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Non-discrimination requirements and how they affect school districts and other local government employers

About the non-discrimination rules
As more elements of the healthcare reform law come into play this year, school districts and other local government employers should understand how they’re affected by the measure’s non-discrimination requirements. Before 2010, the IRS only prohibited self-funded plans from discriminating in favor of highly compensated individuals (HCI). The Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandated that this rule apply to all group health plans, including fully insured plans.

Clearing up confusion
Prior to ACA, insurance plans were not allowed to discriminate on benefit levels or eligibility. But it was common to offer high-earners, such as Superintendents; lower premium contributions levels. The new ACA requirements, however, require that all employees be offered the same plan designs and premium contribution levels

A delayed mandate
The non-discrimination requirement was to be effective by September 23, 2010, but in December of 2010, the IRS delayed the implementation of the nondiscrimination rules because officials had not provided guidance including determining who falls under the label of a “highly compensated employee.”

Because the IRS has not yet reached a conclusive decision on healthcare reform and nondiscrimination rules, school districts and other local public employers do not need to be concerned about the regulation at this time. Once the agency fully mandates a change, it will provide employers further guidance and time to comply with regulations.

In the meantime, many question how these rules would affect retiree health insurance premiums because these contributions often vary by employee class. National Insurance Services (NIS) has identified a solution by creating a retiree-only plan with a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA). Retiree-only plans are exempt from the non-discrimination requirements.

For more detailed information on the non-discrimination rules, download our Legislative Brief: Nondiscrimination Rules for Fully-Insured Group Health Plans. NIS will continue to provide employers with timely information about the nondiscriminatory rules and other ACA mandates.

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Erin Woulfe
Erin Woulfe
Erin Woulfe likes to write about things that matter. Keeping her finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the public sector world, she blogs about the latest legislative news and employee benefit trends that affect our school, city and county clients. She’s been with NIS since 2002. “I love connecting to our clients and providing them with the tools they need in order to administrate their plan,” says Erin. “Whether that be materials to educate their employees on certain benefits, how to effectively communicate change within an organization or just providing tips and how-to’s to help them make their job easier.”

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