Benefit Compliance 2018 Planning

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Benefit Compliance 2018

Benefit compliance, including benefit offerings, contribution strategies, vendor terms, plan operations, and employee communications remains a high priority despite the uncertain future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

Kathleen Huggins, Mercer PeoplePro Talent Management specialist outlines planning next steps to help meet benefit compliance for 2018.

With the Republicans sweeping into power in the executive and legislative branches, the plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is moving forward, albeit not as quickly as decision makers had hoped.

This is creating considerable uncertainty for everyone: those who gained coverage due to the availability of plans on the public exchanges; benefit plan sponsors who have responded to the changes brought by the ACA; and insurers who face the challenge of predicting renewal costs without knowing the timelines for repeal and replace.

What to Consider for 2018

Regardless whether the House and Senate come to agreement on a replacement plan that will be signed into law by the President this year, there are a number of steps that plan sponsors need to take to be compliant with the current provisions of the ACA. It is not too soon to begin planning for the 2018 renewal.

  • Review eligibility, measurement methods and reporting requirements to ensure continued compliance under the employer shared responsibility provisions;
  • Assess the potential impact of the 40% excise tax, now postponed until 2020, and consider plan design changes for 2018 to limit the impact when it goes into effect;
  • Ensure that plan design includes preventative services at no cost share to employees, and make any modifications necessary to comply with current recommendations for preventative services;
  • Create summaries of benefits and coverage using the DOL most recently issued model language;
  • Review wellness programs to ensure compliance with new EEOC guidelines;
  • Be proactive in assessing mental health and substance abuse benefits;
  • Continue to monitor plans for compliance with HIPAA privacy and security and provide training to those involved with benefits;
  • Monitor ERISA plan service providers and be aware of ERISA fiduciary standards when selecting providers;
  • Become familiar with the new DOL fiduciary advice rule for any plan that has an investment component, such as an HSA; and
  • Comply with updated claims and appeals procedures for disability claims beginning January 1, 2018.

Check back on periodically to see more in-depth coverage of these important topics, as well as updates coming out of Washington regarding repealing and replacing the ACA.

Mercer PeoplePro Can Assist with Benefit Compliance Planning

Employee benefits are a complex area. If you feel you could use some help navigating this complex landscape, Mercer PeoplePro can help. Schedule an appointment today and enjoy a free consultation, plus 2 free hours towards your first project. To set up your free consultation, visit — we’re standing by and ready to assist.

Written by Mercer PeoplePro Talent Management specialist, Kathleen Huggins

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