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Employee Benefits Management News
- Supreme Court will hear 7 challenges to contraceptive mandate
- Q&A clarifies proposed GINA wellness program rule, calculation of 30-percent incentive cap
- Interim no more, ACA insurance reforms promoted
- Internal claims procedures for disability benefits strengthened
Pension Plan Guide News
- IRS issues 2016 retirement benefit COLAs
- PBGC issues disaster relief for South Carolina
- PBGC issues disaster relief for California
Supreme Court will hear 7 challenges to contraceptive mandate
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the challenges of seven religious non-profits against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) contraceptive mandate. The challenges seek a decision from the Supreme Court overturning the ACA requirement that non-profit groups take action to opt out of the mandate, allowing them to benefit from the blanket exclusion granted to churches and other religious institutions. For more information, see ¶2091P.
Q&A clarifies proposed GINA wellness program rule, calculation of 30-percent incentive cap
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) proposed regulatory amendments clarifying the boundaries for employer-sponsored wellness program compliance with the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) were formally published in the Federal Register on October 30, 2015. In conjunction with the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the EEOC has posted on its website a list of questions and answers about the proposed rule and a fact sheet on how it would affect small businesses. For details, see ¶2091Q.
Interim no more, ACA insurance reforms promoted
A final rule governing grandfathered health plans, preexisting condition exclusions, lifetime and annual dollar limits on benefits, rescissions, coverage of dependent children to age 26, internal claims and appeal and external review processes, and patient protections under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been issued by the Departments of Labor, Treasury, and Health and Human Services; no major changes to a previous interim final rule (75 FR 34538, June 17, 2010) nor to the interim final rule as interpreted under current guidance were made. For more information, see ¶2091W.
Internal claims procedures for disability benefits strengthened
The Employee Benefit Security Administration (EBSA) has issued proposed regulations that would enhance existing disability benefit claims procedures under ERISA Sec. 503. For more information, see ¶2091X.
IRS final regs provide transition rules for satisfying market rate of return requirements for hybrid plans
Under IRS final regulations, transition rules are provided for applicable defined benefit plans that use a lump sum-based benefit formula, including cash balance plans and pension equity plans, as well as other plans that have formulas with an effect similar to a lump sum-based benefit formula. These final regulations relate to previously issued final regulations that specify permitted interest crediting rates for purposes of the requirement that an applicable defined benefit plan not provide for interest credits (or equivalent amounts) at an effective rate that is greater than a market rate of return. Under these final regulations, a plan sponsor of an applicable defined benefit plan that does not comply with the market rate of return requirement is permitted to amend the plan in order to change to an interest crediting rate that is permitted under the previously issued final hybrid plan regulations without violating the anti-cutback rules of Code Sec. 411(d)(6). For more information, see ¶139M.
EBSA highlights results of enforcement and compliance activity in FY 2015
Through its enforcement of ERISA, EBSA is responsible for ensuring the integrity of the private employee benefit plan system in the United States. EBSA’s oversight authority extends to nearly 681,000 retirement plans, approximately 2.3 million health plans, and a similar number of other welfare benefit plans, such as those providing life or disability insurance. These plans cover about 143 million workers and their dependents and include assets of over $ 8.7 trillion (as of October 2, 2015). In FY 2015, EBSA recovered $ 696.3 million for direct payment to plans, participants and beneficiaries. For more information, see ¶139J.
IRS set to discontinue offering ERPA special enrollment examination
Effective February 12, 2016, the IRS will no longer be offering the ERPA Special Enrollment Examination (ERPA SEE) to become an ERPA. Any current ERPAs will continue to hold the ERPA designation, allowing them to practice before the IRS. Anyone who has passed both parts of the SEE can still become an ERPA if they file the Form 23-EP, Application for Enrollment to Practice before the Internal Revenue Service as an Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent (ERPA). The application for enrollment must be filed within one year of passing both parts of the test. For more information, see ¶139L.