Employer Group Health Plans

News & Analysis as of

Trustee Alert – Final Mental Health Parity Rules

The Mental Health Parity rules require group health plans that offer mental health and substance use disorder benefits to cover those benefits on terms that are no more restrictive than those applied to comparable medical and...more

Towers Watson risk transfer program aims to offload retiree health care risks

Last week, Towers Watson & Co. unveiled a program that would enable employers to eliminate unfunded retiree health care plan liabilities for Medicare-eligible retirees by shifting those liabilities to insurers through the...more

The Waiting is the Hardest Part: Final Regulations on the PPACA’s 90-Day Waiting Period Released

On February 24, 2014, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) jointly released...more

The Affordable Care Act—Countdown to Compliance for Employers, Week 43: Coordinating the 3-Month Delay under Employer Shared...

So much attention has been paid to the issuance of the final employer shared responsibility regulations that some might have missed the news that final regulations were recently issued under another of the Affordable Care...more

Final “Pay or Play” Regulations Provide Transition Relief for Non-Calendar Year Plans

Last week, the IRS issued final regulations that provide additional guidance on the new “pay or play” rules (also called the employer shared responsibility rules) that will generally apply to employers’ group health plans...more

“We have to offer COBRA, When?” The “In Anticipation of Divorce” Rule

Most plan administrators know that the recipe for a group health plan’s COBRA obligation includes three ingredients – a qualifying event that occurs while the individual is covered by the plan that triggers a loss of such...more

New U.S. Guidance On Expatriate Health Plans

As discussed in a prior post, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) is currently in the process of finalizing its regulations implementing the Affordable Care Act’s (“ACA”) “Employer Mandate.” The Employer Mandate, which...more

CMS Seeks Comments on Establishment of CMPs Related to MSP Reporting

CMS recently solicited comments for the development of methodologies and criteria to be used in evaluating whether or not to impose civil money penalties (CMPs) on arrangements of certain group health plans (GHPs) and...more

Stand-Alone Health Reimbursement Arrangements May Not Be Dead After All

Many employers offer employees Health Reimbursement Arrangements (“HRAs”) to assist employees meet their health care related expenses. Often such employer funded arrangements are not “integrated” with an insured health plan,...more

Same-Gender Marriage Implications for Employee Benefit Plans

In the summer of 2013, the Supreme Court issued a decision in U.S. v. Windsor, striking down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and eliminating the requirement that federal law recognize only marriages...more

A Rocky Rollout for the Individual Mandate

It should be news to no one that the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) requirement that individuals without employer sponsored health insurance must be covered by minimum essential coverage (the individual...more

14 Labor & Employment Resolutions For 2014

Our government managed to reach a deal to avoid another government shutdown. And so, while our tax refunds will continue to be processed and parks remain open, it is that time of year again — the time to review and reflect on...more

IRS Relaxes Certain Cafeteria Plan Election Rules

IRS Notice 2014-01, issued December 16, 2013, provides guidance for plan sponsors of Code Section 125 cafeteria plans and Code Section 223 health savings accounts (“HSA”) regarding plan elections made by same-sex spouses....more

Year-End Health and Retirement Plan Guidance Grab Bag

Following Hawaii’s enactment of legislation recognizing same-sex marriage as of and after December 2, 2013 a number of additional pieces of guidance were also issued. Internal Revenue Service’s Frequently Asked Questions...more

Group Health Plans: Year-End Action Items and Upcoming Changes

Group health plan sponsors turn their attention to completing 2013 tasks, implementing upcoming 2014 changes, preparing for the ACA Shared Responsibility requirement in 2015, and documenting recent extensive plan changes....more

Take 5 Newsletter: An Employer's "Top 5" Action Items for 2014

It's December, and human resources professionals and law departments are reflecting on the issues addressed in 2013 and giving thanks for incident-free holiday parties. But the big question is this: What issues should get...more

Perspectives - November 2013

In Revenue Ruling 2013–17, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that the terms “husband and wife,” “husband” and “wife” in the Internal Revenue Code are to be interpreted to include an individual married to a person...more

Would Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. Have A Stronger Case As A Flexible Purpose Corporation?

Steve Hazen alerted me to the fact that California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris has filed an amicus brief in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., U.S. Supreme Court Docket No. 13-354. The question presented in that...more

Year-End Compliance Reminders For Group Health Plan Sponsors

In 2013, many different changes in the law impacted group health plans and arguably, even more changes will occur in 2014. The following is an overview of a few of the key compliance issues that occurred in 2013 which should...more

Final Regulations for the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008

On November 8, 2013, the Departments of Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services (collectively, the "Departments") jointly issued final regulations under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (the...more

Employee Benefits Developments November 2013

RULINGS, OPINIONS, ETC. - Religious Employers and the Women’s Contraceptive Mandate Background - This past July, the U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury released final...more

Update on “Play or Pay”

The employer shared responsibility provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), often referred to as “play or pay,” require large employers to offer affordable medical coverage to full-time employees or face penalties. For...more

Sixth Circuit Rejects Challenge to ACA Based on Religious Beliefs

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires non-grandfathered health plans to cover certain preventative health services. In a case seeking an injunction to bar enforcement of ACA’s so-called “contraception mandate” on the ground...more

Courts Split On Whether Mandatory Contraceptive Coverage Violates Religious Freedoms Of For-Profit Corporations

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s preventive services mandate, non-grandfathered group health plans must provide 100% coverage of contraceptives for women, subject to exemptions and safe harbors for...more

New Wellness Program Rules for 2014

Employers continue to look for ways to manage the cost of employee health care coverage as they navigate the turbulent waters of healthcare reform, and wellness programs continue to be a popular strategy. However, adoption...more

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