Church Healthcare Lunch & Learn – What we learned…
20 Things that we Learned at Lunch…
1. Donna Lively did a great job of helping churches see how they’ll be impacted by healthcare reform.
2. Dixie Beard helped make the benefits of 403(b)(9)s simple to understand.
3. Our host churches were very gracious in opening up their facilities to us and lunches were delicious.
4. California is leading the nation when it comes to implementing Healthcare Reform. The website at www.coveredca.com is counting down the minutes to implementation.
5. Churches can qualify for the Small Business Tax Credit NOW. Since churches are tax exempt, you can receive a return of up to 35% of your premium. In 2014, the amount will increase up to 50%, but your church will qualify only if coverage is purchased through the Small Business Health Options Program (the exchange!). The unique feature for churches is that housing allowance is taken out of the calculation. Let us know and we can walk you through it.*
6. While the future of healthcare premiums is still cloudy, churches should be budgeting for a 20-30% increase for their 2014 renewal. Proportionally, your younger employees will probably be seeing the greatest increase. To help mitigate that increase, you may want to take advantage of the premium subsidies only available through the exchange.*
7. The Covered California website is already providing premium estimates INCLUDING subsidies based on your employee’s age & salary.*
8. Coverage through the exchange in California will be categorized into 4 different metals…Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze (We were hoping for 3 levels…gold, frankincense, and myrrh.)
9. W2 Reporting of the health insurance premiumstarts this year only for churches with 250 or more full & part time employees. It’s coming for churches with less than 250 in the years to come.
10. You are required to provide a Uniform Summary of Benefits to your employees (this started last September). The Department of Labor enforces a penalty of $1,000 per employee if you don’t comply.*
11. The Religious Employer Exemption (REE) should ensure that you won’t be compromising your ministry’s biblical convictions regarding women’s preventative care services including contraceptives & abortive services. We will be working with churches to complete the REE Certification Form, which needs to be completed before your renewal.*
12. You are required to notify your employees of the availability of the exchange (and the tax subsidies) this year. We’ll be providing you with these notices (it’s the agent’s & church’s responsibility, not the insurance company’s).*
13. Churches with less than 50 employees aren’t required to provide health insurance, but you will still be seeing the 20-30% rate increases and will want to consider providing health insurance options through the exchange.*
14. Coverage through the exchange will be good, but the networks are going to be very limited. Before you send your employees to the exchange, you’ll want to compare the service that your employees can expect to receive.*
15. Any of your full & part time employees above ($9,350 single & $18,700 married) who don’t purchase health insurance somewhere will pay a penalty tax.
16. The Kaiser Family Foundation has put together an excellent map on how to get coverage starting in 2014. This will guide you on whether or not your employees would benefit from the premium subsidies available only through the exchange. You’ll want to cross reference your work comp audits with your health insurance renewals to see which of your employees would benefit from the exchange.*
17. The penalties of up to $3,000 per employees are real and churches don’t have a way around them.You’ll want to follow the guidelines to avoid these.*
18. Your checklist for 2013:
- Determine if you have 50+ Full Time Employees*
- Begin an analysis to determine which employees you’ll be required to provide coverage for*
- Review Contribution Strategy*
- Analyze which employees will benefit from going to the exchange*
19. Plan on joining us for another lunch and learn in August or September on Healthcare Reform as we wrap the rest of this up before next year.
20. If our benefits team manages your benefits program, then we’ll be working with you to handle all of the items marked with an *asterisk* above.
I think that’s it. I’d love to hear your comments about our time talking about Healthcare Reform this past week. We plan on doing these quarterly in the years to come and if there are any topics of particular importance to your ministry, we’ll bring out our experts to help!