Short-term highway bill with pension provision signed into law

On July 31, 2015, President Obama signed a three-month highway funding extension bill approved by Congress in the last week of July that also includes a pension provision. The pension provision, which the House Ways and Means Committee estimates will generate $172 million in offsets to help fund the highway bill, would extend the deadline by which defined benefit plan sponsors may make qualified transfers of excess pension assets to retiree medical accounts and retiree life insurance accounts under Code Sec. 420.

House lawmakers approved the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 (P.L. 114-41) on July 29, 2015, while the Senate signed off on the measure on July 30, 2015. Current authorization for highway and transit programs was set to expire as of the end of July. Earlier in July the House had approved a five-month extension (HR 3038) that also contained the pension provision. After Congress returns from its August recess, the two chambers intend to conference in September in an attempt to agree on a long-term highway funding bill.

Veteran’s health

Other tax provisions under the veteran’s portion of the bill would exempt persons with health coverage through military health plans from the 50-employee trigger that mandates coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA; P.L. 111-148). Another provision clarifies that veterans receiving medical care for a service-related disability through the Veterans Affairs Department remain eligible to participate in a health savings account.

Source: P.L. 114-41.

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