Benefits Buzz Newsletters

Benefits Buzz is a monthly newsletter discussing hot benefit topics and offer compliance guidance to employers of all industries.

Live Well, Work Well – January 2018 – The Live Well, Work Well newsletter is an employee newsletter that is produced monthly and covers topics like health, wellness, fitness, nutrition and personal finance. This month’s issue highlights Thyroid Awareness Month, provides winter sports safety tips and explains three steps you can take to prevent a workout-related injury.

Benefits Buzz Jan 2018 -This month’s Benefits Buzz examines the new rules for disability benefit claims, offers important ACA reporting deadlines and looks at the latest tax bill’s potential impact.

Furnishing Deadline Delayed for 2017 ACA Reporting– The deadline for furnishing individual statements under Sections 6055 and 6056 for 2017 has been extended for 30 days. Good-faith transition relief from penalties has also been extended for 2017 reporting. The due date for filing returns with the IRS for 2017 is not affected. See the article for more important dates and details.

Individual Mandate Penalty Will Be Eliminated in 2019 12-21-17 – Individual mandate will be eliminated in ’19. Passed by Congress on Dec. 20, 2017, the tax reform bill, called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, reduces the ACA’s individual shared responsibility (or individual mandate) penalty to zero, effective beginning in 2019.

Live Well, Work Well – November 2017 – The Live Well, Work Well newsletter is an employee newsletter that is produced monthly and covers topics like health, wellness, fitness, nutrition and personal finance. This month’s issue provides tips for how to avoid holiday stress, outlines how you can fight the seasonal flu and highlights American Diabetes Month.

IRS Reverses Policy on Certifying Individual Mandate Compliance- On Oct. 13, 2017, the IRS reversed a recent policy change on how it monitors compliance with the ACA’s individual mandate. For 2017 tax returns, the IRS will not accept electronic tax returns, and may suspend paper returns, that do not certify compliance with the individual mandate. This ACA Compliance Bulletin provides an overview of this change.

Health FSA Limit Will Increase for 2018 – On Oct. 19, 2017, the IRS announced that, for taxable years beginning in 2018, the dollar limit on employees’ salary reduction contributions to a health FSA will increase to $2,650. This ACA Compliance Bulletin explains the indexed health FSA limit for 2018.

Benefits Buzz – October 2017 – This month’s Benefits Buzz discusses the court ruling ordering the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to reconsider its final wellness rules, the new summary of benefits and coverage template required for the 2018 open enrollment period, and the latest developments of the Department of Labor’s overtime rule saga.

President Signs Executive Order Designed to Change ACA Rules – On Oct. 12, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order intended to change certain rules under the Affordable
Care Act (ACA). The order would relax regulations on association health plans. This change could allow individuals and small businesses to purchase health insurance policies across state lines and avoid certain ACA requirements.

Health Care Playing it Safe Shoes that Fit the Job– Use this document to educate employees about the importance of wearing proper footwear and teach them methods of choosing the right pair.

Eat Well, Live Well Recipe Book – The Eat Well, Live Well: Recipe Book pulls a handful of recipes from the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl website. It is designed to make eating and cooking healthy meals, snacks and treats a bit easier.

Benefits Bulletin 4th quarter 2017– Medicare Part D Notices Due by Oct. 14, 2017. Each year, Medicare Part D requires group health plan sponsors to disclose to individuals eligible for Medicare Part D and to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) whether the health plan’s prescription drug coverage is creditable. Plan sponsors must provide the annual disclosure notice to Medicare-eligible individuals before Oct. 15, 2017—the start date of the annual enrollment period for Medicare Part D. CMS has provided model disclosure notices for employers to use.

Benefits Buzz September 2017 – This month’s Benefits Buzz highlights that rejected Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal efforts, explains the new Form I-9 September 18th requirement and provides information on the myRA program shutdown.

Benefits Buzz August 2017 – This month’s Benefits Buzz covers the HIPAA cyber attack response checklist, new fiduciary rules for providing investment advice and updates to the DOL overtime rule.

Benefits Buzz – June – This month’s Benefits Buzz discusses the Affordable Care Act’s affordability contribution percentage increases for 2017, updated HIPAA self-audit tools and Exchange notifications.

Benefits Buzz May – This month’s Benefits Buzz gives updates on the HIPAA audit program and the Zubik v. Burwell contraceptive coverage case, and takes a look at the possibility of tax incentives for employers who help their employees pay back student debt.

Benefits Buzz – April – This month’s Benefits Buzz discusses Affordable Care Act (ACA) litigation that may affect employers, ACA rule changes for 2017 and the growing utilization of private exchanges.

Benefits Buzz March – This month’s Benefits Buzz covers recent court rulings about the FMLA, ACA rules for employer-provided coverage and Republican efforts to repeal the ACA.

Benefits Buzz February – This month’s Benefits Buzz covers the delay of the Affordable Care Act reporting deadlines, proposed out-of-pocket maximums for 2017 and the exception for individual tax returns and Forms 1095-C and 1095-B.

Benefits Buzz January– This month’s Benefit Buzz covers The Senate’s Repeal of parts of the Affordable Care Act, a government investigation into rising drug costs, and final regulations published for ACA market reform requirements.

Benefits Buzz for December 2015 – This month’s Benefits Buzz covers the repeal of the ACA’s automatic enrollment requirement, 2016 FSA contributions and the Supreme Court hearing on contraceptive coverage for religious groups.

Benefits Buzz November 2015– This month’s Benefits Buzz covers the repeal of the ACA small group market rule, preparations for the Cadillac Tax and information on telemedicine program

Benefits Buzz October 2015– This month’s Benefits Buzz covers the finalized guidelines for electronic reporting under Internal Revenue Code Sections 6055 and 6056, student loan repayment assistance benefits and separate Section 6055 reporting requirements for HRAs

Benefits Buzz September 2015– This month’s Benefits Buzz gives an overview of the IRS draft forms for health coverage reporting, the ACA’s revised affordability percentages and the conflicting federal court rulings regarding Exchange subsidies.

Benefits Buzz August 2015This month’s Benefits Buzz covers the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on ACA subsidies, final rules on SBC requirements and the draft versions of the 2015 Section 6055 and 6056 forms.

Benefits Buzz July 2015– This month’s Benefits Buzz provides information on embedded out-of-pocket limits, the latest update on the Cadillac tax and a new Q&A on Section 6056.

Benefits Buzz – June 2015– This month’s Benefits Buzz gives an overview of the agencies’ plan to issue final rules for the SBC requirements, how plan offerings are differing by group size and the IRS’ update for 2016 HSA limits.

Benefits Buzz – May 2015– This month’s Benefits Buzz covers the HHS final rule affecting the ACA for 2016, the increase in telemedicine popularity and the impact of the ACA on part-time employee hours.

April 2015 Benefits Buzz – This month’s Benefits Buzz features the new guidance for employer payments of individual premiums and the IRS release of ACA reporting forms and instructions.

Benefits Buzz – March 2015 –  This month’s Benefits Buzz provides information about the individual mandate penalty cap, wellness program popularity and the Supreme Court’s ruling on retiree benefits.

Benefits Buzz – February 2015– This month’s Benefits Buzz gives an overview of proposed regulatory changes to the summary of benefits and coverage, final regulations for the “myRA” and DOL audit warning signs.

Benefits Buzz – January 2015 – This month’s Benefits Buzz gives an overview of the proposed benefit and payment parameters for 2016, the new ACA affordability percentages for 2016 and the ending of the requirement to provide HIPAA Certificates.

Benefits Buzz – December– This month’s Benefits Buzz gives an overview of new prohibitions pertaining to employer reimbursement of individual premiums, the indefinite delay of the Health Plan Identifier requirement and new annual contribution limits for health Flexible Spending Accounts.

Benefits Buzz – November 2014This month’s Benefits Buzz gives an overview of the final rule that expands the definition of excepted benefits, the IRS proposed approach for pay-or-play measurement period changes and the Marketplace open enrollment dates.

October Benefits Buzz-This month’s Benefits Buzz provides information about employee communication during open enrollment, the release of draft instructions for employer reporting of health coverage and new rules on contraception for religious employers.

September Benefits Buzz–  This month’s Benefits Buzz gives an overview of the IRS draft forms for health coverage reporting, the ACA’s revised affordability percentages and the conflicting federal court rulings regarding Exchange subsidies.

August Benefits Buzz– This month’s Benefits Buzz provides an overview of the Supreme Court ruling on the ACA’s contraceptive mandate, a proposed rule change to the FMLA regarding same-sex spouses and a new final rule on ACA waiting and orientation periods.

Benefits Buzz – July 2014 : This Benefit Buzz provides an overview of the penalties for pre-tax contributions to employee individual health premiums, the new employer SHOP Tools and the recently released FAQs addressing coverage rules.

Benefits Buzz – June: This month’s Benefit Buzz gives an overview of the newly clarified COBRA and Exchange rules. It also lists 2015 contribution limits for health savings accounts and provides updated model notices for COBRA and CHIPRA.

Benefits Buzz – May 2014: This month’s Benefits Buzz gives an overview of the repealed deductible limits for health plans in the small group market, IRS clarification on FSA carryover and HSA eligibility, and the U.S. Supreme Court case on a religious exemption for the ACA’s contraceptive coverage mandate.

Benefits Buzz – April 2014: This month’s Benefits Buzz covers the employer mandate delay for medium-sized employers, 2015 health plan cost-sharing limits and finalized reporting rules for employers and issuers.

Benefits Buzz March 2014: This month’s Benefits Buzz gives an overview of the final employer shared responsibility rules, the new myRA savings option and a lawsuit challenging Affordable Care Act subsidies.

Benefits Buzz February 2014: This month’s Benefits Buzz gives an overview of the proposed expansion of “excepted benefits,” new rules and deadline extension information for HIPAA certification and benefit plan guidance regarding same-sex spouses.

Benefits Buzz January 2014: This month’s Benefits Buzz gives an overview of reinsurance program proposed changes, FF-SHOP online enrollment delays and the new transition policy for insurance policies for 2014.

Benefits Buzz December 2013: This month’s issue discusses relief from individual mandate penalties, changes to health FSA rules and clarification of transition relief for cafeteria plans.

Benefits Buzz November 2013: This month’s issue discusses new ACA guidance on HRAs, FSAs and Cafeteria Plans; new model Notices of Privacy Practices and changes to the small employer credit.

Benefits Buzz October 2013

Benefits Buzz September 2013

Benefits Buzz August 2013

Benefits Buzz July 2013

Benefits Buzz June 2013

Benefits Buzz May 2013

Benefits Buzz April

Benefits Buzz March 2013