Employee Benefit Security Administration
Posted on June 28, 2013
In a joint rule released by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the US Department of the Treasury (DoT), and the US Department of Labor (DoL), the administration finalized the requirement for employers to offer contraception coverage through their workplace health insurance policies. The rule defines a “religious employer” to include predominantly churches and houses of worship. For religiously-affiliated institutions, such as universities, the rule provides a simplified process by which insurance companies can cover contraceptives for employees. Religiously-affiliated entities using self-insured plans can use the same streamlined approach for a third-party administrator to provide contraceptives. In addition to the rule, the administration extended the safe harbor for religiously-affiliated hospitals and universities, which prevented those institutions from fines associated with non-compliance to the contraception mandate, through January.
Interview of Phyllis Borzi, Assistant Secretary of Labor of the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), United States Department of Labor
Posted on June 11, 2013
Recently, Sara Rosenbaum, the Hirsh Professor of Health Law and Policy at the GW Department of Health Policy, had an opportunity to interview Phyllis Borzi, the federal official in charge of overseeing the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), for Health Reform GPS. EBSA is an agency of the United States Department of Labor responsible for administering, regulating and enforcing the provisions of Title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), and the agency is playing an important role in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act….
Posted on May 29, 2013
A joint rule released by the US Department of Labor (DoL), the US Department of the Treasury (DoT), and the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) addresses new provisions regarding participatory wellness programs in the workplace. Workplace wellness programs are designed to reduce the prevalence of chronic disease, stifle growing health care costs, and improve overall health by rewarding employees for participating in certain activities, such as educational classes or obtaining memberships to fitness centers. The final rule sets the maximum reword for completion of a nondiscriminatory health-contingent wellness program to 30% of coverage costs, up from the original 20%. Employees that successfully complete tobacco-related wellness programs are eligible for up to 50% of cost of coverage.
Posted on May 10, 2013
The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), a division of the Department of Labor, published guidance concerning employer notification of insurance options in the health insurance marketplaces established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including model language for employers to notify their employees on marketplaces and employer-sponsored coverage. Technical Release Number 2013-02 states that employers must begin to inform their employees about available insurance options beginning October 1st, and the guidance contains a model notice for employers to utilize. EBSA released this guidance in advance of the proposed rule so that employers are equipped with the appropriate knowledge so they may begin to notify employees as soon as they desire.
Posted on April 30, 2013
In the 15th set of Affordable Care Act (ACA) FAQs, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Employee Benefit Security Administration (EBSA) answer questions posed by the public and stakeholders to demystify the implementation of various components of the ACA. This particular set discusses annual limit waivers, stating that an alteration to a health plan or policy year will not impact the expiration of an annual limit waiver. The FAQs also indicate that IRS, EBSA and the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will not issue guidance on provider nondiscrimination prior to January 1st, 2014, because the statutory language on the topic is “self-implementing.” In regards to transparency reporting, the FAQs clarify that plans are not beholden to the transparency provisions of the ACA until the plans have been certified as a qualified health plan (QHP) for one benefit year.
Posted on April 25, 2013
The US Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) published their 14th set of frequently asked questions regarding the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). One key topic covered by the FAQs addresses disclosure requirements for individual or group plan summary of benefits coverage (SBC). In regards to disclosure of minimum essential coverage and the attainment of minimum value requirements, the guidance does not make notable changes for the SBC during 2014, the second disclosure year. The FAQs also state that plans unable to alter their SBC for 2014 are permitted to use the authorized year template without penalty if they also provide a cover letter stating whether or not the minimum value requirements are met.
Posted on March 19, 2013
A proposed rule issued yesterday by the US Department of Labor, US Department of Treasury, and the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) implements a provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that requires employer-sponsored health plans to be activated for employees within 90 days. In addition, employers cannot require employees to accrue a minimum number of hours before the 90 day wait period starts. The rules specifically state the 90 day wait limit in and of itself is not an employer mandate.
Comments on the proposed rules will be due by May 20, 2013.
Posted on January 24, 2013
The Employee Benefit Securities Administration (EBSA) of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have jointly released a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document addressing multiple issues related to Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation. Most notably, the FAQs extend the deadline by which employers must notify their employees about coverage options in the Exchanges from March 1, 2013, to sometime in “the late summer or fall of 2013, which will coordinate with the open enrollment period for Exchanges.” DOL made the determination in part because they feel the notifications should coincide with HHS outreach and educational efforts and IRS guidance on Exchange Qualified Health Plan (QHP) minimum value. Furthermore…
Posted on May 10, 2012
The Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration published a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding implementation of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.
Amongst other topics, the FAQs address…
Posted on April 30, 2012
On April 27, 2012, the Department of the Treasury’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration, and the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a request for information (RFI) regarding the use of stop loss insurance by group health plans and their plan sponsors, with a focus on the prevalence and consequences of stop loss insurance at low attachment points, or the point at which excess insurance or reinsurance limits apply.
Concerns have circulated that the practice could lead to higher costs in small group health insurance exchanges. Stop-loss insurance protects self-insured companies against claims above the attachment point. Employers and plans that purchase stop-loss insurance generally are not subject to state health insurance laws regarding coverage, rating policies, and other state and federal consumer protections, and thus could prove financially risky in the exchange market. Specifically, if the practice is widespread, it could worsen the risk pool and increase premiums in the insured small group market, including the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) exchanges.