The employer mandate has officially kicked in, but it’s far from the last healthcare reform requirement employers have to worry about.
There are several mandates still on the horizon. And since it doesn’t appear likely the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is going anywhere anytime soon (despite what Republicans in Congress would like to happen), it would behoove your organization to start the prep work now.
The health reform legal experts Carrie Byrnes and Serena Yee at the law firm Bryan Cave LLP recently highlighted the five requirements employers should be most concerned with.
- Reporting requirements. This is the first year for which employers will have to report information to the IRS on the the types of health coverage offered to employees, and to whom it’s offered. The reporting won’t be due until the first quarter of 2016, but employers covered by the ACA’s employer mandate are required to compile monthly data for their year-end reporting. So while the info’s not due yet, employers for which the requirements apply should’ve started collecting it by now.
- Nondiscrimination rules. At some point, the feds will issue their health reform nondscrimination rules that are supposed to prevent health plans from discriminating in favor of highly compensated employees. The goal is to prevent plans from offering highly paid individuals benefits not open to lesser-paid workers. The problem is, however, the feds appear to be having difficulty producing the rules. The feds have been teasing them for years, but so far nothing’s come of it. But stay tuned, they’re coming.
- Cadillac tax. When the ACA was enacted in 2010, the “Cadillac tax” was an afterthought for some companies because it wasn’t going to kick in for eight years. But now, we’re just three years away from 2018, when employers will have to pay a 40% excise tax on the value of any healthcare coverage that exceeds $10,200 for single coverage or $27,500 for family coverage. Employers should be looking at their insurance trends now to see if they’re likely to hit this threshold and determine if they want to make changes to avoid the tax.
- Automatic enrollment. Employers with more than 200 full-time employees will have to automatically enroll new full-time employees in one of their employer-sponsored health plans — as well as re-enroll those already receiving benefits — once the regulations regarding this requirement are issued (employees will be given the option to opt-out). But, as with the nondiscrimination rules, the feds appear to be having trouble producing them. The regs were expected in 2014, but they never came. Still, if you’ve got more than 200 employees, gear up for this requirement to become a reality shortly.
- Minimum value rules. Under the ACA, employer-sponsored health coverage must provide “minimum value” for the employer not to be hit with penalties. But plans only have the proposed minimum value rules to work off of. The final rules have yet to be published. These rules were expected to be issued within the first two months of 2015, but we’re still waiting. It’s possible they may require changes to your plan to avoid future penalties.