It seems shortsighted that only tobacco related programs can be counted towards the “affordability” standard to which corporations will be held by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The cost of smoking cessation programs is the only wellness plan incentive employers can count toward the 9.5 percent affordability ceiling when (and if) the act takes full effect as now scheduled in 2015. The program cost is subtracted from the overall cost of coverage when the IRS crunches the numbers to see whether an employer has offered an employee coverage that is less than 9.5 percent of his or her household income.
This month, the ERISA Industry Committee urged the IRS to modify the proposed rules to provide that the value of all wellness incentives – and not just those related to tobacco use – are taken into account for purposes of determining affordability of an employer-sponsored plan and whether the plan provides minimum value,” the letter stated.
Couldn’t agree more.