Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, individuals and employees of small businesses will have access to insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) health insurance exchanges (Exchanges). Open enrollment under the Exchanges will begin on Oct. 1, 2013.
ACA requires employers to provide all new hires and current employees with a written notice about ACA’s Exchanges. This requirement is found in Section 18B of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
On May 8, 2013, the Department of Labor (DOL) released Technical Release 2013-02 to provide temporary guidance on the Exchange notice requirement. This temporary guidance will remain in effect until the DOL issues regulations or other guidance. According to the DOL, future regulations or other guidance will provide employers with adequate time to comply with any additional or modified requirements.
Since we wrote last week about our lack of confidence in the IRS running health care, the government agency has been blasted with controversy this week over targeting the Tea Party and other conservative political groups for extra scrutiny over tax exemption status. Yesterday ABC News confirmed that the IRS official in charge of tax-exempt organizations between 2009 and 2012, Sarah Hall Ingram, is now the director of the Affordable Care Act office of the IRS. Her former deputy commissioner Joseph Grant is taking the fall, as he was just appointed to lead the tax-exempt office in the beginning of May and has already announced his retirement. The scandal does not increase public confidence in the agency to execute the extremely complicated PPACA, especially if you're a Tea Party member!
While U.S. businesses figure out how to handle the Affordable Care Act, the Internal Revenue Service is gearing up for the huge task of deciding who pays for it and how much. When the Supreme Court upheld the law last year, it put the IRS in charge, allowing the agency to enforce the mandate through tax penalties.
The ACA gives employers more flexibility in creating incentives for employees to participate in wellness programs. This article in Business Insurance illustrates the efforts of several large employers to do exactly that:
SHOP stands for "Small Business Health Options Program." It is intended to be part of the health exchanges opening next year at an internet URL near you (either your state or the federally-facilitated exchange ("FFE")). The SHOP is meant for employers with less than 100 employees, though states will be able to restrict that number to less than 50 until 2017.