Articles

Supreme Court Rules on Same-Sex Marriage and Employee Benefits

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that all states must permit same-sex marriages within their borders and must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. This ruling puts to rest some of the big questions and the confusion that remained after the Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage and DOMA in 2013. Many employers must now consider how this decision affects their benefit plans.

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Supreme Court Rules Subsidies Are Available Through the Federal Marketplace (Exchange)

In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court has ruled that Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsidies will continue to be available to certain individuals who purchase health insurance plans in states that use the Federal Marketplace. This decision is important for employers as they work to implement the strategies necessary to comply with ACA employer requirements.

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Employer Reporting Requirements

Beginning in early 2016, employer reporting will be required for the first time based on data from the 2015 calendar year. Depending on the size of the employer and the funding arrangement of the benefits offered, employer reporting requirements vary in regard to what type of information needs to be reported (if any) and whether the employer is required to use Forms 1094-B and 1095-B (the "B" forms) or Forms 1094-C and 1095-C (the "C" forms).

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EEOC issues regulations addressing ADA requirements for employer wellness programs

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued long awaited proposed regulations on how employers can structure their wellness programs in relation to the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).

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Notice of Coverage through the Benefit Exchange

Starting in 2015, the employer mandate is being phased in and employers with 100 or more full-time equivalents (FTEs) may pay an additional tax on any eligible individuals who are not offered coverage or for whom coverage is unaffordable. In 2016, employers with 50 or more FTEs will be required to comply as well.

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The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act Coverage

One of the great benefits of living near oceans, rivers or lakes is the beautiful waterfront vistas we get to enjoy. However, for those involved in the world of construction, those waters can also be dangerous to navigate in terms of Workers’ Compensation insurance. Depending upon what kind of work they are doing and where it’s being performed, the construction employee can literally be transformed into a Longshoreman without you being aware that the transformation has occurred.

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IRS Releases Final Reporting Forms and Instructions

The IRS has released final forms and instructions for the ACA employer reporting requirement. Applicable large employers (ALEs, generally those with 50 or more FTEs), and small employers with self-funded group health plans, are required to report certain plan information to the IRS and to provide statements to employees, beginning in 2016 for calendar year 2015 health plan and coverage data.

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SBC and Uniform Glossary Modifications

On Dec. 22, 2014, the Department of Labor (DOL), Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Treasury (IRS) jointly released proposed rules regarding the requirements relating to the Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) and the accompanying uniform glossary. Most notably, these proposed rules shorten the template to 2½ pages; add a new example to illustrate coverage; add new definitions to the uniform glossary; and provide updated templates, instructions, and other related documents.

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