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October 12, 2008
Massachusetts Fair Share Requirement Relaxed?
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has issued new regulations relating to the fair share contribution requirement. While the Massachusetts health care reform experiment does not require employers to provide, or make a contribution toward, health coverage for their employees, it does impose an annual financial fee assessment ($295 per employee) upon employers who do not.
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.
September 4, 2008
New CMS Website for Medicare Payer Reporting
As described in the January, 2008 Benefit Beat, a new reporting requirement will be imposed upon insurers, third party administrators (TPAs), and plan administrators of self-funded, self-administered health plans. The reporting requirement relates to the Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) rules. These rules require that a group health plan pay primary to Medicare in three instances:
San Francisco: New Commuter Benefit Mandate
The City of San Francisco is at it again:
Proposed Rules: Investment Advice Exemption for 401(K) Plans and IRAS
The DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration has been busy issuing investment advice guidance provided under 401(k) plans and individual retirement accounts (IRA).
August 5, 2008
Coming Soon: New Participant Disclosure
The Employee Benefits Security Administration of the Department of Labor has been on a mission to improve information sharing, particularly as it relates to qualified plan fee disclosure. This mission has been divided into three parts:
New HSA Proposed Rules - Employer Contributions and Excise Tax
The IRS and Treasury have been busy again, espousing their positions on health savings accounts (HSAs). This time, the guidance comes in the form of proposed regulations. These regulations relate to the HSA comparability (discrimination) rules. The regulations also address the excise (penalty) tax that can be assessed for several types of plan violations.
Recent Noteworthy Court Decisions
Three recent court decisions, one by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and two by the U.S. Supreme Court, bear some contemplation.
July 9, 2008
CMS Issues New Updated Medicare Part D Notices
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have developed new model Medicare Part D notices to be used on or after June 15, 2008:
“HEROES Act” Signed into Law
On June 17, 2008, President Bush signed theHeroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act of 2008 (“Heroes Act”, Public Law 110-245), highlighted in last month’sBenefit Beat. This law, among other things: