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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Obama administration delays implementation of ACA “play or pay” provision

July 03, 2013 - by: Jessica Webb-Ayer 0 COMMENTS

In a surprising move yesterday, the Obama administration announced on the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s website that it is delaying the implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) employer responsibility provision. Now employers won’t have to worry about compliance with the provision, commonly referred to as the “play or pay” provision, until 2015.

The play or pay provision has been one of the most publicized provisions affecting employers, and many employers have been nervous about its 2014 effective date. Under this particular part of the ACA, employers with 50 or more employees face penalties if they don’t offer health insurance coverage or if the coverage they offer is insufficient.

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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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Obama unveils compromise on health reform contraception rule

February 01, 2013 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The Obama administration released a compromise plan February 1 on how contraception is covered under the healthcare reform law, but it’s not clear whether foes of the original requirement will approve.

Under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, contraception is included as a free preventive service. The original rule exempted religious groups that employ mostly people of their own faith, but groups such as religious universities and Catholic hospitals weren’t included in the exemption.

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Healthcare reform provisions move forward: preexisting condition exclusions

November 20, 2012 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

On November 20, the Obama administration announced it is moving forward with certain provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including banning insurance companies from discriminating against people with preexisting conditions. The administration issued the following:

  • A proposed rule that, beginning in 2014, prohibits health insurance companies from discriminating against individuals because of a preexisting or chronic condition. Under the rule, insurance companies would be allowed to vary premiums within limits based only on age, tobacco use, family size, and geography. Health insurance companies would be prohibited from denying coverage to a person because of a preexisting condition or from charging higher premiums to certain enrollees because of their  current  or past health problems, gender, occupation, and small employer size or industry.

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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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What the Supreme Court’s Upholding of the PPACA Means for Employers

U.S. Supreme Court BuildingBy Jacqueline R. Scott, David S. Fortney, and Cynthia Ozger-Pascu
Fortney & Scott, LLC

In a historical ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the significant healthcare reform provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), enacted by Congress in 2010 in a sharply divided vote along partisan political lines and subsequently challenged on constitutional grounds by 26 states and employer representatives. On June 28, the Court issued an extensive decision, which included — to the surprise of many Court watchers — a majority opinion authored by Chief Justice John Roberts and the four liberal justices, along with concurring opinions and dissents by other justices.

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New Urgency on Healthcare Reform: More Pointers for Employers

Health Care Reform and EmployersBy Jason Lacey
Foulston Siefkin LLP

The legal underpinnings of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on healthcare reform are complex, but the bottom line is very clear for employers: Nothing has changed. The law that went into effect March 23, 2010 (the Affordable Care Act, or ACA), and has been in effect ever since, remains wholly intact.

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Employers Need to Continue Healthcare Reform Implementation

June 29, 2012 - by: Jessica Webb-Ayer 0 COMMENTS

U.S. Supreme Court BuildingThe U.S. Supreme Court held the attention of the nation (and employers) on Thursday, June 28, when it released its highly anticipated decision on the healthcare reform law (the Affordable Care Act, or ACA) enacted in March 2010. In a decision that surprised many analysts, the Court upheld the law in a 5-4 opinion authored by Chief Justice John Roberts.

So what did the Court rule, and what does its decision mean for employers going forward?

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Employers: “Full Speed Ahead” on Healthcare Reform

June 28, 2012 - by: HR Hero 2 COMMENTS

U.S. Supreme Court BuildingBy Douglas R. Chamberlain
Sulloway & Hollis, P.L.L.C.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s historic decision on healthcare reform (also known as the Affordable Care Act, or ACA) will be dissected and argued about for many years to come. The Court essentially upheld all the key elements of the healthcare reform law — most notably the so-called “individual mandate,” which will require that individuals purchase health insurance or else pay a penalty (or “tax”). There are two surprising elements to the Court’s decision: read more…

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