United Benefit Advisors Insight and Analysis Blog

IRS Updates Guidance on Play-or-Pay Penalty Assessments

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Dec 5, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Beginning in 2015, to comply with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), “large” employers must offer their full-time employees health coverage, or pay one of two employer shared responsibility / play-or-pay penalties. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) determines the penalty each calendar year after employees have filed their federal tax returns.

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Topics: IRS, employer shared responsibility, Affordable Care Act, play or pay requirements

Top 3 Frequently Asked Questions about Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangements

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Nov 22, 2017 9:30:00 AM

On December 13, 2016, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act) into law. The Cures Act provides a method for certain small employers to reimburse individual health coverage premiums up to a dollar limit through HRAs called "Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangements" (QSE HRAs). The provision went into effect on January 1, 2017. On October 31, 2017, the IRS released Notice 2017-67, providing guidance on the implementation and administration of QSE HRAs.

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Topics: health reimbursement arrangements, Affordable Care Act, 21st Century Cures Act, Qualified Small Employer HRA, QSE HRA

Latest IRS ACA Round Up (Including 2018 Cost-of-Living Adjustments)

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Nov 16, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Recently, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued the instructions for Forms 1094/1095 for the 2017 tax year, announced PCORI fees for 2017-18, and announced cost-of-living adjustments for 2018. The IRS provided additional guidance on leave-based donation programs' tax treatment and released an information letter on COBRA and Medicare. Here’s a recap of these actions for your reference.

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Topics: ACA, COBRA, PCORI, Affordable Care Act, tax law, leave-based donation program

Agencies Issue Proposed Rules and Plans

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Nov 14, 2017 9:30:00 AM

October was a busy month in the employee benefits world. President Trump announced a new Acting Secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Eric Hargan fills the position vacated by Tom Price, who resigned in late September 2017. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a proposed rule to delay a disability claims procedure regulation's applicability date and HHS released its proposed rule on benefits and payment parameters for 2019. The U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) issued its Priority Guidance Plan for projects it intends to complete during the first half of 2018.

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Topics: ACA, Affordable Care Act, Benefit Payment and Parameters rule, Qualified Small Employer HRA, disability claims procedures

IRS Releases Final Forms and Instructions for 2017 ACA Reporting

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Oct 24, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Instructions for both the 1094-B and 1095-B and the 1094-C and 1095-C were released, as were the forms for 1094-B, 1095-B, 1094-C, and 1095-C.

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Topics: employer shared responsibility, Affordable Care Act, ACA reporting

Contraception Mandate Rolled Back for Employers

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Oct 19, 2017 9:30:00 AM

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.

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Topics: contraception coverage, group health insurance, Affordable Care Act

President Trump Ends ACA Cost Sharing Reductions

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Oct 17, 2017 9:30:00 AM

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.

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Topics: health insurance exchanges, Cost-Sharing, group health insurance, Affordable Care Act

October 2017 Executive Order on Healthcare

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Oct 13, 2017 10:59:15 AM

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.

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Topics: ACA, health reimbursement arrangements, Affordable Care Act, association health plans

IRS Releases Draft Forms and Instructions for 2017 ACA Reporting

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Oct 5, 2017 8:30:00 AM

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:

  • Individuals have the required minimum essential coverage,
  • Individuals who request premium tax credits are entitled to them, and
  • ALEs are meeting their shared responsibility (play or pay) obligations.

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Topics: Affordable Care Act, applicable large employers, ACA reporting

IRS Roundup: What Employers Need to Know about the Latest ACA Notices

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Sep 28, 2017 9:30:00 AM

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.

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Topics: employer shared responsibility, Affordable Care Act, IRS reporting