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On July 22, 2014, the D.C. Circuit Court struck down the availability of health insurance subsidies in states with federal Exchanges, while the 4th Circuit Court upheld their availability in all states, including those with federal Exchanges.


Several lawsuits have been filed by individuals and employers to challenge the ability of the federal government to provide tax credits under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to individuals in states that did not establish their own Exchanges (that is, in states with federally-facilitated exchanges, or FFEs). These lawsuits were filed in response to an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rule that authorizes subsidies in all states, including those with FFEs.

In April 2006, the Massachusetts Health Care Reform Act (Act) was signed into law to provide nearly universal health care coverage for the residents of Massachusetts. One part of the Act required employers to provide health coverage to their employees or pay a penalty.

Beginning in 2013, various aspects of the Act were repealed to avoid duplication with the employer shared responsibility rules in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

PCORI Fees Due July 31, 2014

Wednesday, 11 June 2014 09:32 Published in client alerts

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires health insurance issuers and sponsors of self-insured health plans to pay Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute fees (PCORI fees). The fees are reported and paid annually using IRS Form 720 (Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return).

PCORI fees are due by July 31, 2014, for plan years ending in 2013. The IRS provided instructions for filing form 720, which include information on reporting and paying the PCORI fees.

2014 Affordable Care Act Survey Results

Tuesday, 20 May 2014 00:00 Published in benefits blog

Four years after its passage, and months after several of its most significant components went into effect, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has significantly affected survey respondents across the nation. While uncertainty about the long-term impact of the ACA remains, employers are starting to observe and measure the impact of the law in their workplaces. When faced with the prospect of providing coverage for employees or paying a fine, a large majority of employers decided to "play." Of those, most are now reporting increased costs. Employers also remain largely skeptical about other aspects of the law, including the health insurance Exchanges and the community rating requirements.

Affordable Care Act (ACA) reforms that took effect this year may make purchasing health insurance in the individual market more accessible. Due to these reforms and the rising costs of health coverage, some employers have considered helping employees pay for individual health insurance policies instead of offering an employer-sponsored plan.

On May 13, 2014, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued FAQs addressing the consequences for employers that do not establish a health insurance plan for their employees, but instead reimburse employees for premiums they pay for individual health insurance (either inside or outside of an Exchange). These arrangements are known as employer payment plans.


Beginning in 2015, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) generally requires applicable large employers to offer affordable, minimum value health coverage to their full-time employees (and dependents) or pay a penalty. These employer mandate penalties are also known as "shared responsibility" or "pay or play" penalties.

On May 13, 2014, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released FAQs addressing consequences under the employer shared responsibility rules for applicable large employers that offer health insurance coverage to all full-time employees, but do not offer dependent coverage.

In investing, less is often more: For instance, less trading. Or less chasing of high-performing assets.

But there’s one case where a new study suggests more really is more, and less is less: Your financial knowledge.

Investors deemed to be more financially knowledgeable than peers enjoyed an estimated 1.3% higher annual return in their 401(k)s or other defined contribution plans than those with less knowledge, write authors Robert L. Cark, Olivia S. Mitchell and Annamaria Lusardi in a just-published National Bureau of Economic Research paper.

Is it because brainy people know the markets better? Not necessarily. Better-informed investors hold more equity exposure, the study finds, and equity investments have performed better over time.

For plan years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2014, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) prohibits group health plans and group health insurance issuers from applying any waiting period that exceeds 90 days. However, other eligibility conditions that are not based solely on the lapse of time are generally allowed, unless the condition is designed to avoid compliance with the 90-day waiting period limit.

On Feb. 20, 2014, the Departments of Labor (DOL), Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Treasury (the Departments) released final regulations on the 90-day waiting period limit. These regulations generally finalize provisions in proposed rules that were issued in March 2013, with minimal changes. At the same time, the Departments released a separate proposed rule regarding a new provision permitting reasonable and bona fide orientation periods under the 90-day waiting period limit.

The final regulations apply for plan years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2015. However, the 2013 proposed rules provided that the 90-day waiting period limit would apply for plan years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2014. For plan years beginning in 2014, the Departments will consider compliance with either the 2013 proposed rules or the final regulations to constitute compliance with the 90-day waiting period limit requirement.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) imposes a penalty on applicable large employers (ALEs) that do not offer health insurance coverage to substantially all full-time employees and dependents. Penalties may also be imposed if coverage is offered, but is unaffordable or does not provide minimum value. The ACA’s employer penalty rules are often referred to as “employer shared responsibility” or “pay or play” rules.

This isn't your father's pension plan -- or 401(k), for that matter.

That's what workers are hearing from their employers, and why they increasingly believe they are on their own when it comes to managing company-sponsored retirement plans.

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