The Obama administration’s healthcare reform law, otherwise known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, was recently found constitutional by the federal Supreme Court in one of the most important high-court decisions of this century. Not only did the centerpiece legislation of the law, the individual mandate, pass through on a technicality, the Court also upheld the expansion to Medicaid.
But what does all of this mean to employers? Not much more than has been changed since the initial enactment of the law in March 2012. Some of the primary reform issues that companies will be facing in the short term include the following:
• Deciding whether or not to offer health insurance. Dropping coverage will equate to expensive penalties for companies with more than 50 employees. In most cases, companies will have to pay $2,000 per uncovered employee.
• Starting September 23, 2012 employers must issue summaries of benefits and coverage (SBC) during each open enrollment period.
• The majority of employers must report individual health insurance costs on 2012 W-2s.
• Insurers must issue medical-loss ratio rebates beginning this year.
• Health FSAs must be amended to comply with the upcoming $2,500 limit on employee contributions by the end of the 2014 plan year.
• State health exchanges must be functional during 2014.
• Beginning in 2014, insurers will no longer be allowed to withhold coverage from individuals with pre-existing conditions.
• Penalties will be assessed for employers not offering “sufficient” levels of health insurance coverage by 2014.
• Employee incentives for wellness program participation may be increased to 30 percent of health coverage cost in 2014.