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Individual Mandate – Final Regulations Issued

Individual Mandate – Final Regulations Issued

September 4, 2013

Authored by: benefitsbclp

Putting to rest the speculation that the individual mandate may be delayed, yesterday the Treasury Department and IRS issued final regulations regarding the individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). The individual mandate requires individuals to maintain health insurance (i.e. “minimum essential coverage”) or pay a penalty (i.e. a “shared responsibility payment”).

The final regulations made a few clarifications but largely left unchanged the proposed regulations (released Jan. 30th). Individuals should go into 2014 with the expectation that they will pay the shared responsibility penalty unless they have minimum essential health care coverage.

Changes include the following:

Definitions: • Specifically identifying the terms used in IRC § 5000A, which requires the shared responsibility payment, are the same terms otherwise used in the ACA (e.g. health insurance coverage, health insurance issuer, individual market, and state).

Minimum Essential Coverage: • Clarifying that eligible employer-sponsored plans include plans issued on behalf

Heads Up – SCOTUS Decision Tomorrow on Same-sex Marriage

Heads Up – SCOTUS Decision Tomorrow on Same-sex Marriage

June 25, 2013

Authored by: benefitsbclp

Tomorrow, Wednesday June 26th, the Supreme Court is expected to release two opinions related to same-sex marriage: Windsor v. United States – a constitutional challenge to Section 3 of DOMA and Hollingsworth v. Perry – a constitutional challenge to Prop 8.  [Additional background information may be found here.]

While same-sex marriage supporters wait anxiously for the rulings, employers are also waiting to see how these rulings may affect employee benefit offerings.  A broad ruling could mean that employers would need to provide benefits and protections to same-sex spouses immediately, though many commentators believe that the court will not rule broadly in either case (i.e. both cases could be dismissed for lack of standing).

If the court does overturn Section 3 of DOMA, many uncertainties for employers would still exist, such as what benefits and protections must be provided to same-sex spouses that married in one state but now live

News & Notes – December 7, 2012

News & Notes – December 7, 2012

December 7, 2012

Authored by: Chris Rylands

Below is our most recent list of News & Notes from the week that was.  Let us know what you think.  Should we continue this feature?

  • Continuing with our unplanned New York theme, the New York Times recently reported how some non-traditional medical practitioners were lobbying to be included as “essential health benefits” under health care reform.  Is acupuncture essential?
  • Going completely to the other coast, CBS Los Angeles reported that LA County officials were scrambling to retain “paying patients” ahead of 2014.

News & Notes – November 16, 2012

News & Notes – November 16, 2012

November 16, 2012

Authored by: Chris Rylands

Just as we did last week, below, we share some recent benefits-related(ish) stories and other links.

  • Today would have been the deadline for states to submit their PPACA health insurance exchange blueprints, but HHS extended the deadline for the blueprints and then, a few days later, extended the deadline for states to tell HHS if they were starting an exchange.   As these reports from Kaiser show, some states are in and some states are out.  State Refor(u)m is keeping a list of state responses here.
  • The IRS released the latest edition of the Employee Plans News with some helpful information about plan administrative issues.

News & Notes – November 9, 2012

November 9, 2012

Categories

News & Notes – November 9, 2012

November 9, 2012

Authored by: Chris Rylands

As a new feature here on benefitsbclp.com, we are going to regularly share some recent benefits-related(ish) stories and other links.

  • Get out your flotation devices because Politico is predicting a post-election flood of health care reform guidance.
  • Several states had PPACA measures on the ballot.  You can check out this list of the measures, and how they fared on election night.
  • Speaking of health care and elections, this Washington Post article says many employees are overwhelmed by open enrollment.
  • And just when you thought we were done

Health Care Reform: What Are You Worried About? Tell Us!

We’re working on putting together a series of roundtables to help our clients and friends discuss their worries and strategies to deal with health reform/PPACA now that the Supreme Court has weighed in.  We want to make sure the program is helpful and impactful so we want to hear from YOU.  What are your biggest compliance concerns?  What do you want to hear more about?

  • Summaries of benefits and coverage,
  • Form W-2 reporting of the cost of health coverage,
  • $2,500 limit for health FSAs,
  • How to handle medical loss ratio rebates,
  • Preparing for the 2013 increase in Medicare tax,
  • 90-day limitations on waiting periods,
  • The “shared responsibility” (aka “play or pay”) penalties for employers,
  • Increased incentives for wellness programs,
  • Non-discrimination rules for insured health plans,
  • Automatic enrollment in health plans for employers with at least 200 employees,
  • Why employers

How Will Taxmageddon Affect You?

June 20, 2012

Categories

How Will Taxmageddon Affect You?

June 20, 2012

Authored by: Serena Yee

In the event the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the entire 2010 health care reform bill, individual and married taxpayers with income in excess of $200,000 and $250,000 respectively will dodge the 0.9% Medicare surtax on earned income and 3.8% Medicare surtax on most investment income scheduled to take effect January 1, 2013.  But that’s not the end of the scheduled tax increases for 2013.

Assuming Congress takes no action and the Bush-era tax cuts expire at the end of 2012, the individual tax rates for 2013 will be as follows:

 

2012

2013

Ordinary Income Tax Rates andShort-Term Capital Gains Rates

35%

33%

28%

25%

15%

10%

39.6%

36.0%

31.0%

28.0%

15%

15%

Long-Term Capital Gains Rates

15% (35% income tax bracket)

15% (33% income tax bracket)

15% (28% income tax bracket)

Payroll Tax Holiday Extended

Payroll Tax Holiday Extended

December 28, 2011

Authored by: benefitsbclp

 On Friday, President Obama signed a bill (H.R. 3765) that will temporarily extend the payroll tax holiday. The 4.2% Social Security payroll tax rate for individuals (historically 6.2%), which was set to expire on December 31, 2011, will continue though February 29, 2012. The IRS encouraged employers to implement the tax rate cut as soon as possible, but no later than January 31, 2012.   For any Social Security tax over-withheld in January, employers should adjust employees’ pay no later than March 31, 2012.

The legislation also extends unemployment insurance benefits without imposing any new qualifications and prevents reimbursement cuts to Medicare providers, which were scheduled to be cut by 27%. A joint conference committee with House and Senate members was established to negotiate further extensions of the tax cut, unemployment insurance benefits, and Medicare reimbursement provisions. The bill will be paid for by raising the guarantee fee charged

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