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Business Insights, Research & Perspectives

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March 9, 2009

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.

March 9, 2009

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.

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:

February 2, 2009

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.

February 2, 2009

New Medicare Part-D Notices – Again?

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) is at it again.

February 2, 2009

More COBRA?

COBRA is playing a key role in the economic stimulus proposals being contemplated by Congress.

February 2, 2009

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.

February 2, 2009

Massachusetts Fair Share Filing - Streamlined

Fair Share Contribution Filing Requirement

January 13, 2009

Extension of Written Plan Document for 403(b) Plans

On December 11, 2008, the IRS issued some temporary relief to 403(b) plan sponsors, in the form of Notice 2009-3. Specifically relating to the plan document requirement, all 403(b) plans were, by January 1, 2009, to have a written document in place. This notice delays the written plan document requirement to December 31, 2009. However, a good faith effort must be made to administer the plans in accordance with the final 403(b) regulations during 2009.

January 13, 2009

San Francisco: 2009 Health Care Expenditure Rates

Covered employers who are subject to the San Francisco Health Care Security Ordinance, are required to make health care expenditures (HCE) to, or on behalf of, their covered employees.  The calculation method for these expenditures is set forth in accordance with the Ordinance, and are adjusted annually.  Below are expenditure rates beginning January 1, 2009:

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