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Business Insights, Research & Perspectives

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October 9, 2007

Time Now for New Massachusetts Filings by Employers

The Massachusetts health care reform law passed last year requires employers who employ 11 or more full-time equivalent employees in the Commonwealth to accomplish certain filings between October 1st and November 15th of each year. The first filing period is upon us.

September 11, 2007

Dependent Child Conundrum

In the very recent past, and particularly in 2007, many State Legislatures have found it to be in their collective wisdom to amend State insurance laws as they relate to the definition of dependent child. In large part, the definition of dependent child, for health insurance purposes only, has been expanded. It appears that States are attempting to narrow the gap of their uninsured population. Young people, particularly those recently out of school, are a significant portion of the uninsured population. The theory goes that allowing these children to stay on their parents’ plan for longer period of time will reduce the uninsured population.

August 7, 2007

403(b) Plans: ERISA Exemption?

One of the questions that has been nagging tax-exempt organizations is how to preserve a plan’s exemption from ERISA. Generally, not-for profit organizations sponsoring 403(b) plans are subject to ERISA, unless the plan is fully funded with employee money, and as long as certain other conditions are met. With the issuance of the new 403(b) regulations, a question has arisen about how an employer can make an employee-funded plan available that would be exempt from ERISA? The day after the final 403(b) regulations were issued, the DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration came out with Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) 2007-02 to give direction on this question.

August 7, 2007

403(b) Plans: Are You Ready for Some Fun?

At long last, the IRS has issued final 403(b) regulations. These regulations have been in the making for quite some time. The good news is that these rules generally do not apply until January 1, 2009, with some exceptions. This gives employers a little bit of time to get prepared for these regulations.

July 5, 2007

Note to Employers Seeking Medicare Retiree Drug Subsidy: Reconciliation

For employers who offered retiree drug benefits in 2006, and who have made application to receive the subsidy, reconciliation of the 2006 plan year is due 15 months following the close of the plan year.  For a calendar year plan, the first reconciliation will be due by March 15, 2008.  For plans whose reconciliation would be due prior to that date, an automatic extension is given until November 30, 2007. 

July 5, 2007

Retiree Health Coordination on the Move Again?

For the last several years, there has been an unresolved issue relating to retiree health coverage and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).  A few years ago, a Third Circuit Court decided that it would be a violation of the ADEA for an employer to coordinate retiree health benefits with Medicare.  In other words, employers would be prohibited from providing greater benefits for pre-Medicare eligible retirees, than for post-Medicare eligible retirees. 

July 5, 2007

Massachusetts Health Care Reform Law: Employer Obligations At-A-Glance

Fair and Reasonable Contribution
Penalty - Fair Share Contribution

July 5, 2007

Federal Minimum Wage Update

On July 5, 2007, the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division released a revised Federal minimum wage poster reflecting the new minimum wage increases.  Beginning July 24, 2007, the minimum wage will be $5.85 per hour, increasing to $6.55 in 2008 and $7.25 in 2009.  Employers subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage provisions are required to post this notice, in a conspicuous place in all of its locations, where employees can readily read it. 

June 5, 2007

HSA Guidance Again: Comparability Rules Re-Visited

On June 1, 2007, the IRS and Treasury issued proposed regulations on two very narrow aspects of the health savings account (HSA) comparability rules.  These proposed regulations address the situation in which an individual has either not established, or has not advised the employer about the establishment of, an HSA prior to the end of the calendar year.  The proposed regulations also address a situation of accelerating contributions to individuals who incur medical expenses.  The regulations provide guidance about how to ensure compliance with the HSA comparability rules in these situations.

June 5, 2007

Electronic Form 5500 Filing Requirement Delayed

An EBSA official has stated that the required electronic filing of the Form 5500 has been delayed from January 1, 2008 to January 1, 2009.  For calendar year plans, this means the first electronic filing will be due in 2010.

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