News & Analysis as of

Reminder: Amendments needed to reflect $2,500 limit on Health FSA contributions by year end

As mentioned in a prior Alert, beginning in 2013 employees’ salary reduction contributions to a health flexible spending account (health FSA) may not exceed $2,500 per plan year. This limit is to be indexed for inflation in...more

Manatt on Health Reform: Weekly Highlights: December 2014

This week, a federal Issuer Bulletin describes how issuers in the Federally Facilitated Marketplace will identify their existing enrollees who are switching plans for 2015 coverage. The Exchange Board in New Mexico proposes a...more

Manatt on Health Reform: Weekly Highlights: November 2014 #2

With the conclusion of the midterm elections last week and open enrollment just around the corner, this week’s news highlights both renewed pledges from the opposition and a flurry of implementation activity in the states....more

The Affordable Care Act—Countdown to Compliance for Employers, Week 6: Labor and Treasury Departments Play Whack-a-Mole with...

Last year, the Department of Labor and the Treasury Department/IRS (Departments) issued guidance on the application of certain of the Affordable Care Act’s insurance market reforms to health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs),...more

Supreme Court will hear King v. Burwell

On November 7, the Supreme Court announced it would hear its second significant legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). King v. Burwell, expected to be heard this spring and ruled on by the end of June, is a direct...more

IRS Allows Cafeteria Plan Election Changes to Coordinate With ACA Exchanges

New IRS guidance adds two more events that allow participants to change their cafeteria plan elections outside of the annual open enrollment period. These events are designed to coordinate with the employer coverage rules and...more

U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Arguments Involving Federal Health Insurance Exchange Subsidies

On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would review the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit’s decision in King v. Burwell. In that case, the Fourth Circuit held that tax credits for health insurance...more

Supreme Court to Decide Who Is Entitled to the Federal Health Care Subsidy

Are the federal government’s subsidies to purchasers of health insurance available only to those who purchase insurance from state-run exchanges or to those who purchase from federal health care exchanges as well? Was the...more

New Agency FAQs Drive a Stake Further into the Heart of Premium Reimbursement Arrangements and Eliminate a Common Executive Perk

In clear and unambiguous terms, the U.S. Departments of Labor (“DOL”) and Health and Human Services and the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) (the “Agencies”) drove a stake into the heart of two suspect health insurance...more

IRS Issues 2015 Limits for Qualified Retirement Plans, Health FSAs, and Transportation Fringe Benefits

You know it’s Fall when the leaves turn color, jack-o-lanterns wink in the twilight, the World Series plays on … and the IRS announces new indexed annual limits for employee benefit plans. Sticking to tradition, the IRS...more

Group health plans for same-sex spouses: Equal treatment required or not?

In our recent webinar, McAfee & Taft attorneys shared with you a number of ramifications from the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that effectively legalized same-sex marriage in Oklahoma. One of the key questions we...more

Affordable Care Act Update: Hospitalization Services Required for Plan to Meet Minimum Value

On November 4, 2014, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released guidance (Notice 2014-69) clarifying that certain group health plans that do not provide for hospitalization services or physician services or both will fail to...more

IRS Increases Maximum Employee Contribution to Health Care FSAs for 2015

The IRS announced yesterday that the maximum annual employee contribution to a health care flexible spending account plan is increasing by $50 to $2,550 for 2015 (up from the $2,500 limit that has applied since 2013)....more

Employer Reimbursement of Employee’s Individual Medical Insurance May Subject Employer to Penalty

IRS Notice 2013-54 provides that an employer’s reimbursement of healthcare insurance premiums paid by an employee on an individual health insurance contract of the employee on a pre-tax basis (an “employer payment plan”) may...more

IRS Issues New Forms And Instructions Regarding The Employer Mandate Information Reporting Requirements Under The ACA

In order to administer and enforce the rules of the Employer Shared Responsibility Mandate, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) added Sections 6055 and 6056 to the Internal Revenue Code, which require insurance providers and...more

New Cafeteria Plan Change in Status Options

In Notice 2014-55, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced two new situations in which employees may change their health plan elections midyear under their employer’s cafeteria plan. In the first, an employee’s hours...more

When Did You Last Amend Your Section 125 Cafeteria or Flexible Benefit Plan? Now May Be A Good Time to Dust It Off and Update It

Section 125 Plans, which are commonly referred to as either cafeteria plans or flexible benefit plans, are much loved, and needed, if you want to allow employees to pay health insurance and other premiums on a pre-tax basis....more

IRS to Amend Cafeteria Plan Regulations to Facilitate Enrollment in Marketplace Coverage

On Thursday, September 18, 2014, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) released Notice 2014-55, which expands the cafeteria plan “change in status” rules to allow plans to offer employees an option to revoke their elections...more

What Employer Shared Responsibility Does Not Say

So much energy has been spent on what the final regulations on the employer shared responsibility tax and the related final reporting regulations (the “ESRR”), that some of the most significant considerations have been missed...more

Health Care Reform Implementation Update September 2014

Congress is back in session, and work on a Continuing Resolution is underway. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is back center stage with House Republicans attaching a medical device tax repeal provision to a jobs package set for...more

The Affordable Care Act—Countdown to Compliance for Employers, Week 16: So What, Exactly, is an “Offer of Coverage”?

Whether an employer makes the requisite offer of group health plan coverage is critical to the application of the Affordable Care Act’s employer shared responsibility rules as reflected in final implementing regulations...more

Monthly Benefits Update - July 2014

Two federal appeals courts issued contradictory rulings on the validity of subsidies for the purchase of health insurance under the federal marketplace established pursuant to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). On July 22, a...more

The Affordable Care Act—Countdown to Compliance for Employers, Week 22: Charting the Future of the Premium Subsidies (and Employer...

On July 22, 2014, two federal appellate courts issued conflicting decisions, within hours of each other, regarding the IRS final rule published on May 23, 2012 (the “IRS Rule”), intended to implement the exchange-related tax...more

Of Mice and Elephants: Halbig and King and The Struggle of Two Federal Appeals Courts to Find Meaning in Words That May or May Not...

At issue in Halbig v. Burwell and King v. Burwell is whether or not subsidies to buy insurance on an exchange are available in both state and federal exchanges. On its face the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) provides for...more

Halbig v Burwell: D.C. Appeals Court Strikes Obamacare Health Insurance Subsidies

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled, in a 2-to-1 decision, in Halbig v. Burwell that the IRS is not authorized under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to provide tax credits intended to subsidize the cost of...more

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