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Business Insights, Research & Perspectives

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December 3, 2009

DOL Updates its Employment Guide

The DOL recently released its updatedEmployment Law Guide.  This Guide is made available to employers to provide general overview information and compliance assistance of the various laws administered and enforced by the DOL, including:

December 3, 2009

IRS Pilot Project Aims to Reduce Identity Theft

In an effort to address identity theft issues, the IRS and Treasury Department have started a 2-year pilot project for 2009-2010 (IRS Notice 2009-93), that would permit, but not require, the use of a truncated Social Security Number (SSN) number on paper copies of the Form 1098 series, the Form 1099 series, and the Form 5498 series.  The pilot project is only available for paper filings of these types of payee statements.  It would allow SSNs, or other 9-digit IRS tax identifying number, to be truncated by replacing the first five digits of the 9-digit number with asterisks or Xs (for example, a social security number 123-45-6789 would appear on the paper payee statement as ***-**-6789 or XXX-XX-6789).

December 3, 2009

Retiree Health Plan Flexibility Under Fire

The national health care reform debate is in full swing.  It is far too early to project what might, or might not, come out of this debate.  However, for those who sponsor, or are contemplating adopting, a retiree health benefit, one point bears watching.

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.

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

COBRA Subsidy Extensions Proposed

At least two bills have recently been introduced in Congress that would extend the COBRA subsidy period:

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

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

Revised EEOC Poster Includes ADAA and GINA Provisions

The EEOC has revised its “Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law” poster. The poster was revised to include information about the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAA), the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), and updates from the Department of Labor.  Two versions of the poster are available: one is an ‘all-in-one’ current edition, and the other is a supplement for an existing posting.  Information relating to GINA must be posted by 11/21/09; the ADAA information became effective 1/1/09. 

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