Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Updates

This weekly newsletter is part of a Brown & Brown of Orlando series summarizing new guidance’s issued in connection with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, legislative updates and employee benefits news. We join forces with our business partners, the law firm of Miller Johnson, Think HR, Zywave Communications, ADP, SHRM and HR Workplace Service and others to provide these updates to you.

Here are the weekly updates for Friday, October 12th, 2018:

  • Zywave   – Benefit Buzz October 2018: – This month’s Benefits Buzz discusses the guidance on association health plans issued by the IRS and Department of Labor, provides a reminder that Medicare Part D notices are due Oct. 15 and explains the repeal of the individual mandate penalty.
  • Zywave – October 2018 National Health Observances: This calendar contains a summary of popular national health and wellness observances for this month and identifies available resources that provide education on each topic.
  • Zywave – HR Brief Newsletter – October 2018: This month’s HR Brief explains the importance of employee financial literacy, offers tips for open enrollment communication and introduces an online resource for understanding worker protections.
  • Zywave – Live Well, Work Well Newsletter – October 2018: The Live Well, Work Well newsletter is an employee newsletter that is produced monthly and covers topics like health, wellness, fitness, nutrition and personal finance. This month’s issue discusses the “if it fits your macros” diet, explains and lists common superfoods, and highlights National Bullying Prevention Month, a health observance recognized every October.

Compliance Reminders from ThinkHR – Keeping up with – constantly changing federal labor laws, regulations, reporting requirements and deadlines is a massive challenge. With the ThinkHR Compliance Calendar, employers can plan ahead and minimize their risk of missing due dates. Upcoming dates are shown below:

  • Annual Medicare Part D Notices Are Due by Oct. 14, 2018 – Group health plan sponsors must provide the annual Medicare Part D creditable coverage disclosure notices to Medicare-eligible individuals before Oct. 15, 2018—the start date of the annual enrollment period for Medicare Part D. The attached Compliance Bulletin summarizes the requirement to provide Medicare Part D notices, including the upcoming deadline, the availability of model notices and permissible ways to deliver the notices.

Medicare Part D Creditable Coverage Notice – The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requires plan sponsors that provide prescription drug coverage to furnish Part-D-eligible individuals with a notice disclosing the creditable or noncreditable status of their coverage before the beginning of the Medicare Part D annual enrollment period (generally before October 15) and at certain other times.

Medicare began offering “Part D” plans—optional prescription drug benefit plans sold by private insurance companies and HMOs—to Medicare beneficiaries many years ago. Persons may enroll in a Part D plan when they first become eligible for Medicare. If they wait too long, a “late enrollment” penalty amount is permanently added to the Part D plan premium cost when they do enroll. There is an exception, though, for individuals who are covered under an employer’s group health plan that provides “creditable” coverage. (“Creditable” means that group plan’s drug benefits are actuarially equivalent or better than the benefits required in a Part D plan.) In that case, the individual can delay enrolling for a Part D plan while he or she remains covered under the employer’s creditable plan. Medicare will waive the late enrollment premium penalty for individuals who enroll in a Part D plan after their initial eligibility date if they were covered by an employer’s creditable plan. To avoid the late enrollment penalty, there cannot be a gap longer than 62 days between the group plan and the Part D plan.

To help Medicare-eligible persons make informed decisions about whether and when to enroll in a Part D drug plan, they need to know if their employer’s group health plan provides creditable or noncreditable prescription drug coverage. That is the purpose of the federal requirement for employers to provide an annual notice (Employer’s Medicare Part D Notice) to all Medicare-eligible employees and spouses.

Please feel free to reach out to either myself or your Brown & Brown account representative or executive with questions regarding the Medicare Part D notices.  The Brown & Brown team can assist you with determining if your prescription drug plan is credible as well as provide you with the appropriate notices. In most cases, the required notice was provided by Brown & Brown in the employee benefit guides.