Open Enrollment 2020 Deadline for Medicare and ACA Federal Plans

Health Insurance Marketplace Open Enrollment

You know it! It’s that riveting time of the year when you get to pick your health insurance plan for 2020. Well, guess what? It’s still happening! And we’re here to help clarify a few final things.

We help individuals with all aspects of enrollment and plan management, and our services are paid for by the carrier in most cases during Open Enrollment!

Every year Dublin Health & Benefit Group enrolls thousands of individuals in Affordable Care Act plans through the marketplace or directly through the carrier, and on Medicare supplemental plans, Medicare Advantage plans, and Part D Prescription plans.

We advise individuals on how to best achieve a tax credit, and how to manage their finances to retain their tax credit throughout the year. We help individuals select their next health plan, verify coverage based on their needs, and help ensure their providers and medications are covered under their elected plan.

Now, if you’re reading this, that means you know the importance of keeping up with this deadline. Anyone who misses the Open Enrollment deadline (November 1-December 15) will not be eligible to enroll in an ACA medical plan for 2020 unless there is a Special Enrollment Period you qualify for…more on that below.

Medicare Open Enrollment

Medicare Open Enrollment is just as stringent. Anyone seeking to make changes to their Medicare Advantage plan or Part D Prescription plan must do so between October 15-December 7. Learn more about Medicare options

Here’s what you need to know about Special Enrollment Period (SEP)

A time outside the yearly Open Enrollment when you can buy health insurance.

You can qualify for SEP if you’ve experienced what’s known as a “life-changing” event.

Examples of life-changing events:

  • turning 26 and aging off your parent’s plan
  • getting married
  • adopting a child
  • losing health coverage
  • having a baby

If you’re unsure that you qualify for a life-changing event but are seeking medical insurance, give Dublin Health & Benefit Group a call to see if you qualify. Most SEP’s have a 30-60 day window of opportunity so make that call soon!

As always, if you have any questions whatsoever, please call our friendly customer service team: 603-563-8820. We know health insurance is complex and confusing, and we’re here to help simplify things for you.

We’ll see you during Open Enrollment!

– The Team at Dublin Health & Benefit Group, LLC

Help, I Need Health Insurance!

Is it too late to enroll for 2019?

While we enrolled most of our clients on during the annual Open Enrollment period (November 1st-December 15), we continue to enroll new clients on a year-round basis on the individual marketplace, The criteria for enrollment outside Open Enrollment, however, does require an individual qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (“SEP”).

A SEP is created through a life change, which may include “losing health coverage, moving, getting married, having a baby, or adopting a child” ( Usually, there is a 60-day window following a life change event to enroll in a plan. If you miss that window, you must wait until the next Open Enrollment Period (November 1-Dec 15 for a January 1st plan the following year).

Other than those life changes listed above, there are additional life changes that could create a SEP:
• Turning 26
• Becoming pregnant
• Change in disability status, tax filing status, immigration status/citizenship
• Incarceration/release from incarceration
• Someone in your household losing coverage or becoming eligible for Medicaid
• Someone in your household getting an offer of job-based insurance

*There are other opportunities for SEPs not listed here.

Should you need insurance anytime the most important advice we can give you, is to call us immediately to go over options because some options available today may not be available tomorrow if you miss the SEP window of opportunity.

The team at Dublin Health & Benefit Group, LLc specializes in Individual, Group, and Medicare Insurance options from all major carriers in the state of New Hampshire.

Please schedule to discuss your circumstances with one of our team members today!

Individuals * Medicare * Groups

HSA’s, What’s all the Hype about Health Savings Accounts?

Dublin Health & Benefit Group, LLc

You’ve all heard about HSA’s by now and may have wondered, “What’s all the hype about Health Savings Accounts? How can choosing an HSA eligible health plan provide any sort of tax savings, and why isn’t everybody doing it?

Those are great questions, and not uncommon for us to hear as we enroll groups and individuals in their selected health plans for the year. The HSA discussion is one we have almost daily.

Let’s decide if an HSA health plan is right for you.

First let’s begin with an explanation of what is a Health Savings Account plan, in simplified terms. Remember this is only the tip of the iceberg and each of the items below should be thoroughly researched/discussed with your accountant/insurance broker to gather the additional details. ( Form 8889 and IRS Form 8889 instructions is a credible source of up-to-date information).

HSA eligible health plan requirements:
1. The health plan must be a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) with a deductible of no less than $1,350 (for an individual) and no less than $2,700 (for family coverage).
2. The health plan’s maximum out of pocket expenses must have a limit no greater than $6,650 (for an individual) and $13,300 (for family).
3. Tax-deductible contributions to a Health Savings Account are made by the individual, their employer, or by another on the behalf of the individual, to the individual’s HSA account. Tax-deductible amounts have an annual contribution limit which adjusts annually and is based on the individual’s age.
4. Qualified medical expenses are paid by the individual throughout the year using the HSA account. Non-qualified expenses paid using the HSA account will be taxed.
5. The individual completes Form 8889 to deduct the annual maximum allowable contribution they made to their HSA account when filing their annual taxes.

*The rules above change completely… once the individual reaches age 65!

Pros and Cons of HSA plans
Now if you’re confused, you may be wondering if it’s worth all the trouble and rules affixed to having and using one of these HSA plans. Here at Dublin Health & Benefit Group, LLC we’ve found these types of plans are just right for some of our clients, both individuals, and groups.

• Lower premium, lower maximum out of pocket expense limits, and an annual tax deduction for contributions made to your HSA account. If you have additional funds available to you on a monthly basis, investing in your Health Savings Account (paired with a HSA eligible health plan) would provide some tax savings. And if you’re not using those funds to pay any medical expenses, over several years the contributions could amount to quite a nice sum. After age 65, you may make non-medical withdrawals from this account without a tax penalty.
• Broader provider networks

• Out of pocket expenses are incurred quicker than with a traditional plan, and you’ll meet your deductible (pay out of pocket up to the amount of your deductible) before the plan begins to pay anything. If you need surgery, expect to pay at least up through your deductible amount.
• Managing chronic illness is more expensive.
• You will be taxed for using the funds in your Health Savings Account for non-qualified expenses if you are under age 65.
• High out of pocket costs may cause some not to seek medical treatment because they fear the expense, causing more expensive issues in the future.

Here at Dublin Health & Benefit Group, LLC, we support you, as our client, by helping you choose a health plan that’s right for you or your team of employees.
Please schedule to discuss your circumstances with one of our team members today!

Individuals * Medicare * Groups

Medical Travel Insurance

What would you do if you were overseas and knew you needed to seek immediate medical attention?

The costs could be astronomical and navigating through conversations about your care, and its related costs, may not be provided in a language you could well speak? Or if you wanted to ultimately be treated in the US by your physician but needed medical stabilization prior to your return.

What would you do? While assisting you with providing care in a language you can understand isn’t a service we provide, Dublin Health & Benefit Group can certainly assist you with obtaining a universally understood method of payment, insurance.

“You may not speak our language, but we see you have insurance!”

Who is medical travel insurance most recommended for? Medical travel insurance is recommended for anyone who doesn’t regularly travel outside the US. It’s really is as simple as that, and it’s cheap! It is for the common, everyday traveler who is most at medical and financial risk during their international travels, because they are the ones whose health plans do not prepare them for the medical and financial risks, they may incur during travel overseas.

Most at risk during international travel are individuals both under and over age 65; those traveling for vacation; traveling for retreats or other purposes not otherwise related to work.

Dublin Health & Benefit Group, LLC offers International Medical Insurance and Travel Insurance to protect individuals against high medical costs, trip cancellation reimbursement, repatriation, among other circumstances. If you’re prepared to incur tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in the event of a medical event, international travel insurance is still for you!
IMG is a carrier we have recommended to our clients. It’s easy to enroll, and it’s important to have.

Here at Dublin Health & Benefit Group, LLC, we support you, as our client, by helping you choose a health plan that’s right for you or your team of employees.
Please schedule to discuss your circumstances with one of our team members today!

Report on 2018-2019 Open Enrollment

Good news! Rates stable or going down in 2019

ACA, Obamacare, or

No matter what you call it continues to be controversial, continues to have divided support and is hotly debated no doubt. This program jumps into the fray with an open enrollment season running from November 1st through December 15th. The tax penalty is still open to interpretation but at this writing appears to go away for 2019.

One problem with the penalty, however, is that it takes the focus off having health coverage at all. Penalty or not you still retain the risk of a large health claim. Dublin Health’s Colleen Gutwein and Michelle O’Sullivan regularly work with people in this market and are quick to point out “remember the real penalty is lost peace of mind and a large risk left uninsured is a recipe for financial disaster”. No matter your path or challenge with navigating healthcare in the region the team at Dublin Health & Benefit may be able to help. “It’s a little bit crazy around here right now but all here are willing to help,” says Managing Director Ken Woods. 603-563-8820 or for more info.

The above is reprinted from the Shopper News front page article on October 3rd, 2018 beginning next Thursday open enrollment begins and as usual there are 20 ways to hang yourself if you navigate the programs yourself but there is much good news to report!

The general climate

Rates are slated to stay about the same or go down depending on whether you are receiving a tax credit or not. Our expectations are projected to be a reduction ranging 11% – 20%. Those receiving tax credits with all other things being equal will likely be stable. Plans are about the same in 2018 as they were in 2019. Tax credits are still available to those who qualify and will roll over in a passive re-enrollment scenario. Once again no one carrier is coming in with “fire sale” pricing and the pecking order is the same as it was in 2018.

Passive re-enrollment, which requires you do nothing, is available from Anthem, Harvard Pilgrim and Ambetter. What this means is that you need to do nothing if you are happy with your current plan and benefits. Everything will simply map to the 2019 plan most closely aligned with your current plan. Just be sure to confirm that any auto draft is continued as 1st payment for 2019 is due by the 10th of January and we recommend paying and checking sooner to avoid lapse. Keep an eye on your statements to confirm the auto pay transaction has taken place by January 10th.

Passive re-enroll is good for most, but specific situations call for a consult with our brokers. Some examples are:

  • You have a complex income and tax situation and need to strategize to achieve a tax credit
  • You have significant changes in care needs
  • You have significant changes in medications particularly involving brand name drugs
  • You are unhappy with your current plan
  • You have significant or drastic changes in projected income for 2019 (up or down)
    • Remember small adjustments can be made at any time throughout the year by calling the office.
  • You need to add or drop dependents
  • You are aging into Medicare in 2019

Contact information for the entire team can be found at

Unlike last year we are in a fairly stable environment with ACA, Obamacare, or… some might even call it boring! Then again in health insurance boring and stable is good.

Happy Holidays to all.

Important 2019 Medicare AEP Open enrollment period 10/15 – 12/7/2018

To the many hundreds of clients and friends who depend on our guidance for their Medicare Supplements, Advantage Plans and/or Part D Prescription plans and to those you refer to our office: I want to offer a simple snapshot of the options before you for 2019. I address each of the possible scenarios in hopes that you can identify your current situation and determine what additional steps you wish to take so that you can proactively work with us, to maximize your program value during this open enrollment season as we move into 2019.

Medicare Supplement policyholders

If you like what you have and it is meeting your expectations for coverage and budget, you are probably in the right place as rates adjust for cost of living only and are fairly stable with nominal increases. Your age is locked in at entry age so moving to a different carrier does not typically yield savings. Exception: You wish to learn more about Advantage plans like an HMO or PPO or PFFS or SNP.

Medicare Advantage policyholders

If you like what you have and it is meeting your expectations for coverage and budget you are probably in the right place, but you should review the renewal information from your current carrier to make sure the premium is still affordable and the formulary for the drug component is still covering all medications. If so, than we should stay the course. We will also monitor these programs and if a significantly better value emerges, we will reach out to you via phone call and/or email. Note: A zero cost plan will be offered by Harvard Pilgrim Stride this year. Exception: You are unhappy with your plan or wish to explore a supplement.

Prescription Drug Plans (PDP)

This is an area we encourage all of our supplement clients and anyone with a stand-alone PDP to evaluate yearly as premiums change, formularies change, plan designs change, carriers change, your medications change and carriers come and go each year.  It is the most volatile component in your program. If you do nothing you will be automatically re-enrolled if the carrier is remaining in the marketplace but alternatives are worth a look. Exception: You have evaluated the renewal communications from your current carrier, are satisfied your drugs are on the formulary, the carrier has performed to your satisfaction and new premium is acceptable to you.

What Dublin Health will do for you

  • Current clients: We will reach out to you by phone and/or email over the next two weeks to invite and answer questions about plan changes either in person at the office or over the phone.
  • We will serve you and/or someone you know who desires guidance as an AEP (existing Medicare beneficiary) or IEP (New to Medicare friends you are referring) and SEP (Special election period) beneficiaries going through a life change needing guidance.
  • After receiving a signed  Scope of Appointment (click the link to complete and sign) we will assist you in learning about and enrolling in any plan changes or new plans you wish to pursue.
We will always relentlessly pursue the best values existing in the current marketplace and be a resource to you in your effort to understand and select the best options based on your needs and financial resources. Contact our office at 603-563-8820 or email All of our agents are properly licensed and appointed to handle Medicare Products and look forward to working with you.

Employer Guideline: Implementing a New Group Health Benefit

We all know that health insurance and other health-related benefits are highly sought out by individuals in the job search market. The benefits can support a group’s employee attraction and retention efforts, creating a culture in the workplace of security both in the health and financial arenas.

Dublin Health & Benefit Group LLC has brought group benefits to New Hampshire companies since 2005. We offer health benefits, dental, vision, life, accidental death and dismemberment, short term and long term disability insurance, accident insurance, and other enhancements. We support groups in their long-term goals by bringing them the tools to maintain stability in their organization through employee health benefit programs.

Below please find some common topics employers often want to ask us about. If you find you have further questions or would like to speak with one of our small group brokers about implementing a group benefits plan, we welcome you to contact us directly at 603-563-8820. We look forward to working with you and your employees!

Group benefits are more stable than the Obamacare insurance on the individual marketplace

The individually insured middle class will most understand this. Those earning just above the tax credit threshold (established annually by the federal government) are paying 100% of the cost of their health plan on Obamacare’s individual marketplace. While Dublin Health & Benefit Group enrolls individuals in the individual marketplace, advises them on strategies for capturing a tax credit, not everyone can qualify. There is great stress experienced each year by individuals insured on the marketplace. Having access to their company group plan can relieve these individuals greatly, taking the burden and hassles these individuals face each year on the individual marketplace.

Group health plans are richer, often offering access to out of state providers, and are offered at a more reasonable premium often partially or fully funded by their employer.

Funding a group plan can be a tax-deductible expense for employer and employee

Employer-funded group plans become a tax-deductible expense to the employer by reducing the gross annual income. Employee contributions toward their group health plan may be set up as a pre-tax payroll deduction (we can assist with completing a Section 125 Premium only plan).

Offering benefits to a subgroup of employees

Some small group carriers will ensure small groups who wish to “class out” a subgroup of their company to offer benefits. We have put this in place for groups with a large number of part-time employees who we did not offer benefits to. Another way to “class out” is to offer benefits to those paid on a salary versus hourly basis. It is possible, still, to offer benefits to the executive/management division though we must assess each group on a case by case basis to determine the most viable and sensible way of “classing out” a subgroup of the company.

How much should an employer fund?

Some employers fund 100% the employee and their dependent rate. Others fund 75%. Yet still, others fund just the employee rate. Depending on your organizational culture, employee need and salaries, the employer contribution level we recommend for a group will always be customized to take into consideration just what is necessary to meet the 75% (of eligible employees) participation rate.

We also want to recommend that you don’t fund so much so as to “buy” spouses off of their own company plan. We strive to capture and ensure only those who most need health insurance.

We’ve found that underfunding a plan ensures the plans imminent death with just a few staffing changes within a short amount of time and is not our recommendation for a growing and thriving business who values their employees.

A benefit is easier to give than to take away

Employer-funded contributions should be enough to encourage a consistent participate rate, as required by the carrier for a new plan, and each consecutive year at time of renewal. In New Hampshire, the small group carriers require 75% of all eligible employees to enrolled in the group health plan if there is a plan being offered. The formula for calculating eligible employees depends on several factors, and a qualified Broker from our company can discern this with the company owner, HR staff, or person in charge of implementing the plan.

What type of Brokerage agency will best serve a group’s needs?

Dublin Health & Benefit Group, LLC specializes in providing small group, individual, and Medicare health benefits. As our niche, we work with our clients to bring them the best-aligned product for their needs, as the lowest cost.

As independent brokers (we are not “captive agents”) we are able to shop all of the small group benefit carriers available to the New Hampshire small group market.

One agent, many products, multiple carriers = best value!

How are brokers compensated?

There are few exceptions, though in most circumstances our services are compensated by the carriers at the time of enrollment and monthly for the duration of the plan. Any group enrolling in a group plan, at any time of the year, through Dublin Health & Benefit Group can anticipate that we will be paid by the carrier. We continue to serve you, your employees, and the plan throughout the year even after enrollment.