Feds Add New Benefits Regulations, Postpone Others
The Department of Health and Human Services has rescinded the Community Living Assistance and Supports Act (CLASS) due to its financial infeasibility. Originally a part of the 2010 healthcare reform laws, the act would have granted functionally impaired persons to remain in their own homes through the purchase of community assistance services supported by voluntary financial support from employee withholdings. Though the House of Representatives have recently called for a repeal of the act, neither the Senate nor the White House is likely to approve of the measure. While recognizing its current unworkable form, the Obama administration intends to rework the act as opposed to throwing it out altogether.
The DOL and IRS have issued rulings addressing healthcare reform laws that require employees to receive simple-language explanations of their health benefits from their group providers in addition to a basic insurance and medical terms glossary. The original date of compliance for the law was March 23, 2012. The date has been postponed to September 23, 2012.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) now require quarterly reports from group health plans with HRAs. The rule applies to both insurers and third-party administrators. The reporting threshold for HRAs has been raised from a $1,000 annual benefit to a $5,000 benefits, including roll over. Additionally, group plans must submit a termination notice to the Coordination of Benefits Contractor of the CMS when an HRA becomes exhausted and no funds will be added to it for the remainder of the coverage term.