With the Affordable Care Act (ACA) still firmly in place – at least for now, despite several legal challenges – employers subject to the ACA must adhere to its guidelines. Specifically, that means any company with 50 or more full-time employees must provide ACA-compliant health coverage to all who work 30 hours or more per week and are required to track and report those hours to the IRS. Because of the unpredictability of the ACA and the ever-evolving nature of efforts to repeal it, we’ve provided you with a list of resources that will help you stay abreast of changes moving forward. Since there is so much information to cover, we’re going to break this into two parts. Look for additional updates and resources on Wednesday.
Health Care Reform Updates & Resources
Following are the most current updates to the ACA.
ACA Obligations Remain in Place Despite Court Ruling
Despite a new ruling by a federal judge in Texas that the ACA is unconstitutional, all coverage and reporting obligations for employers remain in place. The decision is expected to be quickly appealed, and the Supreme Court will once again decide the fate of the health care law.
IRS Extends Form 1095 Distribution Deadline to March 4
The IRS extended the January 31 deadline for employers to distribute 2018 Forms 1095-C or 1095-B to employees by 30 days, giving them until March 4, 2019. Employers may still wish to distribute the 1095 forms by Jan. 31, when W-2 tax forms are also due to employees.
Time to Prepare for ACA Reporting in 2019
The IRS has published final forms and instructions to help employers prepare for next year’s reporting on the health coverage they offered employees in 2018. Employers subject to the ACA must distribute reporting forms to employees and file with the IRS early in 2019.
A Split Congress May Pursue Health Care Fixes
The partisan rift makes major changes to the ACA unlikely, but that doesn’t mean bipartisan efforts to address health care problems won’t be pursued.
2019 HSA Limits Rise, IRS Says
Allowable HSA contributions for participants with self-only health coverage will rise by $50 in 2019. For HSAs linked to family coverage, the 2019 contribution limit will rise $100 above the family cap set for 2018.
2019 FSA Contribution Cap Rises to $2,700, IRS Belatedly Announces
Employees can contribute $2,700 to health care flexible spending accounts (health FSAs) in 2019, an increase of $50 from 2018.
ACA’s Affordability Threshold Rises in 2019
Employers should be aware of the ACA’s annual inflation-adjusted shift in cost-sharing limits for group health plan coverage, as failing to provide affordable coverage under the ACA’s shared-responsibility provisions could result in hefty penalties.
SHRM Supports Association Health Plan Rule, Opposes Lawsuit
The Society for Human Resource Management has filed a brief supporting a Department of Labor rule that makes it easier for small employers to band together to buy insurance through association health plans.
Final Rules Expand Exemption from Contraception Mandate
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued two final rules Nov. 7 that exempt certain entities from the ACA’s contraceptive mandate if their opposition is based on religious or moral grounds.
Navigating the Changing Prescription Drug Market
Employers contending with rising drug-coverage costs might benefit from revisiting their vendor relationships in 2019, as mergers between health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers change the competitive landscape.