House of Representatives to Debate ACA Employer Mandate Bill Next Week

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Since the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, there has been much debate as to its details. The ACA was signed into law on March 23, 2010, and since that time, there have been over 70 changes to the law, making it look quite different than what was passed eight years ago.

Once again, more possible changes are looming for the Affordable Care Act, as members of the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday voted 222-171 to bring an Affordable Care Act employer mandate revision bill for a vote by the full House next week.

House Resolution 1059, as it is known, sets the rules of debate for what they are calling the “Save American Workers Act of 2017″ bill, which would specifically tweak the ACA employer mandate bill.

How would it affect your workplace? 

1. If approved, the new mandate tweaks would change the Affordable Care Act Employer Coverage Mandate threshold for “full-time employee” to 40 hours per week, instead of 30 hours per week.

2. The new mandate would keep ACA employer coverage mandates from applying to any month beginning after Dec. 31, 2014, and before Jan. 1, 2019.

3.  The new measure would effectively postpone the start date of the Affordable Care Act Excise Tax on high-cost health benefits packages, delaying it for one year.  It would begin Dec. 31, 2022, rather than Dec. 31, 2021, when it is currently slated to kick in.

4.  The new rule would repeal an Affordable Care Act excise tax on any indoor tanning services.

5.  Moving forward, employers would only be required to provide Form 1095 coverage statements to individuals who specifically ask for these statements, as opposed to being required to send the statements to all employees, along with recently departed employees and certain dependents on an annual basis.

Those in favor of H.R. 3798 face the challenge of finding new federal revenue, or new federal spending cuts, to offset the effects of losing Affordable Care Act employer mandate violation fees.

In a report issued on Tuesday, Analysts from the Congressional Budget Office estimated that H.R. 3798 could cut federal revenue by about $12 billion in 2019, and by about $52 billion over the period from 2019 through 2028.

 According to CBO analysts, the delay in the effective date of the employer mandate along with the change in the definition of full-time worker could cost the government about $46 billion in revenue over the 10-year period starting in 2019.

 Stay tuned as we learn more about the outcome!  For more compliance news, check out our blog at Garnett-Powers.com/blog.

"Fur"ternity or "Paw" ternity Leave: Exploring New Pet-Friendly Benefits

"Fur"ternity or "Paw" ternity  Leave:  Exploring New Pet-Friendly Benefits

If you’ve ever adopted a new pet, you understand the stress and patience needed during the early days when you’re still getting to know each other.  And if you’ve adopted a puppy, you may very well feel like you just had a baby. Late-night bathroom emergencies and ruined furniture is part of the experience, but all is forgiven. How could you stay mad when those two big brown eyes look at you in a way that makes you feel like only your dog understands you? 

With reasons beyond just the condition of your furniture, more and more companies are adopting pet-friendly policies, with many of them now allowing dogs in the workplace. 

Back to School & The Family School Partnership Act

Back to School & The Family School Partnership Act

t’s nearly fall, students are returning to school, and families are getting back into their normal routines after a less structured and often more-relaxed summer break. 

While many working parents welcome the change of pace and ability to renew their focus on work while the kids are in school, they may also feel pulled between calls to participate in school-related activities and concerns with missing time at the office. Finding balance between our personal and professional lives is essential to the strength and success of a workforce.  Creating an environment that encourages work-life balance has been shown to increase employee loyalty and drive to succeed; an important component to the success of any company. And, in some states, it may also be the law…

Nominations Now Open for the 2019 NPA Garnett-Powers & Assoc. Mentor Award

Nominations Now Open for the 2019 NPA Garnett-Powers & Assoc. Mentor Award

We are thrilled to announce that nominations are now open for the 2019 NPA Garnett-Powers & Associates, Inc. Mentor Award.  In our partnership with the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA), this award recognizes a faculty member or advisor who has engaged in exceptional mentoring of postdoctoral scholars in their professionalism, accessibility, communications, support, advocation, guidance and networking, in creating a productive and inspiring working environment to enhance and elevate the postdoctoral experience.

News on Legal Postings for California

News on Legal Postings for California

California has updated the EDD Notice to Employees, Discrimination posting requirements, Transgender Rights in the Workplace, as well as the Unemployment Insurance Notice. Consequently, if you haven’t already done so, contact the poster company you use to provide you with the appropriate compliance poster(s).

Creditable Coverage Notice Requirement under Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Benefit Program

Creditable Coverage Notice Requirement under Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Benefit Program

If you haven’t been providing this notice to your Medicare eligible employees, it’s time to start. Section 101 of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA) established a notice requirement under the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Program (Part D). Effective in 2005, the regulations have required that individuals eligible to enroll in the Part D drug program (i.e., those entitled to Medicare Part A or enrolled in Medicare Part B) must be informed whether their current prescription drug coverage offered through their employer or union affiliation is at least “actuarially equivalent” to the Medicare Part D drug benefit…

Hospitals to Publicly Post Prices

Hospitals to Publicly Post Prices

Hospitals will soon be required to post their standard charges online, per a rule finalized on August 2nd , 2018 by the Trump Administration. Starting January 1st ,2019, hospitals will be required to update this information on an annual basis. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) say they wish to arm the consumer with enough information to make informed decisions, encouraging price transparency…

Best Time to see Your Dentist (Is There Ever a Good Time???)

Best Time to see Your Dentist (Is There Ever a Good Time???)

Whether we like it or not, we have to go to the dentist to get our regular checkups and cleanings. It’s one of those things we can’t avoid if we want those pearly whites to stay pearly! However, if you’re like most people, a trip to the dentist for anything other than routine care can be a scary event; the needles, the drilling, the noise!

But, did you know there is an ideal time to see your dentist, especially when the visit involves a molar crown or a root canal? As they say, timing is everything. So, what time¹ is best, and what day² is best, to visit the dentist¹?

House Ways & Means Committee Sets Its Sights on Modifying Obamacare

House Ways & Means Committee Sets Its Sights on Modifying Obamacare

Employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees may soon get some relief from the ACA penalties for either not offering coverage or for not offering coverage that meets the minimum value and affordability standards.

Healthcare News from Washington came out this past week when the House Ways and Means Committee approved legislation aimed at weakening Obamacare, including a measure that would temporarily repeal the law's employer mandate. 

Prevention for a Healthy Heart

Prevention for a Healthy Heart

By far, the best weapon to fight off cardiovascular disease is a healthy lifestyle full of nutritious foods and plenty of exercise.  Did you know your heart is a muscle just like your bicep?  And just like your bicep, you need to give your heart some form of a workout every day to keep it healthy and strong.  

Department of Labor Finalizes Plans to Expand Access to Association Health Plans

Department of Labor Finalizes Plans to Expand Access to Association Health Plans

Last week the Department of Labor announced a final rule to expand access to Association Health Plans (AHPs) through a new, more flexible “Commonality of Interest” requirement.  This could be good news for small businesses and consultants who, in theory, will now be able to receive health insurance options that are comparable to larger group plans with lower premiums and including some of the better parts of the Affordable Care Act, as access to preventive care without any out of pocket costs and allowing people to keep their children on the plan until age 26.  AHPs are, however, still subject to state rules…

Signs of Employee Depression & How You Can Help

Signs of Employee Depression & How You Can Help

What we show on the outside isn’t always what’s happening on the inside. As
we globally mourn the recent deaths of fashion icon and designer Kate Spade
and now the loss of celebrity chef and trailblazer Anthony Bourdain, two
seemingly unstoppable individuals who each revolutionized their given industries,
this has never been more apparent. Like the geode, we may appear solid as a
rock on the outside, but, when broken, we realize that there are so many fragile,
complicated and beautiful pieces that comprise each and every one of us. 

CVS Pharmacy Announces Rx Savings Finder Program to Save Patients Money

CVS Pharmacy Announces Rx Savings Finder Program to Save Patients Money

CVS Pharmacy recently announced the launch of the CVS Pharmacy Rx Savings Finder Program, a new software tool that will allow its 30,000 pharmacists to explore less expensive options when filling patient prescriptions. 

While pharmacists have been offering patients generic brand options in place of brand name options for a number of years, this new software will flag less expensive drugs that are a therapeutic equivalent but may be a different drug or alternative therapy to what the doctor has prescribed.