EmployeeBenefitsJobs.com logo BenefitsLink.com logo

BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

October 2, 2013          Get Retirement News  |  Advertise
         Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Plan Information Specialist I
National Automobile Dealers Association
in VA

Retirement Benefits Specialist
Capital Strategies Investment Group
in IL

Plan Document Specialist
Kravitz, Inc.
in CA

Post Your Job

View All Jobs

RSS feed for jobs RSS Feed: All Jobs

Webcasts and Conferences

Teleconference: Impact of Agency Guidance on HRAs, Private Exchanges, Premium Reimbursement Accounts and Pre-tax Treatment of Individual Medical Coverage
October 9, 2013 WEBCAST
(Employers Council on Flexible Compensation (ECFC))

Affordable Care Act 101 Webinar
October 17, 2013 WEBCAST
(U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA))

Effective ESOP Administrative Committees
December 3, 2013 WEBCAST
(National Center for Employee Ownership)

Gathering Ideas to Foster Innovation
December 10, 2013 WEBCAST
(National Center for Employee Ownership)

View All Webcasts and Conferences

  LinkedIn   Twitter   Facebook Hand-picked links to the web's best news articles,
official guidance, jobs, webcasts and more.
[Official Guidance]

Text of CMS Agent and Broker FAQ #1: Operational Tips for Completing Agent and Broker Registration for the Federally-facilitated Marketplaces (PDF)
22 Q&As about the registration process. Questions include: How do agents/brokers register for the [Federally-Facilitated Marketplace (FFM)]? Is there a deadline to complete the agent/broker registration with the FFM? How are corporate [National Producer Numbers (NPNs)] registered for the FFMs? Can I get a PDF version of the agent/broker training? Can I download the agent/broker training? (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)  


Register Now For ACA University

Sponsored by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP)

The International Foundation's ACA University features live webcasts, Q&A sessions with industry experts, clearly written FAQs and more! All accessible 24/7 to help you react quickly to Affordable Care Act regulations. Register Now!

[Guidance Overview]

Account-Based Health Reimbursement Plans and IRS Notice 2013-54
"The Notice ... does not address employer-funded individual health plans.... Employers should be extremely cautious before pursuing this method of funding health insurance plans for their employees. Finally, the notice does not explain its position in Q&A 7: 'Because a health FSA that is not excepted benefits is not integrated with a group health plan, it will fail to meet the preventive services requirements.' ... Presumably the Departments have taken the position that an annual limit on claims in the health FSA is simply incompatible with the rule that no cost-sharing can occur on preventive care." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business / ftwilliam.com)  

[Guidance Overview]

Agencies Release Guidance on HRAs, FSAs, and Employer Payment Plans
"[T]he agencies are generally viewing HRAs, FSAs, and Employer Payment Plans as group health plans for purposes of ACA. This means that these arrangements will qualify as 'minimum essential coverage' for covered employees (i.e., they will preclude employees from receiving a premium credit), unless they are 'excepted benefits' ... [At] least through 2014, coverage under an employee assistance program (EAP) will be considered an 'excepted benefit' as long as the EAP does not provide significant treatment in the nature of medical care or treatment. For this purpose, employers may use a reasonable, good faith interpretation of whether an EAP provides significant benefits in the nature of medical care or treatment." (Proskauer's ERISA Practice Center)  

[Guidance Overview]

Agencies Slam the Door on Pre-Tax Payments for Individual Health Insurance
"[S]ome employers have considered moving to an 'account balance' approach. They would simply deposit pre-tax dollars into an account ... that each employee could then use to purchase individual health insurance. However, in coordinated guidance issued on September 13, 2013, the three agencies charged with implementing the ACA have slammed the door on this approach.... As if this were not enough, the guidance goes beyond HRAs. It applies to any pre-tax payment of premiums for an employee's individual health insurance. This includes employee pre-tax premiums that are paid through a cafeteria plan (which are pre-tax only because they are treated as employer payments). Many employers have been offering this option under their cafeteria plans for a number of years." (Spencer Fane)  

[Guidance Overview]

Employee Assistance Programs under the ACA
"Through at least the end of 2014, the agencies will view any EAP that does not provide significant medical benefits as an 'excepted benefit' -- and therefore exempt from most of the ACA rules. Thus, such an EAP need not comply with the prohibition on annual or lifetime limits, need not provide first-dollar coverage for preventive-care services, and need not issue an SBC.... An EAP's status as an excepted benefit also has implications under both the individual mandate and the employer play-or-pay rules.... [An] employee who is covered by an EAP that constitutes an excepted benefit may still qualify for a federal tax subsidy to purchase coverage on an Exchange[.]" (Spencer Fane)  


Compliance, Legislation and Litigation -- SWBA/IRS Annual Conference - Nov. 7-8 - Dallas, TX

Sponsored by SouthWest Benefits Association

Staying up to date in the challenging world of employee benefits has never been more critical to the success of benefits professionals and their companies. Attending the SWBA/IRS Employee Benefits Conference is the most cost-effective way to stay informed.

Waiting in the Wings: Obamacare's Nondiscrimination Rules for Insured Group Health Plans
"One of the traditional quirks in the taxation of employee benefits is that, whereas self-insured health plans are subject to significant and potentially punitive nondiscrimination rules under Code Section 105(h), health plans funded through commercial insurance are subject to no discrimination rules.... [T]he ACA added ... Section 2716 of the PHS Act [which] provides that an insured group health plan must satisfy the requirements of Code Section 105(h) and that 'rules similar' to those under Section 105(h) shall apply to insured plans." (Baker Newman Noyes)  

ACA's Cost Impact: Employer-Sponsored Health Plans
"More than two-thirds of employers currently providing health benefits (69%) have analyzed how ACA will affect their health care plan costs.... About one in seven (14%) organizations with knowledge of their cost trends reports no change or a decrease in costs for 2013 due to ACA.... [A] considerable portion of smaller employers are experiencing 2013 cost increases beyond 15% due to ACA. The top three ACA provisions identified as impacting 2013 health benefit costs are the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) fee (38%), general ACA administrative costs (35%) and explaining ACA provisions to participants (28%)." (International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP])  

Understanding the New Premium Assistance Tax Credit Under Obamacare
"[T]he introduction of the premium assistance tax credit creates a new series of rules that financial planners must be aware of, for a wide range of clients who may potentially be eligible for the credit, which can apply for individuals with income up to $45,960 and a family of four earning $94,200 (in 2013, and adjusted annually for inflation). And given the dollar amounts involved for the credit itself (which can be worth several thousand dollars to a family), the ramifications of effective health insurance tax credit planning can be significant." (Michael Kitces in Nerd's Eye View)  

ACA Reporting: A Peek Into The Future
"For employers that are part of a controlled group of related employers, these reporting requirements place the responsibility on each employer even if there is a health plan that is common to all. Employers may contract with third party providers or other members of the employer group to prepare and file the reports ... but the proposed regulations contain certain requirements and provisions that must be in writing between the parties, requiring careful contract review. HIPAA privacy and security also should be addressed." (Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP)  

21% of Americans Without Health Insurance Do Not Use the Internet
"While those who already have health insurance are urged to explore getting a new plan in the exchanges, most proponents say signing up the uninsured is a priority. Some of the groups most likely to not have health insurance are the same as those groups most likely to not be online. This includes Hispanics, those who have not attended college, and those living in lower-income households." (Pew Research Center)  

Web Traffic, Glitches Slow Launch of Obamacare Exchanges
"[C]hecks in at least 47 states throughout the day turned up frequent error messages or traffic overload notices, particularly for 36 sites run by the federal government. One frequently observed glitch involved a page asking the user to answer security questions that either went blank or would not accept new data.... [HHS] said 2.8 million people visited the federal HealthCare.gov since midnight, with 81,000 reaching out to call centers and 60,000 requesting live chats." (Reuters)  


This is What a Train Wreck Looks Like
"MSNBC, an ardent supporter of both the President and his health care law, sat down to bask in the glory of ObamaCare.... It's painful to watch, yet you just can't stop looking. The reporter attempted to sign up but ran in to problem after problem ... Error pages, web chats that didn't go anywhere, horrible customer service reminiscent of the IRS, and in the end, no ObamaCare. In fact, in the irony of ironies, the only part about the ObamaCare signup process that worked was the government's data collection program. So the government gets your information, but you don't get ObamaCare." (American Center for Law and Justice)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

When Is It Too Late? U.S. Supreme Court Will Hear Case on Statute of Limitations Contained in Employee Benefit Plan
"The Court must decide whether a claim for benefits under [ERISA] can accrue -- and the limitations start -- even before the participant or beneficiary has exhausted the plan's claims and appeals procedures and is legally permitted to sue on that claim. This case is important for plan sponsors that have written (or are contemplating writing) a statute of limitations into their benefit plans limiting the time that participants and beneficiaries can sue the plan over a denied benefit claim, especially where that limitations period begins before final denial." [Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co. appeal from Second Circuit; oral argument to be heard on October 15, 2013.] (Trucker Huss)  

Press Releases

Connect   LinkedIn   Twitter   Facebook
BenefitsLink.com, Inc.
1298 Minnesota Avenue, Suite H
Winter Park, Florida 32789
Phone (407) 644-4146
Fax (407) 644-2151

Lois Baker, J.D., President
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher
Holly Horton, Business Manager

Copyright © 2013 BenefitsLink.com, Inc. -- but feel free to forward this newsletter without further permission from us, if you do not modify the newsletter in any way (including this lower portion).

All materials contained in this newsletter are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of BenefitsLink.com, Inc., or in the case of third party materials, the owner of that content. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.

Links to Web sites other than those owned by BenefitsLink.com, Inc. are offered as a service to readers. The editorial staff of BenefitsLink.com, Inc. was not involved in their production and is not responsible for their content.

Useful links: