Overview: Employers use health care benefits as a means to attract and retain good employees. These benefits are generally viewed by employees as an important part of their total compensation package.
Typical benefit packages generally include coverage for medical and prescription benefits, but many employers provide more comprehensive benefit programs that include coverage for dental and vision benefits as well. Given the tax advantages, flexible spending accounts (FSA's) continue to be a popular choice for employees.
Rising health care costs continues to be a concern, and employers are on the lookout for ways to manage this cost. Educating employees to help them make informed benefit choices suited to their individual needs provides employers with a means to start controlling costs. The continuing movement toward consumer driven health care can help employees get the care they need while making them more knowledgeable, engaged consumers.
Trends: Change is the new norm in the landscape of health benefit plans. Health Care Reform poses significant challenges for HR professionals and its requirements will affect how both employers and employees view health benefit plans.
Tracy Morley, SPHR, Legal Editor
Employee benefits, such as health insurance, sick pay, disability pay, workers' compensation insurance and retirement savings plans, may be subject to withholding for federal income taxes (FIT), Social Security and Medicare (FICA) taxes or federal unemployment (FUTA) taxes. This section assists HR professionals in understanding how each particular type of benefit plan must be structured and how to properly tax and report contributions, reimbursements and distributions in order to ensure compliance with the Internal Revenue Code.
To help employers comply with the ACA's shared responsibility provisions, XpertHR has added three new Tasks to its Health Care Reform Resource Center.
According to a recent survey, many HR professionals feel that implementing the requirements of health care reform will increase their administrative burden and costs.
Updated audit protocols from the DOL's Employee Benefits Security Administration include a review for compliance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) and wellness plans. Based on the change in audit protocols, it seems that the EBSA is increasing its review efforts, with a particular focus on compliance with the ACA.
As mandated by the Internal Revenue Service, every trustee or custodian of health savings accounts, Archer medical savings accounts (MSAs), or Medicare Advantage MSAs must file Form 5498-SA, HSA, Archer MSA, or Medicare Advantage MSA Information, on an annual basis.
HR guidance on managing health plans in light of increased costs and health care reform.
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