Supreme Court Upholds Health Reform Coverage Mandate


​Last Thursday, we all heard the big news.  The 2010 health care reform law survived its encounter with the Supreme Court virtually intact.

With the constitutionality of the individual coverage mandate now settled, employers should be taking a close look at what they still need to do to comply with the various health care reform requirements.  For example:

  • Employers must start providing the new “summary of benefits and coverage” to applicants and enrollees starting with open enrollments conducted this fall.  We will be covering this topic in a future alert.
  • For many employers, W-2 reporting of the cost of employer-sponsored health coverage will be required starting with the 2012 tax year.
  • The $2,500 annual cap on health flexible spending accounts goes into effect for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2013.  Employers will need to amend their plans to comply with this requirement.
  • “Play or pay” penalty tax provisions go into effect starting in 2014.  Employers subject to these provisions will have to pay IRS penalties if they fail to provide affordable health coverage to full-time employees.

Of course, it is possible that the health care reform law will be repealed.  Come November, we might even conclude that repeal of the law seems likely.  Nevertheless, it is all but impossible to predict what will happen in Washington, and for that reason employers should not make implementation decisions based on the expectation of any provisions of the law being repealed.