Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

December 26, 2017

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[Official Guidance]

Text of 2017 Instructions for IRS Form 8965: Health Coverage Exemptions (and Instructions for Figuring Your Shared Responsibility Payment) (PDF)
20 pages. "What's New: Some changes have been made to the coverage exemptions available for 2017."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

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[Guidance Overview]

IRS Announces Filing Extension for Furnishing 2017 Forms 1095-B and 1095-C and Continued Good Faith Transition Relief
"Notice 2018-06 does not extend the due date for employers, insurers, and other providers of minimum essential coverage to file 2017 Forms 1094-B, 1095-B, 1094-C and 1095-C with the IRS.... The IRS also indicates in Notice 2018-06 that, while failure to furnish and file the Forms on a timely basis may subject employers and other coverage providers to penalties, such entities should still attempt to furnish and file even after the applicable due date as the IRS will take such action into consideration when determining whether to abate penalties."
Jackson Lewis P.C.

IRS Extends Deadline for Providing Information to Enrollees and Employees
"Because of the extension of the time to furnish statements, some individual taxpayers will not receive a form 1095-B or 1095-C before they file their 2017 tax return. Individuals may establish eligibility for premium tax credits and compliance with the individual mandate requirement based on other information they may have and do not have to wait for the statements to arrive to file their taxes."
Timothy Jost, in Health Affairs

IRS Extends Deadline to Supply ACA Forms to Employees
"Self-insured employers and all employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees ... now have until March 2, 2018, to provide Forms 1095-B ... or 1095-C ... to employees covered by the employer's health plan, which is a 30-day extension from the original due date of Jan. 31.... This 30-day extension for providing information forms to employees is automatic."
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]

Employers, Employees Scramble to Consider Tax-Related Actions to Take Before Year-End
"Should we prepay our 2018 premium in 2017, so we can reap the benefit of a deduction in a 35 percent tax bracket? If we do, can we collect premiums from employees in 2018 and repay ourselves, if we prepaid the employee portion too, before the end of this year? ... We self-insure our medical benefits. Should we think about prefunding 2018's anticipated claims and administration expenses? ... We offer retiree health benefits. Should we prefund those expenses? ... Should we prefund severance payments? ... Should we prefund disability benefits?"
Lockton

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Creating an Effective Wellness Communication Strategy
"28% of employers report that they plan to use consumer marketing techniques (such as segmentation based on health behaviors and spending patterns) to develop a customized and targeted wellness communication strategy in 2018 and beyond.... Keep these ideas in mind as you develop your wellness communications: [1] Branding and presentation; [2] Employee involvement; [3] Key messages; [4] Consistency; [5] Distribution channels; [6] Communication obstacles."
Willis Towers Watson

Individual Market Repeal and Reinsurance Considerations (PDF)
"This article will discuss what amount of reinsurance may be necessary to fully offset premium increases at a national level.... [P]remium increases resulting from the loss of the mandate may not align with how much funding each state may get in a national reinsurance program."
Wakely Consulting Group

What Individual Mandate Repeal Means for Employers
"If fewer individuals seek coverage through the [ACA] exchange ... it is likely that some employers will escape the employer mandate penalties[.]"
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]

Benefits in General

The Impact of the 2017 Tax Reforms on Employment-Based Benefits and Executive Compensation (PDF)
"[A] new 'Qualified Equity Grant' ... to allow employees of nonpublicly traded companies to elect to defer taxation of stock options and restricted stock units (RSUs) for up to five years after the exercise of such stock options or the vesting of RSUs.... Repeal of 'recharacterization' of Roth IRA conversions ... Extended rollover periods for deemed distributions of retirement plan loans ... Tax relief for retirement plan distributions to relieve 2016 major disasters ... New credit for paid family and medical leave."
BakerHostetler

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

[Guidance Overview]

Handling 'Excess' Employee Remuneration for Tax-Exempt Organizations
"Boards of tax-exempt organizations making payments to covered employees that are subject to the excise tax will need to consider ... [1] how the total cost to the entity bears upon the reasonableness of the compensation, and the benefit to the section 501(c)(3) tax exempt entity.... [2] the information that needs to be provided to potential donors to the organization.... [3] it may be possible to accelerate the vesting of the amounts due under the agreement, so that they are treated as income before the start of the organization's next taxable year."
The Wagner Law Group

CEO Compensation Slows and Shifts
"The median increase in target pay for S&P 1500 CEOs was 4.4% in 2016, down from 5.9% in 2015.... The median increase [in earned pay] was 2.2%, significantly down from 10.4% in 2015.... CEO salaries for the S&P 1500 increased a mere 1% in 2016, and over half of the S&P 500 CEOs didn't receive a 2016 salary adjustment."
Willis Towers Watson

Life Insurance: The Bonus Plan for the Executive Who Has Everything
"Under the executive bonus plan, the employer pays a bonus to the employee so the employee can purchase (and own) a fixed indexed universal life (FIUL) insurance policy. The employee then uses the bonus to pay the entire policy premium directly to the insurance company. Because the employee is the owner of the policy, the employee can access any available cash value accumulation through policy loans and withdrawals."
InsuranceNewsNet.com

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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 2017 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 those materials. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notices from copies of the content.

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