H.R. 3236 – New Bill Impacts Group Plans

On July 31, 2015, President Obama signed into law H.R. 3236, the “Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015.”   The new law includes several changes that impact group plans.

Employer Mandate:  The new act impacts the ACA Employer Mandate in that individuals enrolled in a health plan under the VA or TRICARE will be exempt from being counted in the 50 full-time employee threshold when calculating whether or not you are an applicable large employer.  This change is effective as of January 1, 2014.

Health Savings Account (“HSA”) Eligibility:  Otherwise eligible individuals will not be disqualified from contributing to an HSA solely as a result of receiving medical care under the VA for a service related disability.  In the past, such coverage would have made them ineligible to contribute to an HSA.   This change is effective January 2016.

Form 5500:  The maximum extension for filing Form 5500 will be increased to an automatic three and one-half month period.  For calendar year plans, this means a deadline of November 15 as opposed to the current two and one-half month extension which is October 15.  This change is effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2015.

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