Uncle Sam lets HR off 2 health benefits hooks

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in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

The Obama administration has backed off two original requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) health care reform law enacted in 2010.

Insurance plan administrators no longer have to worry about offering optional long-term care coverage under the Community Living Assistance Ser­­­­vices and Supports (CLASS) Act, which was rolled into the ACA. And they have a temporary reprieve on providing employees and beneficiaries with a simple explanation of their benefits and a uniform glossary covering basic health insurance and medical terms.

No CLASS Act withholding. The CLASS Act was shelved, according to Health and Human Services Secre­­tary Kathleen Sebelius, because the program would never be “actuarially sound.” Translation: The coverage would have been so expensive that no one would have bought it.

The CLASS Act would have per­­mitted individuals with functional limitations to stay in their homes by allowing them to purchase nonmedical community assistance services and support. Employees would have paid for benefits through voluntary withholding.

Compliance with summary of benefits and coverage rules postponed. The Department of Labor and the IRS have decided that, until final regulations are issued, health plans and insurers don’t need to comply with an ACA provision that requires all group health plans to provide employees and beneficiaries with a simple explanation of their benefits and a uniform glossary covering basic health insurance and medical terms.

Proposed regs had set an original compliance date of March 23, 2012.

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