First Quarter 2015 ViewPoints
April 4, 2015
The Year of ACA Implementation
Welcome to 2015! After years of planning and reviewing rules, we have finally arrived at the year the Affordable Care Act Employer Mandate is put into practice. Those of you with calendar year plans, have already entered your first Stability Period. Those of you with non-calendar year plans may be in the final preparation stages as your first Measurement Period ends.
This year will also be the first year for IRS Affordable Care Act reporting. In February, the IRS released final reporting forms and instructions. Like other IRS reporting, these forms will be due in early 2016 for the 2015 calendar year. Employer reporting for the 2014 tax year is optional.
We can help you navigate the Employer Mandate and IRS requirements.
Stacy, Renee & Victoria
Hidden Privacy Risks
Potential privacy breaches can lurk in unsuspected places. Today’s copier equipment does much more than merely copy. Most machines copy, scan, email, and fax. Machines with advanced features may store documents to internal drives.
Companies not properly purging data prior to returning or selling a copier have been fined when Protected Health Information (PHI) was discovered by the new copier owner.
Work with your technical support vendors and internal staff to increase awareness of how data is stored on your office equipment. Be sure to properly purge stored data prior to equipment release. Add these measures to your data protection policies to ensure continued compliance.
Wearable Wellness Devices
The usage of electronic wellness devices, such as the FitBit wearable device and fitness tracking mobile apps, have increased over the past few years. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recently clarified that they will not regulate these ‘low risk devices’ as long as promoters continue to avoid claims to diagnose or treat a medical condition.
This is good news for employers and wellness programs that use these devises to help employees track fitness and activity.
Health Care Spending
The Good News: U.S. health care spending grew 3.6% in 2013. 2013 was the consecutive 5th year in which health care spending increases were below 4.1%.
The Bad News: That trend may be changing. Analysts noted an increase in 3rd and 4th quarter 2014 health care spending. Actuaries from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are predicting an average of 6% increase in health care spending from 2015-2023.
(Business Insurance, Jan 5, 2014)
Supreme Court Watch
On March 4th the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in one of four lawsuits that challenges the ability to provide premium subsidies under the Affordable Care Act to individuals who purchased coverage on the Federal Marketplace.
Thirty-seven states, including Iowa, currently use the federal government’s health exchange. Not allowing premium subsidies in the federal marketplace could impact the ability of the IRS to enforce coverage mandates.
VIEW IS A MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE
At Perspective, we give you a broader view of employee benefits – a new perspective based on independence, insight, and initiative.