Category Archives: Healthcare Reform

Obama signs 1099 Repeal Bill

My previous post noted a bill to repeal the 1099 Reporting portion of PPACA had passed both the house and senate.  On April 15th, President Obama signed the bill into effect.  This is great news!


1099 Portion of PPACA Repealed, Pending President’s Signature

Both the House and the Senate have passed a bill to repeal part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the 1099 Reporting portion.  PPACA was set to require businesses to file a 1099 for every vendor they used, for both services and goods, that exceeded $600.  The requirement would have started on January 1, 2012.  But, this bill has repealed the said 1099 filing requirement.  It still needs to be signed by President Obama, but he has said previously that he would sign such a bill.

In my opinion, this is a great win for businesses!  Hopefully it will also pave the way for other portions of PPACA to be changed or repealed — although the other portions will be much more difficult to change/repeal.

PPACA is Unconstitutional, According to Federal Judge in Florida

Yesterday Florida District Judge Roger Vinson ruled that the “individual mandate” to purchase health insurance found in PPACA (Obama’s healthcare reform bill) is unconstitutional.  Furthermore he stated that the individual mandate is not severable from the rest of the bill and thus the entire bill is ruled as unconstitutional.

The decision that the individual mandate is not severable is critical.  Because if just the individual mandate were taken out and the rest of the bill was left alone, then it would lead to the downfall of private health insurance companies and the rise of government run health insurance.

I am certain the matter will make it to the Supreme Court before a final ruling and any action takes place.  But, in my personal opinion, Judge Vinson’s ruling is great news.  I would love to hear your opinion on the matter too.

For more information on this topic I would read the article below by Grace-Marie Turner.

Nondiscrimination Rules Delayed

A couple of weeks ago the IRS issued a notice that the new nondiscrimination rules of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will not be enforced until further guidance is issued.  This could be quite relieving to many businesses as I think these rules were going to effect more businesses (negatively) then legislators originally thought.  The DOL and HHS have also agreed with the notice from the IRS which indicates they will not pursue any action against businesses not in compliance with the rules.

It is anticipated that compliance with the nondiscrimination rules will not be required until some specified period after guidance is issued.  Most likely it will be upon an insurance plan’s effective date or renewal date after the guidance has been issued.

I will let you try to update this blog once the guidance has been issued.  Until then, breath a sigh of relief if you were struggling trying to comply with the new nondiscrimination rules.

Update: Grandfathered Health Plans

I posted on this subject on October 1st, but an update has just been given on the subject from the IRS, EBSA, and HHS.  The three departments released new rules that allow group health insurance plans to change insurance carriers without losing their grandfathered status with regards to PPACA.  In changing insurance carriers the plan cannot be altered so much that it violates other “grandfather” rules or it will lose it grandfathered status.  This is good news as it will allow an employer to shop for the same insurance coverage  from other carriers to get a lower cost without losing their grandfathered status.

Update: Nondiscrimination Laws

I posted on this topic already, on October 15th, and suggested two situations where an employer could be in violation against the new nondiscrimination laws of PPACA; by paying a higher contribution level for highly compensated employees and having a shorter new-hire waiting period for highly compensated employees.  Even though I have seen no definitive statements on the matter, I thought I should post my opinion on both matters — from further thought and research.

I think that if an employer pays a higher contribution level of the premium for highly compensated employees that the employer will be in violation of the new law.  Also, I think that if an employer has a shorter new-hire waiting period for highly compensated employees then they will be in violation of the new law.  That is just my opinion, so take it for what it is worth.  But, I would be surprised if rulings came out different then what I have stated.

Over-the-Counter Drug Purchases with HSA, HRA, MSA, or FSA

Beginning January 1, 2011, most over-the-counter (OTC) drugs will no longer be considered “qualified medical expenses” for Health Savings Accounts (HSA), Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRA), Medical Savings Account (MSA), or health Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA).  That means that in order to buy OTC drugs with the above mentioned non-taxable accounts, you will need to get a doctor’s prescription.  Insulin is an exception to this rule and will still be considered a “qualified medical expense.”

Below is a list of OTC categories that, beginning January 1st, will need a doctor’s prescription to buy with a non-taxable account.

  • Acid Controllers
  • Allergy & Sinus
  • Antibiotic Products
  • Anti-Diarrheals
  • Anti-Gas
  • Anti-Itch & Insect Bite
  • Anti-Parasitic Treatments
  • Baby Rash Ointments/Creams
  • Cold Sore Remedies
  • Cough, Cold, & Flu
  • Digestive Aids
  • Feminine Anti-Fungal/Anti-Itch
  • Hemorrhoidal Preps
  • Laxatives
  • Motion Sickness
  • Pain Relief
  • Respiratory Treatments
  • Sleep Aids & Sedatives
  • Stomach Remedies

The following products can still be purchased using a non-taxable account.

  • Band Aids
  • Birth Control
  • Braces & Supports
  • Catheters
  • Contact Lens Supplies & Solutions
  • Denture Adhesives
  • Diagnostic Tests & Monitors
  • Elastic Bandages & Wraps
  • First Aid Supplies
  • Insulin & Diabetic Supplies
  • Ostomy Products
  • Reading Glasses
  • Wheelchairs, Walkers, & Canes