CBO: $194 billion deficit increase if key ACA subsidies end in 2017

August 16, 2017 0 COMMENTS

ACA snipby Jennifer Carson

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires insurers to offer plans with reduced deductibles, copayments, and other means of cost-sharing to certain people, depending on their income, who purchase plans through the ACA marketplaces. In turn, insurers receive federal payments arranged by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to cover the costs they incur because of that requirement.

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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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Nevada Supreme Court clarifies connection between healthcare coverage, minimum wage

October 28, 2016 0 COMMENTS

by Deanna L. Forbush

Nevada is unique in so many ways. For instance, unlike other states, Nevada has a constitutional provision that authorizes a two-tiered minimum wage. It’s called the Minimum Wage Amendment (MWA). Under the MWA, if an employer provides qualifying health benefits, a minimum-wage employee may be paid $1 per hour less than the upper-tier minimum wage. But what does “provide” mean? Must the employer actually enroll an employee in a qualifying health benefit plan? Or is it sufficient if the employer only “offers” a qualifying plan? That’s a significant distinction, with major economic ramifications for Nevada employers whose payrolls include minimum-wage employees.

In a unanimous opinion issued October 27, the full Nevada Supreme Court looked at the plain language of the MWA to conclude that “provide” means “offer,” thereby partially overruling a lower court’s finding that an employee must actually “enroll” in an employer’s health benefit plan before the employer is entitled to pay the lower-tier minimum wage.

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Employers need to examine policies, laws in light of SCOTUS same-sex marriage ruling

June 26, 2015 2 COMMENTS

The U.S. Supreme Court’s June 26 ruling in favor of same-sex marriage means employers across the country need to take a look at their policies as well as the effect the ruling has on various laws dealing with employment.Pride flag at city hall

The Court’s 5-4 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges struck down prohibitions on gay marriage in states covered by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals—Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. But it has the effect of legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.

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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 COBRA model notices available

May 12, 2014 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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Mental health parity regulations take effect January 13

January 02, 2014 0 COMMENTS

The final regulations implementing the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 will become effective January 13.

The Act requires group health plans that offer mental health or substance use disorder benefits to ensure that those benefits are equivalent to the medical and surgical benefits offered by the plans.

The new final regulations apply to group health plans and health insurance issuers for plan years beginning on or after July 1, 2014. The final regulations define the law’s basic terms and outline the general parity requirement and classification of benefits.

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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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