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October 12, 2008
HEART Act FSA Cash-out Explained
In June, 2008, a law was passed (Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act of 2008, “Heroes Act” or “HEART Act”, Public Law 110-245; see the June 2008 edition of Benefit Beat), addressing several employment and benefit-related matters specifically applicable to employees called to active service. One of these provisions allow a distribution for non-medical reasons from a health flexible spending account (health FSA). The IRS has issued Notice 2008-82 flushing out this provision.
Mental Health Benefits Expanded
As part of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (H.R. 1424), a new mental health parity provision becomes law. The existing federal mental health parity law requires that annual and lifetime limits for mental health services be comparable to those for medical and surgical services. Under the new law, mental health services must be treated in a substantially similar manner to medical and surgical services. This would include:
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.
September 4, 2008
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).
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:
August 5, 2008
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.
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:
July 9, 2008
A Potpourri of HSA Guidance
Three pieces of HSA guidance were recently issued by IRS and Treasury Department in the form of IRS Notices. The first piece of guidance includes new 42 formal questions and answers about HSAs; the second piece of guidance relates to the annual maximum HSA contribution; and the third relates to a one-time IRA rollover to an HSA.