The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) is promising employers and their benefits advisors that it and sister federal agencies will be coming out with batches of guidance to answer many, many questions.
EBSA, an arm of the U.S. Labor Department, talks about the guidance projects in Technical Release Number 2012-01, a collection of 7 answers to 7 questions about the interaction of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) rules and employer plans.
EBSA officials note in the release that they developed the technical release together with officials at the other departments responsible for implementing the PPACA employer plan provisions — the U.S. Treasury Department, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Some of the questions and answers have to do with PPACA provisions that will affect how large employers will comply with a requirement that they provide affordable group health coverage to full-time employees or else pay a penalty.
Others have to do with matters such as a requirement that employees who are eligible for group health coverage be enrolled in plans automatically and a requirement that employers limit any waiting periods that employees must go through before getting coverage to 90 days.
EBSA is asking for comments on the release. The comments are due April 9.
Group coverage affordability requirements have been an especially hot topic.
PPACA requires employers to pay penalties if any employees eligible for group coverage find that the employee share of premiums exceeds 9.5% of their income and the employees then buy individual coverage through a new system of health insurance exchanges, or Web supermarkets, that is supposed to open up in 2014.