New Guidance on ACA Reporting; Court Upholds Wellness Plan

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New Guidance on ACA Reporting; Court Upholds Wellness Plan
Calendar27 September 2016

Proposed IRS regulations address several Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting issues for group health plan sponsors and other providers of minimum essential coverage (MEC). The proposals give more detail on MEC providers' obligations to request covered individuals' taxpayer identification numbers (TINs), explain when supplemental MEC doesn't need to be reported, and address the use of truncated TINs, among other things. Employers that sponsor self-funded health coverage and have MEC reporting responsibilities will want to review the proposed rules, particularly the provisions on TIN solicitations. 

New Health and Human Services (HHS) FAQs offer guidance on the non-English taglines required under final rules implementing Section 1557 of the ACA. Employers and employer-sponsored group health plans covered by the rules -- which appear to include most hospitals and health systems, as well as entities receiving retiree drug subsidy payments from HHS -- must comply with notice and tagline requirements by Oct. 16, 2016.

A federal court in Wisconsin has ruled that an employer may not rely on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) safe harbor for bona fide benefit plans to justify incentives under its wellness program. But the court still decided the wellness program met the ADA exception for voluntary medical exams, even though employees who declined to participate in a health risk assessment had to pay the full cost of their health coverage. This is the first ruling to find the ADA safe harbor for bona fide benefit plans does not apply to wellness programs under the final Equal Employment Opportunity Commission rules. The court did not apply the 30% limit on incentives in the EEOC rules as it concluded that component of the rule does not apply retroactively (the case involved incentives offered in 2009).

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