Employee Benefits Update – 2014 ACA Milestones

Submitted by statecreative on Tue, 01/28/2014 - 15:49
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The Affordable Care Act (ACA) became law in 2010, but 2014 and 2015 will see the most significant changes for employee benefits. Below is a quick recap of some of the major milestones that 2014 holds in store for employers:

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  • The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace will open in late 2014. Small businesses (with less than 50 employees) can still apply for group health insurance plans through insurance brokers or agents. Starting in 2014, businesses have to purchase health coverage through the SHOP exchange to qualify for the Small Business Tax Credit.
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  • The Small Business Tax Credit increases to a maximum of 50 percent for for-profit companies and 35 percent for nonprofit companies in 2014. Businesses must have fewer than 25 full time equivalents (FTEs), average annual wages of less than $50,000 per FTE, and pay at least 50 percent of each FTE’s individual health premium to qualify. There is a phase out so employers with more than 10 FTEs or average wages of more than $25,000 will not receive the full credit.
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  • ACA plan requirements take effect. Effective Jan. 1, 2014, health care plan requirements include: no dollar limit on lifetime coverage for essential health benefits, no preexisting condition exclusions, dependent coverage to age 26, elimination of waiting periods which exceed 90 days, coverage for clinical trial participants and limits on cost sharing.
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  • Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) disclosures must include a statement on whether the employee benefits plan meets minimal essential coverage and minimum value (60 percent of costs for the benefit population) for group health plans beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2014.
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  • Wellness program rewards increase from 20 percent to 30 percent for 2014 plans.

Postponed until 2015:

The rollout for the Affordable Care Act hasn’t been smooth, but nevertheless, it is imperative for businesses to stay updated on the law’s latest developments. The next several months will require businesses of all sizes to plan carefully. Need employee benefits assistance or guidance? Contact our Benefits Advisory Division. Also, visit the health reform section of our website for additional resources.