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Spotlight on Health Care Reform with AICPA Insights Live

Health-careEveryone seems to have an opinion on the Affordable Care Act. But what about the facts and what about the impact for your clients?

Ted J. Sarenski, CPA/PFS, CFP, AEP, provided straightforward answers to these questions during the second webcast session of AICPA Insights Live on Oct. 18. His presentation, titled “What CPAs Need to Know to Advise Clients on Healthcare,” covered the latest developments regarding health care reform, including requirements, deadlines, the individual mandate, penalties and federal subsidies, as well as his predictions and advice for clients in 2014.

To start, what’s changed with the Affordable Care Act? Sarenski recapped the new ground rules for health insurance with a quick rundown:

  • In the past, some employers gave new hires a waiting period of longer than 90 days before coverage. The maximum period is now 90 days.
  • Annual or lifetime limits have been lifted.
  • Preexisting conditions cannot determine coverage, which is especially important for people changing jobs.
  • There is now a limit on how much an individual or family will pay in cost-sharing charges (such as deductibles, copayments, and co-insurance) each year.

Sarenski emphasized the responsibility and the opportunity for CPAs to guide clients through these changes, and the many changes sure to come, in the months and years ahead.

In his segment on the new Small Business Health Options Program for employers of 50 or fewer full-time employees, the small business health care tax credit and employer mandate penalties, Sarenski reiterated how CPAs can provide essential information during the decision-making process.

According to Sarenski, “It’s valuable information that [your clients] are not going to be getting necessarily, even from the insurance companies they currently do business with. They may have received some notices by the insurance companies, but as you and I know, you read some of those notices, and they just don’t explain things well.

“In fact this is a perfect time to do it, because between now and the end of the year, you’re doing a lot of discussions with your clients about tax planning, with the tax reform act, ATRA. You have investment decisions to make prior to year-end for tax purposes; you’ve got a lot of things to talk about with your clients — just add this to your list.”

The AICPA PFP Division has many financial planning resources available to help you provide health care planning services to your clients. PFP/PFS members can access more detailed information, like The CPA’s Guide to Financing Retirement Healthcare and Forefield Advisor's Health Care Reform Resource Center. Learn more about the latest health care changes and develop actionable steps to plan for health care reform at the Advanced Personal Financial Planning Conference Jan. 20 to 22 in Las Vegas. Learn how you can attend on-site or online.

Ted Sarenski, CPA/PFS, President & CEO, Blue Ocean Strategic Capital, LLC. Ted serves on the AICPA’s Advanced Personal Financial Planning Conference Committee and Financial Literacy Commission, in addition to chairing the AICPA Personal Financial Planning Executive Committee’s Elder Planning Task Force. 


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