News

Medical Plans Have PCORI Fee Extended 10 Years

June 15 | 2020
Medical Plans Have PCORI Fee Extended 10 Years

When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law on March 23, 2010, it included a provision that provided funding for medical research and established the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund (PCORTF).   Also known as a PCORI fee, it had a sunset date on a group’s medical plan anniversary date in 2019.  This fee […]

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Family First Coronavirus Response Act

March 23 | 2020
Family First Coronavirus Response Act

In response to the spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Act) on March 18, 2020. The Act is an economic stimulus plan that affects coverage and cost sharing for COVID-19 testing and provides expanded federal family and medical leave and a new federal paid sick […]

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More Companies Flirt with Idea of the Four-Day Work Week

April 18 | 2019
By: Bill Olsen
Senior VP, Operations at United Benefit Advisors
More Companies Flirt with Idea of the Four-Day Work Week

Many white-collar jobs, particularly those in creative industries like PR, publishing, and design, have embraced summer hours for years, with shortened workdays on Fridays. Now, some companies are experimenting with “Winter Fridays,” says The New York Times. While clearly seasonal-specific options, both these trends are part of ongoing explorations on the impact of reduced workweeks. Though hardly […]

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Proposed 2020 Benefit Payment and Parameters Rule

March 5 | 2019
By: Karen Hsu
Director of Compliance at UBA Benefit Advisors
Proposed 2020 Benefit Payment and Parameters Rule

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a proposed rule for benefit payment and parameters for 2020. CMS also released its draft 2020 actuarial value calculatorand draft 2020 actuarial value calculator methodology. According to CMS, the proposed rule is intended to reduce fiscal and regulatory burdens associated with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) across […]

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IRS Releases 2019 Inflation-Adjusted Limits

January 23 | 2019
By: Karen Hsu
Director of Compliance at UBA Benefit Advisors
IRS Releases 2019 Inflation-Adjusted Limits

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released its inflation-adjusted limits for various benefits. For example, the maximum contribution limit to health flexible spending arrangements (FSAs) will be $2,700 in 2019. Also, the maximum reimbursement limit in 2019 for Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangements will be $5,150 for single coverage and $10,450 for family coverage. Read more about […]

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IRS Releases Final Forms and Instructions for 2018 ACA Reporting

November 29 | 2018
By: Karen Hsu
Director of Compliance at United Benefit Advisors
IRS Releases Final Forms and Instructions for 2018 ACA Reporting

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released instructions for both the Forms 1094-B and 1095-B and the Forms 1094-C and 1095-C and Forms 1094-B, 1095-B,1094-C, and 1095-C. There are no substantive changes in the forms or instructions between 2017 and 2018, beyond the further removal of now-expired forms of transition relief. There is a minor formatting change to Forms 1095-B and 1095-C for […]

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Tri-Agency Proposed Rule on Health Reimbursement Arrangements

November 7 | 2018
By: Karen Hsu
Director of Compliance
Tri-Agency Proposed Rule on Health Reimbursement Arrangements

The Department of the Treasury (Treasury), Department of Labor (DOL), and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) (collectively, the Departments) released their proposed rule regarding health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) and other account-based group health plans. The DOL also issued a news release and fact sheet on the proposed rule. The proposed rule’s goal is to expand the flexibility and […]

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Final Rule on Short-Term, Limited-Duration Insurance

September 27 | 2018
By: Karen Hsu
Final Rule on Short-Term, Limited-Duration Insurance

On August 3, 2018, the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Department of Labor (collectively, the Departments) published a final rule that amends the definition of short-term, limited-duration insurance. HHS also released a fact sheet on the final rule. According to the Departments, the final rule will provide consumers with more affordable […]

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Intermountain Healthcare, Others, Will Develop Generic Drug Company

January 25 | 2018
By: Utahbusiness.com
Intermountain Healthcare, Others, Will Develop Generic Drug Company

Salt Lake City—To help patients by addressing the often unwarranted shortages and high costs of lifesaving generic medications, Intermountain Healthcare is leading a collaboration with Ascension, SSM Health, and Trinity Health, in consultation with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs* (VA), to form a new, not-for-profit generic drug company. The five organizations represent more than […]

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GOED Announces Availability of Tax Credits for Rural Businesses

January 23 | 2018
By: UtahBusiness.com
GOED Announces Availability of Tax Credits for Rural Businesses

Salt Lake City—The Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) announced the creation of a new online portal to simplify the application process for Enterprise Zone Tax Credits. The tax credits incentivize investment and job creation by rural, non-retail small businesses in Utah. “One of the least known rural tax credits is the Enterprise Zone Tax […]

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Advance Informational Copies of 2017 Form 5500 Annual Return/Report

December 22 | 2017
By: Danielle Capilla
Senior VP of Compliance and Operations, United Benefit Advisors
Advance Informational Copies of 2017 Form 5500 Annual Return/Report

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) released advance informational copies of the 2017 Form 5500 annual return/report and related instructions. Specifically, the instructions highlight the following modifications to the forms, schedules, and instructions: IRS-Only Questions. IRS-only questions that filers were not required to […]

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Agencies Provide Relief for Group Plans and Donation Programs Affected by Hurricanes/Wildfires

December 19 | 2017
By: Danielle Capilla
Senior VP of Compliance and Operations, United Benefit Advisors
Agencies Provide Relief for Group Plans and Donation Programs Affected by Hurricanes/Wildfires

Guidance for Group Health Plans Impacted by Hurricane Maria and California Wildfires The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a news release to recognize that plan participants and beneficiaries may encounter problems due to Hurricane Maria and the California Wildfires. The DOL advises plan fiduciaries to make reasonable accommodations to prevent workers’ loss of benefits and to […]

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With Below Average Cost, Increasing Enrollment, CDHPs Have Big Impact

December 14 | 2017
By: Bill Olson
VP, Marketing & Communications at United Benefit Advisors
With Below Average Cost, Increasing Enrollment, CDHPs Have Big Impact

When most experts think of group healthcare plans, Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans largely come to mind—though higher cost, they dominate the marketin terms of plan distribution and employee enrollment. But Consumer-Directed Health Plans (CDHPs) have made surprising gains. Despite slight cost increases, CDHP costs are still below average and prevalence and enrollment in these […]

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IRS Updates Guidance on Play-or-Pay Penalty Assessments

December 12 | 2017
By: Danielle Capilla
Senior VP of Compliance and Operations, United Benefit Advisors
IRS Updates Guidance on Play-or-Pay Penalty Assessments

Beginning in 2015, to comply with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), “large” employers must offer their full-time employees health coverage, or pay one of two employer shared responsibility / play-or-pay penalties. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) determines the penalty each calendar year after employees have filed their federal tax returns. In November […]

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Employee Benefit Plans and the House Republican Tax Reform Bill

December 5 | 2017
By: Danielle Capilla
Senior VP of Compliance and Operations, United Benefit Advisors
Employee Benefit Plans and the House Republican Tax Reform Bill

On November 2, 2017, House Republicans introduced a tax reform bill (H.R.1-115th Congress) called the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” that, if passed, would impact multiple aspects of the tax code. Many of these changes relate to employee benefit plans, particularly in relation to certain fringe benefits. Dependent Care Accounts A dependent care flexible spending […]

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Agencies Issue Proposed Rules and Plans

November 22 | 2017
By: Danielle Capilla
Senior VP of Compliance and Operations
Agencies Issue Proposed Rules and Plans

October was a busy month in the employee benefits world. President Trump announced a new Acting Secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Eric Hargan fills the position vacated by Tom Price, who resigned in late September 2017. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a proposed rule to delay a […]

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Latest IRS ACA Round Up (Including 2018 Cost-of-Living Adjustments)

November 20 | 2017
By: Danielle Capilla
VP of Compliance and Operations, United Benefit Advisors
Latest IRS ACA Round Up (Including 2018 Cost-of-Living Adjustments)

Recently, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued the instructions for Forms 1094/1095 for the 2017 tax year, announced PCORI fees for 2017-18, and announced cost-of-living adjustments for 2018. The IRS provided additional guidance on leave-based donation programs’ tax treatment and released an information letter on COBRA and Medicare. Here’s a recap of these actions for […]

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President Trump Ends ACA Cost Sharing Reductions

October 21 | 2017
By: Danielle Capilla
VP of Compliance and Operations, United Benefit Advisors
President Trump Ends ACA Cost Sharing Reductions

On the evening of October 12, 2017, President Trump announced that cost sharing reductions for low income Americans in relation to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) would be stopped. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has confirmed that payments will be stopped immediately. While there is no direct impact to […]

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October 2017 Executive Order on Healthcare

October 16 | 2017
By: Danielle Capilla
Chief Compliance Officer at United Benefit Advisors
October 2017 Executive Order on Healthcare

On October 12, 2017, the White House released an Executive Order, signed by President Trump, titled “Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States.” It is important to note that the Executive Order (EO) does not implement any new laws or regulations, but instead directs various federal agencies to explore options relating to association […]

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IRS Roundup: What Employers Need to Know about the Latest ACA Notices

October 9 | 2017
By: Danielle Capilla
Chief Compliance Officer at United Benefit Advisors
IRS Roundup: What Employers Need to Know about the Latest ACA Notices

In spite of the recent efforts by Congress to change or repeal the ACA, its provisions are still in effect. The IRS has issued continuing guidance on the affordability rate for coverage, the employer shared responsibility provisions and reporting, and the individual mandate provision. IRS Released the 2018 Affordability Rate The Internal Revenue Service released […]

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