MassAHU remains an important resource for health insurance professionals

| June 26, 2013 | Comments (0)

Employee HIRD Form – an update from Rick Szczebak, Of Counsel | Parker Brown Macaulay & Sheerin, P.C.:

A week ago, I distributed a bulletin announcing that the Governor had signed the budget bill into law, which included the repeal of the MA Fair Share Contribution provision, effective July 1, 2013.  I also indicated that more details would follow as the new budget law was digested, since applicable provisions were scattered throughout the law.

Please be advised that the Employee HIRD Form (signed by those declining an employer’s health coverage or the employer’s 125 option) was also repealed by the budget law.  At the time I wrote my summary, this little gem had not yet been discovered.
Buried within the new budget law (Chapter 38 of the acts of 2013), section 113 of Chapter 38 deletes the Employee HIRD Form requirement (contained in section 17(b) of MGL c. 176Q) and replaces it, effective July 1, 2013 with the following new section 17(b):  “(b) Employers with 11 or more full-time equivalent employees shall notify all employees in a manner and form prescribed by the connector, of the employer’s compliance with subsection (a) and the opportunity for eligible employees to enroll in the employer’s  sponsored health insurance plan or the employer’s cafeteria plan that is in compliance with chapter 151F.”

This provision was not part of the Governor’s original proposal that he submitted in January to repeal the MA FSC requirement.  FYI, the subsection (a) referred to above is the Employer HIRD report and chapter 151F is the MA section 125 plan requirement.

So, the Employee HIRD Form is dead — to be replaced by an annual notification to employees, which the Connector will need to develop and issue related guidance.  As an aside, the filing of the Employer HIRD report was suspended temporarily last February by the Connector, pending issuance of further guidance as well.

Technically, employers do not need to collect employee HIRD Forms for periods after 7/1/13.  However, I would suggest continuing to voluntarily collect HIRD Forms (as proof of offer and waiver of a section 125 plan option to employees) at least until the end of the year as a precautionary measure.  Employers should retain any HIRD Forms already collected to date for the requisite 3 year period or, if later, until the DUA FSC Unit has been disbanded.

Category: Chapter News

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