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OAK BROOK, Ill., Jan. 7 -- The Associated Equipment Distributors issued the following industry news:
On Jan. 2, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) proposed a new regulation clarifying the requirements for companies to provide health insurance to full-time equivalent (FTE) employees under the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). Under the "Shared Responsibility for Employers Regarding Health Coverage" (or "employer mandate") section of new healthcare law, companies with 50 or more full-time employees (or an equivalent combination of full- and part-time employees) are required to provide "affordable" health insurance coverage to workers that meet time-in-service qualifications. The proposed rule states that an FTE employee working 130 hours in a calendar month satisfies the 30 hours of work per week requirement. The proposal would prescribe three different methods to determine whether a nonhourly employee qualifies: counting actual hours of service; using a days-worked equivalency, where eight hours of service counts as a day; and using a weeks-worked equivalency, where 40 hours of service per week counts as a week. Companies can apply the methods to different classifications of nonhourly employees, as long as it is done consistently and does not understate their hours-in-service so as to disqualify them from health coverage. New hires will be under a 12-week grace period before their status is reviewed under a "look back" formula, which lays out how to classify variable-hour employees and new hires whose statuses have changed in the first three months of work. Finally, the proposed rule would require employer plans to offer coverage to a qualifying employee's dependents, defined as children under the age of 26.
Companies will not be required to include an employee's spouse in their medical plans. The IRS provided a Q&A page in anticipation of frequently asked questions.
Comments to the proposed rule are due March 18. A public hearing is scheduled for April 23.