BAS Blog


 

BREAKING NEWS- U.S. SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS HEALTH CARE REFORM

The decision employers and individuals alike have been waiting for regarding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act was handed down by the United States Supreme Court this morning. The historical Opinion spanned 193 pages (with concurrences and dissents) and found the Affordable Care Act constitutional in part and unconstitutional in part. Specifically, the 5-4 decision, authored by Chief Justice Roberts, held that the Individual Mandate to purchase health coverage is an appropriate exercise of Congress' power to tax, but the Medicaid Expansion provisions of the Act are overreaching.

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Question of the Week

Q.- I purchased new glasses and a warranty if the glasses break. I'm sure I can be reimbursed from my Health Care Flexible Spending Account Plan for the cost of the glasses. May I also be reimbursed for the cost of the warranty?

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Is This Expense FSA Eligible?

BAS provides a comprehensive resource for determining whether or not a medical expense might be eligible for reimbursement under a health care flexible spending account.

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Lack of HIPAA Training and Risk Analysis cited in $1.7 Million HHS Settlement

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a $1.7 million settlement with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (Alaska DHHS) for alleged violations of the HIPAA Security Rule. In addition to the $1.7 million settlement, Alaska DHHS has agreed to a three year Corrective Action Plan to address HIPAA Security Compliance.

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SBC as Part of Open Enrollment Preparation

Many employers with calendar year group health plans start thinking about open enrollment materials over the summer months. This summer, employers will also have to consider added requirements under health care reform.

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Question of the Week

Q. I am divorced. I would like to contribute to the Dependent Day Care Flexible Spending Account Plan, but my ex-husband already contributes to a DFSA through his employer. May we both participate in a DFSA?

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COBRA and Varying Dependent Eligibility Rules

The Affordable Care Act requires group health plans that cover children of employees to provide that coverage up until age 26. However, the Age-26 requirement may not apply to each of an employer's group health plans. Benefits that are "excepted" from HIPAA, such as stand-alone dental and vision plans, do not have to extend coverage to age 26 for children.

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Defense of Marriage Act Questioned by First Circuit Court

The Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is an important statute influencing the administration of employee benefits. DOMA, which became law in 1996, is a statute defining marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife. DOMA also defines "spouse" as a person of the opposite sex. This law, which is drafted in just a few short paragraphs, has far-reaching implications. DOMA in essence requires that benefits coverage extended to non-dependent same-sex individuals must be taxable to the employee. It also prohibits the extension of true COBRA coverage and HIPAA special enrollment rights to same-sex partners.

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Large Insurers Commit to Parts of Health Care Reform, Regardless of SCOTUS Decision

With the fate of health care reform in the hands of the United States Supreme Court, three large insurance companies have committed to maintaining many of health care reforms' individual protections, even if the law is deemed unconstitutional. UnitedHealthcare, Aetna and Humana, Inc. will not revoke their practices with respect to certain health care reform requirements. This will certainly be good news to consumers.

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Question of the Week

Q.- A teacher wants to enroll his child in summer day camp. I understand that summer camp is typically an expense that may be reimbursed from a Dependent Care FSA. Can a teacher who is home during the summer submit the expense for summer camp for reimbursement from his Dependent Care FSA?

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Three Ways to Obtain an FSA Claim Form

BAS often receives requests for copies of Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Claim Forms. Here we highlight three ways to quickly access a blank FSA claim form.

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Lessons Learned from LinkedIn’s Password Troubles

Last week, several Internet news outlets reported and LinkedIn eventually confirmed that millions of LinkedIn passwords were compromised. While passwords are not worth much without the corresponding user ID and the online account, below are suggestions you can follow to reduce risk.

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Standard COBRA Processes and Proof of Mailing

Employers now have one more reason to put procedures in place to document their COBRA processes. Employers must make sure they follow standard procedures and keep detailed records of the mailing of COBRA notices.

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Potential Changes to Flexible Spending Account Plan Use-it-or-Lose-it Rule

The United States House of Representatives passed the Health Care Cost Reduction Act of 2012 last week. If the act becomes law, it would modify the flexible spending account "use-it-or-lose-it" rule. While part of a larger bill focusing on various health care concerns, the changes intend to modify some well-established flexible spending account operational requirements.

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Five Steps to prepare for a HIPAA Audit

HIPAA’s HITECH amendment mandates the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to conduct audits of covered entities’ compliance with HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules (Previously Reported in BAS News May 24, 2012).

Consider these 5 suggestions to help prepare for a potential HHS audit.

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Premium Tax Credit under Health Care Reform

The IRS issued final regulations on the premium tax credit created under health care reform. Beginning in 2014, individuals and families that meet certain low-income criteria may be able to claim a tax credit to help pay for health coverage purchased through an Exchange. The premium tax credit is refundable which means even individuals with little or no income tax liability can benefit from the credit. The credit may also be paid in advance to a health coverage provider to assist with the cost of premiums.

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How to Determine if Cobra Control Services received a COBRA Continuant’s Premium Payment

One of the most frequently asked questions that BAS receives from client and broker administrators alike is, “Did this COBRA continuant pay?”

While we are happy to review your COBRA account with you at any time, this information is available to you 24 hours a day on MyEnroll.com. Just follow these simple directions:

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New Delaware Mini-COBRA Law

The State of Delaware enacted a temporary mini-COBRA law, joining several other states that require continuation of group health coverage for insured, small employer group health plans. Beginning June 21, 2012, participants in small-employer health plans in Delaware may be eligible for continuation of health coverage for up to 9 months upon the occurrence of certain qualifying events. The law specifically provides that it will not be in effect if the Affordable Care Act is deemed unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court, and it is intended to expire January 1, 2014.

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Question of the Week

Q.- We seem to be "stuck" with employees taking more from their Health Care Flexible Spending Account Plans than they contribute. Can we recoup the remaining amount to be paid to the Health Care FSA from a terminating employee's final paycheck?

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