News Briefs and Legislative Updates

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There are countless rules and regulations governing employee benefit plans and company compliance, many of which are complex. Our resources will help you meet your compliance obligations and keep you up-to-date on laws and regulations that affect your company.

News Brief – FBI Urges Consumers to Reset Their Routers to Prevent a Malware Attack – Recently, researchers at Talos—a cyber intelligence unit of Cisco—warned consumers of malware (malicious software) that specifically targets networking devices. The malware, which is known as VPNFilter, impacts an estimated 500,000 routers worldwide. Read this News Brief to learn which router manufacturers are affected and ways to keep your data safe.

Affordability Percentages Will Increase for 2019 –   On May 21, 2018, the IRS issued Revenue Procedure 2018-34 to index the contribution percentages in 2019 for purposes of determining affordability of an employer’s plan under the ACA. This ACA Compliance Bulletin describes the adjusted percentages.

News Brief – Data From 87 Million Facebook Users Exposed Without Consent – Facebook recently announced that political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica obtained information from up to 87 million accounts without their users’ consent. Learn how your data can be exposed and what steps you can take to ensure you control access to your social media accounts with this article.

IRS Updates Employer Guide for 2018 Tax Changes to Fringe Benefits – The IRS recently released the 2018 version of Publication 15-B, which contains information for employers on the tax treatment of certain kinds of fringe benefits. The 2018 version is significant because it includes changes made by the tax law enacted at the end of 2017 – the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Employers that offer fringe benefits should review IRS Publication 15-B and work with their tax advisors to implement any necessary changes.

IRS Reduces HSA Limit for Family Coverage for 2018 – On March 5, 2018, the IRS released Revenue Procedure 2018-18 to announce changes to certain tax limits for 2018, including a reduced HSA contribution limit for individuals with family coverage under an HDHP. Employers with HDHPs should inform employees about the reduced HSA contribution limit for family HDHP coverage. Employees may need to change their HSA elections going forward to comply with the new limit.

House and Senate Pass Tax Reform Bill 12-20-17 – On December 20, 2017, the tax reform bill, called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill is now expected to be signed into law by President Trump by the end of the day. This tax reform bill, drafted based on a tax reform plan that was developed in consultation with Trump administration, will make significant changes to the federal tax code. Specifically, the tax reform bill will have a substantial impact on businesses.

OSHA Delays Electronic Reporting – On November 24, 2017, OSHA issued a new final rule officially delaying the electronic reporting deadline to December 15, 2017.  Affected establishments will need to submit their 2016 data reports through the Injury Tracking Application website by that time or face possible OSHA penalties.

New Rules for Disability Benefit Claims Take Effect in 2018 – On Dec. 16, 2016, the DOL released a final rule to strengthen the claims and appeals requirements for plans that provide disability benefits. ERISA plans that include disability benefits must comply with the new requirements effective for disability claims that are submitted on or after Jan. 1, 2018. However, the DOL has recently indicated that it may delay or amend the final rule. This Compliance Bulletin summarizes the final rule’s new requirements.

OSHA FAQs on Electronic Reporting – OSHA’s electronic reporting rule requires certain employers to electronically submit data from their work-related injury records to OSHA.  The rule also solidifies employee anti-retaliation protections for reporting injuries & illnesses.  This Compliance Overview presents OSHA’s answers to some of the frequently asked questions regarding the electronic reporting rule. The document has been updated to reflect OSHA’s intention to delay the first electronic reporting deadline.

News Brief – 143 Million People Potentially Affected in Equifax Data Breach – Equifax, one of the largest credit reporting agencies in the United States, was recently the victim of a massive cyber attack—an attack that may have compromised the personal information of 143 million people.

New SBC Template Required for 2018 Open Enrollment – The updated template and related materials for the summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) are required to be used for annual open enrollment periods beginning on or after 4/1/17. For calendar year plans, this means that the updated template must be used for the 2018 open enrollment period.  This ACA Compliance Bulletin provides an overview of the new SBC template.