More ACA Guidance Just in Time for Holidays

The holiday season is upon us…already!?  With Thanksgiving this week, BASE® plans to close our office for two days (November 27-28) to allow employees time to share with their family and recharge before one of the busier months of the year. 

 

Not only is it busy because of everything going on in everyone’s personal life, but here at BASE® we find a lot of business owners looking to take advantage of tax savings for the final month of 2014 and helping many business owners and Business Partners prepare for 2015. 

 

With all of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) changes that have taken place this year, many business owners find themselves looking to their tax professional for guidance.  And this year BASE® has found many tax professionals looking for a trusted advisor to administer employee benefit plans for them, simply because there is so much more for them to be responsible for and keep track of in light of the ACA. 

 

For instance, on November 6, 2014 the Department of Labor, Health and Human Services and the Treasury Departments issued new guidance regarding what arrangements do not comply with the ACA’s market reforms and may subject the employer to penalties. This latest guidance effectively puts an end to the S Corporation shareholders’ ability to take the 1040 deduction for their health insurance premiums.  This change is effective immediately for the 2014 tax year and is for any S Corporation with 2 or more employees.  The measure prohibits all employer provided arrangements, with 2 or more employees, that reimburse individual health insurance premiums without regard to whether the employer treats the money as pre-tax or post-tax income to the employee. Since the individual premiums cannot be shown as income on the Form W-2, the S Corporation shareholder is unable to meet the criteria of the Self Employed Health Insurance Deduction.

 

This is just one of many changes that impacts business owners just in time for the holidays with regard to employee benefits.  That is why BASE® has more and more tax professionals partnering with us to focus on tax advantaged employee benefit plans for them, and to help them avoid risking their clients $100 per day per employee penalties due to many new regulations surrounding these types of plans.

 

BASE® remains vigilant as new ACA regulations and guidelines are released, and focused on keeping our clients and Business Partners up-to-date of changes that impact them.  With all of the competing demands our clients and Business Partners are faced with throughout the year, we take pride in providing the highest degree of service.  This service includes establishing that all of our plans are in compliance with the latest regulations, and knowing that our plans meet all ACA market reforms for our clients.  Don’t wait until after the holidays to see if your tax advantaged plans are in compliance, call BASE® today to see if your plan is at risk of ACA penalties!


Anne Case
BASE® - Director of Marketing & Communications

Are Premium Reimbursement Arrangements Allowed?

The answer to this question is NO, absolutely not, don’t even think about it, unless you want to face a $100 per day per employee penalty! New regulations were released by the Department of Labor on November 6, 2014, and the DOL has now determined that all employer arrangements that reimburse employees for individual premiums violates the ACA's market reforms. These new regulations apply regardless of whether the employer treats the money as pre-tax or post-tax for the employee, making this practice no longer allowed.


BASE® and our legal team believe that while this is a departure from the previous guidance, it requires immediate action.  While it is unfortunate that an employer can’t help their employees with the cost of their individually purchased health insurance premiums, even on a post-tax basis, BASE® will no longer administer the Choice Incentive Plan.  BASE® believes in keeping our clients in compliance, and will discontinue the offering of the BASE® Choice Incentive Plan.  This plan has now been deemed a form of group health coverage according to these latest regulations, and we believe that it is in our client’s best interest to avoid triggering excise tax penalties from an audit.

 

The only option that is currently viable for employers to assist their employees is for an employer to offer increases in compensation that is not tied to the purchase of insurance.  Additionally, these requirements still only apply to plans with more than 1 employee (exempting the BASE® 105 HRA) and with respect to reimbursement of individual market health insurance policies, not supplemental excepted benefit health insurance policies or life insurance policies.

 

While we are no longer able to offer the BASE® Choice Incentive Plan, BASE® still has a host of other viable product offerings, which include the BASE® Section 105 HRA for the self-employed, BASE® Integrated HRA, BASE® 125 Cafeteria Plan (FSA, DCAP, POP), and the Excepted Benefits HRA and 125 plans.

 

Please call 1-888-386-9680 with any questions regarding this information.


Anne Case
BASE® - Director of Marketing & Communications

BASE® Celebrates Customer Service

Did you know that Customer Service week is celebrated in October?  While service is important all year round, this is the perfect time of year to reflect on everything we do for our customers.  BASE® is celebrating all month long, and we remind ourselves how important customer service is to our business.  But more importantly, we take this time to reflect on our customers and what we can do to continue to improve for them.  That is why we take this month to remind ourselves of the following:


  • Know who is boss – the customer of course!
  • Be a good listener and identify and anticipate needs.
  • Have confidence in what we do. 
  • Make our customers feel important and appreciated. 
  • Have the courage and honesty to take responsibility for our actions. 
  • Help customers understand our systems. 
  • Always look for ways to help our customers. 
  • Devote ourselves to go above and beyond. 
  • Get regular feedback. 
  • Don’t forget our internal customer, each and every BASE® employee. 


Our commitment does not stop at the point of sale! BASE® representatives are available to assist our customers throughout the duration of their plan. BASE® works with our customers one-on-one to ensure their plans and corresponding documentation is always up-to-date and in compliance with government regulations.


The BASE® commitment is as strong today as the day we first opened our doors for business. BASE® has assisted small to medium sized businesses deal with the rising cost of health care throughout the United States. Customers are at the very heart of our business, and with each passing year, expectations for our products and services grow stronger.


Service is more important now than ever, especially in the age of the Affordable Care Act.  Part of serving our customers is assuring our customers that our products are still in compliance and a viable benefit option. Our promise to our customers is that we will continue to provide excellent sales and service staff, innovate our products and services, and most importantly, listen to all our customers in our unwavering commitment to provide the best benefit programs the industry has to offer. 


No matter the month, BASE® prides itself on educating consumer driven professionals on benefit and tax saving solutions, while providing the highest degree of service.  Contact us today and we will do everything in our power to serve you!   


Anne Case
BASE® - Director of Marketing & Communications