As the number of reported cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to rise, employers are increasingly confronted with the possibility of an outbreak in the workplace.

Employers are obligated to maintain a safe and healthy work environment for their employees, but are also subject to a number of legal requirements protecting workers. For example, employers must comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in their approach to dealing with COVID-19.

Our latest Compliance Bulletin provides a summary of the compliance issues facing employers in this type of situation. To continue reading the Bulletin, please click here.

If we can answer any questions or be of any assistance throughout the year, please do not hesitate to contact us.

AHERN is excited to present the first edition (January-April) of our webinar series calendar for 2020!

These webinar programs are valid for one (1) Professional Development Credit towards the SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) SHRM-CP/SHRM-SCP designations and meets the HR Certification Institute’s (HRCI) criteria for recertification credit pre-approval. Please note that these webinars do not qualify for MCLE credit.

We encourage you to take advantage of these free and informative webinars.

Click on the below invitations to register.

Legislative and judicial activities during the week of December 16, 2019 produced significant developments with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). On December 18, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a ruling in Texas v. United States finding the ACA’s individual mandate to be unconstitutional, and on December 19, Congress passed a spending bill that contains the full repeal of three ACA taxes. These developments will have a disparate effect on employers.

Repealed Taxes  

The spending deal approved by Congress and later signed by President Trump provides government funding and addresses numerous policy initiatives. One part of the spending package contains the repeal of three ACA taxes: the Cadillac tax, the medical device tax, and the health insurance tax. While the repeals are unsurprising, they signal a considerable loss of funding intended to help pay for health coverage expansion under the ACA.

Cadillac Tax

Designed to discourage high-cost employer-sponsored health plans, the Cadillac tax imposes a 40% excise tax on coverage in excess of certain premium thresholds. Largely unpopular, implementation of the Cadillac tax was delayed several times, with its most recent implementation date scheduled for 2022. As a result of the passage of the spending bill, the Cadillac tax will be repealed as of January 1, 2020, without ever having taken effect.

Medical Device Tax

The medical device tax is a 2.3% excise tax on the gross sales of medical devices, such as pacemakers, x-ray machines, and other hospital equipment. The tax took effect in 2013 and was shortly thereafter suspended by Congress. The tax has not been in effect since 2016 and will be repealed as of January 1, 2020.

Health Insurance Tax

The health insurance tax applies to health insurers that offer individual and group medical insurance policies, as well as public programs like Medicaid and Medicare. Though the tax applies directly to insurers, most carriers build the amount of the tax into insurance policy premiums, effectively passing the cost on to employers and individuals. Because of this adverse impact on premiums, the tax was twice suspended in 2017 and 2019. Unlike the Cadillac and medical device taxes, repeal of the health insurance tax will not take effect until 2021. Consequently, insurance premiums for 2020 will continue to reflect the cost of this tax.

Appellate Court Decision

In the case of Texas v. United States, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld the district court’s 2018 ruling that the ACA’s individual mandate is unconstitutional. The plaintiffs argued that because the individual mandate penalty was reduced to $0, it is no longer a tax as originally characterized by the U.S. Supreme Court and therefore violates the Constitution.

The appellate court declined to rule on other issues previously raised by the district court, including the question of whether the individual mandate can be severed from the rest of the ACA or whether the entirety of the law will be invalid without it. Instead, the appellate court sent the case back to the district court to determine if any other provisions of the ACA should be struck down along with the individual mandate.

What this Means for Employers

Employers may experience some relief from the repeal of the ACA taxes. Sponsors of insured health plans can anticipate potentially lower premiums beginning in 2021 due to the absence of the built-in cost of the health insurance tax, and sponsors of high-value coverage can continue to offer rich plans free from imposition of an excise tax into 2022.

However, the impact of the court decision in Texas v. United States will take longer to become clear. Though the ruling does deem the individual mandate unconstitutional, all other aspects of the ACA remain in full effect pending further analysis – including the employer shared responsibility provisions and reporting obligations under Internal Revenue Code Sections 6055 and 6056. Additionally, the defendants in the case have signaled that they are prepared to take the unfavorable ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, which would dramatically lengthen this judicial process.

Importantly, the court’s ruling on the constitutionality of the ACA’s individual mandate has no impact on similar laws enacted by some states, such as California and Massachusetts. Employers (and individuals) in these states should be mindful of the requirements that will continue to be imposed under such laws.

Click here to download this Benefits Bulletin.

AHERN Insurance Brokerage is honored to announce that we have been appointed as one of only three brokers nationwide to have access to a new program created specifically for Debt Collection lawyers, CollectProtect.

The CollectProtect program provides customized enhancements specifically for the distinct professional risks that Debt Collection lawyers face.

Key Enhancements of the policy include:

Expanded Definition of Damages
CollectProtect incorporates fines and penalties coverage for the FDCPA/FRCA to the full limit of the policy, and a $500K sublimit for TCPA. Damages includes pre-and-post judgement interest, punitive and exemplary damages.

Pre-approved Defense Counsel
Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker is pre-approved as defense counsel.

Mutual Selection of Defense Counsel
In tandem with the pre-approved Defense Counsel provision, CollectProtect makes overall selection of counsel mutual.

Optional Coverages for Eligible Firms include:
* Client/Project Specific Coverage
* Self-Representation & Bordereau Reporting

Program Eligibility – Key Guidelines:
* Law Firms with at least 50% AOP in Collections
* Law Firms with 5-150 attorneys

Limits up to $5,000,000 Per Claim / $5,000,000 Annual aggregate are available, with a minimum retention of $25,000. This program is underwritten by a non-admitted carrier rated “A” (Excellent) by A.M. Best.

For additional information about the CollectProtect program, please click here or contact:

Shawn M. Royle | Chief Executive Officer
T: (858) 514-7123 | E:

Did you know that AHERN Insurance Brokerage offers an exclusive Lawyers Professional Liability program just for SDCBA Members through AXA XL? This successful program has been in existence since 2004 with over 400 San Diego firms selecting coverage with AXA XL.

* SDCBA Members can save up to 20% on this exclusive program *

See video below of SDCBA Member Stephen Grebing of Wingert, Grebing, Brubaker & Juskie, LLP sharing how the SDCBA’s exclusive member benefit provided by AHERN Insurance Brokerage saved his firm over $15,000 a year, on top of other SDCBA member benefits and savings.

Please click here for more information or apply online today!

AHERN is proud to sponsor The Bar Association of San Francisco’s Women’s Impact Network – No Glass Ceiling 2.0 Conference on November 21, 2019.

The BASF Women’s Conference affords participants an opportunity to hear from and engage with leaders in the legal profession and the business world about ways to make an impact and redefine the culture for people of all genders.

November 21, 2019: 3:00 pm – 8:00 pm
MCLE Credits – 3 H, of which 1 hour is in Elimination of Bias

Please click here for more information.



AHERN is proud to sponsor The Bar Association of San Francisco’s 2019 Cannabis Conference on October 30th, 2019!

This half-day event gives practitioners the opportunity to learn about the current legal and regulatory developments affecting the Cannabis industry.

The BASF Cannabis Conference provides attorneys an opportunity to enhance their practical skills in the rapidly-evolving cannabis space; offers attorneys the chance to learn about the cannabis industry and movement; and provides attorneys the chance to build connections and a strong bar for San Francisco.

October 30, 2019: 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
MCLE Credits – 3 H, of which 1 Hour is in Recognition & Elimination of Bias in the Legal Profession and Society

Please click here for more information.



We are proud to announce that AHERN is featured in Attorney at Law Magazine’s Vendor Spotlight this month!

Please click here to read the article, “AHERN Insurance Brokerage: Unique Expertise.”