Deadline Nears for Medicare Part D Creditable/Non-Creditable Coverage Notices

compliance bulletinGroup health plan sponsors must provide the annual Medicare Part D creditable coverage disclosure notices to Medicare-eligible individuals before Oct. 15, 2017—the start date of the annual enrollment period for Medicare Part D. This Compliance Bulletin summarizes the requirement to provide Medicare Part D notices, including the upcoming deadline, the availability of model notices and permissible ways to deliver the notices.

© 2017 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

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IRS CONFIRMS ACA MANDATE PENALTIES STILL EFFECTIVE

ACA compliance bulletin imageThe IRS Office of Chief Counsel has recently issued several information letters clarifying that the ACA’s individual and employer mandate penalties are still effective. These letters were issued in response to confusion over President Donald Trump’s executive order directing federal agencies to provide relief from the burdens of the ACA. This ACA Compliance Bulletin summarizes the IRS’ information letters.

© 2017 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

New Form I-9 Released for Use in September

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On July 17, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, issued an updated version of Form I-9: Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9). Under federal law, every employer that recruits, refers for a fee or hires an individual for employment in the United States must complete a Form I-9.

The updated form replaces a version that was issued in 2016. Employers may continue using the 2016 form until Sept. 17, 2017. Exclusive use of the updated form is expected by Sept. 18, 2017. The new form expires on Aug. 31, 2019.

ACTION STEPS

  • Employers must become familiar with the new Form I-9 and transition to its exclusive use by Sept. 18, 2017.
  • Employers must continue their compliance with collecting and retaining Form I-9.
  • Employers may download the 2017 Form I-9from the USCIS website.

Here’s a chart to learn more about the field changes and updates.

© 2017 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

A Must-have Guide if You Want to Offer Telecommuting

Pages from Employee Work From Home GuideOver one-third of employees say they would switch to a job that allows them to work remotely at least part of the time, according to a Gallup study. Use this Employee Work From Home Guide to outline your company’s telecommuting, or work from home, policy and expectations, and educate your employees on best practices for working from home. Please note that this guide requires extensive customization to reflect your organization’s policies on telecommuting.

© 2017 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

House Passes Changes to Overtime Rules

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OVERVIEW

On May 2, 2017, the House of Representatives passed the Working Families Flexibility Act (also known as H.R. 1180). If approved, H.R. 1180 would authorize private employers to offer compensatory time instead of overtime pay for nonexempt employees who work more than 40 hours per week. H.R. 1180 still needs approval from the Senate and the executive branch before it becomes law.

Compensatory time off is already a common practice for many federal and state employers, but it is not currently allowed by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for private employers. H.R. 1180 would amend the FLSA to allow this practice, if certain conditions are met.

ACTION STEPS

Because H.R. 1180 is not yet law, no action steps are currently required of any employers.

This House Passes Change to Overtime Rules Compliance Bulletin is provided for informational purposes only, to assist employers in understanding the changes H.R. 1180 would bring to current overtime compensation practices in the private sector.

© 2017 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

Employer Marketplace Notices (Section 1411 Certification)

Ahead of the curve logoApplicable Large Employers (ALEs) (those with 50 or more full-time and full-time equivalent employees in a prior calendar year) who are subject to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) employer mandate may be assessed a nondeductible penalty if at least one full-time employee receives subsidized health coverage from an ACA Marketplace. Beginning in 2016, the Federal Marketplace (Healthcare.gov) will notify certain employers when an employee has enrolled in Marketplace coverage, and has qualified for and receives premium and/or cost-sharing assistance for at least one month.

The Marketplace has no way of knowing if any given employer is an ALE subject to the play-or-pay penalties. Consequently, all employers whose employees receive a subsidy should receive a notice, called a Section 1411 Certification, even if they are not subject to play-or-pay. Therefore, all employers should be mindful that these Marketplace notices may be coming, particularly if the employer has any indication that an employee has enrolled in Marketplace coverage.

To learn more about what an employer should do, read the full article: Employer Marketplace Notices -Section 1411 Certifications

 

ERISA Compliance FAQs: Enforcement

Legislative BriefThe Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) is a federal law that sets minimum standards for employee benefit plans maintained by private-sector employers. ERISA includes requirements for both retirement plans (for example, 401(k) plans) and welfare benefit plans (for example, group health plans). ERISA has been amended many times over the years, expanding the protections available to welfare benefit plan participants and beneficiaries.

The Department of Labor (DOL), through its Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), enforces most of ERISA’s provisions. Violating ERISA can have serious and costly consequences for employers that sponsor welfare benefit plans, either through DOL enforcement actions and penalty assessments or through participant lawsuits.

This ERISA Compliance FAQs Enforcement  Legislative Brief includes a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) to help employers understand how ERISA’s requirements for welfare benefit plans are enforced.

© 2015 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

COBRA: Action needed now

COBRA_insurance_wbg_1On May 7, 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued proposed rules with amendments to the notice requirements under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA). The proposed amendments are intended to align the COBRA notice requirements with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) so that individuals who lose coverage under their employer’s plan understand that they have the option to either (a) purchase COBRA coverage; or (b) purchase coverage through the new ACA Health Insurance Marketplace, which may be more affordable than COBRA coverage. The proposed rules were accompanied by a new model election notice and general notice that employers may use to satisfy their COBRA notice obligations. (A new model Children’s Health Insurance Program notice was also issued.)

A few days before the DOL issued its proposed rules, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) also issued a new bulletin regarding COBRA. HHS is concerned that former model COBRA notices did not sufficiently explain the Marketplace options to persons eligible for COBRA. Thus, HHS is giving current COBRA-eligible individuals a one-time special period — through July 1, 2014 — to enroll in a qualified health plan through the Marketplace.

Right now, employers should, at a minimum: (1) update their COBRA general and election notices to include the new model language regarding Marketplace coverage; (2) notify current COBRA eligible individuals regarding their special, one-time right to enroll in Marketplace coverage through July 1, 2014; (3) review and revise their health plan’s COBRA communications, policies and procedures to include the availability of coverage in the Marketplace; and (4) update current plan’s summary plan description to include the option of Marketplace coverage.

If you have questions or need help with these action steps, please feel free to contact me, bbrown@thenoblegroup.com.

Pay or Play Rules-Dependent Coverage Requirement

Health Care Reform bulletinOn May 13, 2014, the IRS updated its Questions and Answers on the Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions to include further clarification and information for employers. Notably, these Q&As address consequences under the employer shared responsibility rules for applicable large employers that offer health insurance coverage to all full-time employees, but do not offer dependent coverage. In general, an applicable large employer will potentially be liable for a penalty only if:

• The employer does not offer health coverage to the dependents of its full-time employees (as well as to those full-time employees themselves); and
• At least one of its full-time employees receives a subsidy for purchasing individual coverage through an Exchange.

Whether or not one or more of its full-time employees’ dependents enrolls through an Exchange and receives a subsidy does not affect an employer’s liability. The FAQs also noted that transition relief is available with respect to offering dependent coverage in 2015.  This Pay or Play – Penalties for Failing to Offer Dependent Coverage Health Care Reform Bulletin provides an overview of the FAQs.