Our Benefits Blog

Additional $480 Billion Cornonavirus Relief

Posted by Tom Stonebraker on Apr 24, 2020 12:32:44 PM

My hope is that if you applied for a loan under the PPP originally you got it.  But if you didn't yesterday Congress passed a $480 Billion coronavirus relief package and President Trump plans on signing it today.  Here is a quick review of the bill but I also wanted to pass on what my experience was with the process because some of the companies I contacted missed the first round of loans.  One of the main reasons I hear was they did not fully understand the process.  I was able to get our loan and during the process here is what I learned:

  • The loans are through the SBA so your financial institution should be an SBA approved lender for faster results. 
    • If your financial institution is not an SBA approved lender they most likely will partner with an approved lender and this can delay your loan.
  • To secure your companies funds the lender inputs your companies information into the SBA system.  This is not underwriting it's just securing the money.
    • This is a critical step because it locks in the money for your companies loan.
  • Your SBA approved lender will underwrite your loan on behalf of the SBA.
  • Once your loan is approved and the funds are secured your financial institution will distribute the funds typically in a couple of days.

Our loan was through an SBA approved lender and they processed the loans in the order they were received.  But more importantly once they started working on Talon's loan they input the information into the SBA system and secured the funds for the loan amount I requested.  Once it was locked in I received an email confirming my loan was funded but still needed to be underwritten.  This is critical in my opinion because they locked in the money for the loan first then they did the final underwriting.  Then I waited another 8 days to get confirmation that the underwriting was complete and once I signed the paperwork the funds would be released.

By no means am I an expert on the loan process but in my opinion you want your lender to be SBA approved for direct access and you want them to secure your funds right away. 

I hope this helps and as always Karen and myself are here to help you in any way we can.

Topics: Coronavirus, COVID-19, Coronavirus Relief Act

IRS Allows HDHPs to Pay for Coronavirus Tests & Treatment

Posted by Tom Stonebraker on Apr 24, 2020 11:28:38 AM

On March 11, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2020-15 to advise that high deductible health plans (HDHPs) can pay for 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing and treatment before plan deductibles have been met, without jeopardizing their status. According to the IRS, this also
means that individuals with HDHPs that cover these costs may continue to contribute to their health savings accounts (HSAs).
The IRS also noted that any COVID-19 vaccination costs count as preventive care and can be paid for by an HDHP without cost sharing.


Key Points

  • HDHPs can pay for COVID-19
    testing and treatment without
    imposing a deductible.
  • As a growing trend, states are
    directing or encouraging health
    insurance issuers to cover this
    testing without any cost sharing.
  • Employers with HDHPs should
    consult with their plan’s issuer
    or benefits administrator
    regarding their plan’s coverage
    for COVID-19 testing and


Employers with HDHPs should
consult with their plan’s issuer
or benefits administrator
regarding their plan’s coverage
for COVID-19 testing and

Action Steps

Keep up to date with the latest Coronavirus information at the Centers for Disease Control website. 

Employers with HDHP's should consult with their plan’s issuer or benefits administrator regarding their plan’s benefits for COVID-19 testing and treatment, including the potential application of any deductible.

Topics: Coronavirus, COVID-19

ACA Affordability Percentages are Decreasing in 2020

Posted by Tom Stonebraker on Jul 24, 2019 3:21:19 PM

On July 23, 2019, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued
Revenue Procedure 2019-29 lowering the contribution
percentages in 2020 for purposes of determining affordability
of an employer’s plan under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).



For more information download Affordability Percentages Decreasing in 2020

Topics: ACA, Afordable Care Act

White House Announces End to ACA Cost-sharing Reduction Payments.

Posted by Tom Stonebraker on Oct 13, 2017 12:38:41 PM

On Oct. 12, 2017, the White House announced that the federal government will no longer reimburse insurers for the ACA’s cost-sharing reductions made available to low-income individuals through the Exchanges. This is the latest action the Trump administration has taken in its efforts to dismantle the ACA. According to the administration, the federal government cannot lawfully make the cost-sharing reduction payments because there is no Congressional appropriation for those expenses.

The administration plans to end these payments effective immediately. Eliminating the ACA’s cost-sharing reductions could have a significant impact on individuals who enroll through the Exchange during the upcoming open enrollment period, which begins on Nov. 1. However, despite this announcement, premium tax credits—the other type of federal subsidy available through the Exchanges—will continue to be available.

For more information click here


Topics: Affordable Care Act, ACA

What will your insurance rates look like in 2016?

Posted by Tom Stonebraker on Jun 26, 2015 9:54:19 AM

rising_pricesWe won't know for sure until September. However, Colorado law requires health insurance companies to submit any increases to premium rates or changes to benefits to the Division of Insurance (DOI) at least 60 days prior to putting them in effect. Consumers have the right to comment on insurers' proposed rates. The DOI is providing public access to the proposed health insurance filings for 2016 health insurance plans and premiums. Go to the DOI's  "Health Insurance Rate Filings" page to find the following information about the filings for 2016:

  • Lists of insurance companies and the rates they have requested, and
  • Access to the searchable system for health insurance filings - instructions and support information are provided within the system.

Topics: Affordable Care Act

ACA Subsidies upheld by the Supreme Court

Posted by Tom Stonebraker on Jun 25, 2015 12:13:46 PM



The Supreme Court upheld the ACA Subsidies today.  To learn more click the link below.


We have a lot of information on the ACA so contact me if you would like to learn more.

Topics: Affordable Care Act

My Identity Theft Story

Posted by Tom Stonebraker on May 7, 2015 9:36:17 AM


Like many people I got a letter from Anthem saying I was part of their identity breach. So I went online and signed up with their Free Service and didn't think much about it. Well that was a mistake because a few weeks later I got some mail from T-Mobile. Since I don't have T-Mobile I almost threw it away thinking it was an advertisement. But before I did I bent the envelope and it was not flexible. So I opened the mail and what I found was a debit/prepaid visa card.

Since I didn't apply for one I immediately called T-Mobile. during the introduction they talked about having my tax return go directly to the card. At first this didn't have any impact because I wasn't about to do that. So I talked to their fraud department and found out someone had opened the card in Miami FL. At that point I knew that someone was actively trying to steal my identity. So I canceled the card and decided to start looking into it in more detail. So much for Anthem's free service!

Well over the next few days I tried to figure out why someone would open a prepaid/debit card in my name. It just didn't make any sense until I remembered the T-Mobile conversation about putting my tax return on the card. So I called my CPA Cory Belcher and he contacted the IRS for me. Sure enough someone had filed a false tax return and was planning on putting the refund on the card.

So someone is actively trying to steal my identity, filed a false tax return and I needed to do something about it and I did.

So I reached out to LifeLock via Talon Benefits my insurance agency and I signed a contract with them where I can offer my clients, family, friends and yes myself identity theft services. So now I have active and proactive identity theft monitoring services looking out for me.

What does this mean for you? Well you can now buy any of LifeLocks services directly from me at a discount of 10% for individuals to 50% for families. If you are currently covered by LifeLock you can still sign up with me and they will give you the discounted pricing.

Hopefully you will never need these services like I do but it's nice knowing they are there.

If you are interested you can go directly to my signup page at http://talonbendb.excelsiorenroll.com/ or give me a call at 303-368-8000 ext 101 and I will help you get set up and decide which plan is best for you.

Topics: Anthem Data Breach, LifeLock, Identity Theft

HSA Limits Will Increase for 2015

Posted by Tom Stonebraker on Apr 29, 2014 9:40:00 AM

On April 23, 2014, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Revenue Procedure 2014-30, which increases limits for health savings accounts (HSAs) effective for calendar year 2015.

 2015 HSA Contribution Limits


HDHP Minimum Deductible


Contribution Limit

HSA 55+ additional contribution amount












HSA contribution limits

2015 HSA limits

For 2015, the annual HSA contribution limit for an individual with self-only coverage under an HDHP is $3,350 (up from $3,300 for 2014).

For 2015, the annual HSA contribution limit for an individual with family coverage under an HDHP is $6,650 (up from $6,550 for 2014).

HDHP Out-of-pocket expense limits

The maximum out-of-pocket expense (deductibles, copayments and other amounts, but not premiums) limit for self-only HDHP coverage for 2015 is $6,450, which is up from $6,350 for 2014.

For family HDHP coverage, the maximum out-of-pocket expense limit for 2015 is $12,900, which is up from $12,700 for 2014.

HDHP MINIMUM deductibles

For 2015, the deductibles under an HDHP must be at least $1,300 for self-only coverage (up from $1,250 for 2014) and $2,600 for family coverage (up from $2,500 for 2014).

Effective date

These new limits are effective for calendar year 2015.

more information

For a copy of IRS Revenue Procedure 2014-30, see www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/rp-14-30.pdf.

For a printer frendly version click here.

Topics: Obamacare, Affordable Care Act, ACA, Deductible Limits, HSA, HDHP

Deductibles Limits Repealed! HR 4302 signed by President Obama

Posted by Tom Stonebraker on Apr 1, 2014 5:12:00 PM

Deductible Limits Gone

On Tuesday April 1st President Obama signed HR 4302 commonly known as the "Doc Fix Bill" primarily designed to delay a 24% reduction in Medicare payments to doctors as well as providing a number of other fixes.

One "fix" that will have a significant impact on the small group market is the elimination of the deductible limits of $2,000 for a single and $4,000 for any other plan under the Affordable Care Act. The original limit was outlined in section 1302(c) on page 48.

HR 4302 states:


(a) In General- Section 1302(c) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148; 42 U.S.C. 18022(c)) is amended--

(1) by striking paragraph (2); and

(2) in paragraph (4)(A), by striking ‘paragraphs (1)(B)(i) and (2)(B)(i)’ and inserting ‘paragraph (1)(B)(i)’.

(b) Conforming Amendment- Section 2707(b) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300gg-6(b)) is amended by striking ‘paragraphs (1) and (2)’ and inserting ‘paragraph (1)’.

(c) Effective Date- The amendments made by this Act shall be effective as if included in the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148).


You can read the full bill here HR 4302.

Most small employers have been very concerned about how they are going to handle the increased premiums that most likely will ocurr from the ACA.  

A simple fact of insurance is that the sooner the insurance company has to write a check to cover services the higher the premium they have to charge to cover those costs.  So the elimination of the deductible limits is very welcome because it gives the employers much needed flexibility to design plans that fit their budgets and fit their employees needs.

To get more information download our Health Care Reform Bulletin.


Talon Benefits is dedicated to bringing our client partners the best solutions and timely information.  We are here to help you navigate the ever changing regulations of health care reform.

Topics: Obamacare, ACA, PPACA, Healthcare Reform, Deductible Limits, HR 4302

Union Letter Criticizing Obamacare

Posted by Tom Stonebraker on Jul 15, 2013 3:04:00 PM

As the Afordable Care Act or Obamacare is rolled out the unintended consequenses are starting to hit people from all directions.  The latest group to openly criticize the ACA are the Unions.  In an open letter to Nancy Pelosi they expressed their concerns.  Here is a copy of their letter.

Dear Leader Reid and Leader Pelosi:

When you and the President sought our support for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), you pledged that if we liked the health plans we have now, we could keep them. Sadly, that promise is under threat. Right now, unless you and the Obama Administration enact an equitable fix, the ACA will shatter not only our hard-earned health benefits, but destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.

Like millions of other Americans, our members are front-line workers in the American economy. We have been strong supporters of the notion that all Americans should have access to quality, affordable health care. We have also been strong supporters of you. In campaign after campaign we have put boots on the ground, gone door-to-door to get out the vote, run phone banks and raised money to secure this vision.

Now this vision has come back to haunt us.

Since the ACA was enacted, we have been bringing our deep concerns to the Administration, seeking reasonable regulatory interpretations to the statute that would help prevent the destruction of non-profit health plans. As you both know first-hand, our persuasive arguments have been disregarded and met with a stone wall by the White House and the pertinent agencies. This is especially stinging because other stakeholders have repeatedly received successful interpretations for their respective grievances. Most disconcerting of course is last week’s huge accommodation for the employer community—extending the statutorily mandated “December 31, 2013” deadline for the employer mandate and penalties.

Time is running out: Congress wrote this law; we voted for you. We have a problem; you need to fix it. The unintended consequences of the ACA are severe. Perverse incentives are already creating nightmare scenarios:

First, the law creates an incentive for employers to keep employees’ work hours below 30 hours a week. Numerous employers have begun to cut workers’ hours to avoid this obligation, and many of them are doing so openly. The impact is two-fold: fewer hours means less pay while also losing our current health benefits.

Second, millions of Americans are covered by non-profit health insurance plans like the ones in which most of our members participate. These non-profit plans are governed jointly by unions and companies under the Taft-Hartley Act. Our health plans have been built over decades by working men and women. Under the ACA as interpreted by the Administration, our employees will treated differently and not be eligible for subsidies afforded other citizens. As such, many employees will be relegated to second-class status and shut out of the help the law offers to for-profit insurance plans.

And finally, even though non-profit plans like ours won’t receive the same subsidies as for-profit plans, they’ll be taxed to pay for those subsidies. Taken together, these restrictions will make non-profit plans like ours unsustainable, and will undermine the health-care market of viable alternatives to the big health insurance companies.

On behalf of the millions of working men and women we represent and the families they support, we can no longer stand silent in the face of elements of the Affordable Care Act that will destroy the very health and wellbeing of our members along with millions of other hardworking Americans.

We believe that there are common-sense corrections that can be made within the existing statute that will allow our members to continue to keep their current health plans and benefits just as you and the President pledged. Unless changes are made, however, that promise is hollow.

We continue to stand behind real health care reform, but the law as it stands will hurt millions of Americans including the members of our respective unions.

We are looking to you to make sure these changes are made.

James P. Hoffa
General President
International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Joseph Hansen
International President

D. Taylor

Topics: Obamacare, ACA, Afordable Care Act, Union, Teamsters, James P. Hoffa

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