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What CT Employers Need To Know After Supreme Court's Health Law Ruling

George Kasper
Bridgeport Regional Business Council Health Care Newsletter
September 2012

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the key provisions of the Affordable Care Act employers should consider how to implement the health plan changes and open enrollment for the 2013 plan year. The new rules will require plan document and administrative changes. Here's what plan sponsors need to know:

What Did The Supreme Court Rule?  The Court upheld the individual coverage mandate, removing one of the major uncertainties of health care reform. The requirements for increased Medicare withholding for high earners (those earning more than $200,000 per year) and coverage of dependents up to age 26, among other provisions, are also now realities.

What Key Provisions Are Coming Due? Some of the law's key provisions require employer action now.

  • Summaries of Benefits and Coverage - Starting with open enrollment periods beginning on or after September 23, 2012, employers are required to provide all employees eligible for medical coverage with a "4-page" summary of benefits and coverage describing the plan's key terms. 
  • Health FSA Contributions Dollar Limit - Beginning in 2013, the annual dollar amount each employee may contribute to a health flexible spending account through salary reduction contributions is limited to $2,500. Employers will need to amend their FSA documents.
  • W-2 Reporting Requirements - In January 2013, most employers will have to distribute 2012 Form W-2s that show the value of certain health benefits provided to employees.
  • New Tax on Employers of Self-Insured Health Plans - For plan years ending after September 30, 2012 employers sponsoring self-insured health plans must pay a tax equal to $1 per covered life for the first year and $2 per covered life (indexed for inflation after the second year) for each succeeding year. Issuers of health insurance policies are also subject to the tax for each policy year beginning after September 30, 2012.
  • Medicare Tax - Starting in 2013 the Medicare tax will increase by 0.9% for individual earning $200,000 or more ($250,000 for joint-filers). Employers must adjust withholdings accordingly.
  • Maintenance of "Grandfathered" Status - Employers sponsoring health plans that have maintained "grandfathered" status need to continue to closely monitor any changes under health care reform.

For employers who have been waiting to see what would happen with the Supreme Court's ruling, now is the time to take steps to ensure that you are not caught off guard as the Act's key provisions take effect. 

Pullman & Comley, LLC has a more detailed summary available on its webpage at www.pullcom.com