Employers should check back with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in a bit to see how they ought to implement some of the coverage access provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA).
Officials at the IRS give variations on that advice in the answers to several of the frequently asked questions (FAQs) included in IRS Notice 2012-17.
The IRS issued the notice to address employer questions about PPACA provisions that are supposed to expand worker access to group health plans.
The provisions include:
- Automatic enrollment rules, which require employers with more than 200 full-time employees to make joining the health plan a default option for full-time workers. (Section 18A of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA))
- Employer “shared responsibility” rules, which require employers with 50 or more full-time employees to provide affordable health coverage for workers or else pay a penalty. (Section 4980H of the Internal Revenue Code)
- Waiting period rules, which affect when group health coverage actually starts for a worker who is eligible for the health plan. (Section 2708 of the Public Health Service Act)
The IRS — an arm of the U.S. Treasury Department — is working with agencies at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Labor to develop regulations and administrative guidance to respond to the questions about the coverage access questions and other matters.
The IRS officials note that the Treasury Department and HHS will be putting out notices of their own that are similar to Notice 2012-17.
PPACA requires employers to begin complying the automatic enrollment requirement in 2014.
In the real world, employers probably will not have to comply with the automatic enrollment requirement until later, IRS officials say.