By Employee Benefit Research Group
More healthcare-related regulatory news for plan sponsors, including links to detailed information.
Government agencies issue final rules on 90-day period limitation
The U.S. Departments of Treasury, Labor (DOL), and Health and Human Services (HHS) have issued final rules that clarify the maximum allowed length of any reasonable and bona fide employment-based orientation period, consistent with the 90-day waiting period limitation under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The final rules are scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on June 25, 2014.
DOL announces it will issue proposed rule to extend Family Medical Leave Act protections to all eligible employees in same-sex marriages
The DOL has announced a proposed rule extending the protections of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to all eligible employees in legal same-sex marriages regardless of where they live. The proposal would help ensure that all families will have the flexibility to deal with serious medical and family situations without fearing the threat of job loss. Secretary Thomas Perez is proposing this rule in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, in which the court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act provision that interpreted “marriage” and “spouse” to be limited to opposite-sex marriage for the purposes of federal law.
The proposed rule would change the FMLA regulatory definition of “spouse” so that an eligible employee in a legal same-sex marriage will be able to take FMLA leave for his or her spouse or family member regardless of the state in which the employee resides. Currently, the regulatory definition of “spouse” only applies to same-sex spouses who reside in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage. Under the proposed rule, eligibility for FMLA protections would be based on the law of the place where the marriage was entered into, allowing all legally married couples, whether opposite-sex or same-sex, to have consistent federal family leave rights regardless of whether the state in which they currently reside recognizes such marriages.
For additional information on the FMLA, including information and fact sheets on the proposed revisions, click here. Comments must be received within 45 days following publication in the Federal Register.
Also, to read the entire proposed rule, click here.
HHS report shows premium affordability, competition, and choice in the marketplace in 2013-2014
A new report released by the HHS finds that people who selected silver plans, the most popular plan type in the federal marketplace, with tax credits paid an average premium of $69 per month. In the federal marketplace, 69% of enrollees who selected marketplace plans with tax credits had premiums of $100 a month or less, and 46% premiums of $50 a month or less after tax credits.
The report also looks at competition and choice nationwide among health insurance plans in 2013-2014, and finds that most individuals shopping in the marketplace had a wide range of health plans from which to choose. On average, consumers could choose from five health insurers and 47 marketplace plans. An increase of one issuer in a rating area is associated with 4% decline in the second-lowest cost silver plan premium, on average.
To read the entire report, click here.
IRS updates FAQs on the Additional Medicare Tax
On November 26, 2013, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued final regulations implementing the Additional Medicare Tax as added by the ACA. The Additional Medicare Tax applies to wages, railroad retirement (RRTA) compensation, and self-employment income over certain thresholds. Employers are responsible for withholding the tax on wages and RRTA compensation in certain circumstances.
The IRS has since updated 58 frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the matter. To view the updated page, click here.