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Legal and Compliance Department
On Thursday, May 4, by a vote of 217 to 213 (with 20 Republicans voting against the bill), the U.S. House of Representatives passed an amended version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which repeals and replaces significant portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
President Trump moved swiftly after taking office on Friday, issuing an Executive Order intended to minimize the economic and regulatory burdens of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). The order is somewhat symbolic and has no immediate effect on employers, many of whom are in the process of complying with the ACA’s onerous reporting requirements (Forms 1094 and 1095), which are not rescinded by the order.
On December 7, 2016, the Senate passed the 21st Century Cures Act (“Cures Act”), an omnibus measure that includes the Small Business Healthcare Relief Act (“Relief Act”), which significantly expands small employers’ options for providing health coverage.
On Tuesday, November 22 a federal judge issued a nationwide injunction blocking the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) from implementing its new overtime rule scheduled to take effect December 1, 2016. The rule would have affected approximately 4 million executive, administrative and professional (“EAP”) employees, making them eligible for time-and-a-half pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 per week if their salary is below $913 per week ($47,476 per year). The new threshold would have doubled the current threshold of $455 per week ($23,660 per year).
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released Notice 2016-70, which extends the deadline for furnishing Forms 1095-B and 1095-C to individuals from January 31, 2017 to March 2, 2017. The Notice did not delay the due date for filing the forms with the IRS, which remains February 28 if filing by paper, or March 31 if filing electronically.
The votes have been counted and Donald Trump is the president-elect and Republicans control Congress. Among the many questions around the proverbial watercooler is what now for “Obamacare”? While it is impossible for anyone to predict the future, we undertake to make a short, best guess about the future of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”).
As a candidate, Mr. Trump repeatedly vowed to “repeal and replace” the ACA. So, the first question is, inevitably, will the ACA be repealed and, if so, what will replace it?
On October 25, 2016, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released Revenue Procedure 2016-55, which raised the health Flexible Spending Account (FSA) salary reduction contribution limit to $2,600 for plan years beginning in 2017. The Revenue Procedure also released the cost-of-living (COLA) adjustments that apply to dollar limitations in certain sections of the Internal Revenue Code (Code). The following summarizes other adjustments relevant to individuals and employer sponsors of welfare and fringe benefit plans.
The Department of Labor proposed revisions to Form 5500 (Annual Return/Report for Employee Benefit Plan), the related schedules, and the rules that govern the forms. In general, these changes would first apply for the 2019 plan year, although certain changes may be implemented earlier. These revisions were published on July 21, 2016, and comments are being accepted for 75 days, through October 4.
Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014
On April 1, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014. The primary purpose of the law was to provide a one-year delay of a 24% reduction in payment rates for physicians who participate in the Medicare program.