MADISON, Wis.-Brad Pricer of CUNA Mutual Group has offered this outline of key healthcare reform requirements taking effect this year that are garnering the most attention and questions from CUs:

 

Summary of benefits of coverage: "This is a simplified summary of the benefits of the plan design that needs to be provided to employees," said Pricer. "It's a short, standardized form that was to be distributed during a plan's first open enrollment beginning on or after Sept. 23, 2012. Fully insured carriers should provide the form, but credit unions will likely have to distribute them to employees. For those plans with January effective dates, if they haven't already distributed the summaries, they should do so now.

 

"Change in contribution limits on flexible spending accounts (FSA): "The health reimbursement portion of the FSA, not the dependent care coverage section, used to have no cap," explained Pricer. "Now the limit for 2013 is $2,500. Third-party administrators should have put this change in place. However, the credit union should communicate the change to employees and make sure they understand it.

 

"W-2 reporting: "There is a confusion regarding which employers need to include the cost of an employee's healthcare coverage on the 2012 tax year W-2," explained Pricer. "Businesses issuing more than 250 are required to do so. It's optional for employers that issue less than 250 W-2s annually, however more guidance is expected to determine if this action is required for them for the 2013 tax year, though it is believed it will be.

 

"Notice of public healthcare exchanges: "Effective March 1, 2013, employers must provide all new hires and current employees with a notice about public healthcare exchanges that come into effect under healthcare reform," said Pricer. "The notice provides information on what an exchange is, the options available under a public exchange, and what an employee might lose-such as the employer contribution-by going with an exchange. This is one requirement we are still awaiting guidance as well as a model notice, and with the deadline in March and a lot of states way behind in setting up healthcare exchanges, we might see this deadline pushed back."

A complete list of the new healthcare reform rules that take effect this year and next are available on the CUNA Mutual website (http://www.cunamutual.com/portal/server.pt/community/health_care_reform/543/health_care_reform/685412). For info: CUNA Mutual Group: www.cunamutual.com

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