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2016.April.Affordability._NO_HRCIApplicable large employers (ALEs) are required to provide affordable health coverage to their full-time employees. Affordability is considered to be no more than 9.66 percent of an employee’s household income. In addition to multiple safe harbors that an employer can use to make its affordability calculations, affordability can be influenced by wellness programs, opt-outs or cash waivers, flex credits, and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs). Employees that are offered affordable health coverage are ineligible for an advance premium tax credit or subsidy in the Marketplace.

This webinar will discuss all the factors that affect affordability, how employers can calculate affordability, and best practices for selecting an affordability safe harbor.

This webinar will:

  • Explain what is considered “affordable” and how affordability is calculated
  • Discuss the three affordability safe harbors (W-2, federal poverty level, and rate of pay) and how they are calculated
  • Explain when certain affordability safe harbors cannot or should not be used for a particular employee population and discuss best practices for selecting and documenting affordability safe harbors
  • Explain how wellness program incentives and penalties affect affordability
  • Explain how HRAs may affect affordability, depending on their design
  • Provide information on the difference between a conditional opt-out waiver and an unconditional opt-out waiver, and how they affect affordability
  • Discuss flex credits and provide information about how they affect affordability
  • Provide best practices for educating employees about what “affordable” means and the impact on employees, their spouses and dependents, in relation to subsidy eligibility

This 90-minute beginner to intermediate level webinar will help employers understand the requirements of offering affordable health coverage.


 Kathleen R. Barrow is a Principal in the Rapid City, South Dakota, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She has designed welfare benefit plans and executive compensation arrangements, and has counseled sponsors and administrators of these types of plans, for 15 years.

Ms. Barrow has appeared on behalf of clients before the national offices of the United States Treasury and the Department of Labor Employee Benefit Security Administration.

Ms. Barrow actively participates in national coalitions of counsel that assist employers in defending audits of welfare and pension benefit plans. She advises clients and counsel across the country with regard to defined contribution arrangements that provide post-retirement health benefits to employees.

While attending law school, Ms. Barrow was a Managing Editor of the Oklahoma Law Review. After law school, Ms. Barrow clerked for the Honorable David L. Russell, Chief Judge for the United Staes District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.

  • April, 12 2016
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