Next month marks the five-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While many of the requirements for employers and group health plans are already in effect, the questions continue to roll in. Here’s a look at five of the most common questions and answers surrounding the law:
The 2015 optional standard mileage rate used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business purposes is now in effect. Separately, a new law retroactively increases the 2014 monthly benefit exclusion for certain transportation benefits provided to employees.
Employers Subject to ACA Transitional Reinsurance Program Now Have Until December 5, 2014 to Submit Annual Enrollment Counts
The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that the deadline for employers sponsoring certain self-insured plans (“contributing entities”) to submit their 2014 enrollment counts for transitional reinsurance program contributions has been extended until 11:59 p.m. on December 5, 2014. (The previous deadline was November 15, 2014.)
The Internal Revenue Service has announced that it will increase maximum contribution levels for health savings accounts (HSA) by $50 for individuals and $100 for families to reflect cost-of-living adjustments. In 2015, the maximum HSA contribution for self-only coverage will be $3,350, while the maximum allowable contribution for families will increase to $6,650.
How do you price a service when you have no idea what it will cost you to deliver? That’s the challenge actuaries faced as they tried to predict medical costs for the thousands of new enrollees participating in health care exchanges across the country.
Actuaries thrive on data – specifically, demographics on age, sex, location and health care history. Under Obamacare, insurers must accept all comers with no health information on enrollees. Additionally, they were asked to establish premium rates for an unknown population as participants rushed to meet the sign-up deadlines. Last minute regulatory changes provided further complication – forcing unexpected revisions to calculations that had been worked on for years in preparation for exchange deadlines.
Waiting for Claims Data
The U.S. Supreme Court will take up a challenge to part of the health care reform law from companies claiming a religious exemption to the requirement that they provide birth control coverage for employees. Continue reading
The good news is that if a problem is detected early enough, it can usually be treated. Continue reading