News and Analysis
A Primer on Health Care Exchanges
Since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, everyone has questions about what the health insurance exchanges are and the impact they are going to have when they go into effect January 1, 2014.
This Exchanges 101 Guide helps answer many questions. Even though this is distributed by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the information provided is not Anthem specific and therefore a good resource for general information.
ACA Form W-2 Reporting Required
OMA Connections Partner, Roetzel & Andress, has summarized how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has created new taxes and changed some tax reporting requirements.
Beginning in January 2013, employers will be required to report the amount the value of certain health coverage costs on an employee’s Form W-2. These items must be reported on the Forms W-2 for the 2012 tax year that are due to be issued by the end of January 2013.
Employers that issue at least 250 Forms W-2 for 2012 are required to implement these requirements. Employers that issue fewer than 250 Forms W-2 for 2012 may voluntarily report, but are not required to do so. This reporting obligation is on private companies, nonprofit entities, and governmental entities.
Congressional Budget Office Releases Report on Unemployment Comp Choices
The United States Congressional Budget Office recently released a report outlining possible options Congress may consider in regards to extending the federal unemployment compensation program set to expire at the end of the year. OMA counsel Bricker & Eckler put together this memo for members interested in following any developments on this issue from Washington.
Proponents Testify on Autism Mandate
Both the House and Senate heard from proponents of the autism mandate included in House Bill 598 and Senate Bill 381 this week. Numerous advocates provided the committees with information regarding autism in Ohio and its effects on the health care system.
The OMA submitted a letter to both committee chairmen requesting caution. Due to the unresolved intersection of state policy with the federal Affordable Health Care Act, requiring new state mandates at this time will create more uncertainty in the still developing health care reforms.
Autism Mandate Bills Receive Sponsor Testimony
The Ohio General Assembly heard sponsor testimony for House Bill 598 and Senate Bill 381 on Wednesday. Regarding the potential cost of the measure, Sponsor Senator Bill Seitz stated that the evidence he has seen does not indicate any significant insurance premium increase. The senator stressed that the bill holds intact a 1% cap on premium increases and the maximum dollar cap on benefit coverage at $50,000. The bill also excepts all health plans from providing benefits in excess of those set forth in the Affordable Care Act.
The bill clarifies what costs Ohio would have to defray if required benefits exceed the essential health benefits defined in the federal act. Since it is unknown what the federal government is going to require as an essential health benefits, the complete cost impact of these bills is unknown. OMA will continue to monitor this legislation. 11/29/12
Governor’s Workforce Board Sets Focus
Governor Kasich’s Executive Workforce Board met this week and set out its areas of focus. Those areas will be to: forecast the needs of the business community, streamline delivery and services of workforce programs, and implement performance measurements for the workforce system.
The board aims to “rationalize Ohio’s entire workforce system and provide recommendations on how best to streamline nearly 90 existing workforce programs currently scattered across 13 state agencies.”
Vote Scheduled on Asbestos Bill
As the final session days of the 129th General Assembly draw near, the Senate has again scheduled HB 380 for a vote in the Judiciary Committee for Tuesday, Dec 4 at 3pm. The bill had been scheduled for a vote this week, but was pulled at the 11th hour as a few late amendments are considered.
The bill follows Ohio’s major asbestos reforms enacted in 2004. “While those comprehensive reforms advanced by the OMA earlier this decade have been enormously helpful in mitigating exposure to frivolous lawsuits, the current law allows damages from multiple trusts for the same injury. HB 380 prevents someone from collecting more than they’re owed for their injury,” said the OMA’s Ryan Augsburger.
When Senate President Tom Niehaus visited the OMA Government Affairs Committee earlier in November, he told manufacturers that, “the Senate was poised to act on HB 380.” The Ohio Association for Justice (plaintiffs lawyers) opposes the bill and support among some members of the Republican caucus has been wavering. The OMA fully supports HB 380. OMA members can call your state senator today to express your support.
Ohio Defaults to Feds on Health Exchange
Today, Governor Kasich sent a letter to federal officials indicating that Ohio will not set up a state-run health exchange under the federal Accountable Care Act. As a consequence, the Ohio exchange will be run by the federal government.
Consumers are to be able to choose policies under exchanges beginning October 2013 for coverage beginning January 2014. Lots of specifics about implementation of the act are still up in the air, making designing and managing an exchange a risky business.
Affordable Care Act Compliance Looks More Certain
OMA Connections Partner, Roetzel & Andress, has prepared a brief summary of key Affordable Care Act (ACA) elements with which employers will presumably be expected to comply over the coming months. Now that President Obama has been re-elected, there is more certainty about the act’s future-dated provisions.