Legal Alert – Trump Administration Releases Guidance on ACA’s Contraceptive Coverage Mandate

On October 6, 2017, The U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Treasury, and Labor (the “Departments”) released interim final regulations allowing employers and insurance companies to decline to cover contraceptives under their health plans based on a religious or moral objection. The new rules, which are effective immediately, scale back Obama-era regulations under the Affordable Care Act that require non-grandfathered group health plans to cover women’s contraceptives with no cost-sharing, with limited exceptions for non-profit religious organizations or closely-held for-profit entities.

For more information, click HERE to read this important legal alert.

Legal Alert – Court Requires EEOC to Substantiate 30% Limit on Wellness Program Incentives

On August 22, 2017, a federal court in the District of Columbia ordered the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to reconsider the limits it placed on wellness program incentives under final regulations the agency issued last year under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). As part of the final regulations, the EEOC set a limit on incentives under wellness programs equal to 30% of the total cost of self-
only coverage under the employer’s group health plan. The court found that the EEOC did not properly consider whether the 30% limit on incentives would ensure the program remained “voluntary” as required by the ADA and GINA and sent the regulations back to the EEOC for reconsideration.

For more information, click HERE to read this important legal alert.

Legal Alert – Senate Republicans Release Updated Discussion Draft of ACA Repeal Bill

The Senate originally released their healthcare legislation,
called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA), on June 22nd in response to the House of Representatives’ version, called the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which was passed by the House on May 4th. On July 13, 2017 the Senate released another updated Discussion Draft of the BCRA in hopes of gaining enough support by swing vote senators to pass the BCRA by a simple majority vote through the budget reconciliation process. The July 13 Discussion Draft largely mirrors the previous draft BCRA. Its primary revisions are unlikely to have a significant impact on employer-sponsored group health plan coverage but include allowing people to use health savings accounts (HSAs) to pay for individual marketplace coverage when premiums exceed tax credits and maintaining the 3.8% net investment income tax and 0.9% Medicare payroll tax on high-wage earners. Employers should maintain Affordable Care Act compliance as the legislative process continues. This Legal Alert features a comparison chart of the current ACA, House AHCA, and updated Senate Discussion Draft of the BCRA.

For more information, click HERE to read this important legal alert.

Legal Alert – Senate Republicans Release Healthcare Bill; Largely Mirroring House Bill but with Some Key Differences

On Thursday, June 22, 2017, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky released a 142-page healthcare “Discussion Draft” of legislation, called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA), which is the Senate version of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) “repeal-and-replace” legislation American Health Care Act (AHCA) passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last month. In large part, the BCRA mirrors the House-passed AHCA. Initially, Senator McConnell had stated that he intended to call a vote this week, but he has since indicated that the vote will be delayed until after the July 4th recess. If the Senate passes the bill, it will either have to be approved by the House (the two chambers would have to reconcile their differences in a conference committee), or the House could pass a new version and send it back to the Senate for approval. The Legal Alert contains a chart that compares key components of the ACA, House AHCA, and Senate BCRA.

As noted previously, employers should stay the course on ACA compliance while healthcare reform continues to progress through the legislative process.

For more information, click HERE to read this important legal alert.

Legal Alert – REMINDER: PCORI Fees Due by July 31, 2017

Employers that sponsor self-insured group health plans, including health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) should keep in mind the upcoming July 31, 2017 deadline for paying fees
that fund the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). As background, the PCORI was established as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to conduct research to evaluate the effectiveness of medical treatments, procedures and strategies that treat, manage, diagnose or prevent illness or injury. Under the ACA, most employer sponsors and insurers will be required to pay PCORI fees until 2019.

For more information, click HERE to read this important legal alert.

Legal Alert – Updated Model Marketplace Notice Available

The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has extended the expiration dates on model notices for the “Notice to Employees of Coverage Options,” which is often referred to as the Marketplace Notice. Current versions of the model notices in English and Spanish are available on the EBSA’s website and are set to expire 4/30/2017. The expiration date on the model notices has been extended in one-month increments several times recently, which is usually a signal that the model notice may be significantly updated in the future. Nonetheless, the content has thus far not changed with the expiration date.

Employers may update their Marketplace Notice with each expiration date change, use their existing notice, or they may use the attached simplified version of the Notice that has been adapted for a typical employer that provides affordable, minimum value coverage to all full-time employees. You will notice that the simplified notice, attached, does not include Part B of the model notice; Part B distribution is not required, but employers should be prepared to answer questions relating to that information upon request.

As a reminder, all employers subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) must provide a notice of coverage options to each employee, regardless of plan eligibility or enrollment status, within 14 days of that employee’s start date. Failure to provide the notice may result in ERISA penalties.

TRUEbenefits will continue to monitor the model notices for substantive changes. If you have any questions, please reach out to the TRUEbenefits team.

Legal Alert – House Republicans Withdraw the AHCA Before a Planned Vote But Efforts to Repeal Continue

When the House of Representatives pulled the proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA) from the House floor on March 24, 2017, Speaker Paul Ryan said, “0bamacare is the law of the land. We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.” However, as of March 28, there have been reports that the House Republican leaders and the Trump Administration have resumed renegotiations on legislation to repeal the ACA. At this time, there are no details about what may be in any renewed repeal legislation or the timing of its release for a vote.

For more information about the legislative climate, click HERE to read this important legal alert.

Legal Alert – House Committees Release Proposed Legislation to Repeal and Replace the ACA

On March 6, 2017, Republican leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives issued two bills to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through the budget reconciliation process. These bills, which were issued by the Ways and Means Committee and the Energy and Commerce Committee, are collectively known as the American Health Care Act (AHCA). To become law, these bills must go through the legislative process, although a budget reconciliation bill can be passed with a simple majority vote.

Click HERE to read this important alert.