Supreme Court Upholds Affordable Care Act - Business as Usual for Employer Group Health Plans

Author: Tracy Morley, XpertHR Legal Editor

After much anticipation, the Supreme Court ruled, in a 5-4 decision, that the individual mandate provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is considered a tax and is therefore constitutional. The Court also ruled that the expansion of Medicaid is constitutional, but that existing funds cannot be withheld from states for noncompliance.

The remainder of the ACA remains as is. Provisions of the law that are in effect will remain in place, and employers need to continue their efforts to ensure compliance with the numerous provisions of the law that are not yet effective.

Some compliance challenges for employers in the short term include:

  • The Uniform Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC);
  • Form W-2 plan value reporting;
  • Flexible spending account (FSA) limits;
  • Notification to employees of health insurance exchanges; and
  • The Medicare tax increase.

Employers also need to focus their long-term compliance efforts on other provisions of the law that are slated for 2014 and beyond, for example:

  • The employer mandate (pay or play provision);
  • Health insurance exchanges;
  • No annual dollar limits;
  • No pre-existing condition limits; and
  • No waiting period over 90 days.

In effect, this ruling does not change much for employers. Despite the uncertainty while waiting for the Court's decision, many employers have continued to forge ahead in order to meet ACA deadlines.

Employers that chose to take a 'wait and see' approach need to focus their efforts to ensure that they will be in compliance with the requirements of the law.

Continue to check XpertHR for the latest news on this and other key HR compliance issues.

Additional Resources

Employee Benefits > Health Care Benefits

Employee Benefits > Compliance, Reporting and Disclosure Requirements

Employee Benefits > Benefit Planning and Design

Employee Benefits > Managing Health Care Costs

Payroll > Taxation of Employee Benefits

Payroll > Withholding Taxes