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October 9, 2007
Medicare Premiums and Deductibles for 2008
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have released the Medicare premium and deductible amounts for 2008.
Time Now for New Massachusetts Filings by Employers
The Massachusetts health care reform law passed last year requires employers who employ 11 or more full-time equivalent employees in the Commonwealth to accomplish certain filings between October 1st and November 15th of each year. The first filing period is upon us.
Health Care Reform and the 2008 Presidential Campaign
As the Presidential campaign begins to heat up, the candidates are sharpening their pencils in designing health care reform proposals. While it is far too early to surmise how these proposals might be sculpted, there are a couple nonpartisan websites that are following the candidate’s proposals, such as Kaiser Family Foundation’s health08.org and its list of resources, as well as the New York Times.
September 11, 2007
Dependent Child Conundrum
In the very recent past, and particularly in 2007, many State Legislatures have found it to be in their collective wisdom to amend State insurance laws as they relate to the definition of dependent child. In large part, the definition of dependent child, for health insurance purposes only, has been expanded. It appears that States are attempting to narrow the gap of their uninsured population. Young people, particularly those recently out of school, are a significant portion of the uninsured population. The theory goes that allowing these children to stay on their parents’ plan for longer period of time will reduce the uninsured population.
August 7, 2007
403(b) Plans: Are You Ready for Some Fun?
At long last, the IRS has issued final 403(b) regulations. These regulations have been in the making for quite some time. The good news is that these rules generally do not apply until January 1, 2009, with some exceptions. This gives employers a little bit of time to get prepared for these regulations.
403(b) Plans: ERISA Exemption?
One of the questions that has been nagging tax-exempt organizations is how to preserve a plan’s exemption from ERISA. Generally, not-for profit organizations sponsoring 403(b) plans are subject to ERISA, unless the plan is fully funded with employee money, and as long as certain other conditions are met. With the issuance of the new 403(b) regulations, a question has arisen about how an employer can make an employee-funded plan available that would be exempt from ERISA? The day after the final 403(b) regulations were issued, the DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration came out with Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) 2007-02 to give direction on this question.
July 5, 2007
Federal Minimum Wage Update
On July 5, 2007, the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division released a revised Federal minimum wage poster reflecting the new minimum wage increases. Beginning July 24, 2007, the minimum wage will be $5.85 per hour, increasing to $6.55 in 2008 and $7.25 in 2009. Employers subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage provisions are required to post this notice, in a conspicuous place in all of its locations, where employees can readily read it.
Note to Employers Seeking Medicare Retiree Drug Subsidy: Reconciliation
For employers who offered retiree drug benefits in 2006, and who have made application to receive the subsidy, reconciliation of the 2006 plan year is due 15 months following the close of the plan year. For a calendar year plan, the first reconciliation will be due by March 15, 2008. For plans whose reconciliation would be due prior to that date, an automatic extension is given until November 30, 2007.
Retiree Health Coordination on the Move Again?
For the last several years, there has been an unresolved issue relating to retiree health coverage and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). A few years ago, a Third Circuit Court decided that it would be a violation of the ADEA for an employer to coordinate retiree health benefits with Medicare. In other words, employers would be prohibited from providing greater benefits for pre-Medicare eligible retirees, than for post-Medicare eligible retirees.
Massachusetts Health Care Reform Law: Employer Obligations At-A-Glance
Fair and Reasonable Contribution Penalty - Fair Share Contribution