News & Analysis as of

Wellness Watch

According to reports, more than half of all businesses with over 200 employees ask employees to participate in biometric screening, and nearly 10% of them provide a financial incentive for employees to participate. As a part...more

Reimbursement Changes, Shift to Consumerism Discussed at Akerman Healthcare Briefing

Changing reimbursement models and a shift to consumerism were two of the hot topics discussed at Akerman LLP's recent Healthcare Briefing event titled "Financial and Corporate Implications of the Affordable Care Act: A Look...more

IRS Allows Cafeteria Plan Election Changes to Coordinate With ACA Exchanges

New IRS guidance adds two more events that allow participants to change their cafeteria plan elections outside of the annual open enrollment period. These events are designed to coordinate with the employer coverage rules and...more

Self-Insured Group Health Plans: Two Deadlines to Note

As 2014 winds down, plan sponsors are likely thinking ahead to some of the significant changes that will take effect in 2015, most notably, the employer "pay or play" mandate under the ACA. However, there are two deadlines...more

IRS Seeks to Curb Popularity of ‘Skinny’ Health Plans

The Internal Revenue Service, in Notice 2014-69, has concluded that certain unconventional group health plan designs that offer limited or no coverage for in-patient hospitalization services and/or physician services will not...more

Final Regulations for ACA Excepted Benefits

On October 1, 2014, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Treasury issued final regulations that address the treatment of dental, vision and employee assistance programs (EAP) as "Excepted Benefits" under...more

Employee Benefits: The Registration Form For Transitional Reinsurance Program Fees Has Been Issued, and Must Be Submitted By...

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) created new fees for covered health plans, including transitional reinsurance program fees (TRP Fees) that are designed to stabilize premium increases that are expected to...more

Recent Employee Benefit Developments - October 2014

IRS Expands Cafeteria Plan Status Change Events - On September 18, 2014, the Internal Revenue Service issued Notice 2014-55, which establishes two new change in status events for cafeteria plans. The new change in...more

Considering a Wellness Program for Employees? Make Sure You Do Not Violate the ADA or Other Laws in the Process

Rising health insurance costs have bedeviled employers for years. Wellness programs represent one tool designed to increase employee health and reduce health insurance costs. The Affordable Care Act’s (“ACA”) so called...more

EEOC Files Two Recent Lawsuits Challenging Employer Wellness Programs

The Affordable Care Act creates new incentives to promote employer wellness programs. However, employers should not rush to establish such programs without first considering the implications of the Americans with...more

CMS Cost Sharing Reduction Reconciliation Reporting for QHPs

Qualified Health Plans (“QHPs”) and other stakeholders have until October 27, 2014, to comment on CMS’s proposed cost sharing reduction payment reconciliation reporting process. On Friday, September 26, 2014, CMS released...more

Excepted Benefits Under the ACA - The Government Agencies Overseeing Enforcement of the ACA Have Provided Relief for Employers...

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) imposes numerous requirements on health plans, including group plans maintained by employer sponsors. An enhanced claims process, coverage for dependent children until age...more

Monthly Benefits Update - September 2014

IRS Issues Guidance on How to Deal With a Change to an Employee’s Measurement Period Under ACA Employer Mandate - The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2014-49, which proposes an approach for dealing with...more

How to Structure an Employee Severance Package Regarding COBRA and the ACA

Often, when parting ways with an employee, an employer may offer to pay for some months of COBRA continuation coverage so that the employee can remain covered without having to pay the substantial premiums associated with...more

Employee Benefits Developments - August 2014

The Departments of the Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services issued final regulations addressing the rule in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that prohibits a group health plan from having a waiting period that exceeds...more

Healthcare Reform in the U.S. Territories; Prepayment of Taxes for Puerto Rico Retirement Plans

The summer of 2014 has brought further guidance for health plan coverage in the U.S. territories and for retirement plan coverage in Puerto Rico. Issuers and employer sponsors of Puerto Rico group health plans and employer...more

The Affordable Care Act—Countdown to Compliance for Employers, Week 19: Changes in Employment Status under the Look-Back...

An earlier post explained the two principle methods—the “monthly measurement method” and the “look-back measurement method”—available to applicable large employers to identify full-time employees for purposes of determining...more

Health Care Reform 2.0 Part 1

In this issue: - Health Care Reform – Overview - 2014 Federal Poverty Level Guidelines – 48 Contiguous States* - Health Care Reform – Affected Benefits - Health Care Reform – Excepted...more

Hobby Lobby ripples still being measured

How can the controversial decision in the Hobby Lobby contraception coverage case impact employers? The U.S. Supreme Court in June decided the controversial case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. The court ruled...more

The Affordable Care Act—Countdown to Compliance for Employers, Week 20: 9.5% ? 9.56% (And Why It Matters to Applicable Large...

While employers sometimes view the Affordable Care Act’s employer shared responsibility (or “pay-or-play”) rules in isolation, they don’t operate that way. Instead, they exist side-by-side with other provisions of the Act. In...more

Bundled Payments under the Affordable Care Act Continue to Gain Influence

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced that it will add roughly 4,100 providers to the 2,400 existing providers testing the possible use of Medicare bundled payment contracts. Providers must...more

Summer 2014 SCOTUS Roundup: Burwell v. Hobby Lobby

To close out our review of the Supreme Court’s summer decisions impacting labor and employment issues, we’ll examine the ramifications of the much-publicized and hotly discussed Burwell v. Hobby Lobby....more

Filed Your 2013 Health and Welfare Plan 5500s? Did you Include Your M-1 Attachments?

A provision of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) included additional reporting requirements and greater U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) oversight of Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (MEWAs). The DOL’s Employee...more

Upcoming Health and Welfare Plan Requirements Checklist for Employers

As the mid-way point of 2014 approaches, employers should actively turn their attention to several upcoming compliance obligations for the health and welfare benefit plans they sponsor. Below is a checklist of upcoming...more

Employee Benefits Developments - July 2014

In May 2014, the Departments of Labor (DOL), Health and Human Services (HHS), and Treasury issued Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Part XIX, addressing, among other subjects, the following: The newly revised DOL model...more

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