Health reform is back in the news for multiple reasons. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) (H.R. 1628) by a vote of 217 to 213. This law was prepared specifically to avoid a filibuster in the Senate by using the same budget reconciliation methodology used to pass the ACA. In this way, a simple majority in the Senate can pass the law.
As revealed in ASE’s 2016 Healthcare Insurance Benefit Survey one of the top cost containment strategies that Michigan employers are using to reduce healthcare costs are Wellness Programs. In fact, 37% of Michigan employers either currently have a plan or intend to create one in 2016. Are they working?
This year 229 organizations participated in ASE’s 2016 Healthcare Insurance Benefit Survey. The survey covers a wide variety of employer-sponsored health insurance benefits including practices related to both traditional and High Deductible or Consumer-Driven Health Plans. Highlights from this year’s survey include the following:
Even three years after the ACA required employer coverage for all “full-time” employees, the “look-back” and “stability” periods continue to confuse HR professionals. These periods do not affect most employees; but they come into play with some new employees and with employees who are seasonal or have variable working hours. With these employees, the question of their “full-time” status becomes an acute one for the employer to answer.
The arrival of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 marked the first appearance in the marketplace since World War II of a viable alternative to employer-provided health insurance. Implicit in the ACA’s design is the notion that someday the various health insurance exchanges, led by a national exchange, could collectively cover more people than employers cover today. Theoretically, it has the potential to make employer-provided health insurance eventually go, like the dodo bird, extinct.
As reported in the article above, the arrival of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has not changed employee attitudes towards their employer-provided health insurance. But what about the employers who are providing that health insurance and paying most of its costs? Do not forget that during the run-up to the launch of the ACA there was much talk to the effect that employers would stop offering coverage as soon as they could and, in the words of a recent New York Times article, “send...
It is the latest employer weapon in the battle to control healthcare costs and head off employee medical problems: free or subsidized genetic testing offered as a perk. Tests to detect genetic markers associated with metabolism, weight gain and overeating are typical of those being offered. Some companies go further, offering tests that detect genetic mutations associated with breast and ovarian cancer. Ann Toth, a Vice President at Slack, which offers such testing, a perks “arms...
How the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) impacts wellness programs still makes employers’ heads spin. On the one hand, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) encourages such programs as a way to control costs. On the other hand, the EEOC has the opinion that such programs can be used only in limited ways. The result is that many employers are shying away from wellness programs.
As an employer, whether large or small, you’ve likely had to sift through vast amounts of healthcare reform regulation that impact your business. With fall now upon us, there are provisions for you to begin considering regardless of your company’s size.
Here is a checklist of what all employers need to think about while preparing for the Affordable Care Act (ACA):
Now Through Early Fall:
Marketplace notification to employees
If you have not already done so, the ACA...
Last week’s mid-term elections resulted in some significant shifts in power both in Michigan’s Legislature and in the U.S. Congress. In summary:
Michigan’s Senate saw the Republicans increasing their majority from 26 - 12 this year to 27 - 11 in 2015.
The Michigan House saw the Republicans also increasing their majority of seats from 59 – 50 (one independent) to 63 - 47.
The Republican Governor, Rick Snyder is re-elected for a second term, beating...
Changes to Cafeteria plans and opting out by employees:
The Internal Revenue Service has issued Notice 2014-55 which proposed amendments to Regulations Sec. 1.125-4 to define two sets of circumstances under which employees can revoke their election of employer-sponsored coverage under a cafeteria plan and purchase a qualified health plan through an exchange.
The first situation involves a participating employee whose hours of service are reduced so that the employee is expected to...
Employers who are not yet providing High Deductible Health Plans as part of their group insurance offerings may soon find themselves compelled to reconsider that option if they are not already doing so. The number of such plans and the people covered by them has continued to increase nationally and locally, such that they should no longer be thought of as experimental or even cutting edge. They are part of the mainstream.
Further, as the penetration of these plans grows and impacts the war...
Assume the following scenario: ABC Company has 200 full-time employees and 50 temporary employees supplied through a staffing company. Based on the calculations for employee coverage for 2016, ABC Company determines that the 200 full-time employees are its “common law” employees. Therefore it provides coverage under its group health plan to all of them. The staffing firm also provides coverage to all of its full-time employees, including the 50 temporary workers placed with ABC...
The High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP), by its very name, infers more cost to the participant than a traditional health plan. But the use of HDHPs comes with a very interesting and valuable side feature. Only HDHPs allow the employee to set up a savings account that both employer and employee can contribute pre-tax dollars to, and the user can use those dollars to pay for any IRS-recognized medical expense. These accounts also have the added tax benefit of investment gains accruing on a...
Small employers (49 FTEs or fewer) are debating what to do about health care for their employees. The news is out that premium increases may be much higher than expected for healthcare plans in 2014 and in the future. So many are considering dumping health care, letting their employees buy health plans on the Exchanges, and figuring out how to reimburse them.
One method would to bump the salary up by the amount of the employer’s contribution to a healthcare plan. In...