All posts in “Health Care Reform”

Departments Release Final Regulations on the 90-day Waiting Period

On Feb. 20, 2014, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and the Treasury released final regula­tions on the Affordable Care Act’s 90-day waiting period limit. These regula­tions generally finalize provi­sions in proposed regula­tions issued in March 2013, with minimal changes. At the same time, the Departments released a separate proposed rule regarding a new provision permitting orien­tation periods under the 90-day waiting period limit.

Under these regula­tions, employers may require employees to success­fully complete a reasonable and bona fide employment-based orien­tation period as a condition for eligi­bility for coverage under a plan. However, the orien­tation period may not exceed one month. In addition, the final regula­tions provide that a former employee who is rehired may be treated as newly eligible for coverage upon rehire, and may be required to satisfy the plan’s waiting period again.

The final regula­tions apply for plan years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2015. However, the 2013 proposed regula­tions provided that the 90-day waiting period limit would apply for plan years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2014. Thus, for plan years beginning in 2014, the Departments will consider compliance with either the 2013 proposed regula­tions or the final regula­tions to constitute compliance with the 90-day waiting period limit requirement.

Employer Mandate Delayed until 2015

The U.S. government has announced that the employer mandate, one of the most significant portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), will not be enforced until 2015.

Under the provision, companies with 50 or more full-time employees would have faced fines of up to $3,000 per employee if they didn’t offer their employees affordable health insurance.

The one year delay is designed to accomplish two goals:

  • Allow the government to consider ways to simplify the new reporting requirements consistent with the law
  • Provide time to adapt health coverage and reporting systems while employers are moving forward with offering affordable coverage to their employees

Click here for more information directly from the Treasury Department’s website.

Notice of Exchanges

Covered California

California was the first state to create a health benefit exchange following the passage of federal health care law. Covered California is charged with creating a new insurance market­place in which individuals and small businesses can get access to health insurance. With coverage starting in 2014, Covered California will help individuals compare and choose a health plan that works best for their health needs and budget.

To view the full booklet detailing Covered California, click here: CC Health Plans Booklet

A 3-page press release is available hereCOVERED CA-HealthPlans

The high-level presentation is available here: Covered California HP Announcement

Model Notice

Per the PPACA, employers covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are required to provide a notice to employees about the state’s health insurance exchanges. Originally, the deadline for offering the exchange notice was March 1, 2013. However, on May 8, 2013, the Department of Labor issued a technical release extending the date to October 1, 2013.

The notice must be provided in writing in a manner calculated to be understood by the average employee. It may be provided by first-class mail. Alternatively, it may be provided electronfi­cally if the requirements of the Department of Labor’s electronic disclosure safe harbor at 29 CFR 2520.104b-1 are met.

There is no requirement to obtain an employee’s signature; however, an employer may want to track delivery and receipt of the notice.

The model notice is available here: Model Notice

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