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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 (62)


2013 Year End Benefit Plan Compliance Update and Reminders for Employers

As 2013 draws to a close and we look ahead to 2014, there is no shortage of benefit plan administrative challenges with which employers must contend.  While the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (“ACA”) remains very much at the forefront of these challenges, retirement plan and deferred compensation plan administration continue to require attention.  With that in mind, we offer the following non-exhaustive summary of key legal compliance matters to keep in mind while closing out this year and planning for next year.

Health Care Reform Update

Despite the waves of political and judicial attacks that are not expected to let up – and the missteps that marred the roll out of – the ACA continues to be the law of the land.  The implementation of some important components of the ACA has been delayed, however, and some elements of the law have been modified.  Beyond well-publicized notice and other requirements that took effect earlier this year, employers should take note of the following:

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IRS Modifies Health FSA Rules to Permit Carryover of up to $500

 Late last week the IRS released Notice 2013-71, modifying the health flexible spending account (“health FSA”) use-it-or-lose-it rule to allow participants to carry over up to $500 in unused health FSA funds.  Although not unexpected (the Service has hinted at such a change a number of times over the past year), this new feature is welcome relief to participants and plan sponsors.  Plan sponsors may adopt this optional amendment effective as early as the 2013 plan year.

Notice 2013-71 provides that a plan sponsor may, at its option, allow a participant to carry over up to $500 of unused health FSA funds to the immediately following plan year.  Unused health FSA funds are those remaining at the end of the plan’s run-out period (if any), and do not count against the limit on participant salary reduction contributions.  Accordingly, a participant could elect to contribute the full $2,500 (as indexed in future years) permitted by law and also carryover as much as $500.

An employer wishing to adopt this new carryover feature must...

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Mid-Year Health Plan Compliance Update

Developments in the employee health plan arena have come fast and furious in the first half of 2013, and there is no lack of compliance activities to occupy the time of human resources and employee benefits professionals.  We offer this collection of key developments for employers to consider as they move into the second half of 2013.

Health Care Reform

While the federal agencies charged with implementing the Affordable Care Act have kept up the impressive pace of publishing regulations and other guidance, the most significant development in this area was the decision of the Obama administration to delay enforcement of the employer mandate.  The meaning and scope of this temporary reprieve are explained briefly below.  “Large employers” that will be subject to the employer shared responsibility mandate should use this extra time to make thoughtful preparations to comply with the mandate, and employers at or near the 50-employee threshold should use the extra time to determine whether their business plans may result in the need to comply with the mandate.  Key issues include the following:

  • Delay in enforcement of the employer mandate.  The federal government has delayed employer shared responsibility reporting obligations and penalties until 2015.  Accordingly, businesses will not be penalized in 2014 for failure to offer their full-time employees health coverage that is affordable and meets minimum value requirements.  Despite the postponement in reporting, employers are still required to provide individual requesting employees with certain information that will assist the IRS in determining whether the employee is eligible for a premium tax credit.  As further discussed below, the delayed enforcement of the employer mandate does not affect...

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Seasonal Workers and Your Employee Benefit Plans

Summer is fast approaching and we find ourselves answering a number of questions regarding the coverage of seasonal workers in employee benefit plans.  For employers planning to ramp up hiring for the summer season we offer this brief review of the treatment of seasonal employees for purposes of your employee benefit plans, with emphasis on issues under the Affordable Care Act. 

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HIPAA Compliance for Group Health Plans – Next Steps for Employers

In three previous posts devoted to the new Final Omnibus Rule under HIPAA we highlighted important changes regarding privacy breach notifications, business associates and business associate arrangements, and increased penalties and enforcement activity.  We will complete our series regarding these significant new rules by suggesting steps that employers should begin to take now in order to meet the compliance deadline of September 23, 2013.  While these steps are most relevant for employers that sponsor self-funded group health plans, which are considered “covered entities” for HIPAA purposes, we note that employers who provide health benefits to employees through fully insured arrangements must also be mindful of HIPAA requirements.

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