Two tri-agency (Internal Revenue Service, Employee Benefits Security Administration, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) Interim Final Rules were released and became effective on October 6, 2017, and will be published on October 31, 2017, allowing a greater number of employers to opt out of providing contraception to employees at no cost through their employer-sponsored health plan.
On the evening of October 12, 2017, President Trump announced that cost sharing reductions for low income Americans in relation to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) would be stopped. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has confirmed that payments will be stopped immediately. While there is no direct impact to employers at this time, UBA will continue to educate employers about changes in the law and its Health Plan Survey will continue to track group health plan rates over time as insurance companies potentially seek to recoup lost revenue. It is anticipated at least some state attorneys general will file lawsuits to block the ending of the subsidy payments, with California Attorney General Xavier Becerra stating he is prepared to file a lawsuit to protect the subsidies.
On October 12, 2017, the White House released an Executive Order, signed by President Trump, titled "Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States."
It is important to note that the Executive Order (EO) does not implement any new laws or regulations, but instead directs various federal agencies to explore options relating to association health plans, short term limited-duration coverage (STLDI), and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), within the next 60 to 120 days.
Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), individuals are required to have health insurance while applicable large employers (ALEs) are required to offer health benefits to their full-time employees.
Reporting is required by employers with 50 or more full-time (or full-time equivalent) employees, insurers, or sponsors of self-funded health plans, on health coverage that is offered in order for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to verify that:
In spite of the recent efforts by Congress to change or repeal the ACA, its provisions are still in effect. The IRS has issued continuing guidance on the affordability rate for coverage, the employer shared responsibility provisions and reporting, and the individual mandate provision.
On August 22, 2017, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia held that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) failed to provide a reasoned explanation for its decision to adopt 30 percent incentive levels for employer-sponsored wellness programs under both the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) rules and Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) rules.
The court declined to vacate the EEOC's rules because of the significant disruptive effect it would have. However, the court remanded the rules to the EEOC for reconsideration.
The DOL issued guidance for employee benefit plans, plan sponsors, and employers located in a county identified for individual assistance by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) due to Hurricane Harvey.
A dependent care flexible spending account (DCFSA) is a pre-tax benefit account used to pay for eligible dependent care services. The IRS determines which expenses are eligible for reimbursement and these expenses are defined by Internal Revenue Code §129 and the employer's plan. Eligible DCFSA expenses include: adult day care center, before/after school programs, child care, nanny, preschool, and summer day camp. Day nursing care, nursing home care, tuition for kindergarten and above, food expenses, and overnight camp are ineligible expenses.
A health flexible spending account (FSA) is a pre-tax account used to pay for out-of-pocket health care costs for a participant as well as a participant's spouse and eligible dependents. Health FSAs are employer-established benefit plans and may be offered with other employer-provided benefits as part of a cafeteria plan. Self-employed individuals are not eligible for FSAs.