Published: March 10, 2017

Apparently rhetoric matters. Although the former President eventually embraced the term himself, “Obamacare” was originally a derogatory term used for health care reform by Obama’s opponents in Congress. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many individuals didn’t know that the Affordable Care Act and “Obamacare” were the one and the same. Now that “Obamacare” may be repealed and replaced, many who demonized it realize that the law is more than just health insurance marketplaces. 
 

. . . . . .

Published: March 1, 2017

As described in our prior alert,the 21st Century Cures Act (“Cures Act”) allows employers with fewer than fifty employees that do not offer health plans to establish stand-alone health reimbursement arrangements (“HRAs”) to reimburse employees for medical expenses or health insurance purchased on the exchange or otherwise. Those HRAs must, however, satisfy certain conditions. An HRA that satisfies all the required conditions is referred to as a Qualified Small Employer HRA, or “QSEHRA.”

. . . . . .

Published: February 1, 2017

Members of Saul Ewing’s Tax and Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practices have outlined the recently announced 2017 dollar limits on the Social Security Wage Base, compensation and deferrals for retirement plans, and health and welfare plans, as well as PCORI fees, Medicare Part B premiums, and increases to Social Security increases in age and benefits.

. . . . . .

Published: January 26, 2017

Over the years, we have seen numerous class action lawsuits against plan fiduciaries, starting with claims relating to mega 401(k) plans and, more recently, claims against the fiduciaries of very large University-sponsored, ERISA covered 403(b) programs. The allegations in these complaints vary, but, generally, include a breach of fiduciary duty claim alleging excessive fees were paid from plan assets for recordkeeping or other administrative services.

. . . . . .

Published: January 5, 2017

Final rules were issued in December that update the claims procedure that ERISA Plan Administrators must follow to determine whether benefits are due or payable on account of a plan participant’s disability.

. . . . . .

Published: January 4, 2017

–The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently issued final regulations under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) with respect to employer-wellness programs, which are taking effect on January 1, 2017.  Collectively, with the rules under HIPAA for wellness programs, these rules help establish the legal landscape for employers desiring to design such programs.

. . . . . .

Published: December 19, 2016

I recently had a conversation with Lee Lyon of Lyon Investment Services, based in Jacksonville, Florida.  Lee’s office is near downtown Jacksonville in a quaint area of town known as San Marco.  
 

. . . . . .

Published: November 30, 2016

Under the Affordable Care Act reporting requirements, applicable large employers and employers that offer self-insured health care coverage to their employees are required to furnish Forms 1095-C to their employees by January 31, 2017.  With IRS Notice 2016-70, the IRS extends the deadline for furnishing these statements to employees until March 2, 2017.  This is similar to relief provided by the IRS last year.  This is an automatic extension, which requires no additional paperwork. No additional extensions will be provided by the IRS.

. . . . . .

Published: November 18, 2016

Political consultants, insiders, and lobbyists are scrambling to get an inkling of what President Trump will do on major issues.  We’ve read the tea leaves, tossed the bones, and looked into our crystal ball.  Here is what we think will happen to the Affordable Care Act.  

. . . . . .

Published: November 4, 2016

The Internal Revenue Service is comparing the names and social security numbers (SSN) submitted on the Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage, to the SSNs found in Social Security Administration’s database. They are finding mismatches, and are issuing so-called “no-match” letters to employers to ask them to correct the error.  

. . . . . .

Published: September 25, 2016

In recently-issued guidance, which can be seen here, HHS said that the presence of ransomware on the information technology (“IT”) systems of a covered entity or a business associate is a security incident under the HIPAA Security Rule.  HIPAA covered entities and business associates are required to have policies and procedures for responding to security incidents, including ransomware attacks.

. . . . . .

Published: September 25, 2016

For the past five years several mega-companies, such as Raytheon, Ford, Motorola, and General Motors, have issued debt to fund their pension plans.  Borrowing to fund your pension plan allows you to replace your potentially volatile funding liability with the certainty of fixed loan payments.  This becomes even more attractive in our current, low interest rate environment.  Another added feature is that funding your pension plan can eliminate the annual variable PBGC premiums.

. . . . . .

Published: September 24, 2016

One initiative President Obama proposes to encourage retirement savings is multiple employer plans, sometimes called “MEPs.”  Under our current, private retirement system, employers generally hold their employees’ retirement savings in a single trust: this is particularly true for smaller employers.  Current laws generally allow unrelated employers to pool their retirement plans only if the employers are part of a trade association whose members share a common interest.

. . . . . .

Published: September 23, 2016

After the passage of the Affordable Care Act, employers have asked what happens if the employer does not sponsor a health plan, but reimburses employees for premiums used to purchase health insurance.  The Internal Revenue Service has made it clear that such an arrangement – referred to as an employer payment plan – is in fact considered a health plan that is offered by the employer.

. . . . . .

Published: September 22, 2016

A potential client asked if we could help with a multiemployer withdrawal liability issue.  He had attended a withdrawal liability seminar sponsored by a “large law firm,” and hired the firm for assistance.  About $30,000 later, he learned the law firm had never actually been involved in an actual withdrawal.

. . . . . .

Published: September 21, 2016

With the move away from defined benefit plans to defined contribution plans, many of us have forgotten how to design retirement plans using an outcome-based strategy. Designing a defined benefit plan inherently leads plan sponsors to think in terms of outcome-based retirement strategies. Those plans “define the benefit” to be received at retirement. This naturally compels employers to think about how much employees will need when they retire. In contrast, when designing defined contribution plans, sponsors often focus on costs, such as how much money will go into the plan.

. . . . . .