MADISON, Wis.-Not much has changed regarding healthcare reform since the Supreme Court's decision to uphold President Obama's healthcare law-except that a number of important compliance deadlines are now bearing down on employers.
Brad Pricer, senior manager, employee benefits at CUNA Mutual Group, in reviewing some key requirements of the new rules, emphasized that credit unions must make sure they completely understand the new landscape and make certain their healthcare plans are in compliance. He noted that some of the new regs under Obamacare are already in effect, but the majority of the requirements take effect this year and in 2014.
"Not much has changed in the last six months regarding healthcare reform," said Pricer. "But what is different now, especially following the presidential election, is that healthcare reform is here to stay."
Pricer previously stated (CU Journal, July 2, 2012) that he felt a number of credit unions were sitting on the sidelines waiting for the outcome of the Supreme Court's decision and the presidential election before making sure their healthcare plans comply with the new law. "Credit unions need to make sure they are taking steps to ensure their plans are in compliance right now, and going forward."
Another reason employers need to be on their toes, shared Pricer, is the Department of Labor (DOL) is starting to audit healthcare plans to see what steps they have taken to get into compliance.
"I don't want to use the audits as scare tactics because the extent to which they are taking place is unclear. I have yet to hear of a credit union that has been audited."
But if the DOL knocks on the CU's doors, Pricer said it will be asked for documentation that shows its plan is are in compliance as well as the steps taken to get into compliance.
"Most credit unions, likely, do not have this documentation, but their fully insured carrier should," said Pricer. "Therefore credit unions should be working with their consultant or broker to ensure this documentation is available if needed."
Pricer emphasized that ensuring plans meet these new rules will largely be handled by the credit union's fully insured plan provider, but that credit unions will want to verify the appropriate steps have been taken, and documentation of those steps are able to be provided if needed. "Credit unions should follow up with their broker or plan provider." He also stressed that with many of the new rules that CUs are required to take action steps, as well.
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