Insurance Ethics Webinars Now Approved and Available

business hand typing on a laptop keyboard with Webinar homepage on the computer screen learning internet website web page concept.After nearly a decade of asking, Illinois insurance producers can finally complete their 3-hour ethics continuing education requirement via webinar. The bill allowing for ethics webinars was signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner on August 14, 2018, and the Department of Insurance began approving webinars from course providers (including Real Estate Institute) a few weeks ago.

Although the new law provides a new method of ethics course delivery for insurance producers, the change is not applicable to public adjusters. According to the DOI, licensed Illinois public adjusters must still earn 3 hours of ethics credit by attending a live, in-person class.

The law also creates an education advisory council that will be charged with making recommendations to the state about insurance courses, curriculum and instructor qualifications.

To view Real Estate Institute’s extensive schedule of ethics webinars and in-person classes, click here.

Illinois Doubles “Credit Reporting Fee” for Insurance CE Hours

Up-Arrow-BlueEffective March 2, the state-mandated fee for reporting Illinois insurance continuing education credit hours to the appropriate licensing authorities has increased from 50 cents per hour to $1 per hour. The fee is intended, in part, to fund online licensing services available through the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ “State Based Systems” website, www.statebasedsystems.com. Producers can use the site to review their licensing information, monitor their remaining CE requirements, find approved education providers and more.

Real Estate institute offers insurance education approved by the Illinois Department of Insurance. Thousands of Illinois insurance producers complete our classroom and self-study continuing education courses each year. All state-mandated fees are required upon enrollment. State fees are subject to change without notice. We encourage students to complete courses promptly to avoid further fee increases.

Obama Administration Announces Delay in Key Health Care Requirement

Under pressure from business groups, the Obama administration announced Tuesday that it is postponing the implementation of a major piece of its signature health care law. A requirement that would have required large and medium-sized businesses to offer health insurance to employees next year or pay a fine will be delayed until 2015.

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, most businesses with at least 50 full-time employees will need to have a health plan. The number of full-time employees at a business will be based on the number of people working 30 hours per week.

Businesses that are required to offer insurance and don’t do it will face an annual fine of $2,000 per employee but will be allowed an exemption for their first 30 workers. For example, an employer with exactly 50 full-time employees will be fined $40,000.

The employer mandate to have a health plan won’t apply to businesses with fewer than 50 full-time employees. Businesses are also allowed to ignore it if none of their employees purchases their own insurance and qualifies for a government subsidy. In effect, this generally means that if a business with at least 50 employees wants to avoid having a health plan, it must pay all its employees enough so that their household income is above 400 percent of the poverty line.

Despite this postponement for businesses, the requirement for most individuals to have health insurance in 2014 remains intact.  Government subsidies for citizens and legal residents with household incomes below 400 percent of the poverty line will be available at that time.

More details about the requirement to cover employees are expected to be announced in the next few months. A comprehensive review of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will be part of Real Estate Institute’s insurance continuing education self-study package for 2014.

PPACA Proposed Rules Poised for Roll Out

On Monday, the federal government will be publishing proposed rules that would implement several major sections of the new health care law. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) rules essentially explain how the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will be interpreting some of the law’s relatively broad language. This is arguably the biggest piece of health insurance news since the Supreme Court’s ruling on the law earlier this year.

Some of the important topics mentioned in the rules are as follows:

  • The kinds of care that will need to be covered by most health plans and most health insurance policies.
  • The requirement to offer health insurance to all applicants regardless of health status.
  • The circumstances under which health insurance companies can vary their rates.

Once the rules are officially published, interested parties (including health insurance producers) will have until Christmas to submit questions/comments to the department.  For online submissions, use the following link:  http://www.regulations.gov/#!home.