From the July/August 2013 issue of CeridianVoice.

July/August 2013 News Briefs

ACA “Play or Pay” mandate delayed until January 2015

The Obama administration announced a one-year delay, until Jan. 1, 2015, in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandate stating that employers with 50 or more full-time-equivalent employees provide health care coverage to their full-time employees (those working on average 30 or more hours per week) or pay steep penalties. However, despite the Employer Shared Responsibility provision being delayed, many ACA provisions are unaffected, and employers must continue to implement and comply with them. Read more at SHRM.

Employer benefits obligations post-DOMA

On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court declared Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prohibited federal government from acknowledging marriages between same-sex couples, unconstitutional in United States v. Windsor.

For employers, “The Windsor decision means that there is much work to do with regard to the employer's benefit plans, even for employers who do not operate in states that recognize same-sex marriage,” said  Roberta Chevlowe, senior counsel from the Proskauer law firm. “On the health benefits side, among other things, employers will need to revisit the definition of ‘spouse’ in their plans to ensure that the definition is consistent with the employer's intent, in light of the decision.” Read more at SHRM.

Brighter economic outlook boosts hiring

Companies are increasingly confident the economy will grow at a modest pace over the next year and are hiring more, according to a survey of business economists. Nearly one-third of the economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics said their companies added jobs in the April-June quarter, which is the highest percentage in nearly two years. Thirty-nine percent expect their firms will hire more in the next six months – that's near the two-year high of 40 percent reached in the January-March quarter. Read more at Benefits Pro.

Planning for retirement? Don’t forget the cost of health care

A new survey from Fidelity Investments reports that a 65-year-old couple with traditional Medicare insurance coverage retiring in 2013 will need $220,000 to cover their medical expenses; however, most workers think they will only need about $50,000 for health care costs. When planning for retirement, health savings accounts are an effective strategy for workers who want a tax-savvy way to save for health care in retirement, experts say. They are powerful savings accounts because they have a triple tax advantage: the money contributed goes in tax free, gains on investments are not taxed and withdrawals used for medical payments are not taxed either.