This year saw not only more implementations of President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, but already some changes to it – by both the legislative and judicial arms of government. Additionally, new technologies and outlooks are changing how benefit decision-makers are strategizing wellness programs. Take a look back and make sure your own policies are up to date, based on EBN’s analysis from throughout the year.

Long-awaited ACA regulations fuel employer work for 2014

With details of the final regulations released by the U.S. Department of Treasury in February, employers subject to the mandate can now make employee coverage decisions and prepare for enforcement beginning this coming January.

Toxic workplaces override wellness efforts: Stanford professor

Health and wellness programs are virtually meaningless if a workplace culture is bad, according to Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford University’s graduate school of business.

NLRB classification of athletes as employees highlights a health care reform land mine

Employers have always been concerned about the potential for worker reclassification, but health care reform and a recent National Labor Relations Board decision take this issue to an entirely new level.

Proposed regulations governing “excepted benefits” under ACA released

A handful of guidance items that the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Treasury have issued this year make some important changes related to the regulation of “excepted benefits,” driven in large part by the insurance market reforms and other provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

Senate bill to overturn SCOTUS Hobby Lobby decision blocked

In an attempt to overturn the divisive Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decisions, the Senate failed to get enough support for its reversal plan that will allow some employers to decline providing insurance coverage for some forms of birth control based on religious grounds.

SCOTUS decision likely won't repeal contraceptive mandate

Whatever the Supreme Court’s decision in Hobby Lobby’s challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate, it won’t likely have broad implications for all employers, according to Howard Shapiro, partner and head of Proskauer’s ERISA litigation group in New Orleans.

Bill bumping ACA to 40-hour work week passes House

The House in April passed legislation that would modify the Affordable Care Act’s definition of a full-time employee from one who works 30-hours a week to one who works 40-hours a week. 

Where do e-cigarettes fit into an ACA-compliant wellness program?

With the Affordable Care Act increasing the incentive for employees to quit smoking, many employers are wondering how e-cigarettes fit into their wellness program, or if they even do at all.

Newest EEOC wellness program lawsuit draws further industry ire

For the third time this year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission launched legal action against a private employer, claiming discrimination on the part of the company’s wellness program.

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