January 2017
Stay Current Newsletter

If you are feeling angst or frustration from the extensive reports regarding the future of the Affordable Care Act, you are not alone. While we can only speculate regarding how President-elect Donald Trump will take action, we know change is coming. He announced that a repeal and replace of the Affordable Care Act could happen sooner than even the Republican party expected.

In a Senate vote of 51 to 48, Republicans took their first major step toward repealing the ACA on Thursday , approving a budget blueprint that would allow them to gut the health care law without the threat of a Democratic filibuster. The budget blueprint instructs House and Senate committees to come up with repeal legislation by January 27. Repeal and replace will likely not happen simultaneously. Representative Tom Price, Secretary of Department of Health and Human Services nominee , will need to be confirmed.
Bipartisan action is already in motion to repeal the Cadillac/Excise Tax. On Monday, January 9 Senators Dean Heller (R-NV) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) introduced legislation to repeal the Cadillac Tax. The Cadillac Tax calls for a 40% exci se tax on health care bills that exceed certain cost thresholds beginning in 2020. 
We will receive a n early exclusive update from Washington through our national association, the National Association of Health Underwriters January 24, and will share a summary of that update with you.    
The Benefits Done Right team will continue to keep you current  with up to date information as we receive it. 
A4Department of Labor Changes in the New Year

Employers across the country were relieved by the preliminary injunction halting the Department of Labor's (DOL) rule to increase the minimum salary threshold for exempt employees from $455 a week to $913 per week. This injunction does not impact your State mandated minimum wage increase(s) that went into effect on January 1, 2017.   

Click here for full details on our HR Done Right blog.
A3 IRS Premium Tax Credit Regulation VI

On December 19, 2016, the IRS issued final regulations relating to the health insurance premium tax credit.

If an individual declines enrollment in affordable, minimum value employer-sponsored coverage for a year, and the individual is not given an opportunity to enroll in employer-sponsored coverage for one or more succeeding years, the individual is not disqualified from premium tax credits for the succeeding years. For purposes of the employer shared responsibility penalty, a large employer may be treated as not having offered coverage for those succeeding years.

On a separate issue, although the proposed rule addressed the effect of payments made available under opt-out arrangements on an employee's required contribution for purposes of premium tax credit eligibility and an exemption from the section 5000A individual shared responsibility provision, the final regulations do not finalize regulations on the effect of opt-out arrangements on an employee's requirement contribution.

Per the final regulations, the Treasury Department and the IRS continue to examine the issues raised by opt-out arrangements and expect to finalize regulations later. Until final regulations are applicable, individuals and employers can continue to rely on the proposed rule and the guidance provided in Notice 2015-87.
A6Question of the Month

Disregard if you have fewer than 250 W-2 employees in the last calendar year. 

Q. Under the ACA, which employers must report information on Form W-2 and what information must be reported?

A.  The Affordable Care Act requires employers to report the cost of health coverage under an employer-sponsored group health plan. Reporting the cost of health care coverage on Form W-2 does not mean that the coverage is taxable.

Employers that provide "applicable employer-sponsored coverage" under a group health plan are subject to the reporting requirement. This includes businesses, tax-exempt organizations, and federal, state and local government entities (except with respect to plans maintained primarily for members of the military and their families). Federally recognized Indian tribal governments are not subject to this requirement. Reporting is optional for employers that file less than 250 W-2's in the previous tax year.

Employers that are subject to this requirement should report the value of the health care coverage in Box 12 of Form W-2, with Code DD to identify the amount. There is no reporting on Form W-3 of the total of these amounts for all the employer's employees.

In general, the amount reported should include both the portion paid by the employer and the portion paid by the employee. 

A7Harassment Prevention Training 

Some California employers are required to complete mandatory training under California AB1825. This interactive, in person training session will be facilitated by HR Done Right's certified harassment prevention trainer, Julie Worley. This training meets AB1825 compliance requirements.  

Thursday January 26, 2017
8:00 AM Registration
8:30 AM Training

Register today - the class is filling up! 

Can't attend the training? We are offering another Harassment Prevention Training on Wednesday February 15, 2017. Invitations for this class will be sent out soon.
A5 21st Century Cures Act

On December 13, 2016, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act into law. Of the Act's many components, employers should be aware of the impact the Act will have on the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, as well as provisions that will affect the way certain small employers can use health reimbursement arrangements to reimburse individual premiums. There will also be new guidance for permitted uses and disclosures of protected health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Read more about the Act here

2016 saw many updates and enhancements to EaseCentral, one of our popular online enrollment platform. For our clients using our EaseCentral platform click here to review the complete list.  
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