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Business Insights, Research & Perspectives

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March 9, 2009

COBRA Subsidy - Information Support

Internal Revenue Service – With regard to the COBRA subsidy provisions contained in the recently enacted American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 (“ARRA”), the Internal Revenue Service has posted on its website initial information designed to help employers claim credit for the COBRA medical premiums they pay for their former employees. As part of this information, the IRS has provided a set of questions and answers for employers at the following link: “COBRA: Answers for Employers.” In addition, the IRS website provides a revised version of the “Employer’s  Quarterly Federal Tax Return” (Form 941) that employers will use to claim the new COBRA premium assistance payments credit, beginning with the first quarter of 2009.

March 9, 2009

Genetic Nondiscrimination Regulations - Proposed

Last May, Congress passed, and President Bush signed, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008(“GINA”) (See Benefit Beat, June, 2008 – “New Law Prohibits Genetic Discrimination”). On March 2, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued proposed regulations defining this law. The comment period for these proposed regulations will be open for 60 days, after which, the EEOC will finalize the regulations, hopefully, on time for the law’s implementation dates.

March 9, 2009

New HIPAA Special Enrollment

On February 4, 2009, President Obama signed the “Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009”, which re-authorizes the program to provide health coverage for low-income children. This law will affect employers in several ways:

February 2, 2009

Massachusetts Fair Share Filing - Streamlined

Fair Share Contribution Filing Requirement

February 2, 2009

Investment Advice, Regulations – Final?

On January 21, final participant investment advice regulations were published in the Federal Register. They are substantially similar to the proposed regulations issued in August (see Benefit Beat, 9/4/2008 – Proposed Rules: Investment Advice Exemption for 401(K) Plans and IRAS”). These regulations are to take effect March 23, 2009; however, whether this will actually happen is an open question.

February 2, 2009

New Medicare Part-D Notices – Again?

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) is at it again.

February 2, 2009

More COBRA?

COBRA is playing a key role in the economic stimulus proposals being contemplated by Congress.

February 2, 2009

Supreme Court Says “Yes” To Beneficiary Designation Reliance

The United States Supreme Court has simplified the lives of ERISA plan administrators by giving credence to proper plan administration.

January 13, 2009

DOL Issues Final Civil Penalty Rules

EBSA has issued final regulations relating to procedures for assessing civil monetary penalties, in accordance with ERISA Section 502(c)(4), for certain notice failures.  In summary, the Pension Protection Act of 2006, imposes several new notice requirements on qualified plan officials.  The recently issued regulations clarify the process that the DOL can use to assess civil penalties for these violations. 

January 13, 2009

Massachusetts: 2009 Employee HIRD Forms

The Massachusetts Division of Health Care Finance and Policy (DHCFP) has released the 2009 Employee HIRD Form.  Each employee must sign an Employee HIRD form if he/she:

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