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

September 18, 2013 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 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 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 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 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 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 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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HHS Indicates CLASS Act Not ‘Viable’

October 25, 2011 0 COMMENTS

The Obama administration’s health care reform legislation suffered an apparent casualty last week when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) indicated it wouldn’t pursue implementation of the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) program (also known as the CLASS Act). In a letter to the U.S. Congress about the CLASS Act, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stated that she did “not see a viable path forward for CLASS implementation at this time.” Sebelius came to this conclusion after the HHS reviewed a comprehensive analysis of the CLASS program.

The CLASS Act was a part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) that was designed to create better long-term-care insurance options for individuals. According to the law, all CLASS benefits had to be completely funded through enrollee premiums without any taxpayer subsidy. The legislation also mandated that the program must be actuarially sound and financially solvent for 75 years.

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Up to $3,000 in Monthly Premiums! Why Long-Term-Care Insurance Plan Failed

October 20, 2011 0 COMMENTS

The Obama administration’s health care reform legislation suffered an apparent casualty last week when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) indicated it wouldn’t pursue implementation of the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) program (also known as the CLASS Act). In a letter to the U.S. Congress about the CLASS Act, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stated that she did “not see a viable path forward for CLASS implementation at this time.” Sebelius came to this conclusion after the HHS reviewed a comprehensive analysis of the CLASS program.

The CLASS Act was a part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) that was designed to create better long-term-care insurance options for individuals. According to the law, all CLASS benefits had to be completely funded through enrollee premiums without any taxpayer subsidy. The legislation also mandated that the program must be actuarially sound and financially solvent for 75 years.

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