Archives: Health Care Reform

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Where Do We Stand with Health Care?

The American Heath Care Act was designed to provide health care reform and to replace former President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (the “ACA”). However, the House of Representatives, under President Trump’s direction, cancelled its vote in late March because of lack of overall support from Republicans to get passage of the bill in the House. … Continue Reading

Introducing the American Health Care Act! Wait! … Not so fast!

The House Ways and Means Committee and the Energy and Commerce Committee (the two congressional committees having primary responsibility for health care legislation) released draft legislation for repealing and replacing aspects of the Obama administration’s 2010 health care reform law on March 6, 2017 (the “ACA”). The bill, dubbed the American Health Care Act, is … Continue Reading

21st Century Cures Act Would Give Small Employers Greater Use of HRAs

Passed swiftly by Congress, the 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 34) seeks to hasten cures for killer diseases, among other things. President Obama is expected to sign the bill on Tuesday, December 13. One of those other things would seem to advance a goal of the GOP’s plan for further healthcare reform, known as “A … Continue Reading

Early Holiday Gift from the IRS – Due Date Extension for Furnishing Forms 1095 and Related Relief

In IRS Notice 2016-70, the IRS announced a 30-day automatic extension for the furnishing of 2016 IRS Forms 1095-B (Health Coverage) and 1095-C (Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage), from January 31, 2017 to March 2, 2017.  This extension was made in response to requests by employers, insurers, and other providers of health insurance coverage … Continue Reading

January 1st is Quickly Approaching – Have you Reviewed your Health Plan for Section 1557 Compliance?

Earlier this year the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) finalized regulations that implement Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (“Section 1557”). You can read our prior discussions of these regulations in our blog post and newsletter article.  As the new year approaches, we wanted to take a moment to remind you … Continue Reading

Employers Wonder How to Respond to Marketplace Notices

Many employers have begun receiving Health Insurance Marketplace notices – letters stating that a particular employee reported that he or she wasn’t offered affordable minimum value coverage for one or more months during 2016.  The letter states that the employee has been determined to be eligible for subsidized Marketplace coverage.  This means, if the employer … Continue Reading

Final Rule Issued on ACA’s Non-Discrimination Provision for Federally Funded Programs

Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), in effect since 2010, prohibits discrimination in any federally funded health program on the basis of race, national origin, sex, age, or disability.  The Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”), through the Office of Civil Rights, has been enforcing the provision since it was enacted in … Continue Reading

Healthcare Subsidies for Grad Students: An ACA Conundrum

Colleges and universities historically have provided graduate student employees (e.g., teaching assistants) with a stipend or reimbursement to help defray (or even fully cover) the cost of their medical coverage under the student health plan. Competing guidance under the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) from the Departments of Health and Human Services (“HHS”), Labor (“DOL”), and … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Decides Not to Decide on Latest Challenge to ACA Contraceptive Coverage

The Supreme Court in a unanimous opinion remanded Zubik v. Burwell — and the six cases consolidated with Zubik — back to the Courts of Appeals to rule on the contraceptive opt-out notice provisions.  The Court directed the lower courts to consider the new information presented in the parties’ post-oral argument briefs ordered by the … Continue Reading

A District Court Just Dealt a Blow to the ACA. Employers, Don’t Get Excited!

On May 12, 2016, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued an opinion in U.S. House of Representatives v. Burwell et al., No. 14-1967 (D.D.C. May 12, 2016), enjoining the federal government’s use of unappropriated monies to fund reimbursements to health insurers under Section 1402 of the Patient Protection and Affordable … Continue Reading

So You’ve Filed Your 1095-C…Now What?

As companies complete their Section 6055 and 6056 reporting under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), now it’s time to be on the lookout for notices regarding ACA penalties. Watch for Notice Letters:  According to CMS, the Federally-Facilitated Marketplace will begin sending batches of notifications to certain employers whose employees received premium subsidies when purchasing health … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Looks for ACA Contraceptive Coverage Compromise for Religious Nonprofits

Less than one week after hearing oral arguments on seven consolidated cases in which non-profit organizations challenged the opt-out process for religious organizations opposing the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage mandate, the United States Supreme Court took the unusual action of ordering the lawyers on both sides to brief additional issues. The Court’s Order asked … Continue Reading

Health Coverage Made Available ONLY to Wellness Program Participants, OK under ADA “Safe Harbor” Says District Court

With final ADA and GINA wellness program regulations expected this year from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), 2016 looks to be an important year for regulation of these programs. However, program features like health risk assessments (HRAs) and biometric screenings have already become popular components of employer-sponsored health plans. In many cases, employers incentivize … Continue Reading

Late-Breaking Benefits News for 2016

While taxpayers were completing their holiday shopping and preparing to spend time with their families, Congress and the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) were busy changing laws governing employee benefit plans and issuing new guidance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). The results of that year-end governmental activity include the following: Protecting Americans … Continue Reading

Don’t Forget Year-End Amendment to Cafeteria Plans Allowing Revocation for Marketplace Coverage

As the calendar year comes to an end, group health plan sponsors must remember that if they took advantage of the ACA relief of IRS Notice 2014-55, amendments to their cafeteria plans by year end are needed. Notice 2014-55 was effective as of September 18, 2014, and it allowed participants to revoke a cafeteria plan … Continue Reading

ACA Cadillac Tax: Cruising Toward Proposed Regulations

Background  Effective 2018, Section 4980I of the IRC — the so-called “Cadillac Tax,” which was added to the IRC by the ACA — will impose a 40% nondeductible excise tax on the aggregate cost of applicable employer-sponsored health coverage that exceeds an annually-adjusted statutory dollar limit. For 2018, the dollar limits are $10,200 for self-only … Continue Reading

Is Your Health Plan Affordable? If You Offer an Opt-Out Payment, You Better Check Again

An “applicable large employer” is subject to a penalty if either (1) the employer fails to offer to its full-time employees (and their dependents) the opportunity to enroll in minimum essential coverage (MEC) under an eligible employer-sponsored plan and any full-time employee obtains a subsidy for health coverage on a government exchange (Section 4980H(a) liability) … Continue Reading

Reducing Employee Hours to Avoid ACA Obligations to Offer Coverage Violates ERISA § 510, Class Action Suit Alleges

One strategy for minimizing exposure to the employer shared responsibility penalties under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is to minimize the number of “full-time employees” – that is, the number of employers working 30 or more hours per week on average. Employers can accomplish this through reducing the number of hours certain current and future … Continue Reading

What the Supreme Court’s Decision on Affordable Care Act Subsidies Means for Employers

The Internal Revenue Service was authorized to issue regulations extending health insurance subsidies to coverage purchased through health insurance exchanges run by the federal government or a state, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in a 6-3 decision. King v. Burwell, No. 14-114 (June 25, 2015). This means employers cannot avoid employer shared responsibility penalties … Continue Reading

Waiting for GINA Guidance on Wellness Programs? EEOC Announces Anticipated Timing of Proposed Regulations

Since April, employers have been mulling over proposed wellness program regulations issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to address certain issues under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). We briefly summarized those proposed rules, and remind readers that there still is time to submit comments to the EEOC in order to seek clarity … Continue Reading

Employers – Are You Ready to Report Offers of Health Insurance?

As you may already know, generally, each “applicable large employer” (see our article Health Care Reform: Employers Should Prepare Now for 2015 to Avoid Penalties to determine if you are an applicable large employer) is required to file information returns with the IRS (Form 1094-C) and provide statements to its employees (Form 1095-C) about the … Continue Reading

EEOC Publishes Proposed Wellness Program Regulations

Today the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published long-awaited proposed regulations on wellness programs (Proposed Regs) that are intended to harmonize certain provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with long-standing rules concerning wellness programs applicable to group health plans under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and more recently, the Affordable … Continue Reading

ACA Cadillac Tax Proposed Regs: What Treasury and IRS Are Considering

The Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) added section 4980I to the Internal Revenue Code (“Code”). Code section 4980I applies to tax years after December 31, 2017, and provides a tax on high cost employer-sponsored health coverage – if the aggregate cost of employer-sponsored coverage (referred to as “applicable coverage”) provided to an employee exceeds a statutory … Continue Reading

As Employers Await Wellness Program Regulations From The EEOC, Congress Has Acted

We reported in December 2014, that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said it was planning to issue proposed regulations (scheduled for February 2015) that would “promot[e] consistency between the ADA and HIPAA, as amended by the ACA,” and “clarify[] that employers who offer wellness programs are free to adopt a certain type of inducement … Continue Reading
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