IRS Offers Help with ‘Pay or Play’ Proposal

The IRS kicked off 2013 with a little relief for some employers under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The proposed guidance eases some of the penalties for larger employers who fail to provide adequate health care coverage for all their full-time employees. The PPACA “pay or play” penalty will not apply as long as the employer covers at least 95% of their full-time employees and their dependents up to age 26. The proposed guidance clears up questions that have lingered since the inception of the law in 2010. While the “pay or play” penalty doesn’t go into effect until next year, employers need to start tracking their employees’ status now.

It’s a common-sense notion that if you want to keep your employees from racking up huge costs on your company’s health care bill, you should help them prevent or treat the illness before it becomes a chronic and costly problem. Many employees, however, still seem to be stuck in the dark when it comes to the true costs and benefits of preventive services. For example, many employees in high-deductible health plans have a history of failing to take advantage of preventive care services because they think their deductible applies to all doctor visits, including preventive care. For employers and employees, a lack of preventive care can turn into higher costs in the long term.

While advances in technology can spawn increased productivity and lower costs for a company, security concerns about the use of mobile devices and social media remain a hot button issue for employers and HR professionals. Security concerns rack as the top reason that employers block employee access to social media sites in the office. The hardware that employees use to access these and other Internet sites can open the door to serious security breaches, as well. As the sophistication of mobile devices has advanced in the last few years, so have malware, viruses, and other threats that specifically target these devices.

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