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Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

December 30, 2010

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[Official Guidance]
Text of IRS Notice 2011-6: Form 5500 Declared Exempt from PTIN Requirement (PDF)
14 pages. Excerpt: "An individual must obtain a PTIN to prepare for compensation all or substantially all of any form except those specifically identified by the IRS as not subject to the requirements of §1.6109-2. At this time, the IRS identifies the following forms as not subject to the requirements of §1.6109-2: . . . . Form 5300, Application for Determination for Employee Benefit Plan; Form 5307, Application for Determination for Adopters of Master or Prototype or Volume Submitter Plans; Form 5310, Application for Determination for Terminating Plan; Form 5500 series; . . . . Form 8717 User Fee for Employee Plan Determination, Opinion, and Advisory Letter Request; . . . ."
(U.S. Internal Revenue Service)

[Guidance Overview]
IRS Guidance Delaying Enforcement of Nondiscrimination Rules for Insured Health Plans (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "As a more specific follow-up to the request for comments under Notice 2010-63, the IRS requested additional comments on issues that should be addressed in future guidance under PHSA section 2716, including, among others, the following issues: Whether the rate of employer contributions should be tested as a nondiscriminatory benefit; Whether application of nondiscrimination standards should be conducted on a geographic basis; Guidance on potential 'safe harbor' plan designs; and The potential aggregation of substantially similar coverage options for testing purposes. Comments are due by March 11, 2011."
(Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
IRS Guidance on Small Employer Health Care Tax Credit
Excerpt: "An employer (including a tax-exempt employer) will qualify for the tax credit if it satisfies the following requirements: The employer employs fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) during the tax year; The average annual wages for the tax year are less than $50,000 per FTE; and The employer paid health insurance premiums during the tax year under a 'qualifying arrangement.'"
(Miller, Johnson, Snell & Cummiskey P.L.C.)

[Guidance Overview]
New Medical Loss Ratio Regulations Provide Details on Future Rebates
Excerpt: "Insurers must submit reports regarding their medical loss ratios to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for calendar year 2011 by June 1, 2012. Insurers will be required to start providing rebates with respect to any medical loss ratio failures by August 2012."
(Miller, Johnson, Snell & Cummiskey P.L.C.)

[Guidance Overview]
IRS Extension of Effective Date of PPACA Nondiscrimination Rule & Issuance of Other PPACA Guidance
Excerpt: "The issuance of Notice 2011-1 means that for health plan provisions, as well as provisions touching on healthcare in employment contracts and separation agreements that extend into 2011, employers will not have to worry about the new nondiscrimination rules. This does not, however, impact plans, employment contracts and separation agreements with insured plan subsidies extending into 2012, nor does this Notice provide any relief from current nondiscrimination rules under self-insured medical benefit plans."
(Littler Mendelson P.C.)

[Opinion]
Health Law's Demise May Permit Best Plan
Excerpt: "If the health-care law is killed by the courts or Congress, its opponents will celebrate a Pyrrhic victory. They'll defeat something they don't like, but leave us all in the lurch -- at risk of losing our lives or our shirts if we get sick while uninsured. Defeating the new health-care law can represent a real victory only if we replace it and our entire health-care system with something that insures us all at reasonable cost. The Medical Security System, which I proposed in my 2007 book, 'The Healthcare Fix,' is what's needed."
(Bloomberg L.P.)




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Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
Cash-Settled Restricted Stock Units: Section 409A Leads to Valuation Disagreement
Excerpt: "How does one value a cash-settled RSU where payment is delayed for six months under the Section 409A rules? Does one use the value of the stock on the date of distribution, following the six month delay? Or is it instead proper to value the stock at the time of the executive's retirement that triggered the payment, ignoring the six month delay?"
(Utz, Miller & Eickman, LLC)

[Guidance Overview]
IRS Guidance on the Deduction Limitation for Executive Compensation of Code Section 162(m)(6) (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "Even with the guidance under Notice 2011-02, several significant questions remain regarding the application of Code section 162(m)(6). Accordingly, the Treasury Department and the IRS have requested comments on the application of the Notice, as well as all aspects of the application of Code section 162(m)(6). The agencies have specifically requested guidance on the application of the deduction limit to captive insurance companies, reinsurers that do not operate in the indemnity market, and certain stop loss insurance arrangements that may constitute direct insurance because the attachment point is so low."
(Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP)

Tax Legislation Affects Employee Benefits, Social Security Taxes and Individual Retirement Accounts
Excerpt: "Section 127 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 . . . permits an employee to exclude from income up to $5,250 annually for educational assistance benefits (such as tuition, fees, books and supplies) incurred by the employer on behalf of the employee."
(McGuireWoods LLP)

Top 11 Regulatory Changes for Small Business in 2011
Excerpt: "The start of the New Year ushers in a series of new regulatory, compliance and legislative changes that could potentially affect every small business. Payroll processor Paychex has released a list of the top 11 regulatory issues facing small businesses in 2011."
(Employee Benefit News; one-time free registration required)

[Opinion]
A 2011 Human Resources Forecast
Excerpt: "I am not really big on making 'lists' so you will not see from me lists of the good or bad or best or whatever. However, I am big on forecasts and I thought this one was good. It is from the Herman Trend Alert and is reproduced with permission."
(Omega HR Solutions, Inc.)


Press Releases


Newly Posted Employee Benefits Jobs

Benefits Consultant
for Corporate Synergies Group
in MD, PA

Regional Sales Manager
for Corporate Synergies Group
in MD




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