Yearly Archives: 2017

  • 2017 UBA Healthplan Survey | CA Benefit Advisors

    December 27, 2017

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    It was recently unveiled the latest findings from our 2017 Health Plan Survey. With data on 20,099 health plans sponsored by 11,221 employers, the UBA survey is nearly three times larger than the next two of the nation’s largest health plan benchmarking surveys combined.To learn more, watch this short video below.

  • Utilize FSA Monies with Key Year–End Strategies | CA Benefit Advisors

    December 22, 2017

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    ‘Tis the Season’. Like most, you ‘re probably in the midst of the “hussle and bussle” of this holiday season with dinners, parties, and activities; Christmas shopping; and spending those remaining FSA dollars you have allocated this year.

    Wait, what? Yes, you read right. Chances are, if you’ve opted to utilize an employer-sponsored FSA account in 2017, you may have remaining funds you’ll need to spend. This is especially true if your employer opted for the $500 carryover rule in lieu of a grace period. Regardless of what flexible spending account you have, here are some strategies to get the most out of this benefit before year end.

    Medical Care

    Medical FSAs are the most common supplemental flexible coverage offered under employer benefit plans. If you’ve elected this coverage for 2017, here are a few things to consider when spending these funds.

    Routine and Elective Medical Procedures

    Whether routine or not, now’s the time to get appointments booked. If your employer offers a grace period for turning in receipts, you can book appointments into the first couple of months of the New Year and get reimbursed from this year’s funds without affecting 2018’s contributions. This has a two-fold advantage, as you can also spread next year’s deductible over the coming year.

    Several routine and elective procedures that are FSA-eligible include:

    • Lasik
    • Sleep Apnea/Snoring
    • Hernia surgery
    • Colonoscopy
    • Smoking/Weight Loss Cessation Programs

    Alternative Therapies

    Under IRS law, certain alternative therapies are eligible for reimbursement. Acupuncture and chiropractic care, alternative medicinal treatments, and herbal supplements and remedies are a great way to use up your funds for the year and get a little cash back when you most need it.

    Dental

    Dental benefits often work differently than medical coverage. According to the American Dental Association, this benefit is often capped annually – generally between $1,000 and $3,000.  If you have unused funds remaining in your FSA, now may be the time to schedule a last-minute appointment with your dentist, especially if you might need serious work down the road. This way, you can use up the funds remaining in your account by year-end, and reduce your out-of-pocket expense next year by sharing the cost of additional dental services over a longer period of time.

    Prescription Refills

    Refilling your prescription medications at year end are a great way to use up your funds in your medical FSA. Take inventory of your prescription drugs, toss out expired ones, and make that call for a refill to your doctor or pharmacy.

    Over the Counter Drugs, Medical Equipment and Supplies

    Many OTC medications, medical equipment and supplies are eligible for reimbursement under a medical FSA. First-aid kits, blood-pressure monitors, thermometers, and joint braces are just a few.  Please note that some will require a note or prescription from your doctor.

    Mileage and Other Healthcare-Related Extras

    Traveling to and from any medical facility for appointments or treatment are eligible for reimbursement under your FSA. This not only includes traveling by your own vehicle, but also by bus, train, plane, ambulance service; and does include parking fees and tolls.

    In addition, you can get reimbursed for other health-related expenses. These include:

    • Lodging and meals during a medical event.
    • Medical conferences concerning an illness of you or one of your dependents.
    • Advance Payments on a retirement home or long-term care.

    Dependent Care

    If you have opted to contribute to a DCFSA, you can get reimbursed for day care, preschool, summer camps and non-employer sponsored before and after school programs. In addition, funds contributed to this type of FSA can be used for elderly daycare if you’re covering more than 50% your parent’s maintenance costs.

    Adoption Assistance

    If you are contributing to an Adoption Assistance FSA offered by your employer, you can get reimbursed for any expenses incurred in the process of legally adopting an eligible child. Eligible expenses include adoption fees, attorney fees and court costs, medical expenses for a child prior to being placed for adoption, and related travel costs in association with the adoption process.

    Make the most out of your FSA contributions by using the above strategies to your advantage as we close out 2017. As you move into 2018, review the maximum contribution guidelines for the coming year as set by the IRS, and establish a game plan on expenditures next year. Seek your HR department’s expertise for guidelines and tips they can give you to maximize this valuable benefit package.

  • Advance Informational Copies of 2017 Form 5500 Annual Return/Report | CA Benefit Advisors

    December 18, 2017

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    The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) released advance informational copies of the 2017 Form 5500 annual return/report and related instructions.

    Specifically, the instructions highlight the following modifications to the forms, schedules, and instructions:

    • IRS-Only Questions. IRS-only questions that filers were not required to complete on the 2016 Form 5500 have been removed from the Form 5500 and Schedules.
    • Authorized Service Provider Signatures. The instructions for authorized service provider signatures have been updated to reflect the ability for service providers to sign electronic filings on the plan sponsor and Direct Filing Entity (DFE) lines, where applicable, in addition to signing on behalf of plan administrators on the plan administrator line.
    • Administrative Penalties. The instructions have been updated to reflect that the new maximum penalty for a plan administrator who fails or refuses to file a complete or accurate Form 5500 report has been increased to up to $2,097 a day for penalties assessed after January 13, 2017, whose associated violations occurred after November 2, 2015. Because the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Improvements Act of 2015 requires the penalty amount to be adjusted annually after the Form 5500 and its schedules, attachments, and instructions are published for filing, be sure to check for any possible required inflation adjustments of the maximum penalty amount that may have been published in the Federal Register after the instructions have been posted.
    • Form 5500-Plan Name Change. Line 4 of the Form 5500 has been changed to provide a field for filers to indicate that the name of the plan has changed. The instructions for line 4 have been updated to reflect the change. The instructions for line 1a have also been updated to advise filers that if the plan changed its name from the prior year filing or filings, complete line 4 to indicate that the plan was previously identified by a different name.
    • Filing Exemption for Small Plans. The instructions indicate that for a small unfunded, insured, or combination welfare plan to qualify for the filing exemption, the plan must not be subject to the Form M-1 filing requirements.

    Be aware that the advance copies of the 2017 Form 5500 are for informational purposes only and cannot be used to file a 2017 Form 5500 annual return/report.

    By  Danielle Capilla

    Originally posted by www.UBABenefits.com

  • Agencies Provide Relief for Group Plans and Donation Programs Affected by Hurricanes/Wildfires | CA Benefit Advisors

    December 15, 2017

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    Guidance for Group Health Plans Impacted by Hurricane Maria and California Wildfires

    The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a news release to recognize that plan participants and beneficiaries may encounter problems due to Hurricane Maria and the California Wildfires. The DOL advises plan fiduciaries to make reasonable accommodations to prevent workers’ loss of benefits and to take steps to minimize the possibility of individuals losing benefits because of a failure to comply with pre-established time frames.

    The DOL also acknowledged that there may be instances when full and timely compliance by group health plans may not be possible due to physical disruption to a plan’s principal place of business. The DOL’s enforcement approach will emphasize compliance assistance, including grace periods and other relief where appropriate.

    Deadline Extensions for Those Affected by Hurricane Maria

    The DOL and IRS announced deadline extensions to provide plan participants, beneficiaries, and employers affected by Hurricane Maria with additional time to make health coverage and benefits decisions.

    Under the extension, group health plans have additional time to comply with certain deadlines affecting COBRA continuation coverage, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) special enrollment, claims for benefits, appeals of denied claims, and external review of certain claims. Under the extension, participants and beneficiaries have additional time to make claims for benefits and appeal denied claims.

    Guidance on Leave-Based Donation Programs’ Tax Treatment

    In recent months, the IRS provided guidance for employers who adopt leave-based donation programs to provide charitable relief for victims of Hurricane and Tropical Storms Irma and Maria. This month, the IRS issued Notice 2017-70, which extends the guidance to employers’ programs adopted for the relief of victims of the California wildfires.

    These leave-based donation programs allow employees to forgo vacation, sick, or personal leave in exchange for cash payments that the employer will make to charitable organizations described under Internal Revenue Code Section 170(c).

    The employer’s cash payments will not constitute gross income or wages of the employees if paid before January 1, 2019, to the Section 170(c) charitable organizations for the relief of victims of the California wildfires. Employers do not need to include these payments in Box 1, 3, or 5 of an employee’s Form W-2.

    By Danielle Capilla

    Originally posted by www.UBABenefits.com

  • IRS Updates Guidance on Play-or-Pay Penalty Assessments | CA Benefit Advisors

    December 11, 2017

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    Beginning in 2015, to comply with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), “large” employers must offer their full-time employees health coverage, or pay one of two employer shared responsibility / play-or-pay penalties. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) determines the penalty each calendar year after employees have filed their federal tax returns.

    In November 2017, the IRS indicated on its “Questions and Answers on Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions Under the Affordable Care Act” webpage that, in late 2017, it plans to issue Letter 226J to inform large employers of their potential liability for an employer shared responsibility payment for the 2015 calendar year.

    The IRS’ determination of an employer’s liability and potential payment is based on information reported to the IRS on Forms 1094-C and 1095-C and information about the employer’s full-time employees that were received the premium tax credit.

    The IRS will issue Letter 226J if it determines that, for at least one month in the year, one or more of a large employer’s full-time employees was enrolled in a qualified health plan for which a premium tax credit was allowed (and the employer did not qualify for an affordability safe harbor or other relief for the employee).

    Letter 226J will include:

    • A brief explanation of Section 4980H, the employer shared responsibility regulations
    • An employer shared responsibility payment summary table that includes a monthly itemization of the proposed payment and whether the liability falls under Section 4980H(a) (the “A” or “No Offer” Penalty) or Section 4980H(b) (the “B” or “Inadequate Coverage” Penalty) or neither section
    • A payment summary table explanation
    • An employer shared responsibility response form (Form 14764 “ESRP Response”)
    • An employee premium tax credit list (Form 14765 “Employee Premium Tax Credit (PTC) List”) which lists, by month, the employer’s assessable full-time employees and the indicator codes, if any, the employer reported on lines 14 and 16 of each assessable full-time employee’s Form 1095-C
    • Actions the employer should take if it agrees or disagrees with Letter 226J’s proposed employer shared responsibility payment
    • Actions the IRS will take if the employer does not timely respond to Letter 226J
    • The date by which the employer should respond to Letter 226J, which will generally be 30 days from the date of the letter
    • The name and contact information of the IRS employee to contact with questions about the letter

    If an employer responds to Letter 226J, then the IRS will acknowledge the response with Letter 227 to describe further actions that the employer can take.

    After receiving Letter 227, if the employer disagrees with the proposed or revised shared employer responsibility payment, the employer may request a pre-assessment conference with the IRS Office of Appeals. The employer must request the conference by the response date listed within Letter 227, which will be generally 30 days from the date of the letter.

    If the employer does not respond to either Letter 226J or Letter 227, then the IRS will assess the proposed employer shared responsibility payment amount and issue a notice and demand for payment on Notice CP 220J.

    Notice CP 220J will include a summary of the employer shared responsibility payment, payments made, credits applied, and the balance due, if any. If a balance is due, Notice CP 220J will instruct an employer how to make payment. For payment options, such as an installment agreement, employers should refer to Publication 594 “The IRS Collection Process.”

    Employers are not required to make payment before receiving a notice and demand for payment.

    The ACA prohibits employers from making an adverse employment action against an employee because the employee received a tax credit or subsidy. To avoid allegations of retaliation, as a best practice, employers who receive a Letter 226J should separate their employer shared responsibility penalty assessment correspondence from their human resources department and employees who have authority to make employment actions.

    By Danielle Capilla

    Originally posted by www.UBABenefits.com

     

  • The Perks of Holiday Parties: How They’re Still an Asset to Your Company | CA Benefit Advisors

    December 6, 2017

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    The end of the year is upon us and a majority of companies celebrate with an end-of-year/holiday party.  Although the trend of holiday parties has diminished in recent years, it’s still a good idea to commemorate the year with an office perk like a fun, festive party.

    BENEFITS OF A YEAR-END CELEBRATION

    • Holiday staff parties are a perfect way to thank your employees for a great year. All employees want to feel appreciated and valued. What better way to serve this purpose, than with an end of the year office celebration. Hosting a night out to honor your employees during a festive time of year boosts morale. And if done right, your party can jump start the new year with refreshed, productive employees.
    • End-of-year celebrations allow employees to come together outside of their own team. The average American will spend 90,000 hours (45 years) of their life at work. Unless you have a very small office, most employees only engage in relationships within their department. When employees have a chance to mingle outside of their regular 9 to 5 day, they’ll build and cultivate relationships across different teams within the organization; creating a more loyal, cohesive and motivated culture.
    • Seasonal parties can provide employers insight on those who work for them. Spending the evening with your employees in a more casual and relaxed atmosphere may reveal talents and ideas you may not have otherwise seen during traditional work hours.

    CREATING THE RIGHT FIT

    Regardless of office size, if planned right, employers can make a holiday party pop, no matter your budget. Whether this is your first go at an end-of-year celebration for your employees, or you host one every year, keep a few things in mind:

    • Plan early. Establish a steering committee to generate ideas for your holiday party. Allow the committee to involve all employees early on in the process. Utilize voting tools like Survey Monkey or Outlook to compile employee votes. This engages not only your entire workforce, but serves you as well when tailoring your party to fit your culture.
    • Create set activities. Engaging employees in some type of organized activity not only eases any social anxiety for them and their guests, it cultivates memories and allows colleagues to get to know each other. Consider a “Casino Night”, a photo booth (or two if your company can justify to size), an escape room outing—anything that will kick the night off with ease.
    • Incorporate entertainment during the dinner. Have team leads or management members come up with fun awards that emphasize character traits, strengths, and talents others may not know of. This is a great way to create cohesiveness, build relationships, and have your employees enjoy a good laugh at dinner.
    • Offer fun door prizes every 15 minutes or so. Prizes don’t have to be expensive to have an impact on employees, just relevant to them. However, with the right planning you may be able to throw in a raffle of larger gift items as well. Just keep in the specific tax rules when it relates to gift-giving. Gift cards associated with a specific dollar amount available to use at any establishment, and larger ticket items, can be subject to your employees having to claim income on them and pay the tax.
    • Make the dress code inclusive of everyone. Employees should not feel a financial pinch to attend a holiday office party. Establish a dress code that fits your culture, not the other way around.

     TAKE AWAY TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL HOLIDAY PARTY

    According to the Society of Human Resource Management, statistics show in recent years only 65% of employers have offered holiday parties—down from 72% five years ago. Consider the following tips when hosting your next year-end celebration.

    • Keep it light. Eliminate itineraries and board-room like structure. Choose to separate productivity/award celebrations and upcoming year projections from your holiday party.
    • Invite spouses and significant others to attend the party. Employees spend a majority of their week with their colleagues. Giving employees this option is a great way to show you value who they spend their time with outside of work.
    • Allow employees to leave early on a work day to give them time to get ready and pick up who is attending the party with them.
    • Show how you value your employees by chatting with them and meeting their guests.
    • Provide comfortable seating areas where employees can rest, eat and talk. Position these in main action areas so no one feels anti-social for taking a seat somewhere.
    • Consider tying in employees that work in different locations. Have a slideshow running throughout the night on what events other office locations have done throughout the year.
    • Create low-key conversation starters and get people to chat it up. This is valuable especially for those that are new to the company and guests of your employees. Incorporate trivia questions into the décor and table settings. Get them to engage by tying in a prize.
    • Keep the tastes and comfort level of your employees in mind. Include a variety of menu items that fit dietary restrictions. Not all employees drink alcohol and not all employees eat meat.
    • Limit alcohol to a 2 ticket system per guest. Opt for a cash bar after that to reduce liability.
    • Provide access to accommodations or coordinate transportation like Uber or Lyft to get your employees somewhere safely after the party if they choose to drink.

    Ultimately, holiday parties can still be a value-add for your employees if done the right way. Feel free to change it up from year to year so these parties don’t get stale and continue to fit to your company’s culture. Contemplate new venues, ideas and activities and change up your steering committee to keep these parties fresh. Employees are more likely to enjoy themselves at an event that fits with their lifestyle, so don’t be afraid to get creative!

     

     

     

  • The Price ain’t right – resignation comes among allegations, but now who leads the charge?

    December 4, 2017

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    Tom Price came in with much fanfare as the new Secretary of Health and Human Services, coming in as the administration’s point man to help upend the Affordable Care Act.  He had his own plan and principles, outlined while he was in the House, which would have steered the conversation…had he not found it necessary to book planes at the taxpayers’ expense.  So now the chair sits empty, and the ACA reform attempts in tatters, so now what?

  • Top 3 Frequently Asked Questions about Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangements | CA Benefit Advisors

    December 1, 2017

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    On December 13, 2016, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act) into law. The Cures Act provides a method for certain small employers to reimburse individual health coverage premiums up to a dollar limit through HRAs called “Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangements” (QSE HRAs). The provision went into effect on January 1, 2017. On October 31, 2017, the IRS released Notice 2017-67, providing guidance on the implementation and administration of QSE HRAs.

    Unless an employer meets all the requirements for offering a QSE HRA, previous IRS guidance prohibiting the reimbursement of individual premiums directly or indirectly, after- or pre-tax, through an HRA, a Section 125 plan, a Section 105 plan, or any other mechanism, remains in full effect. Reimbursing individual premiums in a non-compliant manner will subject an employer to a Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) penalty of $100 a day per individual it reimburses, with the potential for other penalties based on the mechanism of the non-compliant reimbursement.

    If an employer fails to meet the requirements of providing a QSE HRA, it will be subject to a penalty of $100 per day per affected person for being a non-compliant group health plan. An arrangement will be a group health plan that is not a QSE HRA if it:

    • Is not provided by an eligible employer (such as an employer that offers another group health plan to its employees).
    • Is not provided on the same terms to all eligible employees.
    • Reimburses medical expenses without first requiring proof of minimum essential coverage (MEC).
    • Provides a permitted benefit in excess of the statutory dollar limits.

    An arrangement’s failure to be a QSE HRA will not cause any reimbursement of a properly substantiated medical expense that is otherwise excludable from income to be included in the employee’s income or wages. Furthermore, an arrangement designed to reimburse expenses other than medical expenses (whether or not also reimbursing medical expenses) is neither a QSE HRA nor a group health plan. Accordingly, all payments under such an arrangement are includible in the employee’s gross income and wages. An employer’s failure to timely provide a compliant written notice does not cause an arrangement to fail to be a QSE HRA, but instead results in the penalty of $50 per employee, not to exceed $2,500.

    Answers to Top Three FAQs about QSE HRAs

    1, Which employers may offer a QSE HRA?

    Employers with fewer than 50 full-time and full-time equivalent employees (under ACA counting rules) that do not offer a group health plan. Employers that do not offer a group health plan, but offer a retiree-only plan to former employees may offer a QSE HRA.

    2. Which employers may not offer a QSE HRA?

    • Employers with 50 or more full-time and full-time equivalent employees (under ACA counting rules).
    • Employers of any size that offer a group health plan, including plans that only provide excepted benefits, such as vision or dental benefits.
    • Employers that provide current employees with access to money from health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) offered in prior years (through a carry-over).
    • Employers that offer employees access to carryover amounts in a flexible spending account (FSA).

    3. What are the rules for employers in a controlled group?

    • Employers with less than 50 full-time and full-time equivalent employees (under ACA counting rules) may offer QSE HRAs, with the headcount including all employees across an entire controlled group.
    • If one employer within a controlled group offers a QSE HRA, it must be offered to all employees within the entire controlled group (or each employer must offer an identical QSE HRA).

    By Danielle Capilla

    Originally posted by www.UBABenefits.com

  • Latest IRS ACA Round Up (Including 2018 Cost-of-Living Adjustments) | CA Benefit Advisors

    November 24, 2017

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    Recently, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued the instructions for Forms 1094/1095 for the 2017 tax year, announced PCORI fees for 2017-18, and announced cost-of-living adjustments for 2018. The IRS provided additional guidance on leave-based donation programs’ tax treatment and released an information letter on COBRA and Medicare. Here’s a recap of these actions for your reference.

    IRS Announces Cost-of-Living Adjustments for 2018

    The IRS released Revenue Procedures 2017-58 and Notice 2017-64 to announce cost-of-living adjustments for 2018. For example, the dollar limit on voluntary employee salary reductions for contributions to health flexible spending accounts (FSAs) is $2,650, for taxable years beginning with 2018.

    Request UBA’s 2018 desk reference card with an at-a glance summary of the various limits.

    IRS Announces PCORI Fee for 2017-18

    The IRS announced the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) fee for 2017-18. The fee is $1.00 per covered life in the first year the fee is in effect. The fee is $2.00 per covered life in the second year. In the third through seventh years, the fee is $2.00, adjusted for medical inflation, per covered life.

    For plan years that end on or after October 1, 2016, and before October 1, 2017, the indexed fee is $2.26. For plan years that end on or after October 1, 2017, and before October 1, 2018, the indexed fee is $2.39.

    For more information, view UBA’s FAQ on the PCORI Fee.

    IRS Provides Additional Guidance on Leave-Based Donation Programs’ Tax Treatment

    Last month, the IRS provided guidance for employers who adopt leave-based donation programs to provide charitable relief for victims of Hurricane and Tropical Storm Irma. This month, the IRS issued Notice 2017-62 which extends the guidance to employers’ programs adopted for the relief of victims of Hurricane and Tropical Storm Maria.

    These leave-based donation programs allow employees to forgo vacation, sick, or personal leave in exchange for cash payments that the employer will make to charitable organizations described under Internal Revenue Code Section 170(c).

    The employer’s cash payments will not constitute gross income or wages of the employees if paid before January 1, 2019, to the Section 170(c) charitable organizations for the relief of victims of Hurricane or Tropical Storm Maria. Employers do not need to include these payments in Box 1, 3, or 5 of an employee’s Form W-2.

    IRS Releases Information Letter on COBRA and Medicare

    The IRS released Information Letter 2017-0022 that explains that a covered employee’s spouse can receive COBRA continuation coverage for up to 36 months if the employee became entitled to Medicare benefits before employment termination. In this case, the spouse’s maximum COBRA continuation period ends the later of: 36 months after the employee’s Medicare entitlement, or 18 months (or 29 months if there is a disability extension) after the employment termination.

    By Danielle Capilla

    Originally posted by www.UBABenefits.com

  • Agencies Issue Proposed Rules and Plans | CA Benefit Advisors

    November 20, 2017

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    October was a busy month in the employee benefits world. President Trump announced a new Acting Secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Eric Hargan fills the position vacated by Tom Price, who resigned in late September 2017. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a proposed rule to delay a disability claims procedure regulation’s applicability date and HHS released its proposed rule on benefits and payment parameters for 2019. The U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) issued its Priority Guidance Plan for projects it intends to complete during the first half of 2018.

    DOL Proposes Delay to Final Disability Claims Procedures Regulations’ Applicability Date

    The DOL issued a proposed rule to delay the applicability date of its final rule that amends the claims procedure requirements applicable to ERISA-covered employee benefit plans that provide disability benefits. The DOL’s Fact Sheet contains a summary of the final rule’s requirements.

    The DOL is delaying the applicability date from January 1, 2018, to April 1, 2018, to consider whether to rescind, modify, or retain the regulations and to give the public an additional opportunity to submit comments and data concerning the final rule’s potential impact.

    CMS Releases 2019 Benefits Payment and Parameters Proposed Rule

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a proposed rule and fact sheet for the 2019 Benefit Payment and Parameters. The proposed rule is intended to increase individual market flexibility, improve program integrity, and reduce regulatory burdens associated with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in many ways, including updates and annual provisions to:

    • Essential health benefits
    • Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP)
    • Special enrollment periods (SEPs)
    • Exemptions
    • Termination effective dates
    • Medical loss ratio (MLR)

    CMS usually finalizes the Benefit Payment and Parameters rule in the first quarter of the year following the proposed rule’s release. November 27, 2017, is the due date for public comments on the proposed rule.

    Almost all the topics addressed in the proposed rule would affect the individual market and the Exchanges, particularly the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Exchanges.

    Of interest to small group health plans, CMS proposes to change how states will select essential health benefits benchmark plans. If CMS keeps this change in its final rule, then it will affect non-grandfathered small group health plans for benefit years 2019 and beyond.

    Treasury Issues its Priority Guidance Plan

    The Treasury issued its 2017-2018 Priority Guidance Plan that lists projects that it intends to complete by June 30, 2018, including:

    • Guidance on issues related to the employer shared responsibility provisions
    • Regulations regarding the excise tax on high cost employer-provided coverage (“Cadillac tax”)
    • Guidance on Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangements (QSE HRAs)

    By Danielle Capilla

    Originally posted by www.UBABenefits.com

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