The implementation process of the ‘Affordable Care Act’ takes place over stages, the requirements and reforms have been effective since 2013 and into 2014. There are certain provisions in this act that will impact employers that have over 50 employees in the line of business.
These provisions will include the following in regards to employer health insurance:
Employers must Notify Employees about the New ‘Health Insurance Marketplace’
This notification must inform all employees about the eligibility for a tax credit when they make a purchase on coverage from the Marketplace. In addition the employer should advise the employees should they use the option of the Marketplace that they are at risk of losing the employer contribution offered on plans for health benefits.
This notification was required by no later than 1 October 2013, and each new employee since this date should be supplied with this notification. The ‘Department of Labor’ provides employers with sample notices that can be used in order to be in compliance with this particular rule. The samples include notifications for employers who offer health benefits, and another complaint sample for employers who do not offer health benefits.
Requirement on Reporting ‘Health Insurance Coverage’
At the start of 2015, the ‘Affordable Care Act’ requires information reports from employers regarding health coverage that is offered to their employees who are regarded as full time staff. Public comments and stakeholder opinions will be noted and will assist on the development of the final rules of this proposed act.
SBC’s (Summary of Benefits and Coverage) Disclosure Rules
Employers will be required to provide a standard form on ‘Summary of Benefits and coverage’ to their employees. This form must explain what the health plan covers and the costs involved. This information is to assist employees in understanding and evaluating the options on employer health insurance. There is a risk of penalties imposed on employers who do not comply with this requirement.
Reporting of ‘Aggregate Health Care Costs’
From the date of January 2013, employers are required to complete a W2 form on reporting the annual costs of coverage provided by the employer on every employee in the company. This requirement is for informational purposes and will not need to include taxation relating to coverage on health plans.
Wellness Programs in the Workplace
The ‘Affordable Care Act’ creates and provides new incentives in order to promote wellness programs for employers to use in supporting workplaces with healthier employees. Wellness programs which are regarded as Health contingent will require employees to match up with a certain standard in health in order to be rewarded. These rewards can be for employees who don’t smoke or have proven to have stopped smoking. Or for individuals who have lowered their cholesterol levels. The final ruling since January 2014 states that the reward will not be more than 30% relating to the costs of the specific health coverage provided.
Employer health insurance should be regarded as a transparent and easy to understand option available to all employees.
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