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October 12, 2008
San Francisco’s Health Care Ordinance Stands
On September 30, 2008, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rendered its Opinion relating to ERISA preemption of the City of San Francisco’s Health Care Security Ordinance (Golden Gate Restaurant Assn. vs. City and County of San Francisco; Case No: 07-17370, 9/30/08). The 9th Circuit Court has upheld the Ordinance, which went into effect 1/9/08 for employers with 50+ employees; 4/1/08 for employers with 20+ employees.
September 4, 2008
San Francisco: New Commuter Benefit Mandate
The City of San Francisco is at it again:
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:
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:
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.
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.
July 9, 2008
Benefits issues and Same-sex Marriages
According to a California Supreme Court decision rendered on May 15, 2008, same-sex couples are able to enter into marriage, beginning June 16th. There is a possibility that this matter will come up for popular vote in the November elections in the State of California. California is the second state, Massachusetts being the first, to sanction same-sex marriages. Providing benefits to individuals in either same-sex marriages or domestic partnerships, whether mandated or voluntary, raises many benefit issues.
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: