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March 4, 2010

Medicaid/CHIP Premium Assistance Notice Issued

In 2009, two new HIPAA special enrollment events became available as a result of the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA).  These special enrollment events occur when an individual loses eligibility for Medicaid, or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or when an individual becomes eligible for premium assistance from Medicaid or CHIP.  Premium assistance means that the Medicaid or CHIP program will pay all, or a portion of, premium for the individual’s employer-sponsored health coverage. 

March 4, 2010

April 30th: An Important Date for Prototype Plan Adopters

Sponsors of retirement plans that use a prototype document must adopt EGTRRA amendments by April 30, 2010.  These plans have been able to comply in good faith with compliance of EGTRRA up to this point.  A prototype document is a plan design pursuant to which a plan sponsor completes an adoption agreement that is supported by a plan document.

March 4, 2010

COBRA Subsidy Extension

On March 2, 2010, President Obama signed a law (Temporary Extension Act of 2010, enacted as HR 4691; became Public Law 111-144), that, among other things, modifies the COBRA subsidy, in a couple of ways. 

February 3, 2010

Timing of Taking the COBRA Subsidy Credit

The IRS issued an FAQ (Reporting and Disclosure, RD-6) relating to the timing of reporting credit for payment of the COBRA subsidy premium.  If a COBRA premium, subject to the COBRA subsidy, is paid in 2010 for coverage in 2009, the employer may claim the credit for the related premium subsidy on Form 941 for either:

February 3, 2010

IRS Guidance: HEART Act

The IRS has issued some clarifications (Notice 2010-15) relating to certain provisions of the Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax (HEART) Act of 2008.  Of particular interest:

February 3, 2010

Medicare Part D Reminder: Annual Disclosure Notice to CMS

Group health plans are required to submit an annual report to CMS describing whether the prescription drug coverage is creditable or not creditable. This filing must be accomplished electronically, and is due within 60 days of the beginning of the plan year. For calendar year plans, this means March 2, 2010.

February 3, 2010

DOL Issues Final Safe Harbor Rules on Employee Contributions to Small Pension and Welfare Plans

The DOL has finalized its participant safe harbor rules applicable to small retirement and welfare benefit plans.  These regulations were proposed February, 2008 (seeSafe Harbor for Placing Participant Contributions in Small Plans).  The final regulations mirror the proposed regulations. 

February 3, 2010

Alas! MHPAEA Regulations

The much anticipated regulations interpreting the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA) have, at long last, been issued, as interim final regulations. The MHPAEA, enacted on October 3, 2008, expanded the Mental Health Parity law, enacted in 1996. 

January 7, 2010

IRS Provides Relief for NQDC Plan Document Failures

Code Section 409A governs taxation of nonqualified deferred compensation.  It provides specific rules relating to funding and distribution (also see409A Documentation Limited Relief from the Oct 2007 Benefit Beat).  The IRS just issued Notice 2010-6, providing a voluntary document correction program for failures occurring in these plans. 

January 7, 2010

COBRA Subsidy Extended

Congress has given plan administrators and COBRA continuees a Christmas present in the form of extending the COBRA subsidy that is part of theDepartment of Defense Appropriations Act of 2010 (“DOD Act”, HR 3326).  President Obama signed this Act on December 19, 2009. 

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