Healthcare

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Working Through Questions About the Private Health Exchange

Written by Jim Schafer, MPA

Despite the fact that healthcare has been the focus of many television programs, magazine articles and Internet posts, questions about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) remain … questions that some employers face regularly. They include employees asking about their options and whether or not they’ll still have insurance, and the finance person wondering how much more the organization can afford. Fortunately, learning more about the private health exchange could provide answers to these and other questions. An affordability crisis Companies that offer healthcare insurance benefits traditionally have funded their programs with a “defined benefits” approach...

Published in Healthcare
Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Legal Challenges to the Law and Three Big Changes for 2014

Written by Thomson Reuters

Most federal laws are like living, breathing organisms — always changing and adapting to new environmental forces. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is no exception. Just when you think you've grasped the fundamentals of how the ACA affects your business and what you need to do to satisfy its requirements, a new regulation or legal challenge may alter the rules of the game, or at least compromise your previously established understanding. Flood of Litigation The essence of the ACA was upheld in the U...

Published in Healthcare
Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Must Employers Continue Providing "Exchange Notices" to Employees?

Written by Thomson Reuters

Among the lesser publicized provisions of the Affordable Care Act is a requirement that, by October 1, 2013, all employers — regardless of size — provide notice of the existence of the new Health Insurance Marketplace. Assuming your company complied with this requirement, you may be wondering whether you need to keep distributing these "exchange notices" every year. Some employers have also pondered whether their insurers can send out notices on their behalf. What Is and Isn't Required First, some background: Health care reform amended the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to require that employers provide exchange notices...

Published in Healthcare
Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Getting Up to Speed on the Health Care Coverage Credit

Written by Thomson Reuters

Small employers owe it to their cash flows to keep up with the health care coverage credit. If you qualify, this break could lower your tax liability dollar-for-dollar by a substantial amount, freeing up that money for more profitable purposes. For the last few tax years, there has been a maximum tax credit of 35 percent of premiums paid by qualified small business employers (25 percent of premiums for small tax-exempt organizations). But there are some important changes to the tax credit for 2014...

Published in Healthcare
Monday, 19 May 2014

Observe and Report: ACA Rules for Large Employers Now Final

Written by Thomson Reuters

Understandably, many large employers have been focused on the shared-responsibility (or "play or pay") provision of the Affordable Care Act. But there's another major part of the law that warrants careful consideration: the information reporting provision. In March, the IRS released final regulations regarding this provision. These rules start to take effect in 2015 and are intended to facilitate timely compliance...

Published in Healthcare
Monday, 19 May 2014

Final Regulations Address ACA's 90-Day Waiting Period Limit

Written by Thomson Reuters

The Affordable Care Act ushered in a notably shorter maximum waiting period for health care coverage: When a new hire opts to participate in your health plan, his or her coverage must begin within 90 days of his or her start date. This requirement is applicable to all qualifying employees and their dependents. In February, the IRS, Department of Labor, and Department of Health and Human Services issued final regulations on the 90-day waiting period limit, along with proposed regulations expanding on the "orientation periods" permitted by the new guidance. Dates and definitions The 90-day waiting period rule is effective for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2014 (and, thus, already applicable to calendar-year plans)...

Published in Healthcare
Monday, 19 May 2014

Is there a Private Healthcare Exchange in Your Future?

Written by Thomson Reuters

The public exchanges (now called "Health Insurance Marketplaces") established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have dominated headlines and newsfeeds since their rocky start late last year. But private-sector exchanges have been gaining significant traction, partly because they're less prone to political controversy and technological glitches. In fact, private exchanges have existed in some form for a decade. But the early birds were used primarily by larger employers to help pre-Medicare-eligible retirees connect with private health plans and by Medicare-eligible retirees to buy supplementary "Medigap" policies...

Published in Healthcare
Thursday, 20 March 2014

Treasury Streamlines ACA Reporting Rules

Written by Thomson Reuters

The Treasury Department issued a new, consolidated form that streamlines certain self-insured employers' reporting requirements under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) starting in 2015. A March 5, 2014 fact sheet from the Treasury and IRS states that: "While 96 percent of employers are not subject to ACA reporting requirements or the employer responsibility provision because they have less than 50 employees, in 2015 requirements begin to phase-in for the remaining four percent of employers that are required to offer quality, affordable coverage to employees or make a payment." The top half of the new, consolidated form will require information needed for Section 6056 of the law such as: Contact information for your company and the number of full-time employees and An explanation of the coverage offered to each full-time employee, by month, including the lowest employee cost of self-only coverage. The bottom half of the form will require information needed for Section 6055, such as: Contact information for the insurer and Which individuals were covered and the months they had coverage...

Published in Healthcare
Sunday, 16 March 2014

Refresher on New Limit for Medical Expense Deductions

Written by Thomson Reuters

Health care costs have received a lot of attention recently as the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) kick in. But there's another reason to turn your attention to health care expenditures: A change that makes it harder than ever to claim the medical expense deduction. Here's a refresher on what's new -- and some possible solutions. Higher Itemized Medical Deduction Threshold Before the 2013 tax year, all individual taxpayers could claim an itemized deduction for medical expenses paid for themselves, their spouses and dependents, to the extent those expenses exceeded 7...

Published in Healthcare
Thursday, 13 March 2014

Think the ACA Thresholds Don't Apply to Your Business? Not So Fast

Written by Thomson Reuters

The Obama Administration's most recent change to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may have given some employers the wrong impression. With this modification, employers with 50 to 99 employees now have until 2016 to comply with the "Shared Responsibility" provisions of the law. Some employers -- especially those who are close to the threshold of 99 employees -- may be surprised to learn they are not really off the hook. Here's What You Need to Consider Two primary factors come into play...

Published in Healthcare
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