Benefits Buzz

Posted March 27th, 2015 in Producers, Employers, Individuals

On March 4, 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in regards to the King vs. Burwell case, which is the most significant challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) since the constitutionality of the Individual Mandate was challenged back in 2012. The plaintiffs in the King vs. Burwell case argue that subsidies can only be provided by states that establish an Exchange on their own. They further argue that the federal government, which is utilized in 37 states, cannot provide subsidies to Exchange applicants.  

Posted March 20th, 2015 in Producers, Employers, Individuals
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued nearly 500 pages of regulations that impact various components of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). These regulations were posted to the Federal Register on February 27th, and they take effect 60 days from the posting unless otherwise indicated in the regulations. Included in the final regulations are some key changes to Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs) for individual market coverage which are outlined below:  
Posted March 16th, 2015 in Producers, Employers

The IRS has released Notice 2015-17 with some new information about Employer Payment Plans, which are plans that are used to reimburse employees with pre-tax dollars for individual market coverage (e.g. HRA). Previous guidance had essentially eliminated Employer Payment Plans as an option for actively employed workers because they would not be able to comply with all of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) market reforms. Notice 2015-17 elaborates on the IRS’ position of Employer Payment Plans.

Posted March 6th, 2015 in Producers, Employers
The IRS released Notice 2015-16 which describes potential approaches that may be used in developing future regulatory guidance for the Excise Tax on High Cost Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage (a.k.a. Cadillac Tax). The Cadillac Tax would apply a tax of 40% to health coverage values that exceed certain thresholds starting in 2018.
Posted February 23rd, 2015 in Employers, Producers

The IRS has released the final version of the forms and instructions as it relates to the new employer reporting requirements associated with the Employer Mandate and other Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions. The forms are identical to the draft versions that were released last summer, but there have been revisions made to some of the instructions. The forms and instructions can be accessed below:

Section 6055 reporting (used to report which individuals are covered by the employer sponsored plan)

Posted February 13th, 2015 in Producers, Employers

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) defines a small employer as one with up to 100 employees, but the law gave states the ability of using a definition of up to 50 employees until the end of 2015. As a result, most states, including Illinois, used a definition of up to 50 employees. However, that will change in 2016, and all states will be required to classify their small group market as up to 100 employees.

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