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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:
Qualified Transportation Subsidy
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (“ARRA”) includes a temporary expansion of the mass transit and van pooling monthly limits for qualified transportation.
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.
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.
Retirement Plan, Automatic Contribution Regulations – Issued
Final regulations have been issued relating to qualified automatic contribution arrangements and eligible contribution arrangements. These concepts were established by the Pension Protection Act, and modified in the “Worker, Retiree, and Employer Recovery Act of 2008.” (See Benefit Beat, October, 2006 – “Default Investments: Great Expectations”).
February 2, 2009
COBRA is playing a key role in the economic stimulus proposals being contemplated by Congress.
Massachusetts Fair Share Filing - Streamlined
Fair Share Contribution Filing Requirement
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.
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.
New Medicare Part-D Notices – Again?
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) is at it again.