Federal Health Care Reform Update

Further Delay for the Employer Shared Responsibility Mandate

The Obama administration in early 2014 issued a further delay of the employer shared responsibility mandate under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Employers with 50-99 full-time employees and full-time equivalents (FTEs) will not be required to comply with the mandate to offer affordable health insurance until 2016. Employers with 100 or more full-time employees (including FTEs), defined as employees who work 30 hours or more per week, will be required to offer coverage to at least 70 percent of their employees in 2015 (in 2016, this will go to 95 percent as was initially proposed).

Read more about the delay

HEALTH CARE REFORM TOOLS

New! ACA webcasts
The League has partnered with Gallagher Benefit Services and Madden Galanter Hansen, LLP, to create a series of videos and podcasts on important topics cities need to understand about the Affordable Care Act.

Health Care Reform FAQs
An extensive list of frequently asked questions and answers about health care reform has been prepared by Gallagher Benefit Services. The FAQs were updated on Nov. 19, 2014.

Health reimbursement accounts under the ACA
A number of changes or clarifications have recently been issued regarding health reimbursement accounts under the ACA. This Q&A is intended to provide some guidance related to those recent changes and clarifications.
View the Q&A document (pdf)

Spreadsheet for calculating FTEs
The League, in cooperation with Gallagher Benefits Consulting, is providing a spreadsheet to help cities calculate their number of full-time equivalent (FTE) employees. Our goal is to help cities track their employees for purposes of the Affordable Care Act. However, if your city does not seek legal advice or advice from Gallagher Benefits Consulting, then we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the spreadsheet. If you wish to consult with Gallagher Benefits, in order to review the results, you should contact them directly. The city may incur a fee for the additional assistance or the city may be able to take advantage of special discount retainers negotiated with Gallagher by the League.
View the spreadsheet (xls)

Phone consultation with Gallagher Benefits–deadline extended!
In partnership with Gallagher Benefits, the League is offering and subsidizing a half-hour phone consultation for a limited number of member cities with a Gallagher consultant who specializes in employee benefits and health care reform. Because the employer mandate to provide health coverage to employees has been delayed, this offer has been extended to Jan. 1, 2015, the new effective date of the mandate. This service will be especially helpful for cities that are on the borderline between being a large and small employer. This service is limited to 100 cities. If you would like to take advantage of this free consultation, please contact HR Manager Donyelle Mikacevich at dmikacevich@lmc.org or (651) 281-1202. Act fast as this service is limited.

Additional consulting services
The League has also negotiated a reduced rate for cities who may be interested in contracting with Gallagher on an individual basis. In this service, Gallagher will provide answers to individual questions and offer suggestions to cities on how best to comply with Health Care Reform and provide access to Gallagher’s compliance and health care reform newsletters, bulletins, webinars and seminars. The rate for this service is based on population. For cities under 10,000 population, the retainer is $500 a month for a minimum of a three-month commitment or $300 a month for a six-month commitment. For cities over 10,000 population (likely to meet the 100 FTE mark), the rate is $500 a month for a minimum of a six-month commitment.

Financial modeler
Gallagher has also developed a financial modeler that will allow cities to calculate the potential cost of health care reform and has the potential to be a helpful tool with workforce planning. This tool is available for purchase by cities who are not currently clients of Gallagher, at a cost of $2,500 which includes a phone consultation to discuss the results. If additional consultation is desired, additional fees may apply.

Model exchange notice
The health care reform law is requiring employers to deliver an exchange notice to all employees by Oct. 1, 2013. For employees hired after Oct. 1, 2013, the employer must provide the notice within 14 days of the employee’s start date. The notice provides information about the new insurance marketplaces, also known as exchanges. Employers must provide a notice of coverage options to each employee, regardless of plan enrollment status (if applicable) or of part-time or full-time status. Employers are not required to provide a separate notice to dependents or other individuals who are or may become eligible for coverage under the plan, but who are not employees. If employees have regular access to email (not solely through a kiosk or centralized location), the notice may be distributed electronically. The notice may also be sent via U.S. mail to employees' home addresses, addressed to the attention of the employee (not dependents, or family, etc.).

The federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has model notices for employers who offer coverage and for those who don't.
View the HHS model notice for employers who offer coverage (pdf)
View the HHS model notice for employers who do not offer coverage (pdf)

“MNsure”–New Minnesota Insurance Marketplace
Under federal health care reform, states are required to either create a state “health insurance exchange” or use one supported by the federal Department of Health and Human Services. Minnesota has chosen to create its own exchange, and legislation was signed by Gov. Dayton on March 20, 2013, creating “MNsure,” the new Minnesota Insurance Marketplace.
Read more about MNsure (pdf)

Employer Shared Responsibility Requirements
One of the biggest issues facing cities is determining if they are a large or small employer for purposes of health care reform and how seasonal employees affect that determination. This new document created by Gallagher Benefit Services explains how to account for full-time, part-time and seasonal employees.
View the document (pdf)

Health care reform and the small employer
While most health care reform provisions apply to employers uniformly, regardless of size, there are a few provisions that may benefit small employers. A new document created for the League by Gallagher Benefit Services explains those provisions.
View Health Care Reform Provisions Unique to Small Employers (pdf)

Budget Impacts of Health Care Reform
As you prepare your budgets, don’t forget that, as employers, cities are going to have additional expenditures in 2014 due to federal health care reform regulations.
Read more.

LMC webinar: Preparing and Budgeting for Changes Associated with Federal Health Care Reform
This webinar covers how federal health care reform will impact cities' group health benefits.
Access the presentation slides and recording for this webinar

Health care reform timeline
This timeline, created by Gallagher Benefit Services, shows key changes for employers taking effect over the next few years.
Access the timeline



—Read about key provisions already in effect

—Read about key long-term provisions starting in 2014 and beyond

Resources
Following are links to additional resources:

  • HealthCare.gov website: This is the official government web site for health care reform. You can register to receive free alerts and updates from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services as regulations and guidance are issued.
    Visit the HealthCare.gov website
  • Internal Revenue Service: Some guidance on health care reform will be issued by the IRS. Search “health care reform” or “affordable care act.”
    Visit the IRS website