Health Reform in 2013: What is Coming Up

Several provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) are set to go into effect in 2013. Here’s a summary of what to expect:  

Insurance administration simplification – Several rules to help make health insurance administration simpler are slated to take effect throughout 2013 and 2014, including: a single set of rules for eligibility verification and claim status (January 1, 2013), electronic fund transfer and healthcare payment and remittance rules (January 1, 2014),  and enrollment and disenrollment, premium payments and referral certification and authorization rules (adopted by July 1, 2014).  

Medicare tax – Starting January 1, 2013, Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) tax rate on wages increases from 1.45 percent to 2.3 percent on earnings over $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for married couples filing jointly. There is also a Medicare tax assessment on investment income from interest, dividends, royalties, rents, gross income from a business and net gain from disposition of property of 3.8 percent.  

• FSA contribution limit – Beginning January 1, 2013, FSA contributions for medical expenses are capped at $2,500 per year. This limit will be increased annually with a cost-of-living adjustment.  

• Part D subsidy payment tax deduction eliminated – The Medicare Part D retiree drug subsidy tax deduction for employers is eliminated as of January 1, 2013.  

• Notification of coverage options to employees – As currently required by the PPACA, employers must provide written information to each employee about Health Insurance Exchanges, at the time of hiring. The current deadline for implementation is set at March 1, 2013, but it is anticipated that this deadline will be pushed back until regulations clarifying requirements are issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).