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A Look Back at 2020: Notable Changes Impacting Group Health Plans

 January 7 2021     Shelly Hodges-Konys and Rachel Pappenfus
From dealing with a pandemic to murder hornets, 2020 is a year many of us are anxious to forget. But, before closing the door on this past year, it’s wise to pause and take a quick look back at the notable changes you might have missed in the flurry of activity at the end of the year. Those changes include: Additional Flexibility for Section 125 Plans Under Recent COVID Relief Bill.  A...

Present Finally Arrives for Flexible Spending Account Participants

 December 28 2020     Shelly Hodges-Konys
Much like many individuals who experienced shipping delays waiting for packages that didn’t arrive in time for Christmas, employers and employees have been waiting to see if there would be additional relief for flexible spending account (FSA) participants.  The wait is over and the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, was signed by President Trump on December 27th.  While there i...

Clearing the Smoke on Outcome-Based Wellness Programs

 November 9 2020     Shelly Hodges-Konys and Rachel Pappenfus
Annual enrollment is the time of year when employers often look to make changes in their plan designs and the contribution employees pay for group health plan coverage. One of the changes often under consideration is a smoking cessation incentive in the form of premium differential for employees that smoke versus those that do not or choose to quit. What employers sometimes fail to recognize is th...

IRS Releases Final 2020 ACA Reporting Forms, Instructions and Penalties

 October 20 2020     Rachel Pappenfus
Late last week, the IRS released the finalized Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting forms for calendar year 2020 and the final instructions. Below is a snapshot of what employers need to know. Final Reporting Forms In our last post, we discussed the recently issued 2020 draft reporting forms. The IRS has now released the final forms which may be viewed by clicking on the links below: Fina...

Sharing the Gift of New ACA Reporting Forms, Penalties, & Transition Relief!

 October 9 2020     Rachel Pappenfus
Christmas is less than 80 days away… Seriously, where has this year gone?!? While it’s hard to believe, December 25th is right around the corner. This means Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting is also quickly approaching. We know thinking about ACA requirements may not bring the same excitement as seeing presents under the tree, but our hope is to help lessen any stress by gifting an ...

Ghosts and Goblins are Scary, Employer Medicare Part D Requirements Don’t Have to be…

 September 21 2020     Rachel Pappenfus
It’s that time of year! The leaves are changing, the days are getting shorter, and (for better or for worse) pumpkin spice everything is hitting the shelves! Halloween is right around the corner which means the deadline to provide Medicare Part D notices is quickly approaching, but you don’t have to be scared or spooked. This blog post will help you understand what employer plan sponso...

ACA Affordability Percentage Increases for 2021

 August 13 2020     Shelly Hodges-Konys
As the summer starts to wind down, it’s easy slip into a “set it and forget it” mindset especially when it comes to compliance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Let’s face it, the ACA isn’t new. But, as many employers finalize renewal strategies and plan for 2020, it makes sense to check in on ACA compliance - especially the employer shared responsibility provisions...

Sex Discrimination and Group Health Plans: ACA Nondiscrimination and Supreme Court Bostock Decision

 July 9 2020     Shelly Hodges-Konys
Much like having a lukewarm dinner date, employers find themselves in the position to try to interpret mixed signals on where to go from here when it comes to discrimination on the basis of gender in group health plans. HHS and the Supreme Court have taken different positions on the meaning of “sex” over the last few weeks. Employers would be wise to re-examine their benefit plans for ...

Agencies Issue Extension of Time under COBRA, but Should Employers Provide New Notices?

 June 23 2020     Shelly Hodges-Konys
You may recall that the Department of Labor and the IRS issued a Joint Rule at the end of April providing an extension of time for several participant deadlines under COBRA, HIPAA special enrollment rights, and the timeframes for certain other actions under ERISA covered health and welfare plans.  This guidance requires employers and plan sponsors to disregard the “Outbreak Period&rdquo...

Finally! Indexed PCORI Fee Announced

 June 9 2020     Shelly Hodges-Konys
The final piece of the ACA’s Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) fee puzzle has fallen into place for employers, plan sponsors, and insurers who have been patiently waiting.  The IRS announced the new fee for plan years ending between October 1, 2019 and before October 1, 2020.  The new fee required to be reported and paid on IRS Form 720 is $2.54 per covered life....
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