*+-A new report finding that US healthcare spending rose 5.3 percent last year to $3 trillion generated widespread print and online media coverage. CMS actuaries attributed the increase to the ACA’s coverage expansion and rising drug costs, and several outlets say critics are likely to seize on the finding as evidence the health law has failed to control costs.
*+-After five years of relatively slow growth, U.S. health care spending rose significantly in 2014, bolstered by millions of new insurance consumers who gained coverage through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
*+-By Caitlin Gadel, Attorney at Law.
Applicable large employers (ALEs) have a lot of potential penalty risk in 2016. (Employers with 50+ Employees) Full time employees are designated as those working 30 hours or more on average per month.
In 2016, ALEs must offer coverage to 95% of their full-time employees (and their dependents). ALE’s must offer dependents the chance to enroll in coverage, but employers do not have to pay for dependent coverage. In 2016, overlooking just a few full-time employees, and not offering them coverage, could make you liable for Penalty A of the Employer Shared Responsibility (Pay vs. Play) rule.
*+-Employer health insurance premiums rose 4% this year, according to the 17th annual employer health benefits survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust, published Tuesday. That caps a (remarkable) 10-year run of moderate increases, averaging 5%. But the slowdown in health-care cost growth has been all but invisible to average consumers because their out-of-pocket costs have been rising at a time when their wages have been relatively flat.
*+-On September 17, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released final forms and instructions to be used for Affordable Care Act (ACA) Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) and Applicable Large Employer reporting, first due in January 2016 for coverage offered in calendar year 2015. This includes final versions of:
Forms 1094-C and 1095-C (for Applicable Large Employer reporting and self-insured large group MEC reporting)
Forms 1094-B and 1095-B (for insurance carrier and small employer MEC reporting)
The accompanying instructions
*+-The percentage of Americans without health insurance dropped by nearly three percentage points between 2013 and 2014, according the U.S. Census Bureau, from 13.3 to 10.4 percent. Put another way, 8.8 million more people were insured in 2014 than the year before.
The annual study from Census is considered the definitive measure of health insurance, although a change in the way health insurance questions are asked make this year’s report comparable to 2013 but not earlier years.
*+-The Affordable Care Act requires private insurance plans to cover recommended preventive services with no out-of-pocket charges for patients. This slate of covered services can change when the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and other authorized groups add or modify recommendations; the federal government also periodically issues clarifications to guide health plans in their coverage.
*+-Share of Potentially-Affected Employers Could Grow to 30% in 2023, 42% in 2028, Analysis Finds
New projections from the Kaiser Family Foundation estimate that one in four employers (26%) offering health benefits could be subject to the Affordable Care Act’s tax on high-cost health plans, also known as the “Cadillac plan” tax, in 2018 unless they make changes to their plans.
*+-Do you sometimes wonder if our society has made substantial progress over the last 20 years in routing factual information into the hands of educated consumers? While we can point to areas of vast improvement in certain markets, other areas leave us scratching our heads. One of those is the realm of the Affordable Care Act. As a benefits consultant, I come across all sorts of ACA mythologies every day. Yes, some of those are conspiracy-based, and others are political in nature, but most of the time, it’s just wrong information.
*+-6 Million People will not lose their Tax Credits, the Individual Insurance Market will NOT be Destroyed, the Group Insurance Market will NOT be Rocked!