October Compliance Recap

Category: Compliance

October Compliance Recap

Posted On: November 16, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance

October was a busy month in the employee benefits world. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) renewed the public health emergency due to COVID-19 which took effect on October 23, 2020. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2020-76 regarding deadline extensions and requirements for reporting of group health coverage offered in 2020 under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) as it has done in prior years. The IRS released final instructions for both the 1094-B and 1095-B forms and the 1094-C and 1095-C forms and the final forms for 1094-B, 1095-B, 1094-C, and 1095-C. The IRS released Notice 2020-79 and Rev. Proc. 2020-45 regarding health plan limits as well as various compensation, benefit, and contribution levels under qualified retirement plans for 2021. The Department of Labor (DOL), HHS, and the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) (collectively, the Departments), released interim final rules regarding implementation of…


Final Rules on Coverage Transparency

Posted On: November 16, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance, Employee Benefits

Final Rules on Coverage Transparency On October 29, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Department of Labor (DOL), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) (collectively, Departments), released final rules on coverage transparency, in order to provide health coverage recipients with an estimate of their potential cost-sharing liability for health related services prior to the receipt of care. The final rules require group health plans and insurance issuers in the individual and group markets to disclose cost-sharing information and negotiated rates in electronic or paper form. The final rules also allow issuers to reward plan enrollees with “shared savings payments,” without running afoul of medical loss ratio (MLR) requirements. Issuers are permitted to provide employees who use lower-priced providers with a percentage of the savings relative to a benchmark. Effective Dates Public Disclosure of Negotiated Rates and Historical Allowed Amounts: January 1, 2022 Disclosure of Cost Information: January…


NJ Employers Must Adhere to Latest Executive Orders Mandating Health and Safety Protocols for COVID-19

Posted On: November 4, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance

NJ Employers Must Adhere to Latest Executive Orders Mandating Health and Safety Protocols for COVID-19 On October 28, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 192 (EO 192), which mandates that New Jersey employers abide by certain health and safety standards in an effort to protect employees and other individuals at workplaces during the pandemic. The executive order, effective 6:00am November 5th,  will take the following actions in three areas: Workplace health and safety standards to cover all NJ workers: The executive order will require both private and public sector employers to follow health and safety protocols that will serve to protect their in-person workforces.  The Order mandates all employers: Require individuals at the worksite to maintain at least six feet of distance from others to the maximum extent possible; Require employees, customers, visitors, and other individuals entering the worksite to wear cloth or disposable face masks…


2021 IRS Contribution Limits for FSA and Commuter Benefits

Posted On: November 2, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance

2021 IRS Contribution Limits for FSA and Commuter Benefits On Tuesday, the IRS released 2021 contribution limits for medical FSA and Commuter Benefits for 2021. There are no changes to flexible spending account (FSA) and commuter benefits contribution limits for 2021. The IRS did adjust the contribution limits for adoption assistance programs, increasing the limit from $14,300 to $14,440. Last, HSA contribution limits were announced earlier this year. The limit for an individual is $3,600, while the family contribution limit increased to $7,200. The current and new contribution limits include: Medical FSA Contribution Limit remained the same: $2750 Monthly Commuter Benefits Contribution Limit remained the same: $270 HSA Contribution Limit: Single - $3600; Family - $7200 Adoption Assistance Limit: Increased to $14,440 For a downloadable PDF, click here. If you have any questions about 2021 limits, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your account management team or email us…


IRS Announces 2021 Plan Limitations

Posted On: November 2, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance, Retirement Plans

IRS Announces 2021 Plan Limitations The IRS has recently announced the qualified plan limitations for 2021, which are determined based on annual increases in the cost of living index. Because there was only a modest increase in the index, most of the plan limits have not changed from 2020. For your convenience we have included a downloadable compliance bulletin, detailing the current and new plan limitations: 401k Deferral Limit remained the same: $19,500 The maximum amount that can be contributed by and for a participant to a defined contribution plan - Increased to $58,000 The maximum amount of compensation taken into account for plan purposes - Increased to $290,000 The catch-up contribution for participants who have attained age 50 remained the same: $6,500 The compensation-based definition of highly compensated employee remained the same: $130,000 The maximum annual benefit payable from a defined benefit plan remained the same: $230,000 The definition…


CARES ACT & FFCRA Tax Credits for Eligible Employers

Posted On: October 26, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance

CARES ACT & FFCRA Tax Credits for Eligible Employers Eligible employers are entitled to receive a credit in the full amount of the required sick leave and family leave, plus related health plan expenses and the employer’s share of Medicare tax on the leave, for the period of April 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020.  The refundable credit is applied against certain employment taxes on wages paid to all employees. Eligible employers can reduce federal employment tax deposits in anticipation of the credit.  They can also request an advance of the paid sick and family leave credits for any amounts not covered by the reduction in deposits. The advanced payments will be issued by paper check to employers. To learn more about these tax credits, click here.


3 ACA Reporting Errors and The Pandemic’s Impact

Posted On: October 22, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance, Employee Benefits

3 ACA Reporting Errors and The Pandemic’s Impact As we approach the end of 2020, we must consider how the various enrollment fluctuations due to the COVID-19 Pandemic will impact the ACA Employer Mandate and the already tedious 1095/1094 ACA Reporting. The IRS recently granted a March 2nd deadline extension for the 1095 reporting and this extra time will likely be needed for employers to accurately audit their data as we are expecting to see additional errors due to furloughs, layoffs and coverage extensions. Prior to filing, employers should audit their reporting for the following common errors to avoid an unnecessary penalty letter. Enrollment Changes and Code Errors For each month an employee is offered coverage and one of codes 1B through 1E is entered in line 14, an employee should have a dollar amount indicated in line 15. If there are blank entries this could trigger a penalty for…


September Compliance Recap

Posted On: October 15, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance

September Compliance Recap September was a relatively quiet month in the employee benefits world. President Trump issued an executive order on An America-First Healthcare Plan, noting the Administration’s actions on healthcare and planned actions going forward. A federal district court halted the repeal of certain provisions of the prior final rule on Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Department of Labor (DOL) released additional temporary regulations on the leave laws under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) in response to a federal district court’s invalidation of certain provisions under the original temporary regulations issued by the DOL. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Security Risk Assessment Tool Version 3.2. The DOL released a final rule on Promoting Regulatory Openness Through Good Guidance…


Have You Received an MLR Rebate Check? What To Do Next?

Posted On: October 9, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance, Employee Benefits

Have You Received an MLR Rebate Check? What To Do Next? The Affordable Care Act requires health insurance carriers to spend at least 80-85 percent of premium dollars on medical care and healthcare quality improvement. If the carrier does not meet this medical loss ratio (MLR) obligation, it must give affected customers a rebate.  Rebates must be distributed by the carriers each year by September 30. Any employer that receives a refund then needs process and distribute within 90 days to avoid triggering ERISA trust requirements. For your convenience we have included more information regarding this topic in our compliance bulletin, including: How should the rebate be divided? Are former plan participants entitled to a share in the rebate? How may the employer use the rebate? How should the rebate be provided? Additional Q&As on how the rebate should be used If you have any questions about distribution or how…


IRS Extends ACA Reporting Deadline for Furnishing Statements for 2020 from February 1 to March 2, 2021

Posted On: October 7, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance

IRS Extends ACA Reporting Deadline for Furnishing Statements for 2020 from February 1 to March 2, 2021 As the deadline for reporting of group health coverage offered in 2020 under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) approaches, the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) has issued IRS Notice 2020-76 (Notice) regarding deadline extensions and requirements as it has done in prior years. In past years, the IRS provided relief to employers who made a good faith effort to comply with the information reporting requirements and determined that they would not be subject to penalties for failure to correctly or completely file. This did not apply to employers that failed to timely file or furnish a statement. Under the Notice, this relief has been extended for group health coverage offered in 2020. As in prior years, the relief is applied only to incorrect or incomplete information reported on the statement or…


New FAQs Address Questions Employers May Ask to Screen Employees for COVID-19 and ADA Requirements for Handling Employees’ Medical Information 

Posted On: September 25, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance

New FAQs Address Questions Employers May Ask to Screen Employees for COVID-19 and ADA Requirements for Handling Employees' Medical Information  On Sept. 8, 2020, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued additional answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about how employers should comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) during the coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic. The additional FAQs, which address the types of information employers may or may not require from employees, how employers must handle employees' medical information and other ADA issues, were added to guidance that the EEOC originally issued on March 18 and updated in April, May and June 2020. The existing guidance also addresses workplace accommodations, medical exams and other ADA-related issues. Please contact us with any questions!  


August Compliance Recap

Posted On: September 9, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance

August 2020 Compliance Recap August was a relatively busy month in the employee benefits world. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) released an updated report on health savings accounts (HSAs) that summarizes the principal rules governing HSAs and changes made to HSAs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued amended guidance allowing health plans to use protected health information (PHI) to contact individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 regarding donating blood plasma. A federal district court invalidated certain provisions of the regulations implementing the Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA) and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The U.S. Supreme Court announced the date for oral arguments in the court case challenging the constitutionality of the ACA. The Small Business Administration (SBA) released frequently asked questions (FAQs) on…


July Compliance Recap

Posted On: August 5, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance

July was a busy month in the employee benefits world. The U.S. Supreme Court (Supreme Court) upheld the religious exemption and moral exemption final rules to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) contraceptive mandate. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released the indexed 2021 ACA affordability percentage. The President signed a law extending the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) application deadline. The IRS released draft ACA reporting forms for 2020. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of Labor (DOL), and the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) (collectively, the Departments) released proposed rules on grandfathered health plans. A U.S. court of appeals upheld the short-term limited duration insurance (STLDI) final rule. HHS published a revised confidentiality of substance use disorder patient records final rule. The IRS issued a private letter ruling on health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) and profit-sharing plan contributions. The IRS also issued an information letter…


Important Plan Considerations Regarding FSA Mid-Year Changes

Posted On: July 29, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance

Important Plan Considerations Regarding FSA Mid-Year Changes As you are aware, in order to provide additional relief to Americans during these challenging times, the IRS released Notice 2020-29 and 2020-33. These notices provided new relaxed rules for 2020 that affected Health Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). As a reminder if you have allowed employees to make changes mid year, please be aware of the following: Making Changes to Elections: Enrollees will be unable to elect less than what they have used or contributed, whatever amount is greater. Enrollees who stop their contributions will retain access to funds in their account via their debit card. If any funds are leftover at the end of the year these will be eligible for any applicable grace period or carry over. Important Plan Consideration: Please note reducing future deductions to $0 is different than terminating a member’s plan. An active employee who chooses to “terminate”…


June Compliance Recap

Posted On: July 7, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance

June was a busy month in the employee benefits world. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released the updated patient-centered outcomes research institute (PCORI) fee amount and announced transition relief. The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) published a final rule regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) Section 1557. The President signed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020. The Department of Labor (DOL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) (collectively, the Departments), issued additional frequently asked questions (FAQs) on health plan coverage under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a letter highlighting COVID-19 guidance for non-federal governmental plan sponsors. CMS issued an information bulletin for insurers regarding the 2019 medical loss ratio…


PCORI Fees are Extended an Additional 10 Years

Posted On: June 30, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance

PCORI Fees are Extended an Additional 10 Years As a reminder, employers that sponsor certain self-insured health plans are responsible for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) fees. Fees for plan years that ended in 2019 are due July 31, 2020. Under the Affordable Care Act, PCORI fees were originally scheduled to apply to policy or plan years ending on or after Oct. 1, 2012 and before Oct. 1, 2019. However, in Dec. 2019, PCORI fees were extended for an additional 10 years. Thus, the fee continues to apply for the 2020-2029 fiscal years. Employers must report and pay the required PCORI fees annually via IRS Form 720. For plan years that ended between Jan. 1, 2019, and Sep. 30, 2019, the fee is $2.45 multiplied by the average number of lives covered under the plan. On June 8, 2020, the IRS issued Notice 2020-44, which increases the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) fee amount for plan years…


May Compliance Recap

Posted On: June 8, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance

May was a busy month in the employee benefits world. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued IRS Notice 2020-29 that provides increased flexibility for making mid-year elections or changes under a Section 125 cafeteria plan during calendar year 2020 and provides increased flexibility to apply unused amounts in health flexible spending accounts (FSAs) to medical care expenses. The IRS also issued IRS Notice 2020-33 that increases the limit for unused health FSA carryover amounts and clarifies the ability of a health plan to reimburse individual insurance policy premium expenses incurred prior to the beginning of the plan year for coverage provided during the plan year. The Department of Labor (DOL) released updated Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) model notices and frequently asked questions (FAQs) providing general information on the updated model notices. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a bulletin noting it will adopt…


President Trump Signs Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act

Posted On: June 8, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance

President Trump signs paycheck protection flexibility act

President Trump Signs Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act The President authorized the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act on June 5th after it was passed by the House on May 28th with only one dissenting vote and passed unanimously by the Senate on June 3rd.  This act changes provisions surrounding loan forgiveness through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Highlights of this act include changing the time recipients have to spend their PPP loan proceeds, decreasing the amount that needs to be spent on payroll for forgiveness, extending worker and wage deadlines, and more. Below are major details of the act that employers who have received PPP loans may find pertinent: The amount of time PPP Loan recipients have to spend their loan is increasing to 24 weeks from 8 weeks. If they choose to, employers can keep the 8 week period. The PPP provisions previously required 75 percent of the loan to be…


April Compliance Recap

Posted On: May 18, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance

April was a busy month in the employee benefits world. The President signed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (PPPHCEA). The Department of Labor (DOL) and the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) released a final rule extending certain timeframes under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and Internal Revenue Code (IRC) for group health plans, disability, and other welfare plans, pension plans, and participants and beneficiaries of these plans during the COVID-19 national emergency. In addition, the DOL issued a disaster relief notice that extends deadlines for furnishing other required notices or disclosures to plan participants, beneficiaries, and other persons so that plan fiduciaries and plan sponsors have additional time to meet their obligations under Title I of ERISA during the COVID-19 outbreak. The DOL released temporary regulations implementing the leave portions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The Small Business Administration (SBA) released…


Further Guidance on Internal Revenue Service Notice 2020-29

Posted On: May 18, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance

Further Guidance on Internal Revenue Service Notice 2020-29 The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued IRS Notice 2020-29 (Notice) that provides increased flexibility for making mid-year elections or changes under a Section 125 cafeteria plan during calendar year 2020 related to employer-sponsored health coverage, health flexible spending arrangements (health FSAs), and dependent care assistance programs (DCAPs). This notice also provides increased flexibility with respect to grace periods to apply unused amounts in health FSAs to medical care expenses incurred through December 31, 2020, and unused amounts in dependent care assistance programs to dependent care expenses incurred through December 31, 2020. Elections under a Section 125 cafeteria plan The Notice provides that an employer with insured or self-insured coverage may amend a Section 125 cafeteria plan to allow employees to: Make a new election for employer sponsored health coverage on a prospective basis, if the employee initially declined to elect employer-sponsored health…


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