Unsurprisingly, the historic nature of the Affordable Care Act has made it a significant topic of discussion over the past four years and we don’t see that changing anytime soon. With numerous ongoing modifications and delays to legislation, it is essential employers stay up to date on ACA developments. As we approach the midway mark of 2015, we’ve compiled a list of high-priority ACA developments employers should have on their radar for the remainder of the year:
- Pre-established Stability Period - In 2014, employers should have established a Measurement Period or Stability Period for their variable hour/seasonal employees. The Stability Period should have begun January 2015 for variable hour/seasonal employees (subject to transition relief). If an employer has not yet established a Stability Period, the employer should do so immediately, unless they are entitled to transition relief in 2015.
- Section 125 Modifications - Employers that have not modified their Section 125 Plan documents to include the new permitted election changes introduced in 2014 may now choose to offer additional Section 125 Cafeteria Plan permitted election changes. This will allow their employees to make new mid-year election changes. This includes employees who:
- Intend to enroll in a Qualified Health Plan in the Exchange (i.e. Marketplace) or
- Work less than 30 hours a week during a Stability Period.
- Premim Reimbursement Grace Period for Small Employers - Small employers (less than 50 Full-time and/or Full-Time Equivalent employees) are able to continue having a premium reimbursement plan for their employees’ individual policies until July of 2015 without penalty.
- Cadillac Tax Planning - Employers should be focusing on strategies to reduce the cost of their high-priced health plans in anticipation of the looming Cadillac Tax. Health benefits (including HRAs, HSAs, FSAs) valued above the IRS threshold are subject to the recently released IRS Guidance on the applicability of the Cadillac Tax. The IRS Guidance also requested comments from the public on potential methods for calculating the cost of these plans.
- 1094-C and 1095-C Reporting - Applicable Large Employers (ALEs) are collecting data this year on major medical coverage offerings to employees and will report the data to the Federal government and individuals/employees on Forms 1094-C and 1095-C in 2016.
- Employer Mandate Reprieve for 50 – 99 Life Employers - ALEs with 50 to 99 FT/FTE employees will not be subject to the Employer Mandate for the 2015 calendar year as long as they did not significantly reduce benefit eligibility and/or reduce the benefits previously offered to employees and dependents since February 2014.
- Non-ACA Compliant Small Group Extension - Non-grandfathered, non-ACA compliant Small Group and individual health plans that would otherwise have been cancelled due to ACA requirements may continue to be offered until 2016.
As ACA legislation evolves, we will continue to communicate the latest information relevant to employers. Updates to the law are published each month in Marsh & McLennan Agency's Legislative Compliance Newsletter and urgent information is always shared through Breaking News features found here.