The healthcare reform law required all group health plans – single employer, multiemployer, self-insured, fully-insured, grandfathered or not – to phase out annual limits on the dollar value of essential health benefits beginning January 1, 2011 for calendar year plans. Temporary one-year waivers of the restrictions on annual limits have been available under a federal government program for plans that would experience a significant decrease in access to benefits or a significant increase in premiums on account of the restrictions on annual limits. This waiver program, however, is coming to an end. Applications for new waivers or extensions of existing one-year waivers will not be accepted by the program after September 22, 2011. If your plan does not have a waiver or extension, it must immediately meet the annual limit requirements or face an excise tax of $100 per day, per affected individual.
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