DOL Issues Model COBRA Election and Exchange Notices
On May 8, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued an updated model COBRA continuation notice and a model notice of coverage options through the soon-to-launch health care exchanges. The exchange notice must be provided to current and new employees beginning Oct. 1.
SHOP Exchange Delay Limits Small Employers' Options
With a one-year delay in the launch of competitive marketplaces through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), smaller employers may need to re-think their health coverage choices.
Proposed Rule Clarifies Minimum Value Determinations
On May 3, the IRS published a proposed rule that provides additional guidance on what constitutes the minimum value of an employer-sponsored health plan. The rule addresses wellness incentives and health savings accounts, among other factors.
For 2014, Higher Limits for HSA Contributions
The IRS announced higher limits for 2014 on contributions to health savings accounts (HSAs) and for out-of-pocket spending amounts under the high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) linked to them.
New Guidance and Template for SBCs
On April 23, the Department of Labor (DOL) posted a new set of frequently asked questions that extends certain safe harbors for required summaries of benefits and coverage (SBCs). The DOL also provided an updated SBC template and sample completed form.
Employer-Provided Coverage Declined Over Decade
The percentage of Americans who receive health insurance through employers fell significantly over the past decade, according to a new report, both because fewer employers offered coverage, and fewer employees agreed to pay for it when available.
Tax Implications of Wellness RewardsWhile there are many laws governing wellness programs, federal income tax implications for employers and employees are often overlooked.
Fewer Health Plans Retain Grandfathered Status
The percentage of U.S. employers that offer a grandfathered health plan is roughly 20 percent, down from 58 percent a year ago, a finding attributed to employers' need to provide competitive health benefits.
On Private Health Exchange, Choice Drives Satisfaction
The launching of private (corporate) health exchanges is leading to confusion about how they will differ from public (government-run) exchanges.
SHRM Calls for Flexibility in Applying Employer Mandate
On March 18, SHRM submitted comments to the IRS on the proposed “shared responsibility” rule, which addresses the employer mandate to provide health care. SHRM called for maintaining or expanding proposed safe harbors and flexible options for transitioning to group coverage that complies with the new requirements.
Let Strategy Guide Health Benefits Decisions
Before making decisions on how to comply with the requirements of health care reform, employers should first stand back and evaluate what they want to achieve through their pay and benefits package.
Levers of Change: Employers Respond to Shifting Landscape
In the wake of health care reform, employers remain committed to providing health care benefits but are taking aggressive actions to improve accountability and manage costs.
Newly Eligible May Forgo Health Benefits in 2014
Low-income workers may opt to remain uninsured, creating challenges for employers.