Trump takes aim at ACA on first day in office

January 23, 2017 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

Following his inauguration on January 20, President Donald Trump signed his first round of Executive Orders, including one directing federal agencies to ease enforcement of some Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements.

Trump told agencies to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of”ACA provisions that impose fees or other burdens on a range of stakeholders, including individuals and health insurers.

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Agencies issue ACA-related regulations addressing contraceptive coverage

July 13, 2015 - by: Jessica Webb-Ayer 0 COMMENTS

On July 10, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), and the U.S. Department of the Treasury issued final regulations on coverage of certain preventive services under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Specifically, the new regulations focus on the ACA’s controversial “contraceptive mandate.”Birth Control ACA Contraception Coverage

The contraceptive mandate

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High court lets Hobby Lobby, others opt out of contraception coverage under ACA

June 30, 2014 - by: Jessica Webb-Ayer 3 COMMENTS

The U.S. Supreme Court reviewed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) again this term, and today, it held in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. that the ACA’s contraceptive mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) as it is applied to “closely held corporations.” According to the Court’s 5-4 opinion, the mandate “substantially burdens the exercise of religion.”

Under the ACA (and related Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regulations), many health insurance plans must cover certain preventive services for women without cost sharing (e.g., coinsurance, copayments, and deductibles). These preventive services include contraceptive methods and counseling—or more specifically, “all Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity.”

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New COBRA model notices available

May 12, 2014 - by: Jessica Webb-Ayer 0 COMMENTS

by Jessica Webb-Ayer

The Obama administration recently announced that new COBRA model notices are available. The notices alert employees about their ability to continue their healthcare coverage through COBRA following certain events that otherwise would result in termination of coverage.

The administration updated the notices to make it clear that if employees are eligible for COBRA continuation coverage when they leave a job, they may choose to purchase coverage through the health insurance marketplace (aka the health insurance exchange). According to the administration, the updated notices provide information “on more affordable options available through the marketplace, where workers and families may be eligible for financial assistance that would not otherwise be available for COBRA continuation coverage.”

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Obama administration issues long-awaited mental health parity regulations

November 08, 2013 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Today the Obama administration released final regulations implementing the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA). The MHPAEA is designed to make sure mental health and substance use disorder benefits offered by health plans are in parity with the medical and surgical benefits the plans offer.

The new regulations have been highly anticipated since Congress passed the MHPAEA in October 2008. The law amended and expanded a variety of previously enacted parity provisions in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the Public Health Service Act (PHSA), and the Internal Revenue Code. In February 2010, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) jointly issued interim final regulations to aid employers and group health insurers in implementing the MHPAEA’s requirements.

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Walgreens to provide employees with healthcare subsidy while ACA public exchange deadline looms

September 18, 2013 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

Walgreens has announced it will provide eligible employees with employer-sponsored health insurance coverage in 2014 through its proprietary “Live Well Benefits Store,” a marketplace that is an outsourced solution through Aon Hewitt Corporate Health Exchange.

The new program allows Walgreens to continue offering health insurance and wellness benefits to its employees as the plan administrator while providing tools and resources that help employees personalize coverage for themselves and their dependents.

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Obama administration delays another ACA provision

August 13, 2013 - by: Jessica Webb-Ayer 0 COMMENTS

The Obama administration has delayed another Affordable Care Act (ACA) provision. The administration has postponed a consumer protection provision that limits out-of-pocket costs until 2015. Under the provision, the limit on out-of-pocket costs was not to exceed $6,350 for an individual and $12,700 for a family.

According to the New York Times, the one-year grace period was announced in February on the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) website in guidance titled “FAQs about Affordable Care Act Implementation Part XII.” However, the language outlining the grace period largely flew under the radar until DOL officials recently confirmed what the language means.

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New regulations change details on workplace wellness programs

May 30, 2013 - by: Tammy Binford 1 COMMENTS

Final rules from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on employment-based wellness programs raise the maximum reward that may be offered by certain wellness programs and expand nondiscrimination protections for sick employees.

The final rules under President Barack Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act were issued May 29 and will be effective for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2014.

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HIPAA final regulations take effect March 26

March 18, 2013 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

The long-awaited final Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in January become effective on March 26. According to the HHS, the regulations represent “the most sweeping changes to the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules since they were first implemented.” The regulations are based on changes under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).

New provisions

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HHS relaxes state insurance exchange decision deadlines

November 12, 2012 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires states to establish health insurance exchanges to provide individuals and small employers with access to affordable insurance coverage beginning January 1, 2014. States have the flexibility to design and operate exchanges that best meet their needs while complying with the ACA’s statutory and regulatory standards. A state that chooses to establish its own exchange or participate in a partnership model must complete and submit an exchange blueprint that documents how it will meet all the legal and operational standards. A state also must demonstrate operational readiness to carry out exchange activities as part of its exchange blueprint.

Decisions on whether to establish a state exchange and blueprint submissions are due to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) by November 16, 2012. Although states still must inform the HHS if they plan to establish an exchange by that date, the agency has extended the date for submitting blueprints to December 14, 2012. If those deadlines aren’t met, the HHS will implement a federally facilitated exchange for the states and perform exchange activities.

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