Supreme Court Ruling on PPACA – What Does It Mean for Employers?
Health Care Reform
Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that the “individual mandate” is constitutional as a “tax” and will stand along with the rest of health care reform, what does it mean for employers?
Simply put, it means that the Affordable Care Act will continue to be the law of the land. It means that employers will need to continue to comply with each part of the law as deadlines approach and multiple pages of guidance are released. Some of the more pressing compliance areas are:
- Women’s preventive care benefits (e.g., free FDA-approved contraception methods and contraceptive counseling; breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling; and domestic violence screening and counseling, etc.) must be available on plan years effective on and after August 1, 2012 (unless plan is grandfathered).
- W-2 reporting of the cost of health benefits (effective for W-2s issued in 2013 – applies to employers that filed 250 or more W-2 Forms in the prior year. Relief from this provision will continue for smaller employers until the issuance of further guidance.)
- Uniform Summary of Benefits & Coverage (SBC) must be provided for plan years after September 23, 2012.
- Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Fee will become effective for plan years ending after September 30, 2012 ($2 times the average number of lives covered under the plan – $1 in the case of plan years ending before 10/01/2013).
- FSA limits of $2,500 will stay in place for 2013 plan years.
MEA encourages our members to continue to work closely with their payroll providers, insurance brokers/advisors, and Cafeteria Plan administrators to make sure compliance deadlines are met.
So what does the ruling mean in the bigger picture? First and foremost, it means “hold onto your hats and get strapped in; the road is about to get quite bumpy.“
In a Presidential election year, look for both sides to use it as a platform – President Obama has touted the Affordable Care Act as a major victory for the American people by giving everyone their right to affordable health care. Mitt Romney has vowed to work on repealing the law if he is elected President, claiming that it is a “bad law” that would raise taxes on the American people by over $500 billion and add trillions to the national debt.
Making matters even more interesting is the court of public opinion – polls have consistently shown a nation sharply divided on the issue since its passage in 2010. A mid-June AP/GfK poll indicated that division has not changed – 47% oppose the law while 33% indicate they support it.
Now that a health care ruling has been handed down, MEA has scheduled a roundtable briefing for our members focused on the following:
- Allowing members to discuss their plans for 2014, when many components of the PPACA will take effect, and
- Bringing members up-to-date with the latest guidance on upcoming aspects of the law
The Briefing will be held August 15, 2012 from 9:00-10:30 a.m. at our King of Prussia offices, and will also be available by Webinar. To register, call 800-662-6238.
As more developments occur, MEA will continue to inform our members. In the meantime, if you have questions on reform and/or its impact on your business, please don’t hesitate to contact us.