Insurance Services

IRS Accelerates Tax Help for Employers

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has launched a new program to help employers avoid interest and penalty charges related to their payroll and employment tax obligations.

Under the new program, called the Early Interaction Initiative, the IRS will more closely monitor employers’ federal tax deposits (FTDs) and provide accelerated alerts to employers that fall behind on their required payments. These alerts may include letters, automated phone messages and personal phone calls or visits from the IRS.

Congress to delay ACA Cadillac tax on pricey health plans until 2020

A decision by Congress to defer a new tax on expensive employer health plans would cost the government an estimated $9 billion and have a potent symbolic effect as the first major change that lawmakers have made to the Affordable Care Act since its passage.

The two-year postponement in what has been dubbed the “Cadillac tax,” because it applies to high-priced insurance, is the most significant of three changes to ACA taxes that are woven into a sprawling budget package on which the House and Senate are preparing to vote within the next few days.

Health Insurance Deductibles Growing Six Times Faster Than Wages, Study Finds

The steady upward creep in health insurance deductibles has easily outpaced the average increase in a worker’s wages over the last five years, according to a new analysis released on Tuesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Kaiser, a health policy research group that conducts a yearly survey of employer health benefits, calculates that deductibles have risen more than six times faster than workers’ earnings since 2010.

Critics Say ACA Cadillac Tax Is a Tax on Essentials, Not Luxuries

The last major piece of President Barack Obama's health care law could raise costs for thrifty consumers as well as large corporations and union members when it takes effect in 2018.

The so-called Cadillac tax was meant to discourage extravagant coverage. Critics say it's a tax on essentials, not luxuries. It's getting attention now because employers plan ahead for major costs like health care.

2016 ACA Compliance Checklist

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has made a number of significant changes to group health plans since the law was enacted over four years ago. Many of these key reforms became effective in 2014 and 2015, including health plan design changes, increased wellness program incentives and the employer shared responsibility penalties.

Additional reforms take effect in 2016 for employers sponsoring group health plans. To prepare for 2016, employers should review upcoming requirements and develop a compliance strategy.

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds ACA Subsidies in Federal Exchanges

Today, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in King v. Burwell, the case challenging the availability of subsidies in health insurance Exchanges run by the federal government. In a 6-3 decision, the Court upheld the availability of subsidies in both state and federal Exchanges. The Court rejected the argument that the language of the Affordable Care Act authorized subsidies only in states that had set up their own Exchanges. With this ruling, the Court determined that Congress intended for the subsidies to be available to everyone.

EEOC Reverses Stance On Wellness Program Incentives

The government has reversed itself and said employer-sponsored wellness programs don't necessarily discriminate against workers. But businesses offering the plans to their employees are still struggling to show the programs can cut health care costs.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission proposed a rule change, saying that cutting workers' insurance premiums as an incentive for them to get health screening tests or improve their health scores doesn't violate federal disabilities laws as long as Obamacare and federal privacy rules are met.

2014 Health Plan Design Benchmark Summary

The Zywave Health Plan Design Benchmark Report is based on data drawn from the largest database in the country, consisting of 50,000 health plan designs from over 31,000 employers during the 2014 calendar year.

The summary features various plan design measures, segmented by industry, region, group size and plan type.

The report provides benchmarking information on six key plan design measures: