February 14, 2016

Obama delays tax on high-cost group health plans

U.S. Capitol Building; Capitol Building; Washington D.C.

The Portland Business Journal reported that President Obama has signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 into law. This officially delays the 40 percent excise tax on group health plans. Unions and other organizations that provide strong benefit packages for members were the main targets of this tax.  Read the complete article here.

GA-46000 lifetime maximum adjusted for 2016

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The lifetime maximum benefit for the Railroad Employees National Early Retirement Major Medical Benefit (ERMA or GA-46000) Plan will increase from $145,800 to $151,600 beginning Jan. 1, 2016. At the end of 2001, Labor and Management had agreed on various procedures to administer the annual changes in the amount of the lifetime maximum benefit under [...]

Medicare Part B premium costs for 2016

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released the 2016 Part B premium and deductible costs for 2016. Railroad Medicare processes claims for Part B services.  The 2016 monthly premiums will remain unchanged for approximately 70 percent of Medicare beneficiaries. However, the remaining 30 percent will pay a different amount based on the [...]

Medicare Part B premiums for 2016

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has announced that the standard monthly Part B premium will be $121.80 in 2016. However, most Medicare beneficiaries will not see an increase in their monthly Part B premiums because of a “hold harmless” provision in the law. Under that provision, Part B premiums cannot increase for current [...]

SMART TD introduces hearing discount program

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The SMART Transportation Division is proud to announce a hearing discount program with Amplifon Hearing Health Care. As a SMART Transportation Division member, you and your family members are eligible to receive discounts on hearing exams as well as the purchase of hearing aids. You may also have a funded benefit which will help your [...]

FMCSA, FRA begin work on sleep apnea rulemaking

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WASHINGTON – If left untreated, sleep apnea poses serious risks to anyone who sits behind the wheel of a commercial motor vehicle or climbs into the cab of a locomotive. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently initiated a rulemaking project to evaluate – and treat, when applicable [...]

Palmetto GBA: when a doctor’s notes are not readable

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We all know the joke: if you have poor penmanship, you should become a doctor.  Unfortunately, poor penmanship on patient notes and records can lead to claim denials, because if Medicare can’t read what the doctor wrote, we can’t know if the services were reasonable and necessary and meet all guidelines for coverage. Medicare requires [...]

Working safely with Diabetes

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Diabetes has been called an epidemic in America. A 2014 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 29.1 million people in the United States – almost 10 percent of the population – have the disorder. Of those, 8.1 million are undiagnosed. The seventh leading cause of death in the nation, diabetes [...]