August Compliance Recap

Category: Compliance

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…


Final Rule on the Extension of Certain Timeframes for Employee Benefit Plans Due to COVID-19

Posted On: May 4, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance, Employee Benefits

On March 13, 2020, President Trump issued the Proclamation on Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak and by separate letter made a determination, under Section 501(b) of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, that a national emergency exists nationwide beginning March 1, 2020, as the result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The Department of Labor (DOL) and the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) issued a final rule that extends 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. The timing extensions are issued to help alleviate problems faced by health plans to comply with strict ERISA and IRC timeframes and problems faced by participants and beneficiaries in exercising their rights under health plans…


Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act

Posted On: April 29, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance, Employee Benefits

PPP blocks

Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement ActIn response to the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), President Trump signed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (PPPHCEA) into law on April 24, 2020. The PPPHCEA is phase 3.5 in Congress' response to the COVID-19 pandemic following the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020, and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The PPPHCEA is a $484 billion package that increases amounts authorized and appropriated for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) discussed in our April 2, 2020, and April 13, 2020, Advisors for emergency economic injury disaster loans (EIDL) and for emergency grants under the CARES Act. The PPPHCEA also provides additional funding for health care providers.PPP FundingThe PPP was established under the CARES Act to provide small employers with an incentive to keep workers on their…


Gov. Murphy Signs Executive Order Granting Grace Periods for Insurance Premium Payments

Posted On: April 14, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance, Employee Benefits

Gov. Murphy Signs Executive Order Granting Grace Periods for Insurance Premium Payments On April 9, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 123, extending grace periods during which certain insurance companies, including health and dental insurers, life insurers, and property and casualty insurers, will not be able to cancel policies for nonpayment of premiums. Grace Periods for Small Group Employer (0-50 EE’s) Grace period may be initially applied to April or May premium as the policyholder determines and will continue for 60 days from that date. Coverage MUST remain in force and claims must be paid not pended. If a carrier has already provided a grace period for April premium, the time period for which a grace period has already been granted shall be applied toward the emergency grace period. Grace period only applies to policyholders that were in good standing with their insurance carrier on March 1,…


March Compliance Recap

Posted On: April 14, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance

March was a busy month in the employee benefits world. The President signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) into law. The Department of Labor (DOL) issued a bulletin regarding enforcement of the FFCRA. The President also signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) into law. The DOL issued frequently asked questions (FAQs) on providing leave under the FFCRA that have been updated multiple times since first being issued. The DOL also issued an employee's rights notice that employers subject to the FFCRA are required to post and issued employee and employer fact sheets on the FFCRA. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a notice regarding health savings account (HSA) qualified HDHP coverage of testing and treatment related to COVID-19 without meeting a minimum deductible. The IRS also issued a notice providing taxpayers with various filing and payment deadline extensions, including an extension for HSA…


CARES Act: Impact on Employee Benefits

Posted On: April 7, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance, Employee Benefits

CARES Act: Impact on Employee Benefits On March 27, 2020, Congress passed, and the President signed, an unprecedented 2 trillion-dollar stimulus and relief package into law, named the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or the CARES Act. This act provides direct stimulus relief to corporations and individuals. While there are many facets to this act, this brief serves to highlight the changes to employee benefits due to the CARES Act. Expanded COVID-19 Testing The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) required group health plans and insurers to provide coverage of certain diagnostic COVID-19 testing and related services without cost-sharing and without preauthorization. The CARES Act expands on these provisions: All testing for COVID-19 must be covered without cost-sharing for fully insured and self-funded plans. In addition to tests approved by the FDA, this includes tests for which: the developer has requested, or intends to request, an emergency use…


CARES Act: Impact on your Retirement Plans

Posted On: April 7, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance, Retirement Plans

CARES Act: Impact on your Retirement Plans The CARES Act is the stimulus package the government recently enacted to support the country and economy during and after the coronavirus pandemic. The 880-page Act has many programs and features that affect a wide range of the economy. The points below are some of the highlights and potentially overlooked aspects of how the Act deals with retirement plans. One item to note at the beginning, is that adding these programs or features will require a plan amendment. The deadline for creating this amendment is not until 2022 as the government does not want paperwork slowing down these changes. For more information on all aspects of the CARES Act or any bills we are watching, please consult Innovative Benefit Planning. This is an evolving situation that we will continue to closing monitoring and keep you updated as events happen. Coronavirus Related Distribution (CRD)…


CARES Act: Loans & Tax Credit Provisions

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

CARES Act: Loans & Tax Credit Provisions On March 27, 2020, Congress passed, and the President signed, an unprecedented 2 trillion-dollar stimulus and relief package into law, named the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or the CARES Act. This act provides direct stimulus relief to corporations and individuals. A large piece of this Act is its loan provisions (which in some cases are forgivable) and tax credit provisions. Below are the details of these provisions: Paycheck Protection Program Overview The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) authorizes up to $349 Billion in forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees during the COVID-19 crisis. All loan terms will be the same for everyone under this program. What is Available? Small Businesses are eligible for forgivable loans up to the lesser of 10 million dollars or 2.5 times the average total monthly payroll costs incurred in the one-year period prior…


Student Loan Relief Due to COVID-19

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

Overview On March 13, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education announced that it would waive interest charges, allow for suspended payments and provide assistance to borrowers of defaulted loans for 6 months. All information can be found at StudentAid.gov. Who Is Affected? All borrowers who have an outstanding federal student loan, including defaulted and non-defaulted Direct Loans, Federal Perkins Loans and defaulted and non-defaulted Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) owned by the U.S. Department of Education can receive relief. What Type of Relief is Available? Interest Waiver All interest charges on loans are automatically waived starting on March 13, 2020 through September 30, 2020 (relief period). The U.S. Department of Education could extend this period depending on the status of the COVID-19 national emergency. Administrative Forbearance Monthly payments on all applicable loans will be automatically suspended from March 13, 2020 through September 30, 2020. Any automatic payments processed in the…


CARES Act Provisions

Posted On: March 27, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance

On March 27, 2020, Congress passed, and the President signed, an unprecedented 2 trillion dollar stimulus and relief package into law. The law’s nearly 900 pages provide relief for specific industries, including hospitals, airlines, and railroads, as well as cash payments to individuals of up to $1,200 per adult and $500 per child. The bill also contains a number of provisions of direct interest to employers. Small Employers Small businesses (including all businesses under 500 employees and other businesses as defined in section 3 of the Small Business Act and implementing regulations) can qualify for up to $10 million in forgivable loans to be used to cover: Payroll costs (including payments made to independent contractors) during the coronavirus crisis (if employers maintain pre-crisis levels of payroll); Group health benefits, including group health premiums Mortgage interest payments or rent payments Utilities Interest on qualifying debt obligations incurred before the covered period…


DOL Issues Families First Coronavirus Response Act Model Notice

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

DOL Issues Families First Coronavirus Response Act Model Notice As required by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the Department of Labor has issued a model notice to be posted by employers. The notice is attached here, and should be posted or distributed to employees in its entirety. To assist employers in complying with their posting obligations, the Department of Labor has issued the following FAQs regarding the posting requirement: Where do I post this notice? Since most of my workforce is teleworking, where do I electronically “post” this notice? Each covered employer must post a notice of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requirements in a conspicuous place on its premises. An employer may satisfy this requirement by emailing or direct mailing this notice to employees, or posting this notice on an employee information internal or external website. Do I have to post this notice in other languages…


COVID-19: Leave Donation Program

Posted On: March 19, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance, HR Consulting

Leave donation programs have been considered and implemented by employers for years to allow employees to donate accrued paid time (PTO), vacation or sick leave to a general pool. The time available in this pool serves to be used by fellow employees who have medical emergencies or who are affected by major disasters and have exhausted all paid leave available to them. These programs can provide good-will for employees while serving to fill a need due to unfortunate circumstances. With the advent of the COVID-19 crisis, many employers are considering a Leave Donation Program to lessen the burden of limited Paid Time Off (PTO) available to employees who become ill and to increase camaraderie amongst their employees in the time of a crisis. The rules surrounding a program like this are onerous and can have major tax and compliance implications if not implemented correctly. Here is a summary of rules…


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