Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

January 4, 2016

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Defined Contribution Plan Administrator
N.A. Falcone & Associates, Inc.
in PA

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Owen-Dunn Insurance Services
in CA

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Dixon Hughes Goodman, LLP
in VA

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Alliance Pension Consultants, LLC
in IL

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February 4, 2016 WEBCAST
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[Guidance Overview]

ACA Reporting Requirements for Carriers and Employers (Part 24 of 24): 5 Predictions
"Carriers and employers, and their vendors, service providers and strategic partners, have scrambled up a steep learning curve.... This post offers some predictions about how [the authors] expect compliance to unfold. [1] MEC Reporting will work as advertised -- for the most part ... [2] Software solutions for applicable large employers may work and will converge ... [3] For employers, the first year will be chaos ... [4] Also for employers, there will be some unwelcome surprises ... [5] Despite items [1] through [4], there will be few train wrecks." (Mintz Levin)  


[Advert.]

Executive Forum on Rewarding Healthy Behaviors Feb 2-3 - Las Vegas

Sponsored by World Congress

Learn how innovative workplace wellness strategies, preventive health management initiatives, and evidence-based success impact workforce productivity and increase ROI. HR/Benefits Staff: Use code BLINK2 to attend for $195.



[Guidance Overview]

Form 1095 Deadlines Extended and Other December Developments Impacting Health Benefits
"Two-year delay of the Cadillac Tax ... Pay or play penalties indexed for 2015 and 2016 ... Pay or play 9.5% affordability percentage indexed for 2015 and 2016 ... Disability benefits = hours of service while employed ... Opt-out payments impact the affordability of coverage (but not yet) ... Employers subject to the Service Contract Act catch an overdue break ... More rules for HRAs." (Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP)  

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Extends Due Dates for 2015 Forms 1094 and 1095
"The extended deadline for furnishing statements to individuals falls just two weeks before the April 15 filing deadline for individual tax returns. The Notice provides relief for individuals who will have already filed an individual return before receiving a Form 1095; generally they are not required to file an amended return so long as they keep the Form 1095 with their tax records." (Thomson Reuters / EBIA)  

[Guidance Overview]

ACA Extensions Granted: Happy New Year from the IRS!
"[T]he extensions granted by Notice 2016-4 are automatic -- reporting entities are not required to seek IRS approval or make additional submissions to request or claim an extension.... Furnishing or filing the forms after the extended deadline and making reasonable efforts to prepare for the reporting requirements will be mitigating factors in any penalty assessments." (Ogletree Deakins)  

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Issues Guidance on Restored Health Coverage Tax Credit
"The HCTC had expired on January 1, 2014, but trade legislation that passed in June 2015 reinstated, modified, and extended it for eligible coverage months through 2019 ... The new guidance provides information on the revised HCTC, including who may claim it, procedures to claim it for 2014 and 2015, and the interaction of the HCTC with health care reform's premium tax credit for coverage through an Exchange." (Thomson Reuters / EBIA)  


[Advert.]

You are invited to Private Exchange FORUM Dallas Feb 23-24, 2016

Sponsored by Institute for Healthcare Consumerism [IHC]

Join us in Dallas Feb. 23-24 at Private Exchange FORUM, the leading event on private exchanges! Learn next steps and best practices in health care consumerism and plan design, as well as ACA compliance and reporting issues for 2016 and beyond!



District Court Rebuffs EEOC Challenge, Finds Health Coverage Made Available Only to Wellness Program Participants Is OK Under ADA Safe Harbor
"In many cases, employers incentivize employees to participate through premium discounts, reductions in cost sharing or other inducements. In a recent case, an employer went a little further, designing its self-funded plan to be available only to those employees who participated in an HRA and biometric screenings (regardless of the results). Challenged by the EEOC, this employer prevailed under the Americans With Disabilities Act's 'safe harbor' exception." [EEOC v. Flambeau, Inc., No. 3:14-cv-00638 (W.D. Wis. Dec. 30, 2015)] (Jackson Lewis P.C.)  

When Wellness Programs Don't Work
"[E]mployers are dedicating themselves to bolstering their wellness efforts, but struggling to get employees engaged in these programs. Why? As is often the case, ineffective and/or inadequate communication is part of the problem ... 'There's a disconnect between what employees need and the programs employers are offering,' says [Emily Noll of CBIZ] ... 'It seems like wellness programs are being prescribed, and companies aren't actually having conversations with employees about their well-being.' " (Human Resource Executive Online)  

Under the ACA, Do Employers Need to Offer Coverage to Employees Working Abroad?
"Employers that only employ U.S. citizens working abroad, being paid from foreign sources, are likely not subject to the ACA mandates.... [F]or employers with employees working domestically and abroad, the analysis hinges on where each employee's hours of service were performed and the source of the employee's compensation." (Graydon Head & Ritchey LLP)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Coal Company Gets Bankruptcy Court Approval to Nix CBAs, Retiree Benefits
"In her Dec. 28 opinion, Judge Tamara O. Mitchell of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Alabama granted the motion by the company and its subsidiaries requesting authorization to reject their current CBAs and terminate retiree benefits allowing them to continue with a pending sale of their mining operations. This case stems from the decline of the global metallurgical coal industry since 2011, and the court recognized the impact the ruling will have on employees, retirees, creditors, vendors, the city and the state." [In re Walter Energy, Inc., No. 15-02741 (Bankr. N.D. Ala. Dec. 28, 2015)] (Bloomberg BNA)  

Recent Developments in Employee Benefits (PDF)
13 pages. Articles include: [1] Defining and using compensation in defined contribution plans; [2] Year-end health coverage reporting requirements; [3] Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 includes pension and healthcare changes; [4] A longer life expectancy does have its downside; [5] The BPS&M Pension Liability Index. (Bryan, Pendleton, Swats & McAllister, LLC)  

Exit Interview: EBRI's Dallas Salisbury
"Dallas Salisbury retired in December from his position as president and CEO of the Employee Benefit Research Institute, an organization he helped get off the ground in 1978. [In this interview,] Salisbury, who will maintain ties to EBRI as president emeritus and resident fellow, [talks] about some of the biggest changes he's seen in the employer-sponsored healthcare and retirement benefits landscape over the course of his career." (Employee Benefit News)  

Are You Handling Your FICA Taxes on Deferred Compensation Properly?
"In defined benefit (DB) SERPs and Restoration Plans ... there are multiple ways of handling the FICA situation. Most prominently, the sponsor may calculate (and remit) FICA taxes when they are reasonably ascertainable ... or by early inclusion which essentially means that FICA is calculated and paid annually. Early inclusion is sometimes more beneficial than waiting until retirement, but it is also more administratively complex.... Suppose your plan specifies early inclusion and you've not been doing that, do you have a problem? You might." (Benefits and Compensation with John Lowell)  

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David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher <davebaker@benefitslink.com>
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BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9595. Copyright 2016 BenefitsLink.com, Inc. 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.

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