The IRS recently updated the FAQs on its website regarding the employer mandate to provide some details on the process it will use to impose penalties for failure to provide coverage to “ACA full-time” employees (those working 30 or more hours per week) in accordance with Section 4980H of the Code (often referred to as the “employer mandate”).
On May 4, the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act, (AHCA), which is aimed at repealing and replacing portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While many of the changes do not affect employer-sponsored coverage, there are several changes in the bill that are likely to be of interest to employers.
Earlier this year, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights published final rules implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Section 1557 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability by healthcare providers and group health plans that receive federal financial assistance. The rules include restrictions on discrimination relating to gender identity, as well as requirements regarding accessibility for individuals with limited English and with disabilities.
A recent decision from the California Labor Commissioner’s Office found that a former Uber driver was an employee of the company, not an independent contractor as the firm has labeled its motorists. The implications for Uber, as well as other companies with similar business models, could be far-reaching.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has issued proposed rules (“ADA Proposed Rules”) on the extent to which employers may offer incentives to promote participation in wellness programs without violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). The ADA Proposed Rules apply if a wellness program includes disability-related inquiries or medical examinations, including inquiries or examinations that are part of a health risk assessment. Health risk assessments are reported to be the most common form of incentivized employee wellness programs.1 Thus, many employers would likely be impacted by these new rules if finalized.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires the state and federal health care exchanges to notify employers if an employee has been determined to be eligible for a premium tax credit or cost-sharing reduction for exchange coverage. The notices are issued for those individuals who have been determined to be eligible for such a subsidy. As employers begin receiving notices, they should consider how best to track this information and whether it would be worthwhile to appeal the subsidy eligibility determinations where the information is incorrect.
The government has continued to issue a number of regulations and other guidance on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and related health care laws, including the following:
- Final regulations on the use of “bona fide orientation periods” in coordination with waiting periods for health care coverage;
- IRS forms and instructions regarding reporting of health care coverage by health plans and large employers;
- Updated proposed rules on the required Summary of Benefits and Coverage;
- Guidance regarding use of “skinny plans”; and
- Preliminary guidance on the “Cadillac” tax on high-cost health plans.
We have developed a compliance reference tool to assist employers in developing a better understanding of what is required under PPACA and the required timeframe for any applicable changes. This tool contains a timeline/checklist, along with an appendix providing additional information on many of the requirements (which are linked to the timeline/checklist for easy access). See the most recent version, which has been updated as of the beginning of April 2015.
The IRS recently issued Notice 2015-16 addressing the excise tax on high cost employer-sponsored health coverage enacted under the Affordable Care Act. This tax, which is commonly referred to as the "Cadillac" tax, will take effect in 2018. While it does not provide definitive guidance on which employers can rely, the Notice does provide some useful insights as to the agency’s intended approach regarding key aspects of the tax.
The IRS recently issued final versions of the new Forms 1094-B, 1095-B, 1094-C and 1095-C, along with related final Instructions. These forms are for reporting of coverage in 2014, but are expected to be similar for reporting for 2015.
In December 2014, the government issued new proposed rules regarding the requirements for providing a summary of benefits and coverage (SBC). Simultaneous with the proposed rules, the government also published an updated SBC template and uniform glossary.