UPDATED MARKETPLACE NOTICES
One of the most important parts of the Affordable Care Act is the marketplace, or health care exchange. Although the Trump administration continues to attack the statute, it still is the law of the land. One of the requirements is that employers notify new employees at the time of hire about the marketplaces or health care exchanges.
The government provides a model notice employers can use to comply with this requirement and the notice has just been updated. So you should ensure you are using the most current version of the notice.
ASSOCIATION HEALTH PLANS
There has been a lot of ink devoted to association health plans as a way for small employers to reduce their health plan premiums. Here is another article on the final rules that were issued last month.
I am not sure association health plans will be that popular with the carriers. Surprisingly the latest funding for the Department of Labor has no money to promote association health plans.
Just because the Trump administration is encouraging the formation of these programs does not mean, at the end of the day, there will be that many. Obviously there will be some organizations sponsoring association health plans but they may be limited in number and the actual plans may provide limited benefits. Time will tell.
LEVEL FUNDING – VIABLE ALTERNATIVE?
Many of the carriers are getting creative when it comes to offering nontraditional health plans as a way to reduce premiums. One of those options is a level funding product under which the employer benefits if the claims experience is favorable.
When it comes to health care, “no one size fits all” but a level funded product may be a good fit for some employers. This article talks about the pros and cons of level funding.
SHORT-TERM HEALTH COVERAGE
The Trump administration continues to chip away at Obamacare. President Trump and Congress failed to pass legislation repealing the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) so the administration continues to finalize rules designed to weaken the statute. The latest effort involves short-term health coverage.
Short-term coverage policies do not have to comply with the Affordable Care Act. This means the policies can exclude benefits for preexisting conditions and impose annual and lifetime limits on benefits. Prior to the final rules a short-term policy could not exceed three months. The final rules say short-term policies can last up to 12 months and can be renewed up to 36 months.
Most employers are starting to think about the upcoming enrollment season. Even though this is only August it is not too early to start thinking about the upcoming enrollment season if you maintain calendar year plans.
This is a nice checklist of the various notices you should be providing at open enrollment time plus a summary of the objectives you should keep in mind when providing those notices.
HSA ELIGIBILITY AND MEDICARE
Health Savings Accounts (“HSAs”) and High Deductible Health Plans (“HDHPs”) have become pretty popular. However, an employee has to be HSA-eligible before that employee can make and receive HSA contributions.
If the employee is enrolled in Medicare, that employee is no longer HSA eligible. The rules can be somewhat confusing and this article explains the interplay between Medicare and HSAs.
NUMBERS DON’T MATCH
The Federal government is increasing its efforts to update its data and ensure it has accurate information.
Starting this month, the government is beginning to mail informational notifications to businesses and third parties that submitted wage and tax statements (Form W-2) that contain name and Social Security number (SSN) combinations that do not match Social Security Administration records. So be on the lookout for the notices.
DRAFT IRS FORM 1094 AND IRS FORM 1095
The Trump administration continues to chip away at the Affordable Care Act. For example, the individual mandate has been repealed effective next year. However, parts of the statute remain.
Most importantly the employer mandate still is in effect and the reporting requirements are intact. The IRS released the 2018 forms in draft format. So until the employer mandate is repealed, large employers must continue to comply with the rules.
CHANGES MAY BE COMING
The current administration and Congress have failed to pass major legislation when it comes to benefit issues but there is a flurry of changes in the pipeline. This article lists some of the proposed laws.
It is important to note that all of these are proposed rules. They mean nothing until and unless they pass Congress and are signed by President Trump!
SEVERANCE AGREEMENT TIPS
Although the following article is more related to labor issues than benefit matters I thought it was interesting so I included it in this newsletter.
It gives some practical pointers when it comes to drafting severance agreements. It makes sense that if you are going to give money to a former employee, you might as well get a severance agreement in exchange for the money.
Health Coverage Options for Early Retirees
You may want to share this article with employees who are retiring before they are entitled to Medicare.
Some people want to (and are able to) retire at a younger age. An important consideration for those individuals is what to do when it comes to health insurance if they are not yet old enough to get Medicare. This article talks about a couple of options.
DISCLAIMER: THE MCGOHAN BRABENDER COMPLIANCE NEWSLETTER IS COMPILED BY PAUL ROUTH OF FOLKERTH + ROUTH, ATTORNEYS AT LAW. IT IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT INTENDED AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR LEGAL ADVICE. THIS NEWSLETTER DOES NOT CREATE A CLIENT RELATIONSHIP WITH MCGOHAN BRABENDER OR FOLKERTH + ROUTH