Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine, H & R Block announce interactive on-line tools
S. PORTLAND, Maine, Nov. 23, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- As part of an ongoing effort to inform and educate area employers about the implementation of health care reform, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine and H & R Block have teamed up to create two new online resources: a grandfathering tool and a tax calculator tool.
"An important part of our daily mission is to support our employers with the information they need to make important decisions about their health plan benefits," said Dan Corcoran, president and general manager, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine. "We're excited to be able to bring these new resources to those we serve."
Mr. Corcoran added that the new tools are available at www.anthem.com/healthcarereform. The small business tax calculator tool and tax content were developed by The Tax Institute at H&R Block and also may be viewed by visiting www.thetaxinstitute.com.
"The grandfathering tool is yet another part of our commitment to help make health care reform work," said Mr. Corcoran. "This technology will help business owners understand what grandfathering is, what it takes to qualify, and if it is potentially in their best interest to grandfather their current health plan."
Another key aspect of the new reform law involves the use of a small business tax credit. "It's important for small businesses to recognize what options might be available to them," noted Mr. Corcoran. "That's why we are pleased to collaborate with H&R Block to make the small business tax calculator available, which helps small business owners understand the tax credits they are qualified for and allow them to better control and anticipate their health care costs."
The small business tax calculator can help users understand the following reform provisions:
- The small business health care premium credit for qualified employers with 25 or fewer employees and average annual wages under $50,000 (2010)
- Requirements to provide employee coverage for full-time employees who work for businesses with 50 or more employees (2014)
- Employer penalties for not providing coverage when at least one full-time employee is enrolled in a subsidized health care plan (2014)
- The excise tax on high-cost health plans, which applies to plans that cost more than $10,200 for an individual and $27,500 for a family (2018).
"The grandfathering provision and the tax credit can be very confusing to our clients," said David Hamilton of Clark Insurance, which has offices in Maine and New Hampshire. "Anthem's tools take complicated issues and break them down so that they're easy to understand. We've used both tools to help educate our clients, and the response has been uniformly positive."
Mr. Hamilton has used the Anthem tools with clients including Ellen Gardner, human resources manager for Wright-Ryan Construction in Portland. Said Ms. Gardner, "I was concerned about getting the right information to make good decisions on how the health care reform provisions might affect our benefits, but when working with Dave and Anthem's grandfathering tool, the 'light bulb' went on. It was very reassuring."
Michael Royer, a Falmouth Certified Public Account, and managing partner of Berry Talbot Royer said that" "while not every business may be able to take advantage of the tax credit, Anthem's tax credit and grandfathering tools are both very important tools that businesses can use to help determine the best course of action."
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine is the trade name of Anthem Health Plans of Maine, Inc., an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. ®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Additional information about Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine is available at www.anthem.com.
SOURCE Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine