Pension & Benefits NetNews – September 24, 2019

 

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Featured This Week

Employee Benefits Management News

 

  • FAQs finalize previous guidance on mental health parity rules
  • New opinion letters address FMLA, HSA questions
  • HIPAA penalty caps down, but don’t put blinders on, HCCA webinar warns
  • Employers who offer ICHRAs can’t steer participants toward any specific health insurance plan, experts advise

Pension Plan Guide News

 

  • IRS extends temporary nondiscrimination relief for closed DB plans through 2020
  • IRS releases 4th quarter update to Priority Guidance Plan
  • DOL is coordinating with other agencies on plan benefit compliance guidance relating to Hurricane Dorian

Employee Benefits Management News

FAQs finalize previous guidance on mental health parity rules

The Departments of Labor (DOL), Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Treasury (Departments) have issued frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding implementation of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA). These FAQs finalize and clarify proposed FAQs, issued on April 23, 2018, which had addressed an array of issues, including experimental treatments, dosage limits, step therapy, reimbursement rates and disclosure requirements. For more information, see ¶2127P.

        (Read Cheetah) »

New opinion letters address FMLA, HSA questions

On September 10, the Department of Labor issued two new opinion letters that address delayed designation of FMLA leave when a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is involved, and whether employers’ contributions to employees’ health savings accounts (HSAs) are “earnings” under the Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA). For more information, see ¶2127S.

        (Read Cheetah) »

HIPAA penalty caps down, but don’t put blinders on, HCCA webinar warns

Although it is good news for providers that HIPAA penalty caps have declined for certain violations, it does not mean that HIPAA enforcement will slow or that state attorney generals might not become more active. In a Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA) webinar, “OCR Lowers Annual Penalty Caps for Certain HIPAA Violations,” presented by Adam Greene, J.D., MPH, Partner at Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP. For more information, see ¶2127T.

        (Read Cheetah) »

Employers who offer ICHRAs can’t steer participants toward any specific health insurance plan, experts advise

About 800,000 employers are expected to offer individual coverage health reimbursement arrangements (ICHRA) under final rules issued in June 2019 by the Department of Labor (DOL), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and Health and Human Services (HHS). That’s according to Matt Litton, EBSA Employee Benefits Law Specialist, and Kevin Knopf, IRS Senior Technician Reviewer, who spoke at a recent health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) compliance assistance webcast. For more information see ¶2127U.

        (Read Cheetah) »

Pension Plan Guide News

IRS extends temporary nondiscrimination relief for closed DB plans through 2020

The IRS has extended for an additional year the temporary relief provided in IRS Notice 2014-5 for certain closed defined benefit (DB) pension plans (i.e., plans that are closed to new entrants as of a specified date, but continue to provide ongoing accruals for existing participants). Thus, the temporary relief is available for plan years beginning before 2021, if the conditions of Notice 2014-5 are satisfied. Closing a DB plan can often coincide with an amendment that provides new or greater contributions under a defined contribution (DC) plan that is intended to replace accruals under the DB plan for new hires or other employees to whom the DB plan is closed. In Notice 2014-5, the IRS provided that, while possible regulatory changes to the nondiscrimination rules were considered, the IRS would permit certain employers that sponsor a closed DB plan and a DC plan to demonstrate that the aggregated plans complied with the nondiscrimination requirements of Code Sec. 401(a)(4) on the basis of equivalent benefits, even if the aggregated plans did not satisfy the current conditions for testing on that basis, if certain conditions were met. Specifically, for plan years beginning before 2016, Notice 2014-5 permitted a DB/DC plan that included a closed DB plan that was closed before December 13, 2013 and that satisfied certain conditions to demonstrate satisfaction of the nondiscrimination-in-amount requirement of IRS Reg. §1.401(a)(4)-1(b)(2) on the basis of equivalent benefits, even if the plan did not meet any of the existing eligibility conditions for testing on that basis under IRS Reg. §1.401(a)(4)-9(b)(2)(v). For more information, see ¶17167L.

        (Read Cheetah) »

IRS releases 4th quarter update to Priority Guidance Plan

The IRS and the Treasury Department have released the fourth quarter update to the 2018-2019 Priority Guidance Plan, which includes numerous employee benefit items. The 2018-2019 Priority Guidance Plan contains guidance projects that the IRS hoped to complete during the twelve-month period from July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019. The Priority Guidance Plan contained 239 guidance projects, 44 of which had been completed before its publication. Additional projects were added to the Plan in the quarterly updates. A total of 150 projects in the Plan, as updated, were published by June 30, 2019. This final quarterly update includes eight additional projects. For more information, see ¶167g.

        (Read Cheetah) »

DOL is coordinating with other agencies on plan benefit compliance guidance relating to Hurricane Dorian

The U.S. Department of Labor has announced actions it is taking to assist Americans in states affected by Hurricane Dorian. Among the actions the DOL is taking include that the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) is coordinating with other federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Treasury, the IRS, and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, on the release of compliance guidance for employee benefit plans, and plan participants and beneficiaries in the wake of Hurricane Dorian. General information on disaster relief under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) is available on EBSA’s website at Disaster Relief Information for Employers and Advisers and Disaster Relief Information for Workers and Families, or by contacting the Department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration online at www.askebsa.dol.gov or by calling 1-866-444-3272. For more information, see ¶167F.

        (Read Cheetah) »

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