Its never too early to be ready to watch for changes affecting your benefits package for 2020. How can HR pros stay on top of compliance changes? To help, health leader Mercer recently unveiled its annual list of the top compliance issues employers have to consider when putting together their benefits packages for the upcoming plan year.

Health benefits priorities

To help you put together your benefits package for open enrollment, here are the key focus areas of Mercer’s “Compliance Issues for 2020 Health and Fringe Benefit Planning”:

1. Wellness incentives. For wellness programs that include a health screening, employers might need to evaluate the need for any design changes because of the removal of the EEOC’s incentive limit rules.

The DOL and the IRS have their own regs for employers, but
these  seem to conflict. Consider working
with vendors to minimize risk and program disruption.

Also, keep in mind that EEOC’s other ADA and GINA wellness rules still apply, and that wellness programs must also comply with HIPAA rules.

2. Mental health parity. If your benefits package for 2020 offers mental health coverage, you’ll want to double-check it meets the feds’ heightened focus on the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, and the opioid crisis. For some employers, parity compliance requires an understanding of federal regs, as well as state and local laws.

3. Preventive care. All non-grandfathered plans and
related plan documents need to be modified to reflect the latest recommendations
and guidance on preventive care from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force,
the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Centers for Disease
Control and the ACA.

The feds recently updated guidance on skin cancer, osteoporosis, cervical cancer, obesity, unhealthy alcohol use and perinatal depression.

4. ACA compliance. While the ACA is being challenged in court, employers need to monitor developments, but still remain compliant.

For 2020, firms with 50 or more full-time employees will again be
required to abide by the Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions rule (known
as the Employer Mandate) and offer coverage to 95% of their full-timers or be
subject to an IRS penalty.

If you receive an IRS penalty notification letter, you’ll have
30 days to respond. That’s why employers should evaluate the adequacy of their
health benefits records now in order to be able to respond in a timely

Employers also need to be aware of the ACA’s so-called Cadillac tax on high-cost health plans. Its effective date was scheduled for 2022, but recently the House voted to repeal the tax altogether. 

5. HIPAA security issues. As you prepare your benefits package for 2020, you will probably want to talk to their providers about whether recent security breaches to data protected by HIPAA warrants beefing up security and risk-management measures. Also, state laws may have implications for health and wellness programs.

6. HSAs. The IRS released its 2020 HSA annual contribution limits for health savings accounts. Here’s the breakdown:

•   HSA
contribution limits:
$3,550 (up $50) for individuals; $7,100 (up $100) for
families (and 55+ can still add another $1,000)

•   HDHP minimum
$1,400 (up $50) for individuals; $2,800 (up $100) for
families, and

•   HDHP out-of-pocket
$6,900 (up $150) for individuals; $13,800 (up $300) for families.

7. HRAs. Ready for the new landmark ruling that will soon allow employers to provide employees with a new health reimbursement account (HRA) they can use to buy health insurance?

The Trump administration recently unveiled the final HRA rule, which will take effect Jan. 1, 2020. Companies of all sizes will be able to offer “individual coverage HRAs” of up to $1,800 per year, giving an alternative to those who may not be able to afford their employer’s health premiums.

If you’re considering adding this new HRA, firms need to decide which workers would be offered this plan. Firms can only offer this new HRA to different “classes” of employees, such as full-time, part-time, salaried or non-salaried, temps, etc., so as not to discriminate against any employees.

The “class” size is based on the number of employees offered the plan. For example, if a firm has fewer than 100 employees, the minimum class size is 10. For 100-200 employees, the minimum class size is equal to 10% of the total number of employees.

For further assistance on setting up this new HRA account, speak to a live DOL benefits advisor (866-444-3272) or send an email

The post Is your benefits package ready for 2020? appeared first on HR Morning.

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