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The Legislative Report blog provides timely information on federal and state legislation and regulations and state trends as well as the myriad issues affecting the private club industry. A companion to CMAA's Legislative website, this resource should be your first stop for any information regarding legal, tax or legislative club-specific issues.

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American Health Care Act Withdrawn From Consideration

(Health Care Reform, Congress) Permanent link

ACHA Vote

Following turmoil in the House of Representatives, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) has been withdrawn from further consideration. This bill was designed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). HR 1628 would have eliminated several of the unpopular provisions of the ACA including the individual mandate penalties to have insurance, and the employer mandate for qualifying large employers to provide affordable health insurance to all employees. 

The House of Representatives was slated to vote on the measure on Friday, March 24, but dissension within the majority party prompted the bill to be withdrawn from further consideration at this time. 

Speaker Paul Ryan has indicated that the House of Representatives will not immediately reconsider the AHCA but remains committed to the goal of repealing and replacing the ACA. 


A Break Down of the American Health Care Act

(Health Care Reform, Congress) Permanent link

AHCA - Doctor

As expected, the House of Representatives is now tackling the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The jurisdiction for the American Health Care Act (AHCA) falls under two different House Committees, Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce. This week, each committee began their respective consideration. As the measure stands today, here is a high-level summary of the highlights:

What’s In?
Most of the popular provisions of the ACA will be retained under the AHCA. This includes:

  • Prohibiting the denial of coverage based on pre-existing conditions.
  • The allowance of dependents to remain on their parent’s insurance until age 26.
  • Prohibiting lifetime limits.
  • Prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in the issuance of insurance.

What’s Out?
Most of the unpopular provisions of the ACA will be repealed and replaced under the AHCA. It will exclude the:
  • Individual mandate penalties to have insurance. 
  • Employer mandate for qualifying large employers to provide affordable health insurance to all employees. 


What’s New?
The AHCA includes:

  • An increase in the amounts individuals can elect for pre-tax health savings accounts. It would increase from $3,400 individual/$6,750 family to $6,550 individual/$13,100 family. 
  • A penalty for individuals who allow their coverage to lapse. Insurers would be able to impose a 30 percent surcharge on new plans for individuals who had not maintained continuous insurance coverage. 
  • Tax credits, indexed by age, for the purchase of coverage. These credits phase out for individuals making $75,000 or families with combined income of $150,000. 


What’s Next?

Early on the morning of March 9, the House Ways and Means Committee approved their section by a vote of 23 to 16, while the Energy and Commerce Committee continues a simultaneous marathon session. This repeal and replace process will continue, and changes are expected once the legislation moves to the Senate for its consideration.

Stay tuned for the latest information!

EEOC Issues Final Rules and Sample Notices on Wellness Programs

(Health Care Reform, Legal Issues) Permanent link

06.22.16 Treadmill

In late May, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published new final rules under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) governing employer-sponsored wellness programs. Under the final rule, employer wellness programs that ask employees about their medical conditions or ask employees to submit to medical examinations (such as tests which screen for high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes) must be “reasonably designed” to promote health and prevent disease, be “voluntary” and safeguard the confidentiality of employees’ medical information.

The final rule allows employers to provide “limited” financial and other incentives in exchange for an employee answering disability-related questions or taking medical examinations as part of a wellness program, whether or not the program is part of a health plan.

Key Definitions Under the Final Rule

  • “Reasonably Designed” - To meet this standard, a program cannot require an overly burdensome amount of time for participation, involve unreasonably intrusive procedures, be a subterfuge for violating the ADA or other laws prohibiting employment discrimination, or require employees to incur significant costs for medical examinations.
      
  • “Voluntary” - Specifically, an employer:   Read more...

Expanding the Advocacy Resources

(501(c)(7) Tax Exempt Club Info, Health Care Reform, ADA, Congress, State Trends, Legal Issues, National Golf Day, Dept of Labor, OSHA, IRS, Immigration, WE ARE GOLF, Regulation, Budget, Tax Issues) Permanent link

Key State LegislationClubindustryvotes.org, CMAA’s Grassroots Advocacy website, has relaunched with expanded information and abilities. The new site adds dynamic state-level information with tracked legislation and legislators.

Through the website, all CMAA members will be able to easily access:

  • Currently Tracked Federal Bills and Regulations
  • Key State Bills (New!!!)
  • Directory of Federal and State Legislators (New!!!)
  • Action Alerts on CMAA-Tracked Issues
  • Non-Partisan Election and Voter Registration Information

As well, Chapters, through their Managing Directors and Legislative Chairmen, will have the opportunity to collaborate with CMAA on state-related Action Alerts (contact forms) and more.

This resource, coupled with the Legislative Report and webinar series providing timely compliance information on the regulations impacting clubs, will now comprise CMAA’s robust advocacy initiative. Get started now to make your voice heard.

Understanding the Cadillac Tax

(Health Care Reform, Regulation) Permanent link

10_27_15_CadillacThe High Cost Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage Excise Tax, more commonly referred to as the Cadillac Tax, is slated to become effective in 2018. Under this provision of the Affordable Care Act, if the total premium cost of the plan provided to an employee exceeds a specific dollar limit, which is revised annually, the excess is subject to a 40 percent excise tax. So that total premium cost is the sum of what your club pays and what the employee pays. 

Currently, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is developing guidance about the tax for employers and employees. Read more...

Congress Challenges Health Care Reform

(Health Care Reform, Legal Issues) Permanent link

1_20_15_175wWith the change in power in the Senate, a new session of Congress and a group of newly-elected Congressmen, there are multiple new bills that challenge the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Here are two to watch:

HR 30 - Save American Workers Act of 2015 – Introduced by Representative Todd Young (R-IN), this bill would repeal the Affordable Care Act definition of “full-time employment” as 30-hours and restore the traditional 40-hour workweek as it pertains to the minimum essential health care coverage required under the employer mandate. This measure has already passed the House of Representatives by a 252 – 172 vote on January 8, and has been reference to the Senate Finance Committee for further consideration. In addition, ,the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing on January 22 on this issue as well as to consider the current system of employer provided health care.  

HR 248 - American Job Protection Act
– Introduced on January 9 by Representative Charles W. Boustany, Jr. (R-LA), this measure would repeal the entire employer health insurance mandate from the ACA.  The bill is currently awaiting consideration in the House Committee on Ways and Means.

However, the Presidential veto threat looms on both these measures. It is unlikely the President will sign anything which he deems to weaken the original intentions of the ACA.

Stay tuned to the CMAA Watch List for up-to-date information on these and other measures affecting the club industry!

Wellness Programs, the EEOC and the ADA

(Health Care Reform, Legal Issues) Permanent link

In recent months, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed lawsuits against two US companies for the manner in which they administered and executed employee wellness programs. According to research conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the majority of employers now offer some sort of wellness program - 94 percent of employers with more than 200 workers, and 63 percent of smaller ones.

In October, the EEOC filed suit against Flambeau, Inc. The EEOC cited the company’s wellness program required that employees submit to biometric testing and a health risk assessment. Employees who did not participate would face cancellation of medical insurance, unspecified disciplinary action for failing to attend the scheduled testing and be required to pay 100 percent of the insurance premium to stay insured. Employees who completed the biometric testing and health risk assessment were only responsible for the payment of 25 percent of their premium cost.

In its argument, the EEOC contends that the biometric testing and health risk assessment constituted "disability-related inquiries and medical examinations" that were not job-related or consistent with business necessity as defined by the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Specifically, the EEOC cited a violation of Title I of the ADA, which prohibits disability discrimination in employment, including making disability-related inquiries.

In August, the EEOC filed its first lawsuit on wellness programs against Orion Energy Systems. In that case, the employee’s insurance was cancelled after failure to complete the required biometric testing and shortly after the employee was fired.

In the argument, John Hendrickson, regional attorney for the EEOC Chicago district, shared:  

Employers certainly may have voluntary wellness programs -- there's no dispute about that -- and many see such programs as a positive development. But they have to actually be voluntary. They can't compel participation by imposing enormous penalties such as shifting 100 percent of the premium cost for health benefits onto the back of the employee or by just firing the employee who chooses not to participate. Having to choose between responding to medical exams and inquiries -- which are not job-related -- in a wellness program, on the one hand, or being fired, on the other hand, is no choice at all.

For clubs with current wellness programs, it is advisable to ensure that the programs that you are offering are voluntary and do not penalize employees who do not or unable to participate.