Last month, we alerted you to an approaching blizzard of ACA rules scheduled for release before year-end.  It has not arrived yet, but the current federal regulatory agenda forecast has not changed.  The IRS alone assures us that new or improved rules on at least these nine subjects will be coming down our chimneys any night now.

  • Employer HSA contributions;
  • Insurance fees;
  • Minimum plan value calculation;
  • Reporting minimum essential coverage;
  • Collectively-bargained welfare benefit funds;
  • IRS approval of PEO designations;
  • Individual mandate;
  • Small employer tax credits;
  • Employer mandate.

 The last one is the chubbiest elf, of course.  The proposed Employer Shared Responsibility Cost (aka employer mandate) rules, issued in January 2013, are materially ambiguous, and major features have been called into question by subsequent pronouncements.  For example, will the proposed rules’ “transitional relief” for employers in 2013 – 2014 be shifted to 2014 – 2015, due to the one-year delay of the mandate, or will that delay replace the transitional relief previously offered?  Will testing for Applicable Large Employer status begin in January 2014, or may it be delayed, as per the proposed rules, until July?

While we wait, unscheduled rules keep stuffing our stockings.  The latest, issued Friday afternoon, December 13, effective Monday morning, December 15, informed QHP issuers that they may adopt any payment deadline with respect to coverage effective January 1, 2014, as long as the deadline is no earlier than December 31.   Ho, ho, ho.