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Healthcare Reform Archives

The 21st Century Cures Act Allows Small Employer Standalone HRAs

On December 13, 2016, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act. Title XVIII of the Act overturns a portion of ACA regulations (IRS Notice 2013-54) that prohibits employers from offering employees standalone health reimbursement arrangements (i.e., HRAs that are not integrated with a group health plan). This change will allow eligible small employers the opportunity to contribute money to HRA accounts of their employees that can be used to pay health insurance premiums as well as deductibles, copayments, and other out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Navigating the Affordable Care Act Minefield

Are you an employer trying to sort through all the changes to the Affordable Care Act? If so, join Coolidge Wall Labor & Employment attorney R. Brent Gambill on July 27th in Columbus, OH, at the Sterling Education Services Affordable Care Act Seminar. This in-depth seminar has been approved for CLE credits for both the legal industry and HR industry and will address the following topics:

Can Employee Hours Be Reduced to Avoid Providing Health Insurance?

Once the Affordable Care Act was passed, employers began reviewing their options about providing health insurance coverage to employees. One option continually referenced in the news was how employers were considering reducing employee hours to avoid providing health insurance coverage. One employer is now the subject of a class action law suit that claims the employer violated ERISA when it reduced employee hours to avoid providing health insurance coverage. Marin v. Dave & Buster's, Inc., S.D.N.Y. No. 1:15-cv-036081.

IRS Extends the ACA's Form 1094 and Form 1095 Filing Deadlines

The IRS has unexpectedly extended the deadlines by which insurers and self-funded employers must provide health plan enrollment and coverage information to employees and the IRS under the Affordable Care Act. This is the information required to be reported on Forms 1094 and 1095. Notice 2016-4 issued December 28 extends the due dates:

Effective Date of the ACA's "Cadillac" Tax Postponed by the Appropriations Act

The monolithic Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, which became law December 18, changes the effective date of the Affordable Care Act's so-called "Cadillac" tax.

Supreme Court Upholds Affordable Care Act Tax Credits

On June 25th the Supreme Court ruled that premium tax credits provided by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to help individuals of low or moderate income to buy health insurance either on state- or federally-managed marketplaces are lawful. This means that people in all states, including the 34 states with federally-facilitated marketplaces, will continue to have access to the tax credits. Because of the Court's 6 to 3 ruling in King v. Burwell, ACA will remain unchanged, and individuals, employers, and health insurers must continue to comply with the law's individual and employer coverage mandates.

EEOC Challenges Wellness Programs

Many employers are implementing wellness programs associated with providing employees health insurance. The EEOC is concerned about wellness programs and has filed at least two complaints this year alleging that an employer's wellness program violated the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Failure to Provide COBRA Notice Results in Penalties Even When Employer Pays the Bills

Regina Honey was pregnant with her second child and experiencing pre-term labor. Her doctor ordered bed rest for about two weeks. When Ms. Honey was ready to return to work at Dignity Health, she was told her employment was terminated. About two months later she was reinstated. However, the pre-term labor returned and her doctor ordered bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy. Ms. Honey remained on bed rest until her son was born in July 2010.

The Supreme Court Narrows Affordable Care Act Contraception Mandate

The Affordable Care Act requires health plans to cover "preventive services" at no cost to participants. The federal government has identified 20 forms of contraception that are required to be included as part of preventive services. Various "for-profit" companies have challenged ACA's birth control coverage requirement in about 50 lawsuits now pending across the country. Many of these employers are family owned, closely held or controlled companies whose owners object to the provision of contraceptive coverage on faith-based grounds.

Federal Government Delays ACA Employer Mandate

The federal government recently issued final regulations that apply to the "employer mandate" or "play or pay" provisions under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). These provisions require employers with 50 or more employees to offer full-time employees (and their dependents) the opportunity to enroll in an adequate and affordable employer-sponsored health plan or pay a penalty. Last year, the government postponed enforcement of the new mandate until 2015. Now, the government has provided a further delay for employers with 50 to 99 employees and modified for one-year the coverage requirement that applies to employers with 100 or more employees: