2) Essential health benefits and ACA nondiscrimination rules
Federal agencies, especially the Department of Health and Human Services, continue to issue regulations that will have direct and indirect effects on how large employers design benefits. For 2017, employers should determine whether updated state benchmark plans for essential health benefits and final ACA nondiscrimination rules affect plan designs contemplated for the next plan year.
3) Mental health parity
Confirm your plan meets recent parity guidance on coverage of mental health and substance use disorders (MH/SUDs), and prepare for possible Department of Labor audits of health plans' compliance. Also consider the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act when selecting vendors. Assign responsibility for parity compliance in service agreements with vendors that handle both medical and MH/SUD benefits, and monitor vendor performance on parity issues.
4) Employer shared-responsibility strategy and reporting
Assess 2017 health plan design and eligibility terms against employer shared-responsibility strategy, checking whether medical options meet minimum value, minimum essential coverage, and affordability standards. Review current measurement methods for identifying full-time employees, and evaluate individual and IRS coverage-reporting processes, including correction steps. Adjust these procedures as required or desired for ACA compliance in 2017.