The Future of Abortion and Obamacare at Stake
    September 17, 2018
    Abortion and Obamacare are 2 of the most debated subjects in the world. Click here to learn why the future of both may be at stake at the Kavanaugh hearings.
  • Texas v. U.S. Serves as Latest Threat to ACA’s Pre-Existing Condition Protections
    September 12, 2018
    The Affordable Care Act is under attack again, being called unconstitutional. Click here to learn more about the latest developments with the Texas v. US case.
  • Has the Life Expectancy of Drug Rebates Been Reduced?
    August 29, 2018
    We all know drug prices are sky-high with seemingly no end in sight. Click here to learn more about the Trump Administration's attempt to reduce drug costs.
  • With the Lack of Guidance on AHPs, States Take Matters into Their Own Hands
    August 22, 2018
    The final Association Health Plan has left states with more questions than answers. With the rules becoming effective on Aug 20th, learn how you will be affected.
  • Patient Assistance Programs: Friend or Foe?
    August 15, 2018
    Have you been wondering the reality behind patient assistance programs to help pay for your prescriptions? Learn more about PAPs & how it may affect you today.
  • CMS Requires Hospitals to Post Standard Charges Online
    August 9, 2018
    Price transparency has never really been synonymous with health care. Click here to see how CMS's is attempting to address this on-going healthcare issue.
  • Paid Bereavement Leave for New Yorkers
    August 7, 2018
    New York has recently passed a bill amending the Paid Leave Law to include bereavement leave. Learn more about how it may affect you by clicking here.
  • Know when to fold ‘em
    July 30, 2018
    Winning a case does not always equate to the best outcome. Learn more about the "made whole" doctrine in MA and effective cost containment by clicking here.
  • FDA Approves Marijuana-Derived Drug for Seizures
    July 25, 2018
    The FDA issued the nation's first approval for a drug derived from marijuana-based compounds to treat seizures. Click here to learn more about the drug.
  • Trump Administration Halts Billions in ACA Payments
    July 18, 2018
    The Trump Administration has taken quite a beating from the Affordable Care Act. Click here to know what insurance companies will be forced to do.
  • Which path will the EEOC take in August?
    July 16, 2018
    Are you curious about the court case between the AARP & EEOC on wellness programs? If so, read here!
  • You Probably Can!
    July 11, 2018
    Have your clients ever decided not to utilize wrap networking? Research shows that wrap networks offer the best bang for your buck! Read here to learn more.
  • What Does FDA CBD Approval Mean For Self-Funded Plans?
    July 2, 2018
    The FDA recently approved medical marijuana for the United States. Read more to see how CBD will impact self-funded health insurance plans.
  • Expansive Paid Leave Legislation for Massachusetts Employers
    June 29, 2018
    Governor Charlie Baker recently signed new legislation that will directly impact employers of Massachusetts. Learn more about what this includes!
  • A Bit of Relief From the 2nd Circuit
    June 27, 2018
    The subrogation industry has taken a toll from the 2nd Circuit relating to the provision of employee benefits. Learn more about the issues of subrogation today!
  • Right to Try... Right for You? Understanding What is Right, and Wrong, for Self-Funded Plans in Response to the New Right to Try Law
    June 21, 2018
    Are you seeking insurance coverage options for drug treatment? If so, this article will explain everything about the new Right To Try legislation.
  • The MHP Hits Just Keep on Coming
    June 20, 2018
    Mental Health Parity violations keep resurfacing in court cases more frequently. Learn more about the recent case involving Catholic Health Initiatives here.
  • An Addiction to Health Insurance
    June 18, 2018
    Health insurance continually blinds people from the actual cost of healthcare. Read why more people are more addicted to health insurance more than ever.
  • The Complicated Issue of ACA’s Section 1557 and Gender Identity Protections
    June 13, 2018
    The Affordable Care Act prohibits health programs to discriminate people based on their attributes. But is gender identity protected? Click here to find out!
  • May Day: Two States Enact Individual Health Insurance Mandates
    June 11, 2018
    Many states have defied the Trump Administration’s repeal of Obamacare, but why? Click here to learn more.
  • Bridging the Gaps Between...Everything
    June 4, 2018
    Our new Phia Certification Program is to ensure all our employees understand our industry and how we operate. Click here to learn more.
  • How About Some Evidence? - Montanile v Board of Trustees
    May 23, 2018
    You may be curious about the decisions made in the Montanile v Board of Trustees Supreme Court case. Read more about the new approach to third-party liability.
  • MHP – Are You Still Paying Attention?
    May 16, 2018
    Lawsuits and Department of Labor audits related to Mental Health Parity violations are still arising. Read more about the recent Munnelly v Fordham case!
  • One Shot at This
    May 14, 2018
    When writing plan documents, make sure to get it right the first time before handing to clients. Click here for everything I have learned & my story.
  • The Gap Doesn't Stop At the Document
    May 9, 2018
    There are many types of gaps within coverage including plan documents & network agreements. Click here to learn about all the gaps you should be aware of.
  • The Complications Surrounding Intermittent FMLA Leave
    May 7, 2018
    There are many complications dealing with Intermittent FMLA Leave. Click here to learn everything you need to ensure to administer this properly.
  • North Cypress Medical Center: What Does it Mean for RBP?
    May 2, 2018
    Reference-based pricing has a lot of hurdles for businesses and legality. Read here about the recent court case regarding patient pricing.
  • The Fax Machine and a Lesson in Incentives
    April 30, 2018
    Faxing is a very inefficient way to share records with doctors and insurance providers. However, there may be a better solution! Click here to learn more.
  • Senate Health Committee Hones in on Mental Health Parity Enforcement
    April 26, 2018
    The Senate Health Committee is working hard to strengthen mental health parity in insurance plans. Click here to see the effect on the self-funded industry.
  • Stories from the Front Lines…
    April 17, 2018
    The Phia Group constantly fights for the rights of their clients every single day. Read our amazing story on how we got our clients 2nd lien reinstated.
  • The Tangled Web of Eligibility
    April 11, 2018
    In this article, we talk about the BIG picture of eligibility issues, subsequent gaps, & continuation of coverage. Read here to get the BIG picture!
  • Hope Springs Eternal
    April 9, 2018
    Employers are moving to a self-funded model for their health benefits. Click here to understand that it is more robust and less costly for everyone!
  • Don’t Miss the Most Dynamic Healthcare Industry Event in New England!
    April 4, 2018
    The Phia Group is going to Benefest 2018! The purpose is to reshape and disrupt the entire healthcare industry. Read more for additional details!
  • The Phia Group Saves an Employer Thousands of Dollars
    March 30, 2018
    Have you received a letter from the IRS saying that you violated employer mandate rules and owe an ESRP penalty? Read here to get all the details.
  • Negotiated Rates Are King
    March 29, 2018
    Negotiated rates are extremely important in the self-funded insurance industry. Click here to see all the benefits!
  • Freedom Blue II: The ACA’s Unlikely Ally
    March 26, 2018
    The Trump Administration recently shut down Idaho’s conservative governor from ignoring the ACA. Read here to know exactly why this happened.
  • Responding to a IRS Letter 226J: Considerations and Common Mistakes
    March 21, 2018
    If you are an applicable large employer, the IRS could possibly be sending a letter. Read more about the 2 types of ESRP penalties that may affect you.
  • Freedom Fighters Abound…
    March 14, 2018
    There is no question that the vast majority of folks in self-funding, whether benefit or service providers, have a goal in mind; providing cost effective benefits to the insured.
  • Contraceptive Update – Appeals and Intervenors
    March 7, 2018
    Contraceptive update! Two lawsuits that have challenged the contraceptive coverage rule have created changed issued by the Trump administration. Read more about these and if they could be affecting your situation.
  • Clearly it’s (Not) Transparency
    March 5, 2018
    If the consumer of healthcare (the patient) is different than the purchaser of healthcare (the plan or insurance carrier), how will knowing the price change the consumer’s behavior?
  • What do All These New Paid Sick Laws Mean for Employers?
    February 28, 2018
    What do all these new paid sick laws mean for employers? As many states are starting to beginning to enact paid sick or leave time regulations, employers will need to understand this. If you are an employer or employee that would like to know more about your paid sick laws contact The Phia Group.
  • Freedom Blue: Idaho’s Challenge to the ACA Gets Serious
    February 19, 2018
    The Department of Insurance (“DOI”) have made announcements in regards to what insurers are able to do in the ACA. Learn more about the details of Governor Butch Otter's executive order that would let health insurers in his state sell new plans to market that did not comply with ACA rules.
  • Employer Mandate Enforcement: IRS Turning Up The Heat
    February 15, 2018
    The Employer Shared Responsibility Provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) continues to serve as a polarizing topic among employers and ACA supporters as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) moves forward with its compliance efforts. If you have 50 or more full-time employees you could be affected.
  • The DOL’s Proposed Rule … A Sleeper Provision for Self-Funding?
    February 12, 2018
    Proposed regulations by the Department of Labor (DOL) make two important modifications to self-funding. Learn about them here and how they could be affecting you or your business.
  • Even the best Plans can backfire!
    February 7, 2018
    Success is not a given in the world of subrogation/reimbursement. Choose a subrogation firm like The Phia Group who will try to secure everything that is needed for a client. Contact us today to get started!
  • Your Plan isn’t a Cadillac …Yet
    January 31, 2018
    The most notable in the self-funded industry is the ACA’s High Cost Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage Excise Tax (“Cadillac Tax”). The Cadillac Tax was originally set to begin in 2018, but has been delayed again. Find out when your plan will become a Cadillac from The Phia Group.
  • Sick (Leave) Day: Maryland Revamps Paid Sick Leave Law
    January 23, 2018
    Maryland has become the latest state to mandate paid sick leave for employers with 15 or more employees. Learn about the permissible uses for earned sick and safe leave options that are stated in the law. The Phia Group offers their key takeaways and the ability to read the full Act here.
  • The Reference Based Pricing Stew
    January 17, 2018
    Reference-based pricing tends to be something you will love or hate. It is put together like a stew by compiling a ton of different ideas which can result in good stew or a very bland one. It can become very complex due to the industry and other factors. Read more about RBP with The Phia Group
  • A Backdoor Employer Mandate? Massachusetts Targets Employers to Shore Up the State’s Medicaid Program
    January 15, 2018
    Since 2011, approximately 450,000 people have lost their employer-sponsored insurance in Massachusetts. In the same time period, MassHealth enrollment increased by just over 500,000. The MassHealth program is literally drowning the state in debt, and so last year, Governor Charlie Baked signed H. 3822, which has two major components (beginning in 2018).
  • NOT SO FAST! Don’t Change Contraceptive Coverage Just Yet
    January 10, 2018
    Changing Contraceptive Coverage? You might want to wait. The new rules essentially allow any company that is not publically traded the ability to refuse to cover contraceptives on moral or religious grounds. The process for the exemption is also much more relaxed than the accommodation process.
  • Nice to see you, 2018. Should we Expect more of the same?
    January 2, 2018
    Avoiding reimbursement rights, self-funded plan structure, prudent management of plan assets or disbursement of settlement funds? No one can predict what will happen in 2018 but The Phia Group will be here to handle any subrogation law needs.
  • Pin the Tail on the Donkey & Other Blindfolded Games of Placement
    December 27, 2017
    Our industry (that being the self funded health benefits industry) is primarily a web-work of relationships. Unlike a large, traditional health insurance carrier, where all functions are located under one roof, in our industry key pieces of the greater whole are comprised of various independent entities.
  • House Bill Assumes Air Ambulance Providers are Underpaid
    December 13, 2017
    "Ensuring Access to Air Ambulance Services Act of 2017" this bill is designed primarily to alter the Medicare reimbursement to air ambulance providers. If you would like to learn more about this bill or if it has been impacting you, read about it here with The Phia Group.
  • Sacrificing the Individual Mandate on the Alter of Tax Reform
    December 11, 2017
    Want to know more about the glue of Obamacare? Perhaps the single most important piece of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) is its “individual mandate" Learn about how Americans have been required to obtain health insurance coverage that meets the government's definition of "minimum essential coverage" or pay a penalty.
  • Year Up at Phia!
    December 1, 2017
    The Phia Group has been beyond thrilled with our talented, dedicated members who have come to us through Year Up. Sheyla and Josh have become such essential members of our team – we feel truly blessed to call them a part of the Phia Family. We sat down with them to hear their thoughts and experiences.
  • A Little 2017 Holiday Cheer… Subrogation Style!
    November 29, 2017
    Everything in the subrogation world in 2016 was viewed through the prism of the Montanile decision from the Supreme Court. We take a look back at 2017 and how the Montanile decision was carried out and any other cases that factored into the court's decision. Read more here
  • Not all Illegal Act Exclusions are Created Equal
    November 22, 2017
    Want to know more about Illegal Act Exclusions? Not all of them are created equal. Illegal acts and illegal drug exclusions are prevalent in self-funded plan documents, but does the plan document wording align with the plan's intent? Learn more about Illegal Act Exclusions with us.
  • Welcome to the Fiduciary Jungle!
    November 20, 2017
    Welcome to the Fiduciary Jungle! Fiduciaries are being accused by the employees of wasting the plan's money on less-than advisable investments. Learn how this could be coming to the health benefits arena to shape up and take action now! Contact the Phia Group to learn how you can stay protected
  • MA Contraceptive Reform Update
    November 13, 2017
    Jen McCormick, Esq. reviews the bill the MA House passed ensuring that women retain access to no cost contraceptives.
  • Massachusetts on Track to Pass a Significant Cost Containment Bill
    November 8, 2017
    Brady C. Bizarro, Esq. explains the Massachusetts State Senators proposed comprehensive reform bill focused on health care cost containment.
  • Montana SB44 and State Efforts to…Do What, Exactly?
    November 6, 2017
    Jon Jablon, Esq. discusses Montana's recently passed SB44 and its impact on payment amounts due to out-of-network air ambulance providers in Montana.
  • Phia Undercover: Two Chargemasters at Addiction Centers
    November 1, 2017
    Phia shares a recent experience dealing with a high rate biller and how they were able to rethink the process to close the accounts for a fair rate.
  • The Irony of Equity – It’s Almost Never Fair
    October 25, 2017
    Chris Aguiar, Esq. shares a recent case involving equitable claims and the importance of having trusted advisors.
  • More Rule Changes?
    October 18, 2017
    Kelly Dempsey, Esq. provides an overview of recent rule changes released by federal agencies and the Trump administration affecting the 2018 renewal season.
  • An Appealing Option - Affordable Care Act Review
    October 16, 2017
    Ron Peck, Esq. discusses the likeliness of facing a final appeal, possibly resulting in a plan being penalized.
  • Trump Administration Birth Control Roll Back
    October 9, 2017
    Jen McCormick, Esq. reviews the new HHS regulations allowing more employers to opt out of ACA preventive care contraception requirements.
  • Usually and Customarily Denied
    October 4, 2017
    Jon Jablon, Esq. discusses the importance of understanding how your stop-loss policy defines U&C before a portion of your paid claim is denied.
  • Another One Bites the Dust
    October 2, 2017
    Brady C. Bizarro, Esq. explains the collapse of the Graham-Cassidy repeal bill that would have replaced the Affordable Care Act.
  • In God We Trust; All Others Pay CASH…I wish…
    September 25, 2017
    Do healthcare providers offer discounts for cash payment? Learn more about the growing rate of physicians in the US who contract directly with their patients.
  • Natural Disasters (Hurricanes Harvey and Irma) - Don’t Let Them Wreak Havoc on Your Health Plan
    September 13, 2017
    Kelly Dempsey, Esq. shares the Department issued guidance related to Hurricane Harvey and what it means to employers and employees.
  • Stop Loss and My Infinite Sadness
    September 11, 2017
    Ron Peck, Esq. discusses potential savings opportunities when choosing stop loss coverage associated with your self funded healthcare plan.
  • Change is Good
    September 5, 2017
    Learn more about designing a valuable benefit plan for employees with ERISA in mind.
  • Uncertainty Prevails in the Health Care Debate
    August 30, 2017
    Review a detailed recap of changes thus far concerning the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for the 2017-2018 enrollment period.
  • Reference Based Pricing Bloopers & Blunders
    August 28, 2017
    Find out what to focus on and what to avoid when setting up your company's health plan reference based pricing. Learn more today.
  • Hope for Self-funded Plans in Connecticut..
    August 16, 2017
    Check out our article on what you need to know about Connecticut law HB 6221 and how it affects you.
  • The Benchmark Shuffle
    August 9, 2017
    Ensure your company is compliant with revised health care benchmark summaries released in 2017. Learn more today.
  • A House Divided
    August 7, 2017
    Find out how to avoid health plan and stop loss disagreements for self-funded health insurance claims with this helpful article.
  • Reverse Medical Tourism
    July 31, 2017
    Medical tourism offers many cost-containment options in reducing health care costs. Find out if this makes sense for you.
  • Reference-based Pricing: Decisions, Decisions…
    July 26, 2017
    Sort through the RBP pricing confusion and ask these questions to make the best decision for your company. Learn more.
  • The Rise of Paid Family Leave Laws & Their Impact on Self-Funded Plans
    July 24, 2017
    Understand the evolution of paid family leave laws. See which states passed laws and how much paid time they're required to offer. Learn more today.
  • Magical Words in Claim Negotiation: “Please Send Claim Back for Processing”
    July 19, 2017
    Jason Davis shares his 15 years experience in healthcare negotiation and offers ways to handle pushback from seemingly abusive providers.
  • Can’t We All Just Get Along?
    July 12, 2017
    Every once in a while you come across a plan that doesn’t want to comply with its stop loss contracts and/or obligations. It’s important that everyone realizes that we need each other to survive.
  • Spinning the Web of the Plan Document
    July 7, 2017
    Kelly explains the importance of reviewing plan revisions for errors causing gaps in stop loss policies and further complications. Learn more.
  • Altogether Now… But Not a Single Payer
    July 5, 2017
    Ron Peck, Esq. explains the problems with a Single Payer System, the differences between types of insurance and how costs are determined. Read more now.
  • It’s Time for a Wake-Up Call!
    June 26, 2017
    Learn more about how to educate your employees and get them involved in making healthy choices to benefit themselves and their healthcare costs.
  • Full Billed Charges: A Question of Geography
    June 21, 2017
    Do providers reserve the right to receive full billed charges from your plan? How is your plan set up? Find out with this helpful article.
  • Behind Closed Doors
    June 19, 2017
    Brady C. Bizarro, Esq. discusses the leaked bits of healthcare information from our government so far in 2017. What does this mean for you? Learn more today.
  • “Stay away from Back Surgery”: A Warning from NBA Coach Steve Kerr
    June 14, 2017
    As orthopedic surgeries are more commonly recommended, the cost continues to increase. Will we see a 400% increase by 2030? Learn more.
  • A Win for the Good Guys!
    June 7, 2017
    Is an SPD enough when standing up against benefit plan reimbursement rights? We explain why the 5th Circuit ruling helps. Read more now.
  • The Rules of the Game are Still Changing
    June 1, 2017
    Find out how the executive order passed May 4th, 2017 instructs involved agencies when making decisions about contraceptives.
  • Bite the Hand
    May 30, 2017
    Ron Peck, Esq. discusses the issue of private payers being charged inflated amounts and what the future can hold. Read more today.
  • It's Never Too Soon
    May 22, 2017
    Learn more about how to properly plan for upcoming healthcare changes and look at cost containment measures with these questions and feedback.
  • Dear Stop-Loss: A Ballad
    May 15, 2017
    With all the concern surrounding healthcare changes, read this ballad about insurance and stop-loss for a laugh...
  • You Are Not Going to Sue Us, Are You?
    May 10, 2017
    We take a look at a case where a client was billed thousands per day for similar treatments under different company names. Learn more.
  • Adam’s Key Takeaway from the 2017 MassAHU Benefest Conference
    May 4, 2017
    We discuss the importance of empowering employees understand the actual cost of care and making healthy changes. Read more today.
  • A Call for Defensive Legislation
    May 3, 2017
    Find out more about how the House of Representatives bill passed April 5th, 2017 helps regulate stop-loss insurance redefinition.
  • Words With No Meaning - Subrogation Accident Questionnaire
    May 1, 2017
    Chris shares an example of why it's important to choose your words wisely and make sure you say what you mean when it comes to subrogation accident questionnaires.
  • Transparency – It’s Not Just for Ghosts
    April 26, 2017
    Kelly Dempsey, Esq. shares a personal experience with different charges for the same services. Learn more today.
  • Pay the Cost to be the Boss!
    April 24, 2017
    Educate your staff and empower them to make the best choices, as illustrated by Ron Peck, Esq.'s example. Read more now.
  • Cyborgs – Moving From Science Fiction to Science Fact
    April 20, 2017
    The cost of prosthetics developed from new technology are expensive, but trend shows costs reduce as new technology develops. Learn more.
  • My Trip to the Emergency Room
    April 18, 2017
    Jen McCormick, Esq. shares an experience with her toddler and a family physician recommendation to the ER. Read more.
  • I Fought The Law and…Unpredictable Results Ensued
    April 12, 2017
    Jon Jablon, Esq. discusses whether it's worth the risk to involve legal parties with billing due to unpredictable results. Learn more today.
  • Repeal and Replace Faces a False Start - Affordable Care Act Review
    April 10, 2017
    A look at the possible impact on employer-sponsored health insurance with developing government decisions. Learn more.
  • Sometimes... The Truth Hurts...
    April 5, 2017
    Out-of-control billing is a huge problem in our healthcare system today. Learn more about what you can do to take control.
  • Trump’s Healthcare Bill Failed… Here’s Why
    April 3, 2017
    Until we challenge hospital costs, specialty drug charges and others, we'll continue overpaying. Learn more about what you can do.
  • U.S. Airways v. McCutchen – Where Are they Now?
    March 29, 2017
    We discuss the differences of known self-funded healthcare plans and compare them to U.S. Airways Vs. McCutchen. Learn more.
  • Bidding Against Themselves: $750K Air Ambulance Claim Adventure
    March 29, 2017
    Phia explains the importance of having good legal representation in this case about a $750,000 Air Ambulance Charge. Read more.
  • Bidding Against Themselves: $750K Air Ambulance Claim Adventure
    March 28, 2017
    The Phia Group explains the importance of having good legal representation in this case about a $750,000 Air Ambulance Charge. Read more.
  • Health Insurance is NOT Health Care
    March 23, 2017
    Phia Group Senior Vice President and General Counsel Ron E. Peck, Esq. discusses rising insurance premiums and what we need to do to evaluate those.
  • Keep Hands, Arms, Legs, and Feet Inside the Ride at All Times and Remain Seated Until the Ride Comes to a Complete Stop
    March 22, 2017
    Learn more about what to expect with all of the new changes in the healthcare industry.
  • If I Can Change, So Can The Average American
    March 15, 2017
    Learn more about why you should evaluate your health care plans and what to look for in your bills.
  • ACA to AHCA… A Look Back on the Past 7 Years
    March 13, 2017
    Learn more about how the American Health Care Act has evolved over the past 7 years.
  • The Cost-Containment Carve-Out Compliance Conundrum
    March 8, 2017
    Learn more about the compliance conundrum caused by health plans with "carve-outs"
  • Cornelius B. FAISON, Plaintiff–Appellee v. DONALSONVILLE HOSPITAL INC., Defendant–Appellant.
    March 6, 2017
    Appeal from the United States District Court For the Middle District of Georgia. D.C. Docket No. 1:11–cv–00010–WLS.
  • U.S. Supreme Court Rules Against Subrogation Rights … What Now?!!
    March 6, 2017
    The Supreme Court of the United States issued an 8-1 decision in favor of the plan participant in the case of Montanile v. Board of Trustee of the National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan
  • Montanile Changes Subrogation – How Will You Respond?
    March 6, 2017
    On January 20, 2016, The Supreme Court of the United States decided in favor of the plan participant in the case of Montanile v. Board of Trustees of the National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan. Learn More.
  • Second Quarter Newsletter 2016 – The Stacks
    March 6, 2017
    The Cost of Healthcare in The US is Arbitrary and Out of Control
  • Don’t get cute when ERISA documents are requested
    March 6, 2017
    The Employee Retirement Income Security Act generally requires that plan participants get copies of summary plan descriptions, plan documents and annual reports when requested.
  • Can FMLA leave be involuntary? Court punts
    March 6, 2017
    A federal court hearing an FMLA interference case has sidestepped deciding whether it is legal for an employer to place an employee on involuntary FMLA leave.
  • Federal Judge Denies United Healthcare’s Motion to Dismiss in Case Brought by Texas General Hospital for Unpaid & Underpaid Claims
    March 6, 2017
    In January of 2015, Texas General was the subject of intense scrutiny after a FOX 4 investigation revealed multiple billing complaints. A woman who underwent gastric sleeve surgery was charged a total of $622,000, most of which her insurance company, United, refused to pay.
  • Employer-sponsored Plans Should Prepare to be Taxed
    March 6, 2017
    The latest news in the repeal and replace saga is that congressional Republicans are pushing to get a bill to the Senate by the end of this month.
  • It will be my pleasure to balance bill the patient $1.3 Million…
    March 1, 2017
    Hospitals report their complete financial information to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This publicly-available information is submitted in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.
  • The Guilty Shall Remain Nameless – Yet I shall Shame Them… Again
    February 27, 2017
    In this second installment of “The Guilty Shall Remain Nameless” I can’t help but think back to an encounter I had with a walk-in clinic in Las Vegas, Nevada. Read More.
  • 4 main tenets of the GOP’s ACA replacement plan
    February 20, 2017
    House Republicans gathered Thursday to discuss a policy memo detailing their ACA replacement plan. The details presented at the meeting did not comprise a full-on plan and instead created more of a roadmap.
  • 15 Things to Know About Stark Law
    February 20, 2017
    Enacted more than two decades ago with the simple purpose of curbing physician self-referral, Stark Law has evolved into a complex set of regulations.
  • Healthcare Need Not Be a Headache
    February 20, 2017
    My PCP is a great doctor, but I hate visiting him. I only live 2 minutes from his office, but somehow, my quick visits usually turn into long excursions. Read More.
  • Summary of Benefits and Coverage- NEW Template
    February 17, 2017
    The new Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) template is applicable for plans that have open enrollment periods beginning on or after April 1, 2017. Read More.
  • House G.O.P. Leaders Outline Plan to Replace Obama Health Care Act
    February 17, 2017
    House Republican leaders on Thursday presented their rank-and-file members with the outlines of their plan to replace the Affordable Care Act.
  • In the Spotlight… Or the Crosshairs? Healthcare Discussion.
    February 16, 2017
    This is a time of political upheaval, and the powers that be are scrambling to find a replacement for the status quo. If self-funding is linked to these types of issues, conflict, and loss, we will not be the future of health benefits in America.
  • How expensive are knee replacements in the 20 largest US cities?
    February 16, 2017
    The total price includes hospital services, physician services and anesthesia, according to Healthcare Blue Book.
  • CMS projects next decade of health expenditures: 5 takeaways
    February 16, 2017
    National health spending is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 5.6 percent from 2016 through 2025, with expenditures projected to hit $5.5 trillion in 2025