Employers: Watch for Notices Coming from Health Care Exchanges

Based on the regulations of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Health Care Insurance Marketplaces (also referred to as Exchanges) will begin to send out notifications to certain employers when one or more of their employees enrolls in coverage through the Marketplace and is eligible for a subsidy, or Advanced Premium Tax Credit, for one or more months. In 2016 the notices will only be sent when employees provide a complete address for the employer. This means that in 2016 employers may not get notices from the Exchange for all employees who are receiving subsidies. A sample notice can be found here.

The following are some common questions many employers have about these notices.  Continue reading

Does COBRA Still Matter Post ACA?

A lot has happened over the past few years. The Affordable Care COBRAAct, or ACA, has transformed the way millions of people obtain health insurance coverage for themselves and their families. But it’s a complicated law, with a lot of moving parts. Many consumers, workers and human resources professionals/employers are confused about whe
re their role in covering workers ends and the ACA begins. This is particularly true in instances where a worker has left the job and is no longer eligible for coverage under the employee group plan. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:

Continue reading

Seasonal Workers and the ACA Shared Responsibility Penalty

If your organization employs seasonal workers o1428638_61478545r part-timers for the holidays, take note: The IRS has issued a Health Care Tax Tip on how these individuals affect whether your business is subject to the shared responsibility provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Continue reading

Preventive Care and Prescriptions Under The Affordable Care Act

addiction-71574_1280A major component of the Affordable Care Act is guaranteed preventive care services at no cost to any person with healthcare insurance.  At first glance it would appear that free preventive care would include annual wellness exams from the subscriber’s primary care physician along with other yearly checkups at no cost to the subscriber.  However further review of this mandate makes it clear that it has a much broader intention.

Continue reading

Small Employers Get Reprieve on Health Premium Reimbursement Plans

business-world-541431_1280Historically, employers that wanted their employees to be protected with health coverage, but didn’t want the hassle of having a company health plan, could simply give them an amount of money sufficient to reimburse them for the cost of buying that coverage or some portion of it.  As long as the individuals provided evidence that they used those funds for that purpose, the dollars were excludable from taxable income for the employees.

Alternatively, employers could just pay the premiums directly to the insurance carrier.

Back in November 2014, however, the Department of Labor (DOL) declared that companies reimbursing employees for medical care instead of offering a health care plan is equivalent to a health plan and is subject to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  And since those reimbursement arrangements failed to meet ACA requirements in two ways — that is, the condition that group health plans have no annual limits on benefits, and also that no co-pay for certain preventive health services must be paid — they were ruled to be noncompliant with the law.

Continue reading

Paying Employees to Buy Health Coverage? Know the Ground Rules

dollar-551932_1280Does your company’s health insurance plan include health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) or flexible spending accounts (FSAs)?  If so, you should know these plan components are both subject to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its “market reform” provisions.  The Department of Labor and other principal agencies have issued another round of guidance to answer some of the frequently asked questions about health care reform, including questions about the use of HRAs and FSAs.

According to the new guidance, HRAs and FSAs are covered by the Affordable Care Act’s prohibition on annual benefit limits and are required to provide the same set of preventive health benefits as any other compliant health plan.  The sticking point comes when you try to bolt HRA or FSA accounts onto an “individual market” policy.  This cannot be done.

Continue reading

IRS Issues Final Regulations on Small Business Health Credit

Although many payroll and other employment provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are only just taking effect — or will go into effect soon — at least one significant element of the law has been kicking around for several years, but not without some difficulty.

Under the ACA, a qualified small business can claim a tax credit for providing health insurance to eligible employees.  But numerous questions have dogged this credit since its inception in 2010.  Now the IRS has issued final regulations on the credit that should make the law clearer.  These regulations, which adopt and add regulations proposed in 2013, are effective as of June 30, but employers have the option of still applying the proposed regulations this year.

Continue reading