ACA Risks & Penalties – Are You Ready?

Looking ahead to 2015, are you ready?  Anyone who deals with employee benefits should be gearing up for year-end, especially as we flip the calendar to August.  Kids are headed back to school and the next open enrollment period for the health insurance exchange is looming.  Are you armed with the information to avoid compliance risks?

 

BASE® works with Business Partners from varying industries, as well as business owners of different sizes, to help them make sense of the Affordable Care Act.  Not only does BASE® provide a variety of tax-advantaged benefit solutions, but also options to make health care more affordable.  And, all while keeping them educated and up-to-date in regards to the latest compliance issues affecting tax-advantaged benefit plans.

 

With the IRS further emphasizing their stance on failing to satisfy ACA reforms and the DOL ramping up employee benefit plan audits to the tune of 15,000 newly hired auditors, many are taking note.  With a $100/day excise tax per applicable employee at stake, it is foolish to think that nobody will be penalized.

 

If you are utilizing employee benefit plans, such as a Health Reimbursement Arrangement or 125 Cafeteria Plan, be sure that you are taking note.  BASE® wants to help educate you on the compliance risks and new benefit options availableContact BASE® for benefit solutions to keep your benefit program in compliance with the latest rules and regulations, and to make sure you are ready! 


Anne Case
BASE® - Director of Marketing & Communications 

Don’t Forget About Dependent Care

As we reach the mid-point of summer, children and their parents have settled into their new routines. Kids get to enjoy the summer days hanging out with their friends, and parents can rest easy knowing that their child is with a trusted child care provider. However, can every parent rest easy knowing that they might not be using every tool available to them to help pay for the cost of child care?


BASE® works with several employers that offer the Dependent Care Assistance Plan (DCAP) as part of the 125 Cafeteria Plan. If you have ever utilized a Flexible Spending Account within the 125 Cafeteria Plan, the Dependent Care Assistance Plan is very similar.


DCAP is an account established by an employer to allow employees to set aside money from each paycheck on a pre-tax basis to pay for qualifying dependent care expenses such as daycare, preschool, before & after school care, and even elder care.


Employers benefit from this plan by enhancing their employee benefit package which in turn can help with recruitment and retention of employees. Of course the biggest advantage of this plan is in the form of tax savings for the employee. Since these funds are transferred from the employee’s wages on a pre-tax basis, employees save Federal, State, Social Security, and Medicare taxes. By setting aside these dollars pre-tax, employees are able to increase their take-home pay.


As you can see, there are multiple benefits to utilizing the Dependent Care Assistance Plan within a 125 Cafeteria Plan. One other tax break to look into would be the Dependent Care Tax Credit. Under some scenarios, you could qualify for a tax credit while using a flex plan such as the DCAP. However, no credit is allowed for any child care costs that are paid through a flex plan.


Even though we have already hit the Fourth of July (and summer is pretty much over), it’s never too late to save yourself some money. If you know of an employer that doesn’t offer this type of plan but think they would be a good candidate, please refer them to BASE®.  BASE® always offers a free benefit analysis for employers looking to see if one of our tax-advantaged plans is right for them. You can always learn more about our products by calling 1-888-386-9680 and speaking with a Benefit Specialist. 


Tom Stiles
BASE® - Digital Marketing Assistant

The Story Behind PCORI

July 31st is the deadline for paying the PCORI fee through a federal excise tax return (IRS Form 720). Many people are scratching their heads saying, “What exactly is PCORI?” Hopefully I can give you some information that will help you have a better idea of what this fee is for.


PCORI stands for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. PCORI was created as a non-profit corporation by the Affordable Care Act to support clinical effectiveness research. Now the next question is, “What is clinical effectiveness research?”


Clinical effectiveness research is set up to find out what works in medical and health care. So by phrasing it as, what works, the research is in place to determine real health benefits. This could be symptom relief, quicker recovery or even what helps to extend our lives. The research has also been initiated to study what doesn’t work or what may cause your body harm instead of fixing medical conditions.


Proof of clinical effectiveness can come from several different means such as laboratory research, animal testing, theories, etc.  Many other factors that may have an effect on a treatment are also studied. More than one specific test is usually needed to confirm the results or theories.


Ideas and theories need to be tested before they can be confirmed. You may have heard the phrase clinical trials. This is a way to isolate the effects of specific actions. Usually, more than one trial is needed to provide answers. So once several studies are done, the researchers involved analyze and review the information. This is called a systematic review. These reviews can lead to conclusions of what works.


BASE® is committed to keeping our customers up-to-date and in compliance with all the changes and new regulations in the Affordable Care Act. If you have questions regarding the PCORI fee as it relates to Health Reimbursement Arrangements and other tax advantaged plans, please contact us


Laura Radebaugh
BASE® - Administration/Adjudication Specialist