Michigan Auto Reform: How Health Insurance Can Reduce Car Insurance Premiums

Beginning July 2nd, 2020, auto policy coverage requirements in Michigan are changing. With these new law changes, drivers with qualified health coverage could potentially save money by reducing their auto insurance coverage. Anyone with a car insurance policy that begins or renews on or after July 2nd will have the option of choosing a lower coverage amount for their personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Previously, Michigan drivers were required to have unlimited PIP coverage, but options now range from unlimited to no coverage at all  Continue reading

IRS to Send Notices to Employers Subject to ACA “Pay or Play” Penalties

By the end of 2017 the IRS plans to send notification to applicable large employers (ALE) of potential liability for failure to comply with the “pay or play” mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). These notifications (Letter 226J) will be sent to ALE employers that the IRS determines had one or more employee, in at least one month in 2015, that received a subsidy toward health care premiums purchased through the marketplace because the employer failed to provide health coverage that is compliant with the ACA requirements (affordable and providing minimum essential coverage).  The IRS will make this determination based on information provided by employers on Forms 1094-C and 1095-C (required ACA reporting forms) as well as information provided to the IRS on individuals’ tax returns.  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:

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What Happens If There is a Breakdown of COBRA Compliance?

At some companies, there may not be a well established system in place for handling the tasks necessary to comply with COBRA. Here’s a brief overview of COBRA as well as a question from a concerned employer about the implications of not complying, along with a detailed answer.

COBRA Basics
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) gives eligible workers and their families who lose their health benefits the right to choose to continue group health benefits for limited periods of time under certain circumstances. The life events that enable an individual to become eligible for COBRA include voluntary or involuntary job loss, reduction in the hours worked, transition between jobs, death and divorce. Qualified individuals may be required to pay the entire premium for coverage up to 102 percent of the cost to the plan. — The U.S. Department of Labor

Question: Our company sponsors a group health plan for its employees. What are the consequences if we fail to comply with COBRA?

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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.

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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.

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COBRA for Employees’ Family Members

family-730320_1280When an employee drops dependents and spouses from our company’s group health plan during open enrollment, we provide the dropped individuals COBRA election materials.  But our new COBRA third-part adviser is telling us that we don’t have to provide a COBRA election notice to dependents and spouses who are dropped at open enrollment.  Is our plan required to offer COBRA coverage to these individuals?

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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.

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Affordable Care Act: Milestones for America’s Small Businesses

balance-335980_12802010 – The Affordable Care Act Becomes Law

  • Many small businesses become eligible for a tax credit worth up to 35% of the employer’s contribution to the employees’ health insurance (up to 25% for tax-exempts) to help them provide insurance benefits.
  • A new Patient’s Bill of Rights goes into effect, addressing the worst abuses of the insurance industry.

2011 – The Affordable Care Act Holds Insurance Companies Accountable

  • To ensure premium dollars are spent primarily on medical care, the law’s “80/20” rule requires that at least 80% of premium dollars collected by insurance companies must be spent on benefits and quality improvement.
  • Another tough reform requires insurance companies to publicly justify premium rate increases of 10% or more, holding insurers accountable to the small businesses they serve, which has led to a sharp decline in double-digit rate hikes.  To date, these two protections alone have already saved small businesses and consumers more than $2 billion.

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FAQ: Administration’s New Contraception Rules Explained

The Obama administration has released new rules they say will give employees of religiously affiliated organizations a way to obtain contraceptive services as part of their health insurance coverage while respecting the religious beliefs of their employers.

The announcement follows a controversy that has dogged the administration as religiously affiliated employers objected to efforts to expand contraceptive options for women under the health law.  The latest regulations seek to satisfy complaints about earlier guidance on contraception coverage that instructed these employers to notify their insurers or third-party administrators if they did not want to comply with the law’s contraception coverage based on religious objections.

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