From the February 2012 issue of CeridianVoice. 

February 2012 News Briefs

A summary of this month's most important HR news, trends and industry information from trusted sources.

Health care reform

PPACA's automatic enrollment requirement to take effect in 2014
The Department of Labor (DOL) issued FAQs and proposed guidance on this provision of health care reform law, which requires employers with more than 200 employees to begin automatically enrolling new hires into company-sponsored health benefits starting in 2014.

"Employers should review this initial guidance, but expect more specific rules regarding automatic enrollment in the coming year," said Geoff Mann, Ceridian's compliance manager. Read more on Workforce.com.

Health insurance Summary of Benefits regulations released
Health insurers must provide consumers with consistent and easy-to-understand health plan summaries beginning on or soon after Sept. 23, 2012, according to regulations released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

"This is a valuable change for employers who struggle to educate employees on benefits costs," said Lydia Ophaug, Ceridian's senior product manager for benefits enrollment and administration.

Payroll

Congress extends payroll tax holiday through end of 2012
By extending the 2-percent tax cut, 160 million U.S. workers will save approximately $1,000 on taxes this year. The legislation also continues extended unemployment benefits and prevents a pay cut to Medicare providers.

"About one thing we can be certain," said Jim O'Connell, Ceridian's executive consultant on legislative issues in Washington, D.C. "Congress will never raise taxes in an election year."

Talent Management

No-hire tobacco policies becoming a trend among health care employers
Building upon the trend of charging smokers more for employer-sponsored health care coverage, many health care employers including Humana and most recently Geisinger System are now implementing policies that basically state, "Smokers need not apply." But others ask, is it a major compliance risk?

"Many states do allow tobacco screening as part of hiring, and tobacco users are not a protected class under discrimination laws," said Lydia Ophaug, Ceridian's senior product manager for benefits enrollment and administration. Read more on Kaiser Health News.