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ERISA Plan Can't Shrink Deadlines Without Providing Notice, Says 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals

The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals just ruled that an ERISA plan can’t shorten the deadline for filing a legal action challenging a denial of benefits unless the participant receives written communication of the plan’s altered deadline. Mirza v. Insurance Administrator of America, Inc.

Federal Standard Per Diem Rates for FY 2016 Released

The General Services Administration (GSA) has announced the per diem rates that apply to the lower 48 Continental United States (CONUS) for the federal government's fiscal year (FY) 2016, which begins October 1, 2015. Per diem rates are flat dollar amounts and are the maximum allowances federal employees are reimbursed for expenses incurred while on official travel. However, any employer may use these rates to reimburse an employee who travels away from home overnight, in lieu of reimbursing his or her actual expenses.

Final Regulations on Contraceptive Coverage under Affordable Care Act – the Religious Exemption

The Departments of Treasury, Labor and Health and Human Services have released Final Regulations providing much-needed guidance with respect to defining a “closely-held corporation.” The Final Regulations, released on July 14, 2015, also provide guidelines for establishing a religious objection for purposes of qualifying for exemption from the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) mandate to provide contraceptive coverage under an employer health plan in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., et al., 134 S. Ct. 2751, 573 U.S. ___ (2014).

IRS Issues Draft 2015 Instructions for ACA Reporting Forms

The IRS has issued draft 2015 Instructions for Forms 1094-C and 1095-C, which employers are required to complete and file with the IRS to report on the terms and conditions of the health care coverage offered to their employees, as required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Internal Revenue Code (IRC) § 6055 and § 6056. Draft Instructions for Forms 1094-B and 1095-B have also been issued; these forms are used to report information to the IRS on each individual to whom minimum essential coverage was provided.

ACA Cadillac Tax: Cruising Toward Proposed Regulations

Effective 2018, Section 4980I of the IRC — the so-called “Cadillac Tax,” which was added to the IRC by the ACA — will impose a 40% nondeductible excise tax on the aggregate cost of applicable employer-sponsored health coverage that exceeds an annually-adjusted statutory dollar limit. For 2018, the dollar limits are $10,200 for self-only coverage and $27,500 for other than self-only coverage, subject to any potential upward adjustment based on age and gender characteristics of an employee population or other applicable adjustment factors. The cost of coverage that exceeds the dollar limit is referred to as the “excess benefit.”

IRS Issues Guidance on Tax Treatment of Identity Theft Protection Services

To help combat the growing problem of identity theft in the US, the IRS has issued guidance on the taxability of identity protection services provided by an employer at no cost to employees whose personal information may have been compromised in a data breach. The IRS is also requesting comments from employers on other related issues.

New Compensation Disclosures for Public Companies

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has adopted a final rule requiring publicly traded corporations to disclose, to the SEC and shareholders, the ratio of CEO compensation to the "median compensation" of the corporation's employees (except the CEO).

New Compensation Disclosures for Public Companies

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has adopted a final rule requiring publicly traded corporations to disclose, to the SEC and shareholders, the ratio of CEO compensation to the "median compensation" of the corporation's employees (except the CEO).

Are Employee Life Insurance Benefit Plans Worth the Risk of Litigation After CIGNA Corp. v. Amara?

Five years ago, Chief Justice Roberts observed: “People make mistakes. Even administrators of ERISA plans.” Conkright v. Frommert, 559 U.S. 506, 509 (2010). Four years ago, searching for a mechanism to provide monetary relief for such mistakes under ERISA, the Supreme Court reached into the desiccated maw of early 19th century trust law and pulled out the make-whole remedy of surcharge. CIGNA Corp. v. Amara, 131 S. Ct. 1866 (2011). While the contours of the surcharge remedy are still being worked out in the lower courts, it currently appears to have only two elements – (1) a breach of fiduciary duty (2) that results in actual harm.

Is Your Health Plan Affordable? If You Offer an Opt-Out, Payment You Better Check Again

An “applicable large employer” is subject to a penalty if either (1) the employer fails to offer to its full-time employees (and their dependents) the opportunity to enroll in minimum essential coverage (MEC) under an eligible employer-sponsored plan and any full-time employee obtains a subsidy for health coverage on a government exchange (Section 4980H(a) liability) or (2) the employer offers its full-time employees (and their dependents) the opportunity to enroll in MEC under an eligible employer-sponsored plan, but one or more full-time employees obtains a subsidy on an exchange because the employer’s coverage was not affordable or does not provide minimum value (Section 4980H(b) liability).