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Category: Health and Welfare Plans

ACA Compliance When Employees Move from Full-Time to Part-Time Mid-Year

We are well into the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) information reporting season. Forms 1095-B/1095-C must be provided to employees by March 1, 2024, and the deadline for electronic transmittal of Forms 1094-B/1094-C to the IRS is April 1, 2024. A common fact pattern that frequently results in ACA reporting...
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Safe Harbor Exception for De Minimis Dollar Amount Reporting Errors

As part of the routine administration of employee benefit plans, shortly after the end of a calendar year, many transactions must be reported to the federal government (“information returns”) and participants (“payee statements”) using forms such as Forms W-2, 1099, 1094, and 1095. As benefits professionals know, errors can—and...
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HIPAA Privacy Rule Changes: Just in time for the New Year?

In 2021, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed changes to the Privacy Rule under the Health Insurance Portability and Accessibility Act of 1996 (HIPAA) that would significantly alter the current regulations (Proposed Rules). The Proposed Rules are supposed to be finalized in 2023. Once the Proposed...
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Retiree Medical Coverage: Just Get the COBRA Waiver

The interaction between employer-provided retiree medical coverage and COBRA [1] is complex. Many employers incorrectly assume they do not have to offer COBRA at retirement if they offer a retiree medical plan or a retiree health reimbursement arrangement (HRA), but the calculus is not that simple. Whether there is...
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DOL Continues Enforcement of Non-Quantitative Treatment Limitation Requirements

Introduction : Fifteen months ago, we wrote that the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) had informed Congress that it intended to devote substantial resources to enforcing the new comparative analysis requirement for non-quantitative treatment limitations (“NQTLs”) required under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. (Read our blog...
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How to Comply with the Health FSA Debit Card Claims Substantiation Rules

The IRS’s recent Chief Counsel Advice Memorandum 202317020 (the “Memo”) brings into focus the importance of compliance with the debit card claims substantiation requirements for medical care expenses reimbursed or paid for through a health flexible spending account (“health FSA”) offered under a cafeteria plan. [1] The risk of...
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Gag Clauses – New Guidance and Litigation Will Inform Compliance

Certain provisions of the Transparency in Coverage Final Regulations and the Consolidated Appropriation Act, 2021 (“CAA”) require group health plans and/or their vendors to report information to federal agencies. On December 31, 2023, group health plans will have to provide an attestation concerning compliance with the prohibition on gag...
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A Last-Minute Gift – Prescription Drug Reporting Grace Period and Good Faith Relief

In a move akin to last-minute gift-giving, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury (the “Departments”) released FAQ 56 on December 23, 2022, which provides relief regarding the Prescription Drug Data Collection (“RxDC”) reporting requirements under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. The relief arrives a...
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IRS Guidance Expands Access to ACA Premium Tax Credit, Allows Cafeteria Plan Sponsors to Permit Employees to Revoke Family Coverage Mid-year

Final Regulations under Section 36B of the Internal Revenue Code On October 11, 2022, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Final Regulations under Code Section 36B relating to eligibility for the Affordable Care Act’s (“ACA’s”) premium tax credit (“PTC” or “subsidy”). The Final Regulations expand eligibility for the PTC...
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IRS Issues Guidance Clarifying the Application of COVID-19 Outbreak Period Extensions for Electing COBRA Continuation Coverage and Paying COBRA Premiums

On October 6, 2021, the IRS issued Notice 2021-58 , providing helpful guidance on COBRA continuation coverage in two key areas: (1) the application of the extended timeframes for electing COBRA continuation coverage and paying COBRA premiums in response to the on-going COVID-19 national emergency, and (2) the interaction...
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Self-Insured Group Health Plan Sponsors: Action Steps to Mitigate Risk Under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (“MHPAEA”) provisions of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (“CAA”) introduced a requirement that group health plans and insurance providers offering both medical and surgical benefits (“M/S benefits”) and mental health and substance use disorder benefits (“MH/SUD benefits”) that impose non-quantitative treatment...
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Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation 2021 Summer Client Advisory

Click here to view as a PDF. This Client Advisory summarizes developments in the law governing employee benefit plans prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We explain what these developments mean for plan sponsors and highlight the need to adopt plan amendments within limited time periods in order to fully...
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ARPA Premium Subsidy: Long-Awaited Details Finally Arrive

The IRS recently issued Notice 2021-31 , which provides much sought-after detail regarding the contours and operation of the temporary premium subsidy for COBRA continuation coverage available through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). As enacted on March 11, the basic mechanics of the COBRA premium subsidy...
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Identifying Plan Assets in ERISA Health & Welfare Plans

Last month, we advised readers of this blog to consider efforts to formalize the fiduciary governance of their health and welfare benefit plans. In that post , we described some of the reasons that employers have historically paid more attention to fiduciary compliance for retirement plans than health and...
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Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 Includes Flexible Spending Account Relief

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (the “Act”) was signed into law on December 27, 2020. Buried within its 5,593 pages is some welcome flexibility relating to 2020 and 2021 health care and dependent care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). Specifically: Expanded Carry-Over or Grace Period Under the Act, health...
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Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation 2020 Year-End Client Advisory

Click here to view as a PDF . This Client Advisory highlights important developments in the law governing employee benefit plans over the past year. It offers insight into what these developments mean for employers and plan sponsors and previews developments we expect to see in 2021. The following...
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ERISA and COBRA Implications for EAPs and Wellness Programs

There is a growing trend for employers to provide employee assistance programs (“EAPs”) and wellness programs for the benefit of their employees. Typically, the employer pays for benefits under these programs out of its general assets. These programs are designed to reduce health care costs, reduce absences from work...
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Allocation of Medical Loss Ratio Rebates and Premium Refunds

One consequence of the current COVID-19 crisis for group health plans has been the significant reduction in employee preventive care and elective medical procedures as people shelter in place and socially distance. When group health plan premiums were established last year, the underwriters could not have foreseen 2020’s underutilization...
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IRS and DOL Extend Certain Health & Welfare Benefit Plan-Related Deadlines

This post summarizes the health and welfare benefit plan-related deadline extensions described in IRS Notice 2020-23 issued April 9, 2020 and the DOL and Treasury Joint Notice issued April 28, 2020 (the “Joint Notice”). IRS Notice 2020-23 expands upon previously issued guidance extending certain tax filing and payment deadlines...
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With CARES Act, Congress provides retirement plan relief and group health plan changes

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law on March 27, 2020, includes a number of provisions that affect retirement plan sponsors and participants. These provisions are designed to provide relief to participants and employers facing financial difficulty as a result of the coronavirus pandemic...
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Paying Health Insurance Premiums for Furloughed or Laid Off Employees

Employers of all sizes in nearly every industry have had to lay off or furlough employees in an attempt to deal with the massive business disruptions caused by the spread of COVID-19. Facing this reality, many employers have asked whether they can pay monthly health insurance premiums on behalf...
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High-deductible health plans can cover coronavirus costs

Recognizing the need to eliminate potential administrative and financial barriers to testing for and treatment of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), in Notice 2020-15 , posted today on IRS.gov, the IRS advised that high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) can pay for COVID-19-related testing and treatment, without jeopardizing their status. This...
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December 2019 Client Advisory

This Client Advisory, originally distributed in December 2019, highlights important developments in the law governing employee benefit plans and executive compensation over the past year. It offers insight into what these developments mean for employers and plan sponsors and previews developments we expect to see in 2020. The following...
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Form 1094 and Form 1095 Reporting for Expatriate Employees

Every IRS Form 1094/1095 filing season (roughly January and February of each year), we receive questions on reporting for expatriate employees. The most common questions: do we need to furnish a Form to expat employees working in the U.S. (sometimes called "inpats") who are covered under a regular or...
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December 2018 Client Advisory

This Client Advisory, originally distributed in December 2018, highlights important developments in the law governing employee benefit plans and executive compensation over the past year. It offers insight into what these developments mean for employers and plan sponsors and previews developments we expect to see in 2019. The following...
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