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Health Care Reform – Wrapping Up 2016

By Christopher K. Bao, Regulatory Compliance Manager

clock December 5, 2016 at 10:00 AM

In 2016, many employers anticipated significant changes or, at least, clarification on Health Care Reform.  For the most part, the feds made no substantial changes nor released any major clarification on requirements. However, employers were impacted by some minor developments in the law.  

The most notable developments included:

  • Paid sick leave was a huge trend, with many states and municipalities implementing legislation to increase the amount of paid time off.
  • The government further developed the Affordable Care Act’s non-discrimination goal, and helped provide paid sick leave to government contractors.
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Topics: Employee Benefits, Legislative Compliance

ACA & Uncle Sam: News to Share with Your Employees

By Christopher K. Bao, Esq, Compliance Manager

clock February 15, 2016 at 10:00 AM

As you know, everyone in the United States is now required to have health insurance, or pay a penalty. And as an employer, you also know that individuals must be able to prove that they maintained health coverage in 2015, either through their employer or by acquiring other health insurance. Even though you are likely aware of the intricacies of the ACA & how it affects your employees, it’s still a good idea to communicate this new step to them to avoid misunderstandings or undue worry.    

Your employees don’t need to be tax attorneys, but they should learn about their own responsibilities and what they can expect from you and their insurance carrier. This proof of insurance involves IRS Forms 1095-C and 1095-B:

Form 1095-C:

Form 1095-C simply documents the months employees were offered health insurance in 2015, as well as in future years. If the employer is considered an applicable large employer with 50 or more full-time and/or full-time equivalent employees, then the employer has until March 31, 2016 to prepare and deliver Form 1095-C to all fulltime employees.

Form 1095-B:

Form 1095-B provides data on the employee (and potentially family members) enrolled in coverage, and will be sent directly to the employee from the insurance carrier, or included in Form 1095-C if their employer is self-insured.

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Topics: Health Care Reform, Breaking News, Legislative Compliance

New IRS Reporting Rules: Start Preparing Now

By Christopher K. Bao, Esq, Compliance Manager

clock July 6, 2015 at 10:00 AM

For most companies with more than 50 employees, 2016 will bring significant new Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employer reporting requirements.

The goal of the IRS: To ensure that your employees maintained health insurance coverage in 2015, in addition to ensuring that certain employers offer coverage to full-time employees, as mandated by  the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Preparation is the key to managing this additional workload brought on by the ACA for your HR, Finance and Payroll teams.  Planning is critical if you want to avoid a potentially big penalty. Employers may be fined up to $1.5 million for failing to report the proper information to the government.

By January 31, 2016, employers are required to report to an employee (and the government) as to what months the employee was offered coverage, in addition to other information related to the coverage, to the employee and the government.  An employer must also transmit this information (along with other information regarding the offer of coverage to all of their employees) electronically to the government by March 31, 2016 (paper transmittals will be due one month earlier). 

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Topics: Employee Benefits, Health Care Reform, Legislative Compliance

The ACA Turns 4: Major Milestones in 2015

By Christopher K. Bao, Esq, Compliance Manager

clock May 18, 2015 at 10:00 AM

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.
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Topics: Employee Benefits, Health Care Reform, Legislative Compliance

Benefits Strategy 2015: Are You Ready for the New Year?

By Christopher K. Bao, Esq, Compliance Manager

clock October 13, 2014 at 10:00 AM

It’s hard to believe that while we can almost feel the sand between our toes, summer has come to an end and fall is here. Before we know it, businesses will be ringing in the New Year and along with it, implementing 2015 Affordable Care Act requirements. The Legislative Compliance Team at Barney & Barney wants to make sure you are ready.

Each year, Marsh & McLennan Agency hosts the Annual Employee Benefits Legislative Update. This year’s seminar will give employers the tools they need to build a benefits strategy for 2015 that meets the requirements of the Employer Mandate.

At this seminar we will:

  • Review the Employer Mandate’s initial regulations
  • Discuss the new rules
  • Clarify details of the Employer Mandate’s final regulations
  • Address specific state laws impacting California employers and multi-state employers
  • Examine the employer reporting requirements for 2016
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Topics: Employee Benefits, Health Care Reform, Legislative Compliance

6 Months Until the Employer Mandate! Are You Ready?

By Christopher K. Bao, Esq, Compliance Manager

clock June 30, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Here’s the (not so short) list of what companies need to do before January 1, 2015

It’s actually coming this time – the Employer Mandate takes effect in just about six months. According to the Affordable Care Act, employers with 100 or more Full-Time/Full-Time Equivalent (FT/FTE) employees could face steep penalties for failing to offer affordable, minimum value health insurance to at least 70 percent of their FT/FTE by 2015. That percentage increases to 95 in 2016.

To help employers make sure their on track for the New Year, we’ve compiled a high-level list of action items to ensure your compliance:

  • Determine whether your company will be viewed as an Applicable Large Employer by 2015
  • Determine Dependent Coverage Transition Relief Applicability
  • Implement affidavits for all dependents
  • Determine non-calendar Plan Year Transition Relief
  • Determine whether to “Pay” or “Play”
  • Should you decide to “Play” you must negotiate an affordable plan that provides Minimum Value
  • Should you decide to “Pay” you should calculate your potential penalties
  • Determine Look-Back Methodology for Variable Hour Employees
  • Determine whether an Applicable Large Employer for 2016
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Topics: Employee Benefits, Health Care Reform, Legislative Compliance

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