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August 5, 2010

Retirement Plan Fee Disclosure Continuum

The DOL’s Employee Benefit Security Administration has been working on a multi-faceted approach to ensure adequate fee disclosures payable by retirement plans.  The first prong came in the form of Schedule C reporting requirement; these requirements took effect for the 2009 plan year.  The second prong relates to fee disclosure to plan sponsors.  On July 16, 2010, the DOL issued interim final regulations addressing fee disclosure matters by service providers.  Later this year, the DOL is expected to issue regulations relating to disclosure to participants. 

August 5, 2010

COBRA Subsidy Expired

The COBRA premium assistance subsidy, enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (“ARRA”) in February, 2009, ended May 31, 2010, and has not been reinstated.  Therefore, individuals who are involuntarily terminated after May 31, 2010, do not qualify for the subsidy.  However, individuals who qualified for the subsidy on or before May 31, 2010 may continue to pay reduced premiums for the full subsidy period (15 months), as long as they are not eligible for another group health plan or Medicare.

August 5, 2010

More HIPAA Privacy Rules Proposed

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) included a law known as the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act.   The HITECH Act made several changes to the HIPAA privacy and security rules. 

August 3, 2010

HRB 13 - Expanded 1099 Reporting Requirements for 2012 and Call for Public Comment

August 3, 2010 -- Beginning in 2012, payments of $600 or more in any taxable year for goods as well as services, and made to any person or entity, including corporations, will be subject to Form 1099 reporting.  The new reporting requirements were introduced as part of the health care reform legislation enacted on March 23, 2010, which amends Section 6041 of the Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”).    Prior to the amendment, Section 6041 required information returns to be filed by every person engaged in a trade or business who makes payments to another person of rent, salaries, wages and other enumerated amounts that total $600 or more in a taxable year.  The amendment significantly expands this reporting requirement to include payments “of amounts in consideration for property” and includes corporations not tax-exempt under Section 501(a) of the Code as “persons” subject to the reporting.  Note that certain business purchases made with credit or debit cards are exempted from the Section 6041 reporting requirement under previously issued proposed regulations (REG-139255-08),1because such purchases will already be reported by banks and other payment processors. 

August 3, 2010

HRB 12 - Break Time for Nursing Mothers

August 3, 2010 -- As part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a federal law was enacted, effective March 23, 2010, that provides for a reasonable break time for nursing mothers to express milk.  Specifically, this law requires employers to provide a private place, other than a bathroom, for nursing mothers to express milk during the first year of the child’s life.  The designated private place must be shielded from view, and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public.

July 26, 2010

HRB 11 - Internal Claims and Appeals, and External Review Process

July 26, 2010 --On July 23, 2010, the Departments of HHS, Labor, and Treasury issued interim final regulations relating to the internal claims and appeal, and external review process provisions of the health reform law (PPACA).  These rules provide for both a standardized internal process, as well as an external process, that individuals can use to appeal decisions made by their health plan.

July 15, 2010

HRB 10 - Preventive Health Services

July 15, 2010 -- On July 14, 2010, the Departments of HHS, Labor, and Treasury issued interim final regulations relating to the preventive care provisions of the health reform law (PPACA).  These rules require health plans to cover certain preventive services, without imposing any cost-sharing requirements (co-pay, co-insurance, or deductible), when such services are delivered by in-network providers. 

July 12, 2010

HRB 9 - New Model Notices Issued

July 12, 2010 -- In response to several notice requirements contained in recently issued regulations implementing the new health reform law, the DOL’s Employee Benefit Security Administration (EBSA) issued four new model notices, as follows:

July 12, 2010

MHPAEA: Welcomed Non-enforcement Guidance

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA), enacted on October 3, 2008, expanded the Mental Health Parity law, enacted in 1996.  Since the issuance of the interim final MHPAEA regulations earlier this year, many insurers have expressed concern about the practice of having two different payment standards for outpatient services, specifically, a co-pay, for example, for office visits, and a co-insurance for all other services. 

July 12, 2010

FMLA Broadened for Parents

The Family and Medical Leave Act was enacted in 1993 to provide time off and job protection in the event that an employee has a serious health condition, or to attend to a serious health condition of a family member, defined as a spouse, parent, son or daughter, as well as for the birth or adoption of a child.  The law applies to employers employing 50 or more employees.

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