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November 5, 2009

2010 COLAs – Various Benefits, Social Security and Medicare

In Revenue Procedure 2009-50, the IRS released several cost of living adjustments for various benefits.  Following are amounts applicable to tax years beginning in 2010.

November 5, 2009

Notice Reminders: Medicare Part D

  • Annual Medicare Part D Notices. The annual notices of creditable and noncreditable coverage to Medicare-eligibles must be provided no later than November 14, 2009.  Notices to be used on or after January 1, 2009, as well as Creditable Coverage Guidance, are all available on-line from the CMS website, or can be viewed from these links:
    • Model Individual Creditable Coverage Disclosure Notice (English or Spanish)
    • Model Individual Non-Creditable Coverage Disclosure Notice (English or Spanish)
  • Disclosure Notice to CMS.  An annual report,Creditable Coverage Disclosure Form, must also be submitted to CMS describing whether the prescription drug coverage is creditable or not creditable.  This filing must be accomplished electronically, and is due within 60 days of the commencement of the plan year.  For details about this notice, see CMSguidance and/orForm Instructions and Screen Shots.

 

November 5, 2009

Pandemic H1N1 Planning

Several federal and state resources are available to assist businesses and employers in preparing a pandemic plan for their workplace (also seePandemic Flu Basics from the May 2009 Benefit Beat). Below are links for revised information and guidance that may be helpful:

November 5, 2009

Welfare Benefit Plan Violations: Self-Reporting Required

On September 8, 2009, the Department of Treasury issued final regulations relating to self-reporting excise taxes imposed as a result of certain welfare benefit plan violations.  The excise taxes are not new; the self-reporting requirement is new.  These rules apply for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2010. 

November 5, 2009

Civil Penalties for HiTech Violations

On October 30, 2009,  interim final regulations were issued by HHS’ Office for Civil Rights relating to civil monetary penalties, arising from violations of the HiTech law (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009).  These rules amend the four tiers of civil penalties that can be imposed upon covered entities, as defined by the HIPAA Administrative Simplification laws, to provide for penalties in the event of any HITECH violations relating to breach of medical information (seeBreach Notification Rules Issued).  Below is the revised table of potential penalties:

November 5, 2009

2010 Retirement Plan COLAs

Following are highlights of the 2010 cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) issued by the IRS, applicable to defined benefit and defined contribution plans.  You will note that, by and large, there are no adjustments for 2010.  A COLA is based on the cost of living index; which has dropped; and thus, there are no increases for 2010.

October 8, 2009

New Retirement and Savings Initiatives

Amid the flurry of health-related activity ranging from H1N1 preparedness, to health system reform, the Obama Administration has found time to begin placing its mark on retirement savings, as well.  Within a span of just of couple of days, the IRS issued several Retirement and Savings Initiatives; and, the DOL issued a Field Assistance Bulletin, all in an effort to facilitate individual savings.  Following is a brief summary of some of these pronouncements.  It is important to note that these are not new laws; rather, interpretations of existing law.

October 8, 2009

HSA Comparability Rules Clarified

Final regulations were issued relating to employer comparable contributions to health savings accounts (HSAs).  These rules basically follow the proposed regulations issued in 2008. 

October 8, 2009

The Enforcers….Are You Ready?

The Obama Administration has had 8 months to place people into administrative roles.  We are now deemed to get a flavor for how things will be handled. 

September 10, 2009

Breach Notification Rules Issued

On August 24th and 25th, 2009, respectively, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (“Agencies”) issued interim and final regulations relating to breach notification of personal health information.  These regulations become effective on September 23rd and 24th, 2009; however, both Agencies have indicated that they will honor a “non-enforcement policy” for six months from the date of issuance.  In effect, this non-enforcement policy will be in place until February 24th and 25th, 2010; thereafter, affected entities must be fully in compliance.  While these two sets of rules are similar, they are not identical.

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