Spencer’s Benefits Reports NewNews – October 2, 2015

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September 28, 2015 – October 2, 2015    |    Products    |    Catalog 

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October 2, 2015

 

Ways and Means advances reconciliation bill dismantling ACA

The House Ways and Means Committee on September 29 approved legislation targeting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) (P.L. 111-148 ) by using “reconciliation” instructions allowing for the repeal of a series of provisions of the health care law that fall under its jurisdiction. The legislation calls for the repeal of the individual and employer mandates, as well as the medical device tax, the so-called “Cadillac tax” and the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which holds sway over health care choices. The legislation is widely viewed as essentially political posturing as it is highly unlikely that President Obama would ever sign the bill if it cleared both the full House and Senate and landed on his desk for final approval….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

Consumers have more health plan options, but premiums vary widely

Although consumers generally have access to a greater number of private health plans in 2015 as compared with just a year before, the range of premiums charged varies greatly depending on the location. A study performed by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that examined private health plans and their associated premiums offered by health insurance exchanges in 1,886 counties across 28 states also found that while the lowest-costing plan was available in most counties, premiums were more likely to increase than decrease from 2014 to 2015….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

ACA Information Center for Applicable Large Employers available on IRS website

The IRS announced that a new webpage, the ACA Information Center for Applicable Large Employers (ALEs), is now available. The page features information and resources for employers of all sizes on how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) may affect them if they fit the definition of an applicable large employer….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

October 1, 2015

 

Government refuses to budge on out-of-pocket limits for family plans

The government is attempting to clarify a final rule published in February that, among other things, prohibited insurers from requiring families to pay more in out-of-pocket costs than individuals. HHS and the Departments of the Treasury and Labor sent a letter to groups representing employers in an effort to clarify that insurers cannot penalize consumers from choosing family coverage. The rule only applies to the category of essential health benefits (EHB) under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). This category includes well-child checkups, prenatal care, mental health services, hospitalization, and prescriptions….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

PBGC issues final regs that require electronic filing of certain multiemployer plan notices

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has issued final regulations that require the electronic filing of certain multiemployer plan notices with the PBGC. Specifically, the final regulations require the following to be filed electronically with the PBGC: (1) notices of termination under part 4041A, (2) notices of insolvency and of insolvency benefit level under parts 4245 (involving insolvent plans) and 4281 (following mass withdrawal), and (3) applications for financial assistance under part 4281. The final regulations are unchanged from the April 2015 proposed regulations….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

September 30, 2015

 

2016 per diem rates issued for travel expense reimbursements

The IRS has provided the 2015-2016 special per diem rates for taxpayers to use to substantiate ordinary and necessary business expenses incurred while traveling away from home. The guidance provides the special transportation industry meal and incidental expenses (M&IE) rates, the rate for the incidental expenses only deduction, and the rates and list of high-cost localities for purposes of the high-low substantiation method. Taxpayers using the rates and list of high-cost localities provided must comply with Rev. Proc. 2011-47, IRB 2011-42, 520….”

(Read Intelliconnect) »

 

Low health care cost increases don’t lessen Cadillac tax worries

For the fifth straight year, employers will hold health care cost growth to less than 5 percent, according to Mercer. Early responses from Mercer’s National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans show employers are predicting that health benefit cost per employee will rise by 4.2 percent on average in 2016. Despite the slower cost trend, 54 percent of respondents plan to make some changes to their health care programs in 2016. According to Tracy Watts, senior partner and Mercer’s national health reform leader, “Employers are well aware that the ACA’s excise tax on high-cost plans is slated to go into effect in 2018, even as calls for reform or repeal are mounting….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

September 29, 2015

 

Trending ACA topics are focus of ALI-CLE webcast

Speakers at a recent ALI-CLE webcast on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148) pointed to an assortment of ACA topics that are expected to be important in the coming year. Speakers Alden J. Bianchi (Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.) and Micheal Collins (Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP) first reminded audience members of some basics regarding Code Sec. 4980I’s excise tax on high cost health plans, aka the “Cadillac Tax….”

(Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS issues procedures for requesting economic hardship waiver from e-filing Forms 8955-SSA and 5500-EZ

The IRS has issued procedures for requesting an economic hardship waiver from the electronic filing requirement for Form 8955-SSA, Annual Registration Statement Identifying Separated Participants With Deferred Vested Benefits, or Form 5500-EZ, Annual Return of One-Participant (Owners and Their Spouses) Retirement Plan. The procedures were effective September 28, 2015….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

 

Eliminating individual mandate would result in $305B savings, 14M more uninsured

Eliminating the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate would reduce the deficit by an estimated $305 billion over the next decade but would increase the number of uninsured individuals and would likely lead to a rise in individual insurance premiums. The Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation (collectively CBO) examined the effects of eliminating the individual insurance mandate and found that the majority of savings would come from spending reductions in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

 

September 28, 2015

 

CCIIO explains what employee premium assistance notices you will and won’t receive in 2016

The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) has provided some pointers for employers regarding the employer notice program for employees’ advance premium tax credits (APTCs) in new Frequently Asked Questions. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148) and its implementing regulations, including HHS final Reg. Sec. 155.310(h), require the exchanges to notify employers if they have at least one employee who was determined to be eligible for an advance premium tax credit (APTC) and cost sharing reductions (CSRs), based on the employee’s assertion that he or she was neither enrolled in nor eligible for employer sponsored coverage that is affordable and meets the minimum value standard. Applicable large employers who fail to offer affordable, minimum essential coverage to employees and who have at least one employee who receives an APTC run afoul of the employer mandate provisions of ACA Sec. 1513, and are subject to heavy fines….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

PBGC final regs exempt most plans and sponsors from many reportable events rules

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has issued final regulations that establish risk-based safe harbors that exempt most companies and plans from many of its reportable events requirements and target reporting toward the minority of plan sponsors and plans presenting the most substantial risk of involuntary or distress termination. The regulations make the requirements of the sponsor risk-based safe harbor more flexible, make the funding level for satisfying the well-funded plan safe harbor lower and tied to the variable-rate premium, and add public company waivers for five events. The PBGC anticipates the final rule will exempt about 94 percent of plans and sponsors from many reporting requirements and result in a net reduction in reporting to the PBGC….

(Read Intelliconnect) »

 

 

 

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About this Newsletter

Spencer’s Benefits Reports NetNewsTM contains the latest news and developments in the employee benefits field for both health care and retirement plans. Taken from the daily news updates in Spencer’s Benefits Reports on the Internet, the items include legislative and regulatory actions, court case summaries, industry news, and analysis of new trends such as health savings accounts (HSAs) and Roth 401(k) provisions — anything that can affect the design, implementation and administration of an employee benefits plan.

 

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