Posted on May 12, 2016
This year has brought many changes to employer requirements under the Affordable Care Act. With these new regulations, forms, deadlines combined with marketplace changes on the horizon, many employers are left to blindly navigate the 2016 health insurance landscape. However there are resources available to help business owners and HR managers understand what their responsibilities are when it comes to health coverage.
Join us on May 24th as Employee Benefit Specialists Michelle Wolter and Eric Upchurch review critical Affordable Care Act reporting and marketplace updates for 2016. HR professionals are facing challenging ACA compliance requirements and complex employee benefit regulations. If your organization is trying to get a better understanding of the 2016 changes and requirements, attend this informative, complimentary webinar. Topics include:
- Recent CMS reporting requirements
- ACA reporting updates, definitions and end of transition relief
- Iowa marketplace changes
- Resources to help ensure compliance
Tuesday, May 24, 2016 | 12:00-12:30 PM CST
Posted on April 20, 2016
Companies of all sizes are in the process of making significant changes to their employer-provided healthcare benefits. Concerned about employee retention, the looming Cadillac tax and rising healthcare costs, employers have decided to be proactive now in order to help manage costs later.
Significant Changes to Healthcare
Changes that many businesses have made to their existing plans include:
- Alterations that help manage costs
- Changes that increase employee participation
- Modifications that improve cost sharing strategies
- Changes that will improve employee health
- Modifications that will meet new healthcare reform requirements
- Changes that prepare businesses for the implementation of the Cadillac Tax in 2020
Business will Exceed Excise Tax Threshold by 2018
Half of US businesses are afraid that their current plans leave them vulnerable when the Cadillac Tax is implemented in four years. Approximately 60% of businesses fear that their healthcare costs will exceed the excise tax threshold in two years. Rather than waiting to see if the implementation of the excise tax will be delayed again, companies have decided to start planning for the worst now.
Changes Employers Are Making
Companies of all sizes are preparing for the Cadillac Tax by:
- Trying to improve the overall health of the US population with wellness initiatives
- Changing the value of their current plan’s design
- Making HSA contributions post-tax
In addition, small businesses have also decided to:
- Move their employee to a public exchange
- Reducing coverages to spouses or part-time employees
- Offering minimum essential levels of coverage
If you believe your current employer-provided health care benefits are vulnerable to the Cadillac Tax, you can learn more about your options by clicking here.
Posted on March 22, 2016
The IRS recently released the latest version of Publication 463 for use in preparing 2015 tax returns. The publication covers travel, entertainment, gift, and car expenses, explaining when and how much employees and sole proprietors may deduct work-related expenses on their federal income tax returns. Additionally, it specifies which records must be kept to substantiate the expenses, and where and how to append the deductible expenses.
The document remains largely the same since the 2014 fiscal year, with minor updates to the standard business mileage rate and cost-of-living adjustments, among others. Is your business and/or household fully prepared with the necessary documentation to optimize your tax filings for 2015? Do you have a solid grasp on the changes in itemized deductions since last year? To learn more, contact us.
Posted on February 11, 2016
Large employers are often subject to different regulatory standards than smaller employers, but the Affordable Care Act has made the differences more substantive. Large employers caught unaware of their classification and expectations can face severe fines and penalties. Are you a large employer as it pertains to PPACA? And if so, are you aware of your obligations under the employer shared responsibility requirements?
The majority of U.S. employers do not meet the threshold to qualify as an ALE (applicable large employer), and as such will not be subject to the shared responsibility provisions. To be characterized as an ALE, an employer must have had at least 50 full-time employees (including full-time equivalent employees) during the preceding calendar year.
Compliance mandates that ALEs must offer affordable minimum essential health care coverage to full-time employees and their dependents, but not full-time equivalent employees. Failing to comply may result in assessment of an employer shared responsibility fee. For the purposes of this requirement, dependents are defined as an employee’s child (biological, adopted or placed for adoption) who has not reached the age of 26. Under this law, spouses, stepchildren or foster children are not considered dependents.
The employer shared responsibility requirements are also referred to as the “employer mandate” or “pay or play provisions” with regard to employer healthcare requirements.
Information reporting responsibilities are also required to be met by the same group of employers, ALEs. ALEs must report certain information about the minimum essential coverage they are offering their employees. These requirements include informing employees of the health coverage; certain forms must be completed and sent to employees as well as the IRS. And employer that sponsors self-insured health insurance coverage – whether or not they are an ALE – must also meet these new reporting requirements.
For more information about the Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions, visit the IRS ALE page.
To learn more about benefits coverages available to large employers, click here.
Posted on October 15, 2013
The new health insurance marketplace officially opened for enrollment on October 1st (for coverage beginning January 1, 2014). The new website in which individuals can shop for health insurance coverage that may be eligible for subsidies has experienced its share of malfunctions. But the level of site traffic that was recorded shows just how many people are looking for health insurance coverage. However, many people are still uncertain of how this new public marketplace works and what their options are when it comes to getting health insurance.
Beginning January 1, 2014 all U.S. citizens are required to have qualifying health coverage or else face penalties. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) created a new marketplace in which uninsured Americans can shop for and purchase standardized coverage and offers subsidies to offset premium costs to those who qualify. However, many people don’t realize that the public marketplace is not the ONLY place you can purchase health insurance coverage; the private marketplace is still an option. Premiums are comparable to plans available in the exchanges, but subsidies are not available to help cover premium costs. The biggest change with the ACA the end to the pre-existing condition exclusions, which limited coverage based on an individual’s medical history.
So where do you start? As with any insurance purchase, having a local agent to help you identify your needs and navigate your options with you is always the best place to begin. They can help you determine whether you may qualify for a subsidy within the public exchanges or if you’d be better suited to buying coverage outside of it. The best part is that the local leaders at AW Welt Ambrisco are able to help you get coverage in either the public exchanges or the private marketplace!
Top 5 HCR Questions:
- How did the ACA impact the way health insurance is purchased?
- The ACA created a NEW way to buy coverage in addition to the current marketplace – you can buy in either!
- Can AW Welt Ambrisco help me through the changes?
- Yes, AW Welt Ambrisco can help you navigate your coverage options and get coverage either in the exchange or outside of it.
- If I elect not to take my employer’s offered coverage, can I get a subsidy in the public exchange?
- No. If you are eligible for qualifying coverage outside of the exchange, such as your employer’s coverage, you are not eligible for a subsidy. The same is true if you qualify for Medicaid or Medicare coverage. However, if you elect NOT to take employer offered coverage, you are still able to purchase coverage in the private marketplace.
- How much can I earn and still qualify for a subsidy?
- Households earning up to 400% of the Federal Poverty Level can qualify for a subsidy to help cover the cost of premiums (but only on coverage purchased through the public marketplace.)
- Am I required to have health insurance coverage?
- YES. Starting January 1, 2014 all U.S. Citizens are required to have qualifying health coverage or face penalties.
If you have questions about how Healthcare Reform will impact you, call the agents at AW Welt Ambrisco Insurance (319) 887-3700. We are here to help!