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Takeaway Message: A recent IRS notice provides a future path for employers to avoid ACA employer mandate penalties by reimbursing employees for a portion of the cost of individual insurance coverage through an employer-sponsored health reimbursement arrangement (HRA). While the notice is not binding and at this stage is essentially a discussion of relevant issues, it does represent a significant departure from the IRS’s current position that an employer can only avoid ACA employer mandate penalties…
Takeaway Message: Except in limited circumstances, current regulatory guidance prohibits an employer from maintaining a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) that reimburses the cost of premiums for individual health insurance policies purchased by employees in the individual market. Proposed regulations (found here) aim to eliminate this prohibition, if certain conditions are met.…
It’s official. The IRS has finally begun the process of collecting penalties under the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) employer shared responsibility provisions, better known as the employer mandate.  The IRS has started mailing out letters to employers that potentially owe an employer shared responsibility payment (ESRP) for the 2015 calendar year.  These letters follow the format of the IRS’s recently released template letter, Letter 226-J. The letter outlines the IRS’s preliminary calculation of the…
Congress is now back in session and, once again, focus has turned to health care. With all eyes on returning health care reform to the forefront, a flurry of activity has sparked new legislative efforts including the introduction of the Graham-Cassidy legislation, Medicare for All, and a Senate Finance Committee agreement to a five year reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).  Here’s a summary of the efforts currently underway for Graham-Cassidy as…
On July 13th, the Senate released the updated version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) of 2017. While the new version makes some significant changes to the original Senate proposal, the major components of the original bill remain intact.…
After weeks of secrecy, the Senate has released a discussion draft of legislation that is the counterpart of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) previously passed by the House.  The Senate legislation, entitled the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 or BCRA, closely tracks the language in AHCA. Foley Attorneys are continually monitoring and analyzing the impact of the bill and will provide additional coverage as changes are announced.  Below is a summary of…
On Monday, two House committees with oversight over health care and taxation, Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means, released draft reconciliation bills designed to repeal and alter significant portions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).  These long-awaited draft bills, collectively entitled the American Health Care Act (AHCA), would make significant modifications to the health insurance markets and to the operation of state Medicaid programs, and would also repeal or delay…
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law that was enacted to ensure protection of individuals’ protected health information (PHI). The Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information (Privacy Rule) issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services established detailed national standards for the protection of PHI.  In general, HIPAA protects individuals from the unauthorized use or disclosure any PHI.…
The Affordable Care Act requires “applicable large employers” (generally, employers with 50 or more full-time employees and full-time employee equivalents) to provide individual statements to their full-time employees and to report to the IRS certain information about their employer-sponsored health coverage. This rule is first effective with respect to coverage offered in 2015. Employers will want to be aware of some of the pitfalls and processes stemming from this first reporting year.…