Senate agrees to consider healthcare bill

July 26, 2017 0 COMMENTS

On July 25, after much back-and-forth in the Senate and the dramatic return of Senator John McCain, who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer, the Senate agreed to open debate on legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). With Republican Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski joining all Senate Democrats in voting against the debate, Vice President Mike Pence stepped in to break the tie and get the legislation on the table.

Soon after, however, a vote on a version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) failed by a count of 43-57.

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Senate releases highly anticipated healthcare bill

June 22, 2017 0 COMMENTS

Update: On June 27, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that a vote on the Senate bill will be delayed until after the July 4th recess.

Following the May passage in the House of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the Senate has now released the text of its own draft ACA reform bill.

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CBO says revised AHCA not much of an improvement over prior version

May 25, 2017 0 COMMENTS

The saga of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the Republican plan to repeal and replace key portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), has been a long and winding one so far.

To recap: The original version of the AHCA was introduced in early March. After receiving lukewarm support and a discouraging report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which concluded that it would leave an additional 24 million Americans uninsured by 2026 as compared with the current ACA, it was pulled from the House floor shortly before a scheduled vote on March 24.

Republican lawmakers regrouped, and on May 4, a modified version of the AHCA squeaked through the House by the slimmest of margins. The vote took place before the CBO had a chance to review the new version of the bill.

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DOL’s health insurance marketplace form is now expired . . . but fear not

February 01, 2017 0 COMMENTS

Employers have a lot to worry about these days. Fortunately, the expiration of the marketplace notice form issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) isn’t something else to add to the list.

The form, New Health Insurance Marketplace Coverage Options and Your Health Coverage, comes in two versions: one for employers that offer some sort of health coverage and one for employers that don’t. Both versions of the form expired on Tuesday, January 31.

The DOL hasn’t issued new versions, and with the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in doubt, it’s unclear whether the agency will. Fortunately, employers may continue using the old versions of the forms for now without risk of penalty.

EEOC’s new wellness program rules give employers more to consider

May 16, 2016 0 COMMENTS

Employers are getting a look at new final rules affecting how they structure wellness programs, rules that are meant to clear up conflicts among various federal laws but that also may make administration of wellness programs more challenging.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) new rules describe how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) apply to employer wellness programs that request health information from employees and their spouses. The rules—one dealing with the ADA and the other with GINA—explain how workplace wellness programs can comply with the ADA and GINA consistent with provisions in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

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Agencies issue ACA-related regulations addressing contraceptive coverage

July 13, 2015 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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Obamacare ruling means little change for employers

June 25, 2015 0 COMMENTS

In a much-anticipated June 25 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court handed President Barack Obama a victory on his administration’s signature piece of legislation—the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Although the ruling was crucial to the future of the healthcare law, it basically means business as usual for employers.

The Court ruled 6-3 in King v. Burwell that federal tax credits to subsidize healthcare coverage are authorized under the ACA. Opponents of the law argued that it doesn’t authorize subsidies to individuals in states that don’t offer a state-run healthcare exchange. Thirty-four states have not set up exchanges, so individuals in those states turn to a federal government exchange.

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EEOC calling for changes to ADA regulations related to wellness programs

April 16, 2015 0 COMMENTS

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking addressing how employer wellness programs can be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The EEOC announced the proposed rule on April 16, and it was published in the Federal Register on April 20. Members of the public have until June 19 to submit comments. In addition to the notice, the EEOC has published a fact sheet for small businesses and a question-and-answer document.

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Part of once-delayed ACA employer mandate takes effect January 1

December 01, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Douglas R. Chamberlain

Employers got a reprieve in 2014 on a key mandate incorporated in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but the new effective date for many employers is now set for January 1, 2015.

The ACA generally provides that all employers with 50 or more employees who work 30 or more hours per week must offer their employees health insurance coverage. This “employer mandate” was originally slated to take effect January 1, 2014, but during 2013, the Obama administration delayed the effective date to 2015.

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New regulations delay ACA’s ‘play or pay’ provision for some employers

February 11, 2014 1 COMMENTS

In yet another unexpected turn in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Obama administration announced Monday that it is delaying the application of the law’s employer responsibility provision (also commonly referred to as the “play or pay” provision) for some small employers until 2016. The administration let the public know about the delay when the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the IRS released final regulations addressing the much-publicized provision.

Under the play-or-pay provision, employers with 50 or more employees face penalties if they don’t offer health insurance coverage or if the coverage they offer is insufficient. The provision was originally supposed to take effect on January 1, 2014, but last summer the administration delayed implementation until 2015.

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