Earlier this month, Gallagher Benefit Services Compliance Advisors released their 2017 Year-end Review and Reminders technical bulletin. Highlighted below are a few items mentioned in the bulletin and how employers and carriers are responding to some of these issues.
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – While much of the talk coming out of Washington stems around repeal and/or replace, no recent legislation has been passed that significantly changes the PPACA rules and regulations. Until then, most employers are now taking a break from focusing on PPACA compliance and shifting attention towards cost control management.
Mental Health – The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act has made an impact on employer benefit plan renewals for 2018. To comply, carriers made required plan design changes for fully insured plans and recommended plan design changes to self-funded employers. One such example is Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina moving mental health visit copays from a specialist copay to a primary care copay.
Employer Mandate – Final 2017 forms and instructions are now available for Employer Mandate reporting. The good news is that instructions remain generally unchanged. The bad news is that employers still need to perform the reporting and should not delay it because they are expecting a reprieve with changes in Washington. In fact, we are now seeing the first round of employer penalties for those employers who did not meet the PPACA requirements for minimum coverage or affordability. Even for those employers who may have met the PPACA requirements but submitted their reporting incorrectly, triggered a substantial tax penalty. Generally, employers have 30 days to respond to any penalty notice. If you receive a notice, do not delay!
Wellness Plans – Employers with wellness plans continue to await clarifying guidance regarding the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s wellness regulations, specifically around allowed amounts for incentives. Many employers are deciding to keep their plans within the 30% original guidance until revised regulations (or court decisions) are published.
If you have any questions about the information contained in the 2017 Year-end Review and Reminders technical bulletin, please contact HCW or subscribe to our monthly newsletter to stay on top with important matters like this.