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DISCLAIMER: This blog is published for general information only - it is not intended to constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon by any person as legal advice.  U.S. Treasury Regulations require us to notify you that any tax-related material in this blog (including links and attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties, and may not be referred to in any marketing or promotional materials.  While we welcome you to contact our authors, the submission of a comment or question does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and you. 

Entries in Health Plans (61)

Wednesday
Jun062018

Near Unity Among the Circuits: Anti-Assignment Provisions are Enforceable

U.S. Courts of Appeals in all but four Circuits have now held that anti-assignment provisions in health insurance plans governed by ERISA are enforceable.  In American Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine v. Independence Blue Cross Blue Shield, No. 17-1663, 2018 WL 2224394 (3d Cir. May 16, 2018) the Third Circuit joined the First, Second, Fifth, Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeals in holding that an anti-assignment provision effectively prevents a plan participant from assigning her right to sue for benefits under ERISA to a third party. 

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Tuesday
May012018

Wellness Programs: Where are we now?

Wellness programs are governed by overlapping and, at times, maddeningly inconsistent regulations and agency guidance.  Litigation challenging the wellness program rules issued by the EEOC in 2016 has added another layer of complexity for employers attempting to design and administer wellness programs in compliance with applicable law.  Nevertheless, wellness programs remain extremely popular among employers of all sizes and across all industry groups.  Below is a brief overview of the current state of the law governing wellness plans and a few practical recommendations to employers for navigating the evolving regulatory environment. 

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Thursday
Mar152018

IRS Reduces 2018 HSA Family Contribution Limit

UPDATE: On April 26, 2018, the IRS reversed course and restored the limit on deductible contributions to health savings accounts (HSAs) for individuals with family coverage under a high deductible health plan to $6,900, the original amount announced last fall.  According to the IRS, individuals who received an excess contribution distribution based on the $6,850 limit announced earlier this year may either treat the distribution as based on mistake of fact and restore the contribution, or may keep the distribution free from penalty taxes as a distribution of an excess contribution.

 

The IRS has lowered the dollar limit on deductible contributions to health savings accounts (HSAs) for individuals with family coverage under a high deductible health plan.  The new limit for 2018 is $6,850, down from the $6,900 limit announced last fall.

Rev. Proc. 2018-18, issued on March 5, 2018, adjusted the limit to account for changes resulting from the tax reform bill passed in December.  The limit for individuals with self-only coverage remains $3,450.  There is no change to deductible and out-of-pocket expense limits for a plan to qualify as an HDHP.

Employers who have already contributed the maximum amount to employees’ HSAs for 2018 based on the higher limit should correct the contribution as necessary, and employers offering HDHPs may wish to notify employees that may be affected by the change.

Rev. Proc. 2018-18 announces inflation adjustments and modifies a variety of tax-related limitations, including limits on excludable amounts under adoption assistance programs.  The limit for benefits that may be excluded from income under an adoption assistance program is now $13,810, down from $13,840 as previously announced.  The income phase-out for this exclusion now begins at $207,140 and fully phases out at $247,140, down from $207,580 and $247,580.

Thursday
Aug102017

Sound Process and Good Recordkeeping Demonstrate Compliance with COBRA Notice Requirements

Earlier this year the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals provided a reminder of how important it is for an employer to establish and follow proper COBRA notice procedures and preserve some type of evidence that the procedures are followed.  Employers who do those things will find that their efforts are rewarded if a COBRA beneficiary claims the employer failed to comply with COBRA's notice requirements.

In DeBene v. BayCare Health System, Inc., the Eleventh Circuit upheld a summary judgment issued against Paul DeBene, a former employee of BayCare Health Systems.  Among other claims, DeBene alleged that he did not receive the required COBRA notice after terminating employment.  In ruling for BayCare the court cited BayCare’s notice procedures, evidence that those procedures were followed, and evidence that other notices sent on the same day successfully reached their intended recipients.  The court determined that such evidence was sufficient to show that BayCare met its obligations under COBRA, regardless of whether DeBene actually received the notice.

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Wednesday
May252016

EEOC Doubles Down: Final Wellness Program Rules Under ADA and GINA – Part II

Last week the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued final rules for wellness programs under both the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (the “Final ADA Rule”) and the Genetic Information and Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) (the “Final GINA Rule”). 

Part I of this two-part series addressed the Final ADA Rule.  In Part II, we discuss the Final GINA Rule.  Like the Final ADA Rule, the Final GINA Rule is generally consistent with the proposed rule published by the EEOC in October 2015.  The Final GINA Rule simply clarifies the type of information regulated by the rule and the level of financial incentives that may be offered by an employer in exchange for certain health information about an employee’s spouse and children. 

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