The Internal Revenue Service needs to greatly expand the number of wellness plan incentives that will count towards the “affordability” standard to which corporations will be held by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
So argued the 1,500-member-strong ERISA Industry Committee in a letter this month to the IRS. The federal tax agency is responsible for overseeing corporate compliance with the affordability requirement of the PPACA.
Expanding the list wouldn’t take much; it’s currently a list of one.
The cost of smoking cessation programs is the only wellness plan incentive employers can count toward the 9.5 percent affordability ceiling when (and if) the act takes full effect as now scheduled in 2015.
The idea behind the incentive is to give employers who help workers quit smoking a bonus for doing so.
The program cost is subtracted from the overall cost of coverage when the IRS crunches the numbers to see whether an employer has offered an employee coverage that is less than 9.5 percent of his or her household income.
ERIC believes there are many more incentives that should be counted so that companies are encouraged to offer more of these opportunities to improve worker health.