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Health Care Reform News

Proposed rules issued - Shared responsibility for employers regarding health coverage

December 28, 2012


The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued proposed rules containing guidance on shared responsibility for employers regarding employee health coverage. These proposed regulations would affect only employers that meet the definition of "applicable large employer" (described below). In general, the proposed rules state that employers with 50 or more full-time employees may be subject to a tax penalty if:

  • The employer does not offer full-time employees (and their dependents) the option of enrolling in minimum essential coverage (MEC) under an eligible employer-sponsored plan, and any of their full-time employees are certified as having received an applicable premium tax credit or cost sharing reduction, or
  • The employer offers full-time employees (and their dependents) the option of enrolling in MEC under an eligible employer-sponsored plan and one or more full-time employees is certified to the employer as having received an applicable premium tax credit or cost-sharing reduction.

The IRS is seeking comments on the proposed rules. The comment period ends on March 18, 2013. Information about the comment process is contained in the rules.


The IRS has also issued a series of questions and answers (attached) on shared responsibility requirements, including:

  • Rules for calculating the number of full-time employees for large employers
  • Seasonal worker exceptions
  • Employers who were not in existence in the previous calendar year
  • Employees working outside the U.S.
  • Special Rules for government entities, churches, and conventions and associations of churches

To learn more about this proposed rule, see the attached IRS document and Q&A. Please know that the information Wellmark is providing is for informational purposes only. These proposed rules are not binding until final regulation has been issued.


We will continue to provide timely information as it becomes available. Additional information on health care reform can be found on


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