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Employee Benefits Management News
- FAQs address integrated HRAs
- Protected heath info and HIPAA are focus of HHS discussion
- President Trump signs executive order on ACA
- Patient Freedom Act introduced to repeal and replace ACA
Pension Plan Guide News
- EBSA updated guidance clarifies plan fiduciary obligations related to proxy voting
- IRS issues consolidated 2017 TE/GE employee plan procedures for issuing determination letters and letter rulings, and 2017 schedule of employee plan user fees
- IRS expands user fee exemption for small employer plan determination letter applications
- IRS proposed regs update mortality tables for defined benefit plans
FAQs address integrated HRAs
In FAQs about Affordable Care Act Implementation Part 37, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury (the Departments) addressed the ability to integrate a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) with a group medical plan sponsored by another employer. For more information, see ¶2103B.
Protected heath info and HIPAA are focus of HHS discussion
With 2017 just beginning, covered entities, such as health plans and most health care providers, under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act need to be aware of current trends in the realm of protected health information (PHI). In a Health Care Compliance Association webinar titled “What’s New on the HIPAA Front?” Vaniecy Nwigwe and Debbie Campos of HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) presented an overview discussion of PHI designation and authorization, PHI breaches, enforcement matters, and marketing. For more information, see ¶2103D.
President Trump signs executive order on ACA
Within hours of being sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, President Trump signed an executive order (EO) “minimizing the economic burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act pending repeal.” For more information, see ¶2103E.
Patient Freedom Act introduced to repeal and replace ACA
An ACA repeal and replacement plan was introduced January 23 by Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-La, and Susan Collins, R-Me. The “Patient Freedom Act of 2017” (S. 191) would generally allow states to continue to use the infrastructure of the ACA state or federal Marketplaces, or to create new Marketplace portals. The GOP senators also proposed to create Roth Health Savings Accounts (Roth HSAs) funded by tax credits. For more information see ¶2103H.
EBSA updated guidance clarifies plan fiduciary obligations related to proxy voting
The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has released updated guidance on proxy voting for plan fiduciaries in an interpretive bulletin that withdraws a 2008 interpretive bulletin on the same subject and reinstates a 1994 interpretive bulletin with certain updates to clarify what the law requires of plan fiduciaries. The updated interpretive bulletin is effective on December 29, 2016. Because employee benefit plans often have large shares in publicly held companies, EBSA has long held it important that plan administrators know what their responsibilities are when they vote proxies on those shares or exercise other shareholder rights. The Agency said that existing guidance to plan fiduciaries has been out of step with domestic and international trends in investment management and has the potential of dissuading fiduciaries from exercising shareholder rights, including the voting of proxies, in areas increasingly being recognized as important to long-term shareholder value. For more information, see ¶19972n.
IRS issues consolidated 2017 TE/GE employee plan procedures for issuing determination letters and letter rulings, and 2017 schedule of employee plan user fees
The IRS has issued its annual update of the general procedures relating to the issuance of technical advice to a director or an appeals area director by the various offices of the Associate Chief Counsel. The procedures also explain the rights a taxpayer has when a field office requests technical advice. A technical advice memorandum (TAM) is normally requested when there is a lack of uniformity regarding the disposition of an issue or when an issue is unusual or complex enough to warrant consideration by an Associate office. A number of clarifying and organizational changes updated the procedures without making any significant changes to Rev. Proc. 2016-2. For more information, see ¶17299v34.
IRS expands user fee exemption for small employer plan determination letter applications
The IRS has indicated that it will treat an application for a small employer retirement plan’s determination letter as being filed within a qualifying open remedial amendment period if the plan was first in existence no earlier than January 1 of the tenth calendar year preceding the year in which the application is filed (ten-year rule). Pursuant to the authority under Code Sec. 7528(b)(2)(A), the IRS will simplify the process for establishing whether the user fee exemption under Code Sec. 7528(b)(2) is available and, thus, whether a user fee is required to be paid with a determination letter application for a plan, by treating an application as being filed within a qualifying open remedial amendment period if the plan was first in existence no earlier than January 1 of the tenth calendar year preceding the year in which the application is filed. The IRS states that this guidance reflects changes made to the determination letter program and remedial amendment period rules in Rev. Proc. 2016-37. For more information, see ¶17160m.
IRS proposed regs update mortality tables for defined benefit plans
The IRS has issued proposed regulations that provide updated mortality tables to be used by most defined benefit plans to calculate the present value of a stream of expected future benefit payments for determining the plan’s minimum funding requirements. The proposed regulations also update the requirements that a plan sponsor must meet to obtain IRS approval to use substitute mortality tables that are specific to the plan, rather than generally applicable mortality tables. The changes are proposed to apply to plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2018. A plan sponsor may use a substitute mortality table for a plan year beginning on or after January 1, 2018 only if the IRS approves the substitute table. For more information, see ¶20264p.
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