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Employee Benefits Management News
- Employees are increasingly dissatisfied with current mix of wages and benefits
- Certain arrangements to reimburse medical expenses up to fixed amount violate ACA, IRS says
- OCR aims HIPAA audits at CEs and BAs
- New versions of summary of benefits and coverage materials are available
Pension Plan Guide News
- DOL releases final regs to resolve conflicts of interest when retirement investment advice is given to plans, participants, beneficiaries
- PBGC issues disaster relief for Texas
- IRS provides tax relief to victims of severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding in Texas
Employees are increasingly dissatisfied with current mix of wages and benefits
While most employees report being satisfied with their current health benefits, there is a long-term trend toward wanting more cash and fewer benefits, according to recent research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). For more information, see ¶2095I.
Certain arrangements to reimburse medical expenses up to fixed amount violate ACA, IRS says
An agreement by an employer to reimburse medical expenses up to a fixed amount is a group health plan under which there is an annual limit on essential health benefits. Therefore, the plan fails to comply with the prohibition on annual limits under Public Health Service Act (PHSA) Sec. 2711, according to an IRS information letter. For more information, see ¶2095K.
OCR aims HIPAA audits at CEs and BAs
The second phase of audits under the HIPAA Audit Program will focus on the business associates (BAs) of HIPAA covered entities (CEs) as well as the CEs themselves. For more information, see ¶2095L.
New versions of summary of benefits and coverage materials are available
The Labor Department, IRS, and HHS have announced the release of final versions of documents that must be provided to individuals with regard to their health plans. HHS has pointed out that key enhancements have been made, especially to the Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) template and to the Uniform Glossary. For more information, see ¶2095O.
DOL releases final regs to resolve conflicts of interest when retirement investment advice is given to plans, participants, beneficiaries
The Department of Labor has issued final regulations defining who is a fiduciary of retirement plan under ERISA when investment advice is given to a plan, or its participants or beneficiaries. The definition of fiduciary in the regulations also applies to plans (including individual account plans (IRAs)) under the Code. The final regulations treat persons who provide investment advice or recommendations for a fee or other compensation with respect to assets of a plan or IRA as fiduciaries in a greater array of advice relationships.
Along with the regulations, class prohibited transaction exemptions are released — the Best Interest Contract Exemption and the Principal Transaction Exemption. The Best Interest Contract Exemption allows firms to rely on many current compensation and fee practices as long as they meet specific conditions that are intended to ensure that financial institutions mitigate conflicts of interest, and that they and their individual advisers provide investment advice in the best interest of their customers. The Principal Transaction Exemption permits investment advice fiduciaries to sell or purchase certain recommended debt securities and other investments out of their own inventories to or from plans and IRAs, if certain conditions are met. In addition, the DOL is finalizing amendments to a number of existing class prohibited transaction exemptions. For more information, see ¶142E.
PBGC issues disaster relief for Texas
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (“PBGC”) is waiving certain penalties and extending certain deadlines in response to the Severe Storms, Tornadoes, and Flooding that began on March 7, 2016, in Texas. For more information, see ¶19,996C-59.
IRS provides tax relief to victims of severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding in Texas
Victims of the severe storms tornadoes and flooding that took place beginning on March 7, 2016 in parts of Texas may qualify for tax relief from the IRS. The President has declared that a major disaster exists in the State of Texas. For more information, see ¶141T.
For more information, visit http://www.wolterskluwerlb.com/rbcs.