Tri-Star Benefits Briefing
May 2013
COBRA Model Exchange Notice Provided by DOL
The DOL issued Technical Release 2013-02 on May 8, 2013. This release provides the Model Notice to Employees of Coverage Options related to the Health Insurance Marketplace and also provides a revised model election notice for changes to COBRA election notices.

Open enrollment for health insurance coverage through the Marketplace begins October 1, 2013. Employers are premitted to use the model notice and/or rely on this temporary guidance, considered to be compliant, until the DOL provides additional regulations or other guidance.

The Technical Release applies to all employers that are subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act, as amended by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The model notice must be provided to each employee, regardless of plan enrollment status or of part-time or full-time status. No seperate notice is required for non-employee insurance eligible dependents or other individuals. The notice must be provided to all current employees no later than October 1, 2013. All New Hires after that Distribution should be provided the Model Notice at the time of hire. For 2014, the DOL considers a notice to be provided at the time of hiring if the notice is provided within 14 days of an employees start date.

Content of the Model Notice should include information on:

  • The existence of the Marketplace
  • Contact information and a description of the services provided by the Marketplace
  • Notice that the employee may be eligible for a premium tax credit under the Marketplace
  • Whether the employer's share of total costs of provided benefits is less than 60 percent, notice of whether it offers minimum value
  • A statement that a purchase through the marketplace may cause the employee to lose their employer's contribution (if any) to any health benefits plan, and
  • That all or a portion of the contribution may be excludable from income for federal tax purposes

Tri-Star is preparing updates to their Qualified Event Notice to share with our participating employers. We are utilizing the Model Notice provided by the DOL. If you do not currently utilize our COBRA administration services, please contact Pam Mallory at pam.mallory@tri-starsystems.com for additional information.

IRS Announced 2014 HSA Limits
The IRS announced inflation-adjusted increases applicable to HSAs and High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) for 2014 on May 2, 2013. Limits for calendar year 2014 included in Revenue Procedure 2013-25 are as follows:

  • For self-only qualified HDHP coverage, the maximum annual HSA contribution will change to $3,300. For family HDHP coverage, the maximum annual HSA contribution will change to $6,550. (Limits for 2013 are $3,250 and $6,550 respectively).
  • The additional $1,000 catch-up contribution for those HDHP individuals age 55 continues to apply, as allowed under ยง223(b)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • The annual maximum out-of-pocket expense under the HDHP (including deductibles, co-payments and other amounts) is increased to $6,350 for self-only coverage and $12,700 for family coverage for 2014. (Limits for 2013 are $6,250 and $12,500, respectively).

The Department of the Treasury with the IRS clarified on April 20, 2013 that an employer's HSA contributions can count towards the Minimum Value calculation. These proposed regulations affect individuals who enroll in qualified health plans through Affordable Insurance Exchanges and claim the premium tax credit. Please contact your insurance consultant for additional information and guidance on this issue.

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