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April 24, 2013
Majority of Credit Unions Still Not Prepared to Meet Required Mandates of Affordable Care Act
ANAHEIM, Calif. – 2014 will be a “watershed” year for employers to meet mandates and deadlines related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and credit unions still have plenty of work to do to ensure they are in compliance with the law, two speakers told a CUNA Human Resources and Training and Development Council Conference audience Tuesday.
Citing CUNA’s 2012-2013 Credit Union Staff Survey for Human Resources Planning study, CUNA Mutual Group’s Brad Pricer said just 31 percent of credit unions surveyed indicated they were ready for ACA requirements in 2013 and 2014.
Pricer, CUNA Mutual Group senior manager, Employee Benefits Product Management, co-presented with Annette Bechtold, SVP of regulatory affairs and reform initiatives with Digital Benefit Advisors (DBA). CUNA Mutual Group and DBA announced in February they were working together to provide resources, expertise and education to help credit unions navigate the complexities of the Affordable Care Act and employee benefits strategy.
Pricer said another 14 percent of the credit unions are prepared for 2013 ACA requirements, but 26 percent surveyed indicated they are either not prepared but have a timeline for beginning preparations, or weren’t planning to start preparations until after 2012.
“The Department of Labor is now beginning to audit businesses for ACA compliance,” Pricer said. “Credit unions should be working with their broker or consultant to stay on top of required mandates.”
Bechtold reviewed the most critical elements of the ACA that employers need to comply with in 2013 and 2014. These include:
- Ensuring compliance with ACA’s nondiscrimination rules regarding favoring highly compensated employees in benefits offered
- Understanding whether the health coverage offered to employees is sufficient to avoid penalties where applicable
- Ensuring health plans contain all mandated plan requirements
- Meeting reporting requirements
“It’s important credit unions understand what effect ‘Play or Pay’ penalties have on them if they don’t offer certain levels of coverage deemed affordable under health care reform,” Bechtold said.
Pricer said it is his opinion most credit unions will ultimately continue offering health care coverage to employees even after the ACA is fully implemented. “How they offer that coverage will likely change. They might choose to fund it through a defined contribution approach or purchase coverage through public or private exchanges.”
Pricer said health care reform offers credit unions potential opportunities as to how they potentially fund their health plan offerings. Credit unions may find this enables them to better plan health care costs year over year, while still remaining an employer of choice in the eyes of employees. “Ultimately, the decision to offer health care coverage will be driven by affordability and whether it embraces the philosophy of being an employer of choice to recruit and retain the best available talent.”
He encouraged the audience to stay informed about ACA requirements for 2013 and 2014 and how to best formulate an appropriate strategy by visiting www.cunamutual.com/HealthCareReform for timelines, legislative briefs, model notices and forms.
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