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What to Expect Now that Supreme Court has Ruled on Health-Care

July 9 – Washington, DC – The Supreme Court has issued its ruling and while many are scrambling to ensure compliance for current and soon to be effective provisions of the law, others may be wondering, “what’s next?” The future is never 100% certain, but the behavior of the agencies and legislators can certainly be predicted.

Last week, Senior Benefits Practice Leader Leonard Sanicola provided wonderful insight on current compliance issues and what to expect in the immediate to near future, such as; SBC’s, $2,500 limit on health FSA’s and W-2 reporting. While benefits practitioners need to focus on these provisions immediately, especially those who were in the “wait-and-see” camp, you need to keep one eye focused on down the road towards 2014 and beyond.

2014 is a huge year for the health-care law and employers, as many important provisions are slated to start going into effect.  Provisions to expect, but not limited to:

  • Employer shared responsibility – Employers with 50 or more full-time employees (FTE’s)that do not offer health insurance coverage will pay an assessment of $2,000 per FTE (not including the first 30 workers) if any of their employees obtains premium tax credits through the Exchange. Employers that offer unaffordable coverage or coverage that does not cover at least 60 percent of allowable costs will pay $3,000 for any employee that receives a tax credit in the Exchange up to a cap of $2,000 for every FTE.
  • Auto enroll – Employers with more than 200 FTE’s and that offers employees enrollment in one or more health benefits plans are required to automatically enroll new FTE’s in one of the plans offered. Opt out notice is required as well.
  • 90 day limit on the length of any waiting period
  •  Wellness plans – Permits employers to offer employees rewards of up to 30%, potentially increasing to 50%, of the cost of coverage for participating in a wellness program and meeting certain health-related standards.

It may have seemed like the administration has been taking its time to finalize regulations on upcoming provisions, but one thing that can be assured is that you can expect that to change. 2014 is right around the corner and we should see a significant uptick in proposed and final rules from agencies, especially leading up to elections. With the threat of losing the 2012 presidential election or even the Senate to the Republicans, the Obama administration will work tirelessly to secure its signature achievement and protect it from future repeal in Congress.

As for Congress, expect the rhetoric to only amplify leading up to November.  A repeal vote has already been scheduled in the House for this week and efforts have increased in both houses at full and piecemeal repeal or replace of the law. Republicans have also focused on the funding of agencies and tax implications angles. Practitioners need to understand that these efforts have little to no expectations to succeed, as they are just the beginning of a messaging war between both parties leading up to election. The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the health-care law has left the last real and final possibility of repeal in the hands of the voters in November.

In the meantime, WorldatWork has a number of resources to help answer questions and provide insight. Please check back regularly and consider attending our town hall discussion  Wednesday, with an emphasis on answering attendee questions and providing an avenue for a discussion about the most pressing concerns among practitioners. We’ve set up a mailbox located on the event registration page, so you can submit your questions ahead of time. Regardless of whether you can make it to the live event or not, feel free to email your questions – the discussion will be available afterward as a playback. 

WorldatWork resources:

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Reader Comments
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Tue July 24, 2012 6:58 AM (edited 7/24/2012) Report Abuse
Claiborne Guy (Staff)
Comments: 462

Per Notice 2012-9 Interim Guidance on Informational Reporting from the IRS, "in the case of the 2012 Forms W-2 (and Forms W-2 for later years unless and until further guidance is issued), an employer is not subject to the reporting requirement for any calendar year if the employer was required to file fewer than 250 Forms W-2 for the preceding calendar year." 

Please refer to "Employers Subject to the Reporting Requirement (Q&A-3)" of the IRS interim guidance for more detail on the guidance, specifically with the use of agents.

Mon July 23, 2012 1:55 PMReport Abuse
Renee Farrell
Manager Human Resources
Member Since: 12/1/2008
Comments: 4

Is the mandate for W-2 reporting of employer health care costs mandatory for ALL employers for tax year 2012, or is it optional for those with less than 250 W-2's for tax year 2012?