Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

August 15, 2016

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Webcasts and Conferences

Understanding Error Reports for ACA Information Returns
RECORDED
IRS [Internal Revenue Service]

Form 5500 21st Century Modernization & Improvement Initiative
August 24, 2016 WEBCAST
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor

Go All the Way with HSA: Everything HDHP/HSA You Need to Know
September 15, 2016 WEBCAST
ABD Insurance & Financial Services

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[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Publication 5164 (Early Look): Test Package for Electronic Filers of ACA Information Returns (AIR), Processing Year 2017 (PDF)
23 pages, dated August 2016. "[This publication] contains general and program specific testing information for use with ACA Assurance Testing System (AATS).... Software Developers are required to pass pre-defined AATS test scenarios for the forms that they will support. Transmitters and Issuers are required to pass one-time communication tests for the forms they will file."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

[Advert.]

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[Official Guidance]

Text of CMS Memo: Guidance on Health Coverage Tax Credit Hardship Exemption (PDF)
Unnumbered document, dated Aug. 12, 2016. "This guidance provides information about a hardship exemption that may be claimed through the tax filing process for individuals who qualify for the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) but who are not enrolled in HCTC-qualifying health insurance coverage. This hardship exemption applies only for certain months in 2016."
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]

[Guidance Overview]

Appeal Request Form Available for Employers Who Received Marketplace Notices
"The instructions indicate that employers should use the form if they are appealing a notice received from either the federally-facilitated Health Insurance Marketplace or a state-based Marketplace operating in California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York or Vermont."
Wolters Kluwer Law & Business

The 'Earned Income Leave Benefit' -- Rethinking Paid Family Leave for Low-Income Workers
"[This paper presents] the Earned Income Leave Benefit (EILB), a targeted approach to provide access to up to 12 weeks of paid family leave specifically for workers in low-income households. Modeled after the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the total benefit available would be based on household income and only households with incomes below a certain threshold would be eligible. The result? A program that is much less costly than the FAMILY Act and that provides paid time off for the most vulnerable workers in the labor force."
American Action Forum

Will Your Prescription Meds Be Covered Next Year? Better Check!
"CVS Caremark and Express Scripts, the biggest prescription insurers, released their 2017 lists of approved drugs this month, and each also has long lists of excluded medications. Some of the drugs newly excluded are prescribed to treat diabetes and hepatitis. The CVS list also excludes some cancer drugs, along with Proventil and Ventolin, commonly prescribed brands of asthma inhalers, while Express Scripts has dropped Orencia, a drug for rheumatoid arthritis. Such exclusions can take customers by surprise[.]"
National Public Radio

[Advert.]

Changes to Cafeteria Plans: What You Need to Know to Prepare

Sponsored by Lorman and BenefitsLink

September 21 webinar. Explores design choices available within the regulatory framework established by the IRS, and provides tools to ensure that cafeteria plan design, documentation and administration are in compliance with applicable requirements.


Cost, Not Choice, Is Top Concern of Health Insurance Customers
"Millions of people buying insurance in the marketplaces created by the federal health care law have one feature in mind. It is not finding a favorite doctor, or even a trusted company. It is how much -- or, more precisely, how little -- they can pay in premiums each month. And for many of them, especially those who are healthy, all the prices are too high. The unexpected laser focus on price has contributed to hundreds of millions of dollars in losses among the country's top insurers, as fewer healthy people than expected have signed up."
The New York Times; subscription may be required

U.S. Judge in Anthem Merger Trial Sets Trial Date
"The judge overseeing the U.S. Justice Department's bid to stop health insurer Anthem from merging with competitor Cigna said on [Aug. 12] her goal was to have a ruling by the end of January ... Anthem had sought a ruling by the end of the year ... because the insurer said it needed time to wrap up merger reviews by state insurance commissioners by April 30, a deadline the companies set to complete the deal. Anthem has said failure to meet the deadline could prompt Cigna to pull out."
The New York Times; subscription may be required

Administration Paints Rosy Future for ACA Marketplaces
"Medical costs per enrollee in the exchanges in 2015 were unchanged compared with 2014, according to [CMS]. In contrast, per-member health costs rose between 3 percent and 6 percent in the broader U.S. insurance market, which includes 154 million people who get coverage through their employer and the 55 million people on Medicare[.]"
Kaiser Health News

Executive Compensation and Nonqualified Plans

[Guidance Overview]

409A and 457 Updates (PDF)
20 pages. "[T]he proposed regulations revise and clarify certain specific provisions in existing rules ... Generally helpful, the new guidelines formalize some of the informal guidance provided over the years by IRS personnel regarding these topics. In revising a number of points, the regulations may in some cases increase flexibility for organizations or corporations as employers. Specifically addressed is ... the calculation of amounts includible as income under Section 409A(a), as well as clarification of the interaction of Section 457 with Section 409A."
Fulcrum Partners, LLC

[Guidance Overview]

New Regulations for Nonqualified Plans (PDF)
"[The IRS] has issued long-awaited proposed regulations for nonqualified deferred compensation (NQDC) plans under Section 409A.... The IRS proposed regulations outline 19 specific policy objectives which, for the most part, just formalize the informal stance developed over the last decade."
Lockton

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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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