Issues coming over the next four years
The heathcare reform law has far reaching effects and drastic changes to the heathcare system. Necessarily, these changes are spread out over an extensive period of time, with a gradual rollout. A timeline of important dates to keep in mind for strategic purposes is listed below.
Beginning in 2011, employees will have a right to request a W-2 form anytime during the year, once they have been terminated. Although it is not likely that most employees will get an early start on their taxes, employers should be aware of this new possibility.
More importantly, for the 2011 tax year, employers will be required to start reporting on the W-2 form the value of the health insurance premiums paid for each employee. This would include both the employee and employer's share of the premium.
Out of all the changes in the healthcare law, this one might be one of the most beneficial, as employees will finally get to see what their healthcare really costs (not just their share). Contrary to rumors that have been circulating recently, these amounts will not be taxable.
Also in 2011, flexible spending amounts (FSAs) will be changed to only allow reimbursement for prescription drugs and not over the counter medication.
Starting in 2013, there will be additional Medicare taxes on individuals making more than $200,000 per year and couples making more than $250,000 annually. These Medicare taxes will not be paid by the employer, but instead, only the employee. In 2013, the law also implements changes to FSAs limiting the maximum amount available for such accounts to $2,500.