Author: Tony Sorrentino
Portions of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Final Rule regarding Association Health Plans (AHPs) went into effect on January 1, 2019. It expands the availability of AHPs, allowing small businesses to band together and negotiate better deals when buying insurance for their members by broadening the definition of “employer.” States are reacting in extremely different ways. Learn more here.
The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued final regulations on disability claims procedures which apply to disability claims filed on or after April 1, 2018 for ERISA plans that condition benefits or vesting on a determination of disability. The purpose of this bulletin is to assist employers/plan sponsors with the process which “may” be necessary with regard to plan amendment.
On March 5, 2018, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had published Internal Revenue Bulletin (IRB) 2018-10, which contains Revenue Procedure (Rev. Proc.) 2018-18. The effect of this announcement is a decrease in maximum Health Savings Account (HSA) contributions and adoption limits.
Last month, President Trump signed landmark tax reform legislation. Throughout the legislative process, House and Senate bills contained various changes to employee benefit plans. Many of the proposed changes were removed, and the resulting final version has a somewhat minimal impact to employer-provided benefits.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has finally started to enforce the employer shared responsibility requirement (the “Employer Mandate”) in the Affordable Care Act and is now mailing notices to employers who may owe a penalty for 2015. Because of data quality issues, many employers will be assessed amounts they do not owe.
Wellness programs are subject to a variety of complex and often ambiguous federal rules and regulations that make wellness program administration a challenge for even the most astute employers.
Two recent lawsuits highlight the regulatory complexity surrounding wellness programs: AARP versus EEOC and Acosta versus Macy’s. Employers who sponsor wellness programs (or who are thinking about implementing a wellness program) and wellness program administrators should take note of these lawsuits. The AARP lawsuit could impact the future design of wellness programs that offer incentives. The Macy’s lawsuit underscores the need to pay close attention to the wellness program requirements.
In 1980, amendment to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) brought plans maintained by church-affiliated organizations into ERISAs church plan definition, but it left unclear whether a church-affiliated organization could establish a church plan. In several lawsuits, participants in retirement plans maintained by church-affiliated hospitals asserted that the plans did not qualify for the exemption – and thus were subject to ERISAs vesting, reporting and disclosure, funding, trust and fiduciary rules – because they had not been established by a church. The Third, Seventh and Ninth Circuits agreed with the participants and ruled that the hospital plans were subject to ERISA.
Stage two of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is now underway as focus shifts to the Senate, where significant changes are expected to be made to the American Health Care Act (AHCA) as passed by the House. Regardless of what happens next, employers need to know what is in the House-passed version in order to evaluate the potential impact if it becomes law (whether significantly revised or not).
Last week, the House of Representatives passed yet another version of healthcare reform legislation (yawn!) to which their colleagues in the U.S. Senate responded, “No thank you, we’ll start from scratch with our own reform package!” And so the saga continues: to reform or not to reform, that is the question. But on the off-chance that this latest version of reform ever sees the light of day, here is a short summary of the provisions of the American Health Care Act (AHCA).