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.
One of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act passed earlier this year, was a requirement that employers begin to report the total cost of healthcare benefits provided to employees. The original law required 2011 W-2s, normally issued in early 2012, to include the healthcare information. Today the IRS issued
I hope some of the federal regulators take note of the predicament created for FSA and HRA plan participants who currently use a payment card to purchase over-the-counter (OTC) meds. Effective January 1, 2011, the health care reform legislation no longer allows routine purchase of OTC meds through an FSA or HRA plan.