Review & Strengthen Defensibility of Existing Worker Classification Practices In Light of Rising Congressional & Regulatory Scrutiny

June 29, 2010

Employers using independent contractors, leased employees or other non-employee workers should carefully review the defensibility of their existing classification and treatment of those workers under tax, labor, employment, employee benefit and other laws in light of stepped up interest and scrutiny by Congress and regulators.

On June 17, 2010, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions held hearings on pending legislation intended to prevent employers from misclassifying workers as independent contractors to avoid paying minimum wage or overtime or other legal protections due employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). 

The Employee Misclassification Prevention Act S.3254/H.R.5107 seeks to reduce misclassification errors by amending the Fair Labor Standards Act:

  • Requiring employers to keep accurate records of each workers’ status;
  • Clarifying it’s a violation of the Fair Labor FLSA to misclassify workers;
  • Increasing fines for misclassification under the FLSA;
  • Requiring employers to notify workers if the employer classifies them as an employee or independent contractor;
  • Creating an “employee’s rights website” containing relevant information concerning state and federal wage and hour issues; and
  • Protecting workers against discrimination or retaliation for requesting proper classification will be protected.

In addition to proposed changes to the FLSA, Congress also is looking at legislation that would tighten worker classification rules under other laws.  For instance,  the Taxpayer Responsibility, Accountability and Consistency Act of 2009 H.R.3408/ S.2882 would target perceived worker misclassification employment and income tax withholding and reporting abuses by amending the Internal Revenue Code to:

  • Require reporting to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of payments of $600 or more made to corporations;
  • Define criteria and rules relating to the treatment of workers as employees or independent contractors;
  • Increase penalties for failure to file correct tax return information or comply with other information reporting requirements; and
  • Require the Secretary of the Treasury to issue an annual report on worker misclassification.

Other proposed legislation would tighten requirements and oversight of the use of independent contractors and other non-employee workers under OSHA and various other federal laws. 

While Congress tightens even tighter requirements, regulators are stepping up their scrutiny of employer practices for classifying workers under existing laws.  Under a National Research Program announced last September, the Internal Revenue Service has begun conducting the first of approximately 6,000 payroll tax audits that it plans to complete over a three-year period focusing on the appropriateness of employer worker classification and other payroll tax practices. 

To guard against these and other growing risks of worker classification, employers should review within the scope of attorney-client privilege the defensibility of their existing worker classification, employee benefit, fringe benefit, employment, wage and hour, and other workforce policies and consult with qualified legal counsel about the advisability to adjust these practices to mitigate exposures to potential IRS, Labor Department or other penalties associated with worker misclassification.

If you need assistance in conducting a risk assessment of or responding to an IRS, Labor Department or other legal challenges to your organization’s existing workforce classification or other labor and employment, employee benefit or compensation practices, please contact the author of this update, attorney Cynthia Marcotte Stamer.

Board Certified in Labor & Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, management attorney and consultant Ms. Stamer is nationally and internationally recognized for more than 23 years of work helping employers; employee benefit plans and their sponsors, administrators, fiduciaries; employee leasing, recruiting, staffing and other professional employment organizations; and others design, administer and defend innovative workforce, compensation, employee benefit  and management policies and practices. The Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) RPTE Employee Benefits & Other Compensation Committee, a Council Representative on the ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits, Government Affairs Committee Legislative Chair for the Dallas Human Resources Management Association, past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Interest Group, and the editor and publisher of Solutions Law Press HR & Benefits Update and other Solutions Law Press Publications, Ms. Stamer recently was a featured panelist on the ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits Teleconference on “Worker Classification & Alternative Workforce: Employee Plans & Employment Tax Challenges” and has worked, published and spoken extensively on worker classification and other related matters.  She also is recognized for her publications, industry leadership, workshops and presentations on these and other human resources concerns and regularly speaks and conducts training on these matters. Her insights on these and other matters appear in the Bureau of National Affairs, Spencer Publications, the Wall Street Journal, the Dallas Business Journal, the Houston Business Journal, and many other national and local publications. You can review other highlights of Ms. Stamer’s experience here.

If you need help with human resources or other management, concerns, wish to ask about compliance, risk management or training, or need legal representation on other matters please contact Cynthia Marcotte Stamer here or (469)767-8872. 

Other Resources

If you found this information of interest, you also may be interested in reviewing other recent Solutions Law Press updates including:

If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail – by creating or updating your profile here or e-mailing this information here or registering to receive our Solutions Law Press distributions here. For important information about this communication click here.    If you do not wish to receive these updates in the future, send an e-mail with the word “Remove” in the Subject to here.

©2010 Solutions Law Press. All rights reserved.


Key Affordable Care Act Health Plan Coverage Mandates Guidance Issued June 28; Apply ASAP For Early Retirement Reinsurance Program

June 29, 2010

Learn Latest At July 9 Briefing

The Departments of Health & Human Services (HHS), Labor and Treasury on Monday published key interim regulations (Rule) that interpret and implement the health plan preexisting condition exclusions, lifetime and annual limits, rescissions,  and other patient rights provisions generally scheduled to apply to post-September 22, 2010 plan years under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act). Today, HHS followed up this guidance release by beginning to accept applications for employers and other program sponsors that want to apply for participation in the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program (ERRP) established under the. Affordable Care Act.  These two key developments are the latest in a series of other key developments impacting the Affordable Care Act’s group health plan rules.

To assist concerned business leaders, plan fiduciaries and plan administrators to understand and cope with these new rules, Solutions Law Press author Cynthia Marcotte Stamer will host a teleconference briefing on the latest Affordable Care Act health plan guidance on July 9, 2010 from Noon. to 1:30 p.m. Central Time.  To register or for other details, see here.

Key Guidance On Affordable Care Act Health Plan Coverage Mandates Issued Monday

On Monday, June 28, 2010, the Agencies jointly published interim final rules implementing the Affordable Care Act’s requirements for health plans on preexisting conditions, coverage rescissions, lifetime and annual dollar limits for essential benefits, and patient choice/access of providers. See Regulation, Fact Sheet, Patient Protection Model Notice, Lifetime Limits Model Notice and Dependents Model Notice

The Rule implements and interprets the Affordable Care Act’s restrictions on the use by that group health plans and individual and group health insurance coverage (health plans) which generally:

  • Prohibit preexisting condition exclusions and limitations for children under age 19;
  • Prohibit arbitrary insurance coverage rescissions;
  • Prohibit lifetime dollar limits on essential benefits;
  • Restrict annual dollar limits on essential benefits;
  • Protect certain choice of physician rights of plan members; and
  • Prohibit certain restrictions on emergency services.

Certain plans qualifying as “grandfathered” for purposes of the Affordable Care Act may qualify as exempt from these requirements. Guidance on when plans qualify as “grandfathered” was issued last week.

Early Retiree Reinsurance Program Application Opening

Created by the Affordable Care Act as a bridge to the new health insurance marketplace established by the Exchanges in 2014, this $5 billion program temporarily will reimburse employers, unions, state and local governments, and nonprofits admitted to the program for a portion of claims paid for early retirees.

The Early Retiree Reinsurance Program will reimburse employers admitted to the program for 80 percent of medical claims costs between $15,000 and $90,000 paid for retirees age 55 and older who are not eligible for Medicare, and their spouses, surviving spouses, and dependents. Employers, including state and local governments and unions, who provide health coverage for early retirees are eligible to apply. Program participants will be able to submit claims for medical care going back to June 1, 2010.

Today is the first day HHS is accepting applications.  Applications for the program, as well as fact sheets and application assistance can be found here.

Other Affordable Care Act Guidance

The Rule is the latest in a series of recently-issued guidance implementing various health coverage requirements of the Affordable Care Act.  It follows closely the publication by the Agencies of regulations about:

  • When group health plans and insurance qualify as “grandfathered plans” for purposes of determining deadlines for complying with certain health care reform requirements imposed under the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act).  See Fact Sheet, Regulation, FAQs, Table, and Model Notice;
  • Extension of Coverage For Adult Children see Fact Sheet, Regulation, FAQs and IRS Guidance; and IRS Guidance on Tax-Free Employer-Provided Health Coverage Now Available for Children under Age 27,  see here;
  • FAQs on Health Care Reform and COBRA;
  • IRS Issues Regulations on 10-Percent Tax on Tanning Services Effective July 1, see here;

IRS Guidance On Special Tax Incentives for Small Businesses to Provide Health Care, Hire New Workers, see here, here, here and here.

Register Now For July 9 Teleconference To Catch Up On New Affordable Care Act & Other 2010 Health Plan Changes

Learn more about this and other Affordable Care Act requirements and how it will impact your group health plan by registering to participate in a special Solutions Law Press teleconference briefing on this and other emerging Affordable Care Act group health plan guidance to be conducted by Cynthia Marcotte Stamer on July 9, 2010 from Noon. to 1:30 p.m. Central Time.  To register or for other details, see here.

About Ms. Stamer

Board Certified in Labor & Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, management attorney and consultant Ms. Stamer is nationally and internationally recognized for more than 23 years of work helping employer and other plan sponsors, insurers, administrators, fiduciaries, governments and others design, administer and defend innovative health and other employee benefit programs and other human resources, compensation and management policies and practices.

As a core focus of her practice, Ms. Stamer works extensively with employer and other health plan sponsors, fiduciaries, administrative and other service providers, insurers, and other clients on health benefit program and product design, documentation, administration, compliance, risk management, and public policy matters.  The publisher of Solutions Law Press, Ms. Stamer also publishes, conducts training and speaks extensively on these and related concerns for the ABA, the Bureau of National Affairs and many other organizations.  Please join us for what promises to be a most interesting discussion.

The Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) RPTE Employee Benefits & Other Compensation Committee, a Council Representative on the ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits, Government Affairs Committee Legislative Chair for the Dallas Human Resources Management Association, past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Interest Group, and the editor and publisher of Solutions Law Press HR & Benefits Update and other Solutions Law Press Publications, Ms. Stamer also is recognized for her publications, industry leadership, workshops and presentations on these and other health industry and human resources concerns. She regularly speaks and conducts training for the ABA, Institute of Internal Auditors, Society for Professional Benefits Administrators, Southwest Benefits Association and many other organizations.  Publishers of her many highly regarded writings on health industry and human resources matters include the Bureau of National Affairs, Aspen Publishers, ABA, AHLA, Aspen Publishers, Schneider Publications, Spencer Publications, World At Work, SHRM, HCCA, State Bar of Texas, Business Insurance, James Publishing and many others.  You can review other highlights of Ms. Stamer’s experience hereHer insights on these and other matters appear in Managed Care Executive, Modern Health Care, the Wall Street Journal, the Dallas Business Journal, the Houston Business Journal, MDNews, Kentucky Physician, and many other national and local publications. 

If you need help with human resources or other management, concerns, wish to ask about compliance, risk management or training, or need legal representation on other matters please contact Cynthia Marcotte Stamer here or (469)767-8872. 

Other Resources

If you found this information of interest, you also may be interested in reviewing other recent Solutions Law Press updates including:

If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail – by creating or updating your profile here or e-mailing this information here or registering to receive our Solutions Law Press distributions here. For important information about this communication click here.    If you do not wish to receive these updates in the future, send an e-mail with the word “Remove” in the Subject to here.

©2010 Solutions Law Press. All rights reserved.


Key Affordable Care Act Health Plan Coverage Mandates Guidance Issued June 28; Apply ASAP For Early Retirement Reinsurance Program

June 29, 2010

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (OCIIO) today (June 29, 2010) began accepting applications for the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program (ERRP) established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Affordable Care Act”).  Meanwhile, HHS and the Departments of Treasury and Labor Monday published new interim regulations implementing the Affordable Care Act’s group health plan preexisting condition, lifetime and annual limits, rescissions, and patient protections mandates (the “Rules”).  These two key developments follow the Agencies release of guidance about the Affordable Care Act’s grandfather provisions and other  guidance on the Affordable Care Act’s group health plan rules.

To assist concerned business leaders, plan fiduciaries and plan administrators to understand and cope with these new rules, Solutions Law Press author Cynthia Marcotte Stamer will host a teleconference briefing on these new regulations and other Affordable Care Act health plan guidance on July 9, 2010 from Noon. to 1:30 p.m. Central Time.  To register or for other details, see here.

Early Retiree Reinsurance Program

Created by the Affordable Care Act as a bridge to the new health insurance marketplace established by the Exchanges in 2014, this $5 billion program temporarily will reimburse employers, unions, state and local governments, and nonprofits admitted to the program for a portion of claims paid for early retirees.

The Early Retiree Reinsurance Program will reimburse employers admitted to the program for 80 percent of medical claims costs between $15,000 and $90,000 paid for retirees age 55 and older who are not eligible for Medicare, and their spouses, surviving spouses, and dependents. Employers, including state and local governments and unions, who provide health coverage for early retirees are eligible to apply. Program participants will be able to submit claims for medical care going back to June 1, 2010.

Today is the first day HHS is accepting applications.  Applications for the program, as well as fact sheets and application assistance can be found here.

Key Guidance On Affordable Care Act Health Plan Coverage Mandates Issued Monday

On Monday, June 28, 2010 HHS, Labor and Treasury (the “Agencies”) jointly published interim final rules implementing the Affordable Care Act’s Rules on preexisting conditions, coverage rescissions, lifetime and annual dollar limits for essential benefits, and patient choice/access of providers. See Regulation, Fact Sheet, Patient Protection Model Notice, Lifetime Limits Model Notice and Dependents Model Notice

The Rule implements and interprets the Affordable Care Act’s restrictions on the use by that group health plans and individual and group health insurance coverage (“health plans”) which generally:

  • Prohibit preexisting condition exclusions and limitations for children under age 19;
  • Prohibit arbitrary insurance coverage rescissions;
  • Prohibit lifetime dollar limits on essential benefits;
  • Restrict annual dollar limits on essential benefits;
  • Protect certain choice of physician rights of plan members; and
  • Prohibit certain restrictions on emergency services.

Certain plans qualifying as “grandfathered” for purposes of the Affordable Care Act may qualify as exempt from these requirements.

The Rule is the latest in a series of recently-issued guidance implementing various health coverage requirements of the Affordable Care Act.  It follows closely the publication by the Agencies of regulations about:

  • When group health plans and insurance qualify as “grandfathered plans” for purposes of determining deadlines for complying with certain health care reform requirements imposed under the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act).  See Fact Sheet, Regulation, FAQs, Table, and Model Notice;
  • Extension of Coverage For Adult Children see Fact Sheet, Regulation, FAQs and IRS Guidance; and IRS Guidance on Tax-Free Employer-Provided Health Coverage Now Available for Children under Age 27,  see here;
  • FAQs on Health Care Reform and COBRA;
  • IRS Issues Regulations on 10-Percent Tax on Tanning Services Effective July 1, see here;
  • IRS Guidance On Special Tax Incentives for Small Businesses to Provide Health Care, Hire New Workers, see here, here, here and here.

 

Register Now For July 9 Teleconference To Catch Up On New Affordable Care Act & Other 2010 Health Plan Changes

Learn more about this and other Affordable Care Act requirements and how it will impact your group health plan by registering to participate in a special Solutions Law Press teleconference briefing on this and other emerging Affordable Care Act group health plan guidance to be conducted by Cynthia Marcotte Stamer on July 9, 2010 from Noon. to 1:30 p.m. Central Time.  To register or for other details, see here.

About Ms. Stamer

Board Certified in Labor & Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, management attorney and consultant Ms. Stamer is nationally and internationally recognized for more than 23 years of work helping employer and other plan sponsors, insurers, administrators, fiduciaries, governments and others design, administer and defend innovative health and other employee benefit programs and other human resources, compensation and management policies and practices.

As a core focus of her practice, Ms. Stamer works extensively with employer and other health plan sponsors, fiduciaries, administrative and other service providers, insurers, and other clients on health benefit program and product design, documentation, administration, compliance, risk management, and public policy matters.  The publisher of Solutions Law Press, Ms. Stamer also publishes, conducts training and speaks extensively on these and related concerns for the ABA, the Bureau of National Affairs and many other organizations.  Please join us for what promises to be a most interesting discussion.

The Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) RPTE Employee Benefits & Other Compensation Committee, a Council Representative on the ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits, Government Affairs Committee Legislative Chair for the Dallas Human Resources Management Association, past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Interest Group, and the editor and publisher of Solutions Law Press HR & Benefits Update and other Solutions Law Press Publications, Ms. Stamer also is recognized for her publications, industry leadership, workshops and presentations on these and other health industry and human resources concerns. She regularly speaks and conducts training for the ABA, Institute of Internal Auditors, Society for Professional Benefits Administrators, Southwest Benefits Association and many other organizations.  Publishers of her many highly regarded writings on health industry and human resources matters include the Bureau of National Affairs, Aspen Publishers, ABA, AHLA, Aspen Publishers, Schneider Publications, Spencer Publications, World At Work, SHRM, HCCA, State Bar of Texas, Business Insurance, James Publishing and many others.  You can review other highlights of Ms. Stamer’s experience hereHer insights on these and other matters appear in Managed Care Executive, Modern Health Care, the Wall Street Journal, the Dallas Business Journal, the Houston Business Journal, MDNews, Kentucky Physician, and many other national and local publications. 

If you need help with human resources or other management, concerns, wish to ask about compliance, risk management or training, or need legal representation on other matters please contact Cynthia Marcotte Stamer here or (469)767-8872. 

Other Resources

If you found this information of interest, you also may be interested in reviewing other recent Solutions Law Press updates including:

If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail – by creating or updating your profile here or e-mailing this information here or registering to receive our Solutions Law Press distributions here. For important information about this communication click here.    If you do not wish to receive these updates in the future, send an e-mail with the word “Remove” in the Subject to here.

©2010 Solutions Law Press. All rights reserved.


Key Guidance Issued About New Affordable Care Act Health Plan Requirements; Teleconference Briefing Planned July 9

June 24, 2010

This week (June 22, 2010), the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury (the “Agencies”) jointly released an advanced copy of interim final rules (the “Rules”) implementing several key new health coverage mandates enacted as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Affordable Care Act”).

The Rule scheduled for publication in the Federal Register on June 28, 2010 will implement and interpret the Affordable Care Act’s restrictions on the use by that group health plans and individual and group health insurance coverage (“health plans”) which generally:

  • Prohibit preexisting condition exclusions and limitations for children under age 19
  • Prohibit arbitrary insurance coverage rescissions;
  • Prohibit lifetime dollar limits on essential benefits;
  • Restrict annual dollar limits on essential benefits;
  • Protect certain choice of physician rights of plan members; and
  • Prohibit certain restrictions on emergency services.

Certain plans qualifying as “grandfathered” for purposes of the Affordable Care Act may qualify as exempt from these requirements.

The Rule is the latest in a series of recently-issued guidance implementing various health coverage requirements of the Affordable Care Act.  It follows closely the June 14, 2010 publication by the Agencies of regulations on when group health plans and insurance qualify as “grandfathered plans” for purposes of determining deadlines for complying with certain health care reform requirements imposed under the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act).

To assist concerned business leaders, plan fiduciaries and plan administrators to understand and cope with these new rules, Solutions Law Press author Cynthia Marcotte Stamer will host a teleconference briefing on these new regulations and other Affordable Care Act health plan guidance on July 9, 2010 from Noon. to 1:30 p.m. Central Time.  To register or for other details, see here.

To review an advanced copy of the Rule see here.  Read the accompanying Fact Sheet here.

About Ms. Stamer

Board Certified in Labor & Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, management attorney and consultant Ms. Stamer is nationally and internationally recognized for more than 23 years of work helping employer and other plan sponsors, insurers, administrators, fiduciaries, governments and others design, administer and defend innovative health and other employee benefit programs and other human resources, compensation and management policies and practices.

As a core focus of her practice, Ms. Stamer works extensively with employer and other health plan sponsors, fiduciaries, administrative and other service providers, insurers, and other clients on health benefit program and product design, documentation, administration, compliance, risk management, and public policy matters.  The publisher of Solutions Law Press, Ms. Stamer also publishes, conducts training and speaks extensively on these and related concerns for the ABA, the Bureau of National Affairs and many other organizations.  Please join us for what promises to be a most interesting discussion.

The Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) RPTE Employee Benefits & Other Compensation Committee, a Council Representative on the ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits, Government Affairs Committee Legislative Chair for the Dallas Human Resources Management Association, past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Interest Group, and the editor and publisher of Solutions Law Press HR & Benefits Update and other Solutions Law Press Publications, Ms. Stamer also is recognized for her publications, industry leadership, workshops and presentations on these and other health industry and human resources concerns. She regularly speaks and conducts training for the ABA, Institute of Internal Auditors, Society for Professional Benefits Administrators, Southwest Benefits Association and many other organizations.  Publishers of her many highly regarded writings on health industry and human resources matters include the Bureau of National Affairs, Aspen Publishers, ABA, AHLA, Aspen Publishers, Schneider Publications, Spencer Publications, World At Work, SHRM, HCCA, State Bar of Texas, Business Insurance, James Publishing and many others.  You can review other highlights of Ms. Stamer’s experience hereHer insights on these and other matters appear in Managed Care Executive, Modern Health Care, the Wall Street Journal, the Dallas Business Journal, the Houston Business Journal, MDNews, Kentucky Physician, and many other national and local publications. 

If you need help with human resources or other management, concerns, wish to ask about compliance, risk management or training, or need legal representation on other matters please contact Cynthia Marcotte Stamer here or (469)767-8872. 

Other Resources

If you found this information of interest, you also may be interested in reviewing other updates and publications by Ms. Stamer including:

If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail – by creating or updating your profile here or e-mailing this information here or registering to receive our Solutions Law Press distributions here. For important information about this communication click here.    If you do not wish to receive these updates in the future, send an e-mail with the word “Remove” in the Subject to here.

©2010 Solutions Law Press. All rights reserved.


Registration Open For July 9 In “Affordable Care Act & Other Federal Health Plan Guidance Update”

June 23, 2010

Solutions Law Press Invites You To Learn What You Must Do Now To Meet Key Affordable Care Act Health Plan Deadlines

 Affordable Care Act & Other Federal Health Plan Guidance Update

July 9, 2010 Teleconference – Noon to 1:30 P.M. Central Time

Solutions Law Press invites you to catch up on the latest guidance on new requirements that group health plans must meet under the Affordable Care Act and other emerging federal health plan regulations by participating in the Affordable Care Act & Other Federal Health Plan Guidance Update” teleconference to be conducted by attorney Cynthia Marcotte Stamer on Friday, July 9, 2010 from Noon to 1:30 P.M. Central Time for a registration fee of $50.00. To register for this program, see here,

Affordable Care Act Requires Prompt Action By Group Health Plans & Employers

The combined package of comprehensive health care reform legislation enacted by Congress this Spring through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148) as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act (Public Law 111-152) (collectively referred to as the “Affordable Care Act”) will require most employers, employment-based group health plans, plan sponsors, plan fiduciaries, plan administrators and other service providers and insurers take prompt action to meet compliance deadlines and preserve other options over the next several months. Employer and other group health plan sponsors, fiduciaries, insurers and administrators must act quickly to update their health plan documents, communications and practices to comply with new federal requirements that become effective under the Affordable Care Act on the first day of the plan year beginning after September 22, 2010 and various other changes in federal health plan rules effective or scheduled to take effect during 2010 or 2011 plan years. Quick action also may be needed to claim small employer tax credits, retiree medical subsidies or other benefits. 

July 9 Briefing Provides Key Information

The July 9, 2010 Affordable Care Act & Other Federal Health Plan Guidance Update” teleconference will include an update on the latest regulatory guidance about impending Affordable Care Act group health plan rules and other key information to help employers, group health plans, plan administrators and fiduciaries and others working with these plans to understand and respond to these new requirements.

The briefing will cover:

  • Key elements of Affordable Care Act reforms impacting employment-based health plans
  • Impending Affordable Care Act deadlines for employment-based group health plans and their sponsors during 2010 or 2011
  • Update on guidance on grandfathered plan status meaning, qualification and disqualification
  • Update on guidance on new dependent child coverage extension rules
  • Update on guidance on early retiree medical reinsurance program
  • Update on guidance on new small employer health coverage tax credit
  • Update on other recent and pending Affordable Care Act group health plan rule guidance
  • Tips to coordinate Affordable Care Act and other federal group health plan mandate compliance
  • Practical strategies for responding to new requirements and changing rules
  • Participant questions

About The Presenter

The program will be presented by attorney Cynthia Marcotte Stamer. With more than 23 years of experience advising employers, group health plans, plan fiduciaries, plan administrators and vendors, insurers and others about health plan and managed care matters, Ms. Stamer is nationally known for her work, publications and presentations on health plan and other employee benefit, health care and insurance matters.  Current Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) RPTE Employee Benefit & Other Compensation Committee, a Council Member of the ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits and Past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance  Interest Group, Ms. Stamer continuously advises employers, health plans, plan sponsors, fiduciaries, plan administrators, plan vendors, insurers and others about health program related legal, operational, documentation, public policy, enforcement, privacy, technology, litigation and risk management and other concerns. Ms. Stamer also publishes and speaks extensively on these and other health and managed care program concerns and practices.  Her insights on these and related topics have appeared in Atlantic Information Service, Bureau of National Affairs, World At Work, The Wall Street Journal, Business Insurance, Managed Healthcare, Health Leaders, various ABA publications and a many other national and local publications.  To contact Ms. Stamer or for additional information about Ms. Stamer, her experience, involvements, programs or publications, contact Ms. Stamer at (469) 767-8872 or via e-mail here, or see here.

Other Helpful Resources & Other Information

 If you find this of interest, you also be interested reviewing some of our other Solutions Law Press resources available for review here. If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail- by creating or updating your profile at here. You can access other recent updates and other informative publications and resources of Ms. Stamer here.   For important information concerning this communication click here.  If you do not wish to receive these updates in the future, send an e-mail with the word “Remove” in the Subject here.

©2010 Solutions Law Press.   All rights reserved.


HHS, DOL & IRS Rules Define “Grandfathered” Group Health Plans & Health Insurance Coverage under Affordable Care Act

June 15, 2010

Affordable Care Act Health Plan Guidance Update Teleconference Briefing Planned July 9

The U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury on Monday (June 14, 2001) published regulations on when group health plans and insurance qualify as “grandfathered plans” for purposes of determining certain deadlines for complying with certain health care reform requirements imposed under the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act).  

The regulations are the latest in a series of emerging guidance that federal agencies have issued regarding the Affordable Care Act since its enactment in March, 2010. Solutions Law Press author Cynthia Marcotte Stamer will host a teleconference briefing on these new regulations and other Affordable Care Act health plan guidance on July 9, 2010 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Central Time.  E-mail here to request an invitation and registration information.

While the Affordable Care Act  generally will require that all health plans provide new mandated benefits and other rights to covered persons beginning with plan years starting after September 22, 2010, health plans that existed on March 23, 2010 that qualify as “grandfathered” are exempt from some new requirements.  The regulation published yesterday specifies what health plans must do to qualify for grandfathered status for purposes of these requirements. 

As part of its first wave of health insurance reforms, the Affordable Care Act dictates that all health plans – whether or not they are grandfathered plans –  provide certain benefits to their covered persons for plan years starting on or after September 23, 2010 including:

  • New restrictions on lifetime limits on essential benefit coverage;
  • No rescissions of coverage when people get sick and have previously made an unintentional mistake on their application; and
  • Extension of parents’ coverage to young adult children under 26 years old.

For post September 22, 2010 plan years, non-grandfathered plans also generally must  meet certain other conditions including:

  • No coverage exclusions for children with pre-existing conditions;
  • No “restricted” annual limits set by regulations to be issued in the future;
  • Coverage of recommended prevention services with no cost sharing;
  • Patient protections such as access to OB-GYNs and pediatricians without a referral by a separate primary care provider;
  • Greater freedom for patients to obtain certain emergency treatment without certain plan restrictions; and
  • Other requirements.

Under the Affordable Care Act, grandfathered plans are exempt from certain of these mandates and may enjoy delayed compliance deadlines for certain other requirements.

The grandfather rule published June 14 provides certain “routine changes” will not cause a health plan that existed on March 23, 2010 to give up grandfathered status.  Allowable changes include cost adjustments to keep pace with medical inflation, adding new benefits, making modest adjustments to existing benefits, voluntarily adopting new consumer protections under the new law, or making changes to follow State or other Federal laws. For this purpose, the regulation states that premium changes are not taken into account when determining whether or not a plan is grandfathered.

On the other hand, the regulation provides that a health plan that existed on March 23, 2010 will lose its eligibility for grandfathered status if the plan is amended to make significant changes that cut benefits or increase costs to covered persons.

Furthermore the regulation also addresses the effect of mergers and acquisitions and various other events and amendments on the eligibility of health plans for grandfathered status.

You can view the regulation here.  Details about what routine changes insurers and employers can make without losing their grandfathered status, and the projected impact on large and small employer plans and the individual plan market can be found here.  A fact sheet about the regulation can be found here.  You can read the Questions and Answers on the Regulation here.

If you need help reviewing or responding to this or other health benefit regulations or other related matters please contact Cynthia Marcotte Stamer here or (469)767-8872. 

About Ms. Stamer

Board Certified in Labor & Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, management attorney and consultant Ms. Stamer is nationally and internationally recognized for more than 23 years of work helping employer and other plan sponsors, insurers, administrators, fiduciaries, governments and others design, administer and defend innovative health and other employee benefit programs and other human resources, compensation and management policies and practices.

As a core focus of her practice, Ms. Stamer works extensively with employer and other health plan sponsors, fiduciaries, administrative and other service providers, insurers, and other clients on health benefit program and product design, documentation, administration, compliance, risk management, and public policy matters.  The publisher of Solutions Law Press, Ms. Stamer also publishes, conducts training and speaks extensively on these and related concerns for the ABA, the Bureau of National Affairs and many other organizations.  Please join us for what promises to be a most interesting discussion.

The Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) RPTE Employee Benefits & Other Compensation Committee, a Council Representative on the ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits, Government Affairs Committee Legislative Chair for the Dallas Human Resources Management Association, past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Interest Group, and the editor and publisher of Solutions Law Press HR & Benefits Update and other Solutions Law Press Publications, Ms. Stamer also is recognized for her publications, industry leadership, workshops and presentations on these and other health industry and human resources concerns. She regularly speaks and conducts training for the ABA, Institute of Internal Auditors, Society for Professional Benefits Administrators, Southwest Benefits Association and many other organizations.  Publishers of her many highly regarded writings on health industry and human resources matters include the Bureau of National Affairs, Aspen Publishers, ABA, AHLA, Aspen Publishers, Schneider Publications, Spencer Publications, World At Work, SHRM, HCCA, State Bar of Texas, Business Insurance, James Publishing and many others.  You can review other highlights of Ms. Stamer’s experience hereHer insights on these and other matters appear in Managed Care Executive, Modern Health Care, the Wall Street Journal, the Dallas Business Journal, the Houston Business Journal, MDNews, Kentucky Physician, and many other national and local publications. 

If you need help with human resources or other management, concerns, wish to ask about compliance, risk management or training, or need legal representation on other matters please contact Cynthia Marcotte Stamer here or (469)767-8872. 

Other Resources

If you found this information of interest, you also may be interested in reviewing other updates and publications by Ms. Stamer including:

If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail – by creating or updating your profile here or e-mailing this information here or registering to receive our Solutions Law Press distributions here. For important information about this communication click here.    If you do not wish to receive these updates in the future, send an e-mail with the word “Remove” in the Subject to here.

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