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Total Articles: 10

IRS Publishes Pension Plan Limitations for 2018

On October 19, 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) announced cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for the 2018 tax year. The list below details some of the key limit increases and those limits which remain unchanged effective January 1, 2018:

Is the New Moral Exemption From ACA Contraceptive Coverage a Game Changer?

Any privately held, for-profit company could potentially be exempt from the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) requirement to provide comprehensive contraceptive coverage without cost-sharing based on the company’s “sincerely held moral convictions,” under interim final regulations published in the Federal Register on October 13, 2017.

2018 Social Security Taxable Wage Base Inches Up, Benefit COLAs Up More

The Social Security Administration has issued inflation-adjusted figures for 2018, including the Social Security taxable wage base, the earnings tests for retirees who return to work, and the Social Security benefits quarter-of-coverage requirement and cost of living adjustment (COLA). Employers should update their payroll systems with these new figures for accurate 2018 withholding.

Trump Issues Executive Orders Aimed at Rolling Back Affordable Care Act

President Trump has issued two executive orders intended to weaken the regulatory structure supporting the Affordable Care Act (ACA) after efforts to repeal the health care law failed in Congress. The first order asks the US Department of Labor (DOL) to propose rules to allow more employers to participate in association health plans. The other order halts payment of subsidies to healthcare insurers.

The ACA Is Alive and Well: Updates to Mandated Preventive Health Care Services Issued for 2018

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) revolutionized the U.S. healthcare system. Among the many major changes the ACA introduced was mandatory first coverage of preventive care services required for most private health plans. Although most plan sponsors are well-aware of the ACA’s requirements for first dollar coverage on preventive care benefits, it may come as a surprise that the list of preventive care services is subject to annual updates, and there are several new requirements for 2018.

Exemption to ACA Contraceptive Mandate Extended to For-Profit Entities and Individuals

Under the ACA, employers must provide plans that cover birth control and other preventative health services with no out-of-pocket costs. Certain religious employers with religious objections to providing contraceptive services have been exempt from the requirement. (Accommodations have also been provided to non-profit religious organizations objecting to the rule and expanded to closely held for-profit entities objecting to the mandate on religious grounds, see http://www.benefitslawadvisor.com/2014/07/articles/employee-health-welfare-plans/1007/).

Recent Cases Shed Light on Retirement Plan Excessive Fee Litigation

As we approach the end of the year, 2017 is turning out to be significant in the ever-evolving world of litigation over 401(k) plan fees. Since 2006, plaintiffs’ firms have brought hundreds of lawsuits across the country on behalf of employees alleging excessive plan fees and breaches of fiduciary duties to maintain proper investments. While these lawsuits initially targeted larger, multi-billion dollar plans, these cases have expanded downward in recent years. Decisions in two recent cases will have significant effect on the retirement plan fee landscape.

Employers Gain Religious Exemption From Providing Contraceptive Benefits

More employers with religious or moral objections to providing birth control may be granted an exemption from Affordable Care Act regulations requiring them to provide coverage after the Trump administration moved to greatly expand employers' rights in this area The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will publish two interim final rules in the Federal Register on October 13, 2017, that will loosen the restrictions on religious exemptions put in place by the Obama administration.

White House Narrows ACA Contraception Mandate

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) just issued new rules which will limit the contraception coverage mandate covering employers under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The new rules, released Friday, expand the range of employers and insurers that can invoke religious or moral beliefs to avoid the ACA’s requirement that birth control pills and other contraceptives be covered by insurance as part of preventive care.

To Audit or Not to Audit? A Good Question for Self-Funded Group Health Plans

The rise in insurance premiums for group health plans has prompted many employers to reexamine the decision whether to fund participant health benefits with insurance or self-fund benefits and limit their claims risk by purchasing stop-loss insurance. The increasing number of self-funded health plans in workplaces across the country has caused some confusion among employers and their advisors as to the requirements for Form 5500 reporting and fiduciary audits for these plans.