The law will increase the monthly amount that can be contributed Legislation that would reverse cuts to pre-tax transit accounts has been approved by the US Senate and is now in the hands of the House of Representatives, where it is likely to pass on a pre-tax basis for public transportation expenses from $125 a month to $240 a month.
By now, you’re probably aware that the Department of Health and Human Services recently announced that employers who offer private health plans must provide their employees with summary of benefits coverage (SBC) documents. The original deadline for completed SBCs was scheduled for March 23 of this year, but after many employers expressed their desire for the deadline to be pushed back by as much as a year, it was changed to September 23, 2012. That gives you about six months to put your SBC together.
As we discussed in the last newsletter, Wellness initiatives are a rising trend among employers. Rewarding employees for living healthy lifestyles is an effective way to maintain a productive workforce and keep insurance costs low. However, a growing number of employers are beginning to tackle wellness initiatives from the opposite angle and punishing employees for poor health.
Unless the Supreme Court rules against it, in a little less than two years, nearly everyone will be required by law to carry health insurance. This healthcare mandate, coupled with a steady decline in employer coverage, has driven health insurers to adopt a new approach in selling coverage. In an attempt to better serve this impending consumer-centric environment, several health insurance providers have opened retail stores where shoppers can buy policies, check the status of claims, and much, much more. These stores offer an alternative to individuals who do not have a relationship with a professional insurance agent.
Healthcare reform is changing the landscape of employer based health plans. As plans become increasingly consumer based, workers are left with questions that will go unanswered unless benefits communication adapts to the new paradigm. As Jennifer Benz, founder and chief strategist of Benz Communications, an HR and benefits communication strategy boutique, puts it, “Clearly, the era of ‘we’ll take care of everything for you’ is over and ‘we’ll help you find your way’ is here to stay.” Consider these tips on how to engage and educate your employees when open enrollment 2012 rolls around, and beyond
The Department of Labor released it’s final regulations regarding the Summary of Benefits & Coverage (SBC) as required by the Affordable Care Act. It’s original deadline for compliance was delayed from March 23, 2012. It’s new effective date is September 23, 2012 or during open enrollments occurring on or after September 23, 2012.
“Ending a long-running dispute with pediatricians and breast-feeding advocates, the Internal Revenue Service announced Thursday that it would grant nursing mothers a tax break on pumps and other breastfeeding supplies,”
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has amended rules issued in June 2010 and now says changing insurance carriers will not automatically cause a loss of “grandfathered” plan status. Grandfathered plans are exempt from some of the provisions of health care reform.
Due to the recent changes that came from the IRS regarding over-the-counter (OTC) medication purchases using a tax advantaged account (FSA, HRA, Archer MSA, etc.) there has been some resulting confusion over the trajectory of these accounts.
On February 17, 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) increased the tax exempt transit benefit statutory limit from $120 to $230 per month effective March 2009. The increase to $230 was not permanent and will sunset on December 31, 2010 unless legislative action is taken by Congress to extend it. Congress has recessed and will not return before the November elections. There has been no indication that an extension will be enacted by Congress to continue the $230 per month maximum limit for mass transit subsidies into 2011.