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Business Insights, Research & Perspectives

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December 10, 2008

Final FMLA Regulations

Last month, the Department of Labor issued final regulations relating to the Family and Medical Leave Act.  Not only do these regulations clarify FMLA issues that have arisen since the law’s enactment in 1993, but they also address the two new forms of FMLA leave signed into law last January, specifically, relating to military families (see FMLA Brings Benefits to Military Families). These regulations become applicable January 16, 2009, and therefore, command immediate attention.

December 10, 2008

Massachusetts: How to be MCC-Compliant

The Massachusetts ‘Commonwealth Connector” has issued guidance (Administrative Bulletin 01-08:  Guidance Regarding Minimum Creditable Coverage (MCC) Certification ) addressing how a plan can be certified as MCC-compliant.  As part of the Massachusetts health care reform project, the law requires residents to be covered by minimum creditable coverage. 

December 10, 2008

DOL Guidance Relating to ERISA’s Bonding Requirement

The Department of Labor recently provided guidance relating to the ERISA bonding requirement.  This guidance is provided in the form of Field Assistance Bulletin (‘FAB’) 2008-04, directed to the DOL’s field offices. 

November 6, 2008

Agencies Finalize Rules on Maternity Hospital Length of Stay

The IRS, DOL and HHS have issued final rules relating to the federal Newborns’ and Mothers’ Health Protection Act of 1996 (“Newborns’ Act”).  These rules are substantially the same as the interim regulations issued several years ago.  Nevertheless, it is a good time to review plans to ensure compliance. 

November 6, 2008

Qualifying Child Redefined… Again!

A few weeks ago, President Bush signed the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (“Adoptions Act”, Pub. L. No. 110-351), which, among other things, amends the definition of qualifying child found in IRC Section 152(c) yet again.  This definition, along with the definition of qualifying relative (which remains unchanged), is important for determining who can receive tax-advantaged benefits, such as benefits from a:

November 6, 2008

San Francisco’s Health Care Ordinance Challenged Again

As a follow-up to last month’s Benefit Beat article, San Francisco’s Health Care Ordinance Stands, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ three-judge panel decision was not good enough for the Golden Gate Restaurant Association (GGRA).  The GGRA has requested a rehearing of this matter before the whole (en banc) 9th Circuit Panel.  In the meantime, employers still have to grapple with satisfying San Francisco’s HCSO mandate.

November 6, 2008

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, 2008.  Notices to be used on or after June 15, 2008, 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)
    • Model Personalized Individual 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 CMS guidance and/or Form Instructions and Screen Shots.

 

November 6, 2008

2009 Retirement Plan COLAS

Following are highlights of the 2009 cost-of-living adjustments issued by the IRS, applicable to defined benefit and defined contribution plans.

November 6, 2008

2009 Cost of Living Adjustments Applicable to Various IRS Benefits, Social Security, and Medicare

In Revenue Procedure 2008-66, the IRS released several cost of living adjustments for various benefits.  Following are amounts applicable to tax years beginning in 2009.

October 12, 2008

Health Coverage Rights for Students on Medical Leave: “Michelle’s Law”

On October 9, 2008, President Bush signed a law (H.R. 2851) that requires individual and group health plans to extend health coverage to dependent college students who take a medically-necessary leave of absence due to a serious illness or injury. This law was enacted as a result of the death of a seriously-ill college student forced to retain full-time student status in order to maintain much needed health coverage.

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