Viewing posts from: January 2015

Top PPACA & Benefits Legislation Blogs

Posted January 28, 2015 by ABlume

congressLegislation and regulatory guidance continue to march on as the first month of 2015 draws to a close. Businesses that fail to keep up with these changes will likely expose themselves to significant penalties and fines. Is your organization aware of recent changes to IRS, HHS, and other regulatory agency policies? Are you prepared for upcoming changes to same?

Don’t be caught by surprise. Visit our blog regularly or subscribe to our newsletter to learn about benefits changes that will affect your organization. Some of our top recent blogs include:

Globex Health & Benefits Update: January 2015

Posted January 23, 2015 by ABlume

Effective January 1st 2015, new legislation will be introduced in the Netherlands to reform the Work and Security Act. The new reforms will affect three areas of the Work and Security Act: flexible employment, dismissal and unemployment benefits. Previously, employers and employees could agree to a trial period of 1 month in a fixed term employment agreement for a period of less than 2 years. Under the new law a probationary period will be prohibited in a fixed-term employment agreement entered into for a period of up to 6 months. To read more, click on the PDF below:

globex tile

2015 Update – ACA Relief for Expat Plans

Posted January 14, 2015 by ABlume

Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2009, employers have experienced a great
deal of confusion and frustration understanding how (and to what extent) ACA will apply to their
expatriate medical plans. Since that time various government agencies have issued certain
clarifications (known as FAQs) that provided some relief to expat plans, but these amounted to
temporary and partial solutions at best. Overall, this piecemeal approach left many clients—not to
mention their brokers and consultants—in a state of continuing uncertainty about the long-term
status of their expatriate plans. To read more, view the PDF below.

aca expat plans

IRS and HHS: Prepping for Your Tax Season PPACA Questions

Posted January 13, 2015 by PHaynes

IRS-logoThe Treasury Department and the Department of Health and Human Services are getting ready for the tax-filing season (for tax year 2014) and the onslaught of questions they anticipate about the Affordable Care Act.

The Obama Administration has prepared some resources and online tools to help individuals connect with local tax preparation services and determine if they’re eligible for an exemption from PPACA’s (individual) health insurance mandate. The administration said it intends to continue to work with “top tax preparers” to provide consumers with the information they need to prepare for tax season. While including health insurance information will become a routine step in filing taxes, this is the first time families will be asked to answer basic questions regarding their health insurance on their tax returns, the administration noted. Millions of Americans who get their health insurance through their jobs are affected by the Affordable Care Act, and millions of others who have signed up for the health insurance marketplaces have received financial assistance through premium tax credits to lower their monthly premiums.

 What’s New this Year? 

Starting this year, consumers will see some changes to their tax returns. The Treasury Department and HHS noted that over three-quarters of tax filers will only need to check a box on their tax return indicating they had health coverage in 2014. However, people who have coverage through the health insurance marketplaces, or decided not to enroll in coverage, should be aware of some additional steps that will be a part of the tax filing process starting this year.

Those with coverage from one of the health insurance marketplaces will receive a new form in the mail from the marketplace, Form 1095-A, which they will use to reconcile their upfront financial assistance. While those who can afford to buy health insurance and choose not to will have to pay a fee, individuals who can’t afford coverage or meet other conditions can receive an exemption.

“For the vast majority of Americans, tax filing under the Affordable Care Act will be as simple as checking a box to show they had health coverage all year,” said Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew in a statement. “A fraction of taxpayers will take different steps, like claiming an exemption if they could not afford insurance or ensuring they received the correct amount of financial assistance. A smaller fraction of taxpayers will pay a fee if they made a choice to not obtain coverage they could afford. We are working to ensure that whatever their experience, consumers can easily access clear information since this is the first year they will see certain changes to their tax returns.”

From the IRS’ most recent E-mail

Along with a few new lines on existing forms, there will also be two new forms that will need to be included with some tax returns. While most taxpayers will simply need to check a box on their tax return to indicate they had health coverage for all of 2014, there are also new lines on Forms 1040, 1040A, and 1040EZ related to the health care law. To help navigate these changes, taxpayers and their tax professionals should consider filing their return electronically. Using tax preparation software is the best and simplest way to file a complete and accurate tax return as it guides individuals and tax preparers through the process and does all the math. There are a variety of electronic filing options, including free volunteer assistance, IRS Free File for taxpayers who qualify, commercial software, and professional assistance.

In the coming weeks, consumer-friendly tools and resources will be made available for those tax filers who have health coverage through the health insurance marketplaces, those seeking an exemption, and those looking for information about the fee for those who could afford to purchase health coverage but chose not to.  General resources can be found at www.IRS.gov/ACA or https://www.healthcare.gov/taxes/.

The administration cited several online documents already available from the IRS on Health Care Law: What’s New for Individuals & Families, and from HHS on 3 Tips About Marketplace Coverage & Your Taxes and No Health Coverage? What That Means for Your Taxes.

To reach consumers with the information they need to prepare for the upcoming tax season, the administration plans to employ a variety of outreach and consumer education efforts, including direct outreach to marketplace enrollees. Through email, phone and text messages the administration will reach out to people who received coverage through the health insurance marketplace with personalized information that is most relevant to their tax status. The administration will focus on providing targeted messaging to consumers who benefited from an advanced premium tax credit last year to help them offset the cost of their marketplace premiums.

“Last year, millions of Americans purchased quality, affordable health coverage through the marketplace, and the vast majority received tax credits that cut their monthly premiums,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell in a statement. “This benefit, which in many cases helped make the cost of health care less than the cost of a cell phone or cable bill, enabled these consumers to enjoy the benefits of coverage throughout the year. In the coming weeks, HHS will work with other agencies, tax preparers and community organizations to arm these consumers with the information they need to know as they prepare to file their taxes. We will also be providing helpful tools so that the millions of taxpayers who qualify for an exemption can receive one.”

Here is information about the new forms and updates to the existing forms:

Form 8965, Health Coverage Exemptions

  • Complete this form to report a Marketplace-granted coverage exemption or claim an IRS-granted coverage exemption on the return.
  • Use the worksheet in the Form 8965 Instructions to calculate the shared responsibility payment.

Form 8962, Premium Tax Credit

  • Complete this form to reconcile advance payments of the premium tax credit, and to claim this credit on the tax return.

Additionally, if individuals purchased coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, they should receive Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement, which will help complete Form 8962.

Form 1040

  • Line 46: Enter advance payments of the premium tax credit that must be repaid
  • Line 61: Report health coverage and enter individual shared responsibility payment
  • Line 69: If eligible, claim net premium tax credit, which is the excess of allowed premium tax credit over advance credit payments

Form 1040A

  • Line 29: Enter advance payments of the premium tax credit that must be repaid
  • Line 38: Report health coverage and enter individual shared responsibility payment
  • Line 45: If eligible, claim net premium tax credit, which is the excess of allowed premium tax credit over advance credit payments

Form 1040EZ

  • Line 11: Report health coverage and enter individual shared responsibility payment
  • Form 1040EZ cannot be used to report advance payments or to claim the premium tax credit

Links:

For more information about the Affordable Care Act and filing your 2014 income tax return visit IRS.gov/aca. http://www.irs.gov/Affordable-Care-Act

 

 

COBRA Administration for Large Organizations

Posted January 13, 2015 by ABlume

fsaThe Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) gives workers and their families who lose their health benefits the right to choose to continue group health benefits provided by their group health plan for limited periods of time under certain circumstances such as voluntary or involuntary job loss, reduction in the hours worked, transition between jobs, death, divorce, and other life events.

Complying with COBRA in a large-scale business environment can prove challenging, yet failing to do so can prove very costly. Crawford Advisors administers the entire COBRA process, ensuring that your company is in compliance with all regulations including recent ARRA and extension of benefit legislation, as well as any and all extensions or amendments likely to be added in the future.

Services include:

  • New Hire Notifications
  • Qualifying event notifications
  • FMLA Compliance
  • Direct billing to qualified beneficiaries
  • Remittance to insurance companies of paid premiums
  • Record keeping of all transactions
  • Employer reporting capabilities
  • HIPAA

Contact us to learn about how Crawford Advisors can take over the administrative tasks associated with COBRA administration.

HRCI Pre-approved* Webinar: HIPAA & GINA 101 – Hundreds Of Lawsuits Now Settled How Employers Can Prepare

Posted January 6, 2015 by ABlume

Join Crawford Advisors General Counsel and Vice President-Compliance, Patrick Haynes, for this complimentary HRCI pre-approved* webinar, as he reviews critical compliance nuances of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). Hundreds of lawsuits have already been settled by employers due to procedural and compliance related issues. Attorney Haynes will review key regulations, limits, exclusions, penalties, misuses, disclosures, laws and best practices to help attendees and their employers ensure compliance and avoid lawsuits. Topics include:

  • Crawford HRCI Logo 2015HIPAA Privacy, Transaction and Security Compliance
  • Certificates, Special Enrollment Rights, Administrative Simplification
  • Security Rule Transaction Standards, Code Sets, e-PHI
  • GINA/Title II Regulations, EEOC
  • HIPAA/HITECH Act Omnibus Final Rule
  • Best practices to ensure compliance, promote education, limit exposure

Wednesday, January 28 at 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EDT

Space is limited – use this link to register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/661172988286204674

Open to all HR professionals – but not brokers, agents, TPAs, consultants

* This webinar has been approved for 1 HR General recertification credit hour toward PHR, SPHR and GPHR recertification through the HR Certification Institute. The use of this seal is not an endorsement by the HR Certification Institute of the quality of the program. It means that this program has met the HR Certification Institute’s criteria to be pre-approved for recertification credit. HRCI is the world’s largest, independent, accredited HR certification organization. More than 135,000 HR professionals in 100 countries proudly hold HRCI credentials and recertify every three years. HRCI certificants are leaders and professionals at 98 percent of Fortune 500 firms.