The IRS has released information on the employer’s Patient Centered Research Fee tax. As a result of the Affordable Care Act, IRS form 720 has new line on it as follows:
As stated in the instructions
The patient-centered outcomes research fee is imposed on issuers of specified health insurance policies (section 4375) and plan sponsors of applicable self-insured health plans (section 4376) for policy and plan years ending on or after October 1, 2012. Generally, references to taxes on Form 720 include this fee.
Specified health insurance policies.
For issuers of specified health insurance policies, the fee for a policy year ending before October 1, 2013, is $1.00, multiplied by the average number of lives covered under the policy for that policy year. Generally, issuers of specified health insurance policies must use one of the following four alternative methods to determine the average number of lives covered under a policy for the policy year.
1. The actual count method.
For policy years that end on or after October 1, 2012, issuers using the actual count method may begin counting lives covered under a policy as of May 14, 2012, rather than the first day of the policy year, and divide by the appropriate number of days remaining in the policy year.
2. The snapshot method.
For policy years that end on or after October 1, 2012, but that began before May 14,
2012, issuers using the snapshot method may use counts from quarters beginning on or after May 14, 2012, to determine the average number of lives covered under the policy.
3. The member months method and, 4. The state form method.
The member months data and the data reported on state forms are based on the calendar year. To adjust for 2012, issuers will use a pro rata approach for calculating the average number of lives covered using the member months method or the state form method for 2012. For example, issuers using the member months number for 2012 will divide the member months number by 12 and multiply the resulting number by one quarter to arrive at the average number of lives covered for October through December 2012.
Applicable self-insured health plans.
For plan sponsors of applicable self-insured health plans, the fee for a plan year ending before October 1, 2013, is $1.00, multiplied by the average number of lives covered under the plan for that plan year. Generally, plan sponsors of applicable self-insured health plans must use one of the following three alternative methods to determine the average number of lives covered under a plan for the plan year.
1. Actual count method.
2. Snapshot method.
3. Form 5500 method.
However, for plan years beginning before July 11, 2012, and ending on or after October 1, 2012, plan sponsors may determine the average number of lives covered under the plan for the plan year using any reasonable method.
Reporting and paying the fee.
File Form 720 annually to report and pay the fee no later than July 31 of the calendar year immediately following the last day of the policy year or plan year to which the fee applies. If you file Form 720 only to report the fee, do not file Form 720 for the 1st, 3rd, or 4th quarters of the year. If you file Form 720 to report quarterly excise tax liability for the 1st, 3rd, or 4th quarter of the year (for example, filers reporting the foreign insurance tax (IRS No. 30)), do not make an entry on the line for IRS No. 133 on those filings. Deposits are not required for this fee, so issuers and plan sponsors are not required to pay the fee using EFTPS.
Report the average number of lives covered in column (a) and multiply by the rate in column (b). Combine the fees for specified health insurance policies and applicable self-insured health plans and enter the total in the tax column on the line for IRS No. 133.
For more information, including methods for calculating the average number of lives covered, see sections 4375, 4376, and 4377; also see T.D. 9602, which is on page 746 of IRB 2012-52 at www.irs.gov/pub/irs-irbs/irb12-52.pdf. Also see http://www.irs.gov/instructions/i720/ch01.html#d0e128
If you are in any of the following businesses you are now required to post a Human Trafficking Notice as required by Civil Code Section 52.6:
- On-sale general public premises licensees under the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act (Division 9 (commencing with Section 23000) of the Business and Professions Code).
- Adult or sexually oriented businesses, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 318.5 of the Penal Code.
- Primary airports, as defined in Section 47102(16) of Title 49 of the United States Code.
- Intercity passenger rail or light rail stations
- Bus stations.
- Truck stops. For purposes of this section, “truck stop” means a privately owned and operated facility that provides food, fuel, shower or other sanitary facilities, and lawful overnight truck parking.
- Emergency rooms within general acute care hospitals.
- Urgent care centers.
- Farm labor contractors, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 1682 of the Labor Code.
- Privately operated job recruitment centers.
- Roadside rest areas.
- Businesses or establishments that offer massage or bodywork services for compensation and are not described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 4612 of the Business and Professions Code.
More information is available at http://oag.ca.gov/human-trafficking/sb1193
The model notice can be obtained by going to http://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/ht/HumanTraffickMandate_ENG.pdf
The bill itself can be found at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/sen/sb_1151-1200/sb_1193_bill_20120924_chaptered.html
As stated by the DOL “OFCCP is issuing this Directive in support of its ongoing policy commitment to address pay discrimination by federal contractors and subcontractors. This Directive specifies the procedures OFCCP field investigators use for reviewing contractor compensation systems and practices. It clarifies and improves OFCCP procedures in further support of the agency’s efforts to align pay discrimination enforcement with longstanding principles under Title VII of the Civil Rights Actof 1964 (Title VII).”
If you do government contracting you would be wise to follow these guidelines. Even if you are not a government contractor they point to the data they will be examining to address disparate compensation practices.
Here is an updated version of the FMLA employee handbook policy (Federal and California). Please amend your employee handbooks if you have 50 or more employees. You can get a copy of the updated FMLA poster by clicking here or order an updated all-in-one poster from American Labor Law Company. To read more about the new requirements, go to: http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/.
Here’s the deal: Since 1996 seventeen states and Washington D.C. have passed marijuana laws for medical/personal use. To date all the courts have ruled that on the job use or intoxication is not protected. California, Oregon and Washington State court rulings have said use itself, even if legal, does not prevent an employer from have a no drug policy for hiring or employment. Statutes like Michigan’s explicitly say “nothing in this act shall be construed to require an employer to accommodate the ingestion of marijuana in any workplace or any employee working while under the influence of marijuana.”
Of course, as with a prescription drug where health and safety concerns govern it can be treated like the use of other prescription drugs. I doubt any court will require employers to hire stoner surgeons or crane operators. At least let’s hope not! It appears only the Maryland and Arizona statute specifically allows for use at works. Employers cannot discriminate against patients and caregivers and a positive test for marijuana metabolites is not cause for disciplining or terminating a patient. In a sense you have to catch them intoxicated in the moment, not just in their blood stream. Every one of these laws will be tested in court to find out where their workplace boundaries lie.
To the extent Federal laws such as DOT provisions and government contract drug-free workplace laws apply, they control. The Feds are still reviewing the situation as these laws impact on their ability to control illegal use and sale nationwide.
To keep abreast of these legislation trends here are two great resources:
Of course there are those who wonder what all the fuss is about. Here’s an interesting blog on the smokers view of drug testing for the weed.
Note: Just the millionth reason why employers should have their employee handbooks reviewed by an attorney on an annual basis.
Fact is many people in the HR role do not do the job full-time and very often do little or no proactive compliance efforts. One way to begin learning these laws is to watch or read the info generated by the government and lawyers on behalf of employees. For example, the DOL has just released and employee video education series. Minimum wage, regular pay, overtime, off-the-clock, child labor, independent contractor, migrant worker and how to file a claim videos are presented. We have training on each of these subjects for employers on HR That Works. A few more:
- OSHA on how they conduct inspections: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/video/oshainspection/video.html
- Resources on workplace violence: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/workplaceviolence/evaluation.html
- Memos and more on discrimination: http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/index.cfm
- Overtime: http://www.dol.gov/compliance/topics/wages-overtime-pay.htm#.UKErLobNnsk
- The plaintiffs lawyers association: http://www.nela.org/NELA/
Those are just a few examples. Where the government has done a good job of creating materials (like in the health and safety area) we have pointed to those tools on HR That Works too.
Bottom line: Don’t let your employees know more than you do about the law!
Now that he is geared up for another four years, the President is moving forward to implement healthcare law and ban discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions. See the press release from HHS here.
Here are some additional helpful publications. Of course,this represents the governments agenda. Check with your broker to learn even more and what you should be doing now to prepare for Obamacare!
- Information for Small Businesses (PDF)
- Top 5 Fact Sheet: Small Business Owners (PDF) (Spanish)
- Small Businesses and the Affordable Care Act (HTML) (PDF)
- Better Benefits, Better Health for Small Businesses (HTML) (PDF)
- The Affordable Care Act – What it Means for Employers (PDF) (Spanish)
- The Affordable Care Act – What it Means for Small Business (PDF) (Spanish)