On Wednesday, the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury released an interim final regulation outlining the details of the preventive care coverage requirement for health plans established by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). PPACA requires that all plans provide first-dollar coverage of specific preventive care services recommended by the United States Preventive Services Task Force beginning on the first day of the first plan year following September 23, 2010. The requirements apply to all individual and group health plans, including self-funded plans, but grandfathered plans are exempt as long as they retain their grandfathered status. The complete list of preventive care services that are required to be covered can be found here. click here to read more
PA Mini-Cobra Extended
On July 9th, Governor Rendell signed House Bill 1251 that included a change to Pennsylvania Mini-COBRA to allow for coverage beyond 9 months if a covered individual is also receiving a federal premium subsidy. This means that individuals who are eligible for the premium subsidy under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) would be eligible for up to 15 months of continuation coverage (for assistance eligible individuals only). This will likely result in the necessity to send notices to affected individuals and reinstate their mini-COBRA coverage. To date, details on who is eligible to be reinstated have not been released. Model notices and guidance are expected. To read the Governor's Office press release, go to PA Governor's Office News Room and view the release titled "Governor Rendell Signs Legislation, July 9." To read the text of the amended law: House Bill 1251
5500 Efast Filing
As you may already be aware, new regulations were recently passed requiring all sponsors of qualified plans to file their Form 5500 and accompanying schedules electronically beginning January 1, 2010. Hard copies will no longer be accepted, rather will need to be submitted via the Department of Labor’s EFAST2 electronic on-line filing system. We will still be preparing your filing as in previous years. To comply with these regulations and to update and streamline the ERISA filing process, the DOL has created a new, web-based electronic filing system known as EFAST2. The EFAST2 system provides all of the basic functionality required to fulfill annual reporting requirements from the website www.efast.dol.gov. For the sake of accuracy, security, and timeliness, you must complete the registration process in a single session. Incomplete registration forms will not be saved in the EFAST2 database. If you end the session prior to completing the registration form,…
New Break Time Requirement for Nursing Mothers
The United States Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division recently released a Fact Sheet providing guidance on the new break time requirement for nursing mothers. This new requirement took effect when Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") was amended by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2010. The Fact Sheet explains that employers with 50 or more employees must provide "reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child's birth each time such employee has need to express the milk." In addition, employers must supply a functional space, aside from a bathroom, for mothers to express breast milk. If an employer does not have a dedicated space, it must create a temporary or converted space that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public. Although the…
Interim Final Rule on Internal Claims and Appeals and External Review Processes Released
New Regulations Give Patients Right To Appeal Health Plan Decisions; New Grants Program Strengthens State and Territory Consumer Assistance Programs The Obama Administration is announcing both new regulations to empower consumers to appeal decisions made by their health plans or insurance companies and the availability of resources that will be used to help give consumers more control of their health care decisions. These provisions of the Affordable Care Act will help support and protect consumers and help end some of the worst insurance company abuses. For more detailed information visit these links: Regulation: http://www.dol.gov/federalregister/HtmlDisplay.aspx?DocId=24056&AgencyId=8&DocumentType=2 Fact Sheet: http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/newsroom/fsaffordablecareact.html Related Press Release: http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/newsroom/2010/ebsa072210.html NAIC Uniform External Review Model Act: http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/externalreviewmodelact.pdf
Regulations Issued on Lifetime and Annual Limits
Close on the heels of their regulations concerning grandfathered plans, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and Treasury have now released interim final regulations relating to preexisting condition exclusions, lifetime and annual limits, rescissions, and other patient protections under the Affordable Care Act (the "Act"). Lifetime Limits Under the Act, a group health plan may not establish any lifetime limit on the dollar amount of "essential health benefits" provided to any individual. This requirement is effective for plan years beginning on or after September 23, 2010. It applies to both grandfathered and non-grandfathered plans, although not to health FSAs or health savings accounts. According to the Act, essential health benefits include, at a minimum, items and services in the following categories: ambulatory patient services; emergency services; hospitalization, maternity and newborn care; mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment; prescription drugs; rehabilitative and habilitative services and…
IBP sponsors 401(k) Educational Luncheon
Mark Sulpizio, a founding partner at IBP, was the presenter at a qualified plan educational luncheon held at Union Trust Steakhouse in Philadelphia on Thursday, July 22 2010. At the luncheon, Mark reviewed the recently released 408(b)(2) "interim final regulations" from the Department of Labor and how the new rules will affect the fiduciary responsibilities of plan sponsors. Mark provided valuable insight on what plan sponsors needed to do in preparation for the July 16, 2011 effective date of the regulations. The event was well attended and received tremendous interest due to timeliness of the topics discussed. If you would like to learn more about the added fiduciary responsibilities employers face because of the new regulations please feel free to call our office. To view a fact sheet from the Department of Labor please click here.
Fiduciary Update – The SEC and Target Date Branding
As discussed at our recent fiduciary luncheon events, the regulatory agencies are continuing to look at target date funds. Last week, the commissioners at the SEC approved new regulations regarding the marketing of target date funds. The agency wants to require the use of a visual aid illustrating the funds glide path, which outlines how the funds allocation changes as it reaches the specified retirement date. In addition, target date funds will be required to provide a statement of the funds asset allocation at the landing point/retirement date. There will also be new disclosure statements outlining the fund’s lack of a guaranteed return, that allocations may change and that participants should not select a fund based solely on their age or retirement date. Mary Schapiro, chairperson of the SEC, stated that “these proposed rule changes would help clarify the meaning of the date in a target date fund and improve…
Innovative Sponsors 401(k)/403(b) Fiduciary Luncheon
Mark Sulpizio, a founding partner at IBP, presented a workshop on the added fiduciary responsibilities plan sponsors will face due to the upcoming Department of Labor 408(B)(2) regulations at Ruth's Chris Steak House in Princeton, NJ. The program reviewed what plan sponsors should be doing to prepare for the regulations and offered guidance on how to unbundle a retirement plan to determine the fees being assessed to participants, a requirement of the new regulations. Attendee feedback was extremely positive, with many comments on the timeliness and value of the material presented. If you would like more information on how the new regulations will affect your plan, feel free to call our office.
US Dept. of Health & Human Services, Labor & Treasury Issue Regulation on “Grandfathered” Health Plans Under the Affordable Care Act
While the Affordable Care Act requires all health plans to provide new mandated benefits under the law, plans that existed on March 23, 2010 are exempt from some new requirements. The U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury issued new regulations on “Grandfathered” health plans under the Affordable Care Act. In order for a plan to keep its “Grandfathered” status the plan must abide by the stipulations outlined below when making plan changes. Cannot Significantly Cut or Reduce Benefits. For example, if a plan decides to no longer cover care for people with diabetes, cystic fibrosis or HIV/AIDS. Cannot Raise Co-Insurance Charges. Typically, co-insurance requires a patient to pay a fixed percentage of a charge (for example, 20% of a hospital bill). Grandfathered plans cannot increase this percentage. Cannot Significantly Raise Co-Payment Charges. Frequently, plans require patients to pay a fixed-dollar amount for doctor’s office visits and other…
Innovative Presents on Healthcare Reform
Terriann Procida, one of our founding partners, had the privilege of delivering an informative talk about Healthcare Reform on Wednesday, June 9th in Philadelphia. She covered topics such as The Patient and Affordable Care Act as well as the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, both of which have become the most sweeping legislation since Medicare. Kenneth R. Gilberg, a shareholder of Flaster/Greenberg also presented at this event about Employee Handbooks. Based on the feedback everyone found it very timely and beneficial.
HopeWorks Charity Golf Classic
Innovative Benefit Planning attended the annual HopeWorks Charity Golf Classic on Monday, June 7th at the Laurel Creek Country Club in Moorestown, NJ. HopeWorks seeks to achieve D.R.E.A.M.S. (Dynamic Realizable Efforts to Attain and Maintain Success) for inner-city Camden, NJ youth by expanding the learning opportunities available to them. Innovative, which was one of the sponsors for this event, has been a supporter of this worthy cause for many years. To learn more about HopeWorks and their mission, visit their website or watch this great video which introduces them on a more personal level.
March 2010 Retirement Plan Update Part 1
It has been a busy year in Washington with stimulus, cap and trade and health care dominating the headlines. Behind the scenes, it has also been a busy year for proposals that will affect how employers manage their retirement plans. Currently, there is pending legislation in Washington regarding participant level investment advice and the way advisors are compensated for this advice. Under the Pension Protection Act of 2006, it was OK for plan sponsors to allow advisors to provide this service for participants as long as the person providing the advice was being paid a level fee regardless of the participant investment selection or was using a certified computer model to develop the participant's investment allocation. Under the proposed regulations, affiliates or employees of the advisor will also be required to receive level compensation regardless of the investment option that is chosen. In addition, compensation must now be level for advisors using any certified computer model to provide advice. These proposals will affect advisors who are employees of…
New Website Launched!
Innovative is pleased to announce the launch of our new website. The site will make it easier for clients to register for events, locate previous compliance alerts and most importantly provide us with feedback for our services. So please stop by the site and let us know what you think!