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December 2, 2011

Mental Health Parity: DOL issues Clarifying Guidance

While the government agencies (DOL/IRS/CMS) have been busy implementing the health care reform law, a recent set of FAQs reminds us that they have not forgotten about other laws under their jurisdiction, specifically the mental health parity laws.   

December 2, 2011

New DOL Consumer Assistance Website

The DOL’s Employee Benefit Security Administration (EBSA) has unveiled a new Consumer Assistance segment on their website.  This section provides resources, tools, finding devices, FAQs, fact sheets and publications relating to health and retirement plans.  It also allows one to submit questions, complaints or problems about benefits directly to an EBSA benefit advisor.

December 2, 2011

IRS releases 2011 Forms for HSA Reporting

The Form 8889 is used by HSA account holders to report contributions, including contributions made by the HSA account holder’s employer, as well as distributions from the HSA that occur during the tax year.  This form is also used to calculate HSA deductions and any reportable income or tax that could be owed if the account holder becomes HSA-ineligible during the tax year. The IRS released the 2011 edition of the Form 8889, together with Instructions for completing the Form.  The 2011 form reflects the changes made by the health care reform law; specifically relating to the increase in penalty from 10% to 20% for nonqualified distributions, and the prescription requirement applicable to over-the counter medications.

December 2, 2011

An MSP Reminder: Loud and Clear

In a recent Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision (Bio-Medical Applications of Tennessee, Inc. v. Central States Southeast and Southwest Areas Health and Welfare Fund), we are reminded of how important it is to comply with the Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) Rules. 

November 28, 2011

HRB 41 - More ACA Updates

November 28, 2011 -- 

Supreme Court to Ponder Health Care Reform Law

The Supreme Court of the United States has decided to review four questions of law deriving from the health care reform law (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, referenced as the Affordable Care Act or "ACA"). The questions that the Supreme Court will consider are as follows:

November 21, 2011

Congress Repeals 3% Withholding, Provides Tax Incentives for Hiring Veterans

On November 16, 2011, Congress passed the Three Percent Withholding Repeal and Job Creation Act (H.R. 674). This legislation repeals a controversial law that would have required federal, state and local government entities with total annual expenditures of $100 million or more to withhold 3 percent of certain payments for goods and services to government contractors and vendors. President Obama has said he will sign the bill into law as soon as it reaches the White House.

November 14, 2011

Form 5500 Non-Filer Project

Generally, a plan subject to ERISA must file an annual report, known as a 5500.  Certain exceptions apply, specifically to small welfare benefit plans.

November 14, 2011

2012 limits applicable to MSAs, LTC premium, adoption assistance programs and qualified transportation expenses

In Revenue Procedure 2011-52, the IRS released 2012 limits relating to MSAs, LTC premium, adoption assistance programs.  Following are amounts applicable to tax years beginning in 2012.  Please note that the 2012 annual limits applicable to health savings accounts were released earlier this year (see Health Savings Accounts:  2012 Cost of Living Adjustments, Benefit Beat, 6/7/11).

November 14, 2011

2012 Changes in Social Security Wage Base and Medicare Premiums

2012 Social Security Cost-of-living Adjustment

November 14, 2011

2012 Pension and Retirement Plan Limits

The 2012 plan limits, applicable to defined benefit and defined contribution plans, have been issued by the IRS (highlights below; also see IRS COLA table).

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