ERIC News Release
For Immediate Release: July 2, 2013
Washington, D.C. – The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) today submitted to the Internal Revenue Service a series of recommendations to improve proposed regulations relating to the determination of affordability and minimum value of eligible employer-sponsored plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The proposed regulations detail the circumstances under which wellness incentives may be included in the determination of the affordability and minimum value of an employer’s health plan. Failure to meet these standards can lead to the imposition of a penalty on employers under the shared-responsibility rules.
In particular, ERIC urges the IRS to modify the proposed rules to provide that the value of all wellness incentives – and not just those related to tobacco use -- are taken into account for purposes of determining affordability of an employer-sponsored plan and whether the plan provides minimum value. Under the current proposal, affordability of an employer-sponsored plan and whether a plan provides minimum value are determined without taking wellness incentives into account, except those relating to tobacco use.
“The selective recognition of wellness incentives, as proposed in these regulations, discourages the most effective and efficient use of wellness programs by those employees who would most benefit from incentives to become healthier,” wrote ERIC President Scott Macey and ERIC Senior Vice President for Health Policy Gretchen Young.
“Companies should not be penalized for trying to reduce the cost of health care through the effective use of wellness programs that comply with all the protections and safety valves required in the final wellness regulation,” Macey and Young further argue.
ERIC further urges the IRS to clarify that amounts accumulated in a health reimbursement account (HRA) prior to January 1, 2014, would not disqualify a pre-Medicare eligible retiree from receiving subsidized coverage in an Exchange. In addition, the letter recommends that pre-Medicare eligible retirees be permitted to continue to have stand-alone HRAs for any period during which they receive subsidized coverage in an Exchange, provided their HRA is “suspended” for this period.
ERIC’s letter can be accessed by clicking on the link below: