California Repeals 60-Day Limit on Waiting Periods

September 2014
On August 15, 2014, California passed Senate Bill 1034, which repealed an insurance law (Assembly Bill 1083) that prohibited insurance companies from including waiting periods in excess of 60 days in their group health insurance contracts. The new law, effective January 1, 2015, prohibits California insurance companies from applying any "waiting or affiliation period" under a group or individual health benefit plan.

No Play-or-Pay Penalty in States with a Federal Exchange?

July 2014
DC Appeals Court holds that premium subsidies are not available to enrollees in Federal Exchanges The U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has dealt a serious blow to the Obama Administration today with a decision that calls into question the structural integrity of the "pay-or-play" mandates under the Affordable Care Act ("ACA").

Supreme Court Sides with Employers and Not Administration in Hobby Lobby Decision

July 2014
In a 5-4 decision announced today in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. ("Hobby Lobby") (f/k/a Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.), the United States Supreme Court (the "Court") ruled that the federal government erred in requiring for-profit, faith-based employers to pay for certain forms of birth control that contradicted their religious beliefs.

Final Regulations on Orientation Periods Released

July 2014
On June 20, the Federal regulatory agencies in charge of health care reform guidance (the Departments of Labor, Treasury, and Health and Human Services) released final regulations ("Final Regulations") clarifying the relationship between a group health plan's eligibility criteria and the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) 90-day limit on waiting periods. Specifically, the Final Regulations (published in the June 25 Federal Register) address an employer's ability to require new employees to satisfy a "reasonable and bona fide employment-based orientation period" before starting a group health plan's waiting period.

PCORI Fees Reminder: Due July 31, 2014

June 2014
Employers that sponsor self-insured group health plans, including health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) should keep in mind the upcoming July 31, 2014 deadline for paying fees that fund the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute ("PCORI"). As background, PCORI was established as part of health care reform to conduct research to evaluate the effectiveness of medical treatments, procedures and strategies that treat, manage, diagnose or prevent illness or injury. PCORI fees were first due by sponsors of self-insured group health plans and insurers last July for plan and policy years that ended on or after October 1, 2012. Under health care reform, most employer sponsors and insurers will be required to pay PCORI fees until 2019.

New Guidance on COBRA and ACA Marketplace Coverage: The Gap in Coverage is (Not Quite) Filled

May 2014
There has been much confusion and concern about the interplay between the COBRA continuation coverage rules and the new Health Insurance Marketplace established under the Affordable Care Act (the "Marketplace"). One important question has been how individuals could transition from COBRA continuation coverage to (often cheaper) Marketplace coverage. Also, many individuals are confused about whether they should continue their available COBRA continuation coverage or separately opt for coverage through the Marketplace. To help clarify the rules, the government agencies have issued some important new guidance.

Guidance Released on Coordination of Health FSA Carryover with HSAs; FSA Correction Procedures

April 2014
On March 28, 2014, the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) Office of Chief Counsel released two memoranda that provide guidance on certain administrative issues affecting employers that sponsor health flexible spending arrangements (health FSAs).

Final Regulations on Employer "Play or Pay" Mandate Released – IRS Provides Transition Relief to Employers with 50-100 Employees

February 2014
On Tuesday, February 10, 2014, the IRS released final regulations on the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) employer "shared responsibility" provisions, also known as the "Play or Pay" mandate.

Departments Release New FAQ Guidance on ACA and MHPAEA Implementation Issues

January 2014
On January 9, 2014, the Departments of Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services (collectively, the "Departments") published the 18th installment of a series of answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) regarding implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA).

Departments Release Guidance on Dental and Vision Plans, EAPs, and "Wraparound" Coverage

January 2014
The Departments of Treasury, Labor and Health & Human Services (collectively, the Departments) jointly issued proposed rules (Proposed Regulations) on December 20, 2013. The proposed rules would amend the regulations regarding excepted benefits under various federal laws, including the Employee, Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERIS) and the Internal Revenue Code (the Code). In general, excepted benefits are exempt from the market reform and other requirements that were added to ERISA and the Code by the Affordable Care Act (the ACA),including the rules prohibiting annual and lifetime dollar limits on essential benefits, the 90-day waiting period rule, and the requirement to cover certain preventive care with no cost sharing. Excepted benefits are also exempt from the ACA's transitional reinsurance program (TRP) and Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) fees.

Administration Announces a Temporary Fix for Individual and Small Group Health Insurance Policies

November 2013
In response to nationwide complaints about health insurance plans being cancelled or not renewed because of the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Obama Administration announced on November 14, 2013 that it is offering a one year moratorium on key aspects of the market reform provisions under the Act.

IRS Changes Health FSA "Use-or-Lose" Rule; Clarifies Transition Relief for 2013-14

November 2013
On October 31, 2013, the IRS released Notice 2013-71, which modifies the "use-or-lose" rule for health flexible spending accounts (FSAs) to allow a $500 annual carryover of unused contributions, provided the FSA does not incorporate the "grace period" rule.

New IRS Notice Allows FSA Carryover

November 2013
Big news from the IRS yesterday as they released Notice 2013-71, which offers FSA (flex spending account) participants to rollover up to $500 at the end of the plan year instead of a 2.5-month grace period. The notice also allows participants to use that money for the old or the new plan year.

FACT or MYTH? Going through an agent to purchase your health insurance does not cost any more than if you purchase it on your own.

October 2013
FACT! Our team at Peel & Holland is here to assist you in purchasing your health insurance at no additional cost!

HHS Delays Enrollment in Small-Business ACA Federal Marketplaces for One Month

October 2013
The Obama administration has announced today that the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) marketplaces operated by the Department of Health and Human Services (i.e., the Federal Exchanges) will not be ready for open enrollment on October 1, 2013. Rather, open enrollment will commence on November 1, 2013 with an anticipated start of coverage on January 1, 2014.

Guidance on HSAs, FSAs, and Employer Payment Plans

September 2013
On Friday, September 13, 2013, the IRS released Notice 2013-54 and the DOL issued Technical Release 2013-03 in substantially identical form. This guidance, which is generally effectice January 1, 2014, provides much needed clarification on the application of certain provisions of the ACA (annual limits and preventive care) to account-based plans such as HRAs and FSAs, and other types of arrangements that reimburse premiums (referred to in the guidance as "Employer Payment Plans").

Model Exchange Notice

September 2013
On September 11, 2013 in its online FAQ1, the Department of Labor confirmed the fact that currently there will be no penalties for employers surrounding a failure to issue Marketplace Notices2 (also known as “Notice of Exchange Coverage”) to employees. Some may have interpreted the new FAQ statement as being new guidance. In fact, the absence of penalties under the ACA surrounding the Exchange Notices, is not news, and has been a known under Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) §18b.

Marshall County Chamber Biscuits & Business Breakfast

September 2013
Join the Marshall County Chamber of Commerce Biscuits & Business Breakfast on Wednesday, September 18 with guest speakers Heather Elliott of Peel & Holland and Jill Chambers of Kemper CPA Group.

Inform on Reform Webinar: Affordable Care Act Q&A

September 2013
Join us for this live online webinar as Attorney Whitney Wallingford and Benefits Advisor Greg Carlton talk through the top questions and their answers!

Updated IRS Rules for HSAs & Preventive Care

September 2013
On September 10, 2013, the IRS issued Notice 2013-57 modifying the definition of “preventive care” for purposes of the HSA-qualified health plans (aka HDHPs). Essentially, this new guidance removes any potential conflict between the different definitions of preventive care under the ACA and the HSA statutes.

IRS Adopts "Place of Celebration" Rule

September 2013
On August 29, 2013, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service issued important guidance for employers and employees relating to the impact of the Windsor decision on employee benefit plans.

Employee Engagement through the HCR Process Webinar

September 2013
You may have your health care reform strategy lined out, but have you thought about how to explain it to employees? Are you starting to get questions from them that you're unsure of how to answer? How do you explain your decisions to them while ensuring you can keep your key employees?

Inform on Reform Webinar: Employee Engagement on Aug. 29

August 2013
Our next session of Inform on Reform will be a live online webinar held from 8:30-9:30 a.m. CST on Thursday, August 29th. This month's topic is Employee Engagement through the Health Care Reform Process. Speakers include Jeff Elias, HR Director for Benefit Advisors Network and Randy Fox, Founding Partner of Capstone HR.

IRS Launches New ACA Tax Provisions Website

August 2013
The IRS launched a new website explaining the tax components associated with the Affordable Care Act.

Miss a Session of Inform on Reform?

August 2013
If you miss a session of Inform on Reform, visit our website to sign up for Peel & Holland University and gain access to webinar and seminar recordings!

ACA Workshop for Employers with Less Than 50 Employees

August 2013
Peel & Holland is helping present a workshop on the Affordable Care Act and its impact on employers with less than 50 employees this Tuesday, August 13th, at the Purchase Area Development District office in Mayfield.

Mayfield Graves Chamber of Commerce Eggs ‘N Issues

August 2013
Greg Carlton, Peel & Holland’s Senior Vice President Employee Benefits & Wellness, will be speaking at the upcoming Mayfield Graves Chamber of Commerce Quarterly Breakfast, Eggs ‘N Issues. Greg will be speaking on Health Care Reform and the impact of the changes that will be taking place.

ACA Implications on Workplace Wellness Programs

August 2013
The Affordable Care Act included several reforms directed at promoting and improving the effectiveness of workplace wellness programs. Updates include increased incentives to employees and a grant program for eligible small businesses that implement workplace wellness programs.

Peel & Holland in Paducah Sun Article

July 2013
In the July 21, 2013 edition of The Paducah Sun, Peel & Holland President, Roy Riley, was interviewed regarding the Affordable Care Act and some of the unintended consequences that are arising because of it.

Inform on Reform Webinar - July 25

July 2013
Our next session of Inform on Reform will be a live online webinar held from 8-9:30 a.m. CST on Thursday, July 25th. This month's topic is Building a Better Benefits Approach.

New Documents Regarding Recent DOMA Decision Available on P&H University

July 2013
On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government will generally recognize same-sex spouses as married for purposes of federal laws, protections and obligations. In response to this, we have made available two documents that outline what this decision means for your business.

Play or Pay Delayed Until 2015

July 2013
On July 2, 2013 the Obama Administration announced that it would delay the penalty and reporting provisions of the ACA’s employer mandate (also known as “Play or Pay”) until 2015.

New Resource Available: Benefits Planning & Health Reform in 2014

July 2013
A new document has been added to Peel & Holland University: Inform on Reform. The document entitled "On the Radar...Benefits Planning & Health Reform in 2014" is intended to offer general guidance and strategy in preparation for the upcoming year.

Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce Health Care Reform Symposium

June 2013
The Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting a Health Care Reform Symposium on July 11, 2013 from 9:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Peel & Holland's President, Roy Riley, is a featured panelist.

IRS provides Q&A for Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) fee

June 2013
The IRS offered a question & answer page on its website to help address the various PCORI questions.

IRS Revises Form 720 for PCOR Fee Reporting

June 2013
The IRS recently published a revised version of Form 720 to include the fee owed to fund the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR) Institute. The annual PCOR fee deadline is July 31 of the year following the calendar year in which the applicable policy or plan year ended.

IRS Releases Guidance on Wellness Programs & "Affordability" under the Employer Mandate

May 2013
On May 3, 2013, the IRS released proposed regulations on certain provisions relating to the federal premium tax credits that eligible individuals will use to purchase subsidized health insurance coverage from public exchanges starting in 2014.