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IRS Increases Health FSA Contribution Limit for 2017, Adjusts Other Benefit Limits

On October 25, 2016, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released Revenue Procedure 2016-55, which raised the health Flexible Spending Account (FSA) salary reduction contribution limit to $2,600 for plan years beginning in 2017. The Revenue Procedure also released the cost-of-living (COLA) adjustments that apply to dollar limitations in certain sections of the Internal Revenue Code (Code).  The following summarizes other adjustments relevant to individuals and employer sponsors of welfare and fringe benefit plans.

Financial Wellness – Employee Benefit Advisor

The new buzz phrase of the day is “Financial Wellness.” Add that to the existing buzz words and phrases, “millennials,” “student loan debt,” and “ROI.” It becomes clear that benefit advisors have an opportunity to provide a strategic approach for financial wellness to enable employers to offer a well-rounded benefit package that is relevant to the needs of attracting and retaining employees.

EMPLOYER ALERT - IRS EMAIL SCAM

EMPLOYER ALERT

The newest scam involving a fraudulent email notice from the Internal Revenue (IRS) may have your employees coming to you asking about their insurance coverage for 2014.

The Internal Revenue Service late last week issued an alert to tax payers and tax professionals for an IRS scam related to the ACA.  

Enrollment Counts for Transitional Reinsurance Fee Due Nov. 15, 2016

Legal Alert

Employers with self-insured major medical plans are reminded to report their membership count to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) via the pay.gov website by November 15, 2016, as part of the Affordable Care Act’s (“ACA”) transitional reinsurance fee (the “Fee”). 

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Updated Compliance Guidelines for Retaliation

Did you know that under the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), an employee who believes that they have been retaliated against by an employer for complaining against unlawful discrimination in the workplace, can file a complaint with the EEOC under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Equal Pay Act (EPA) and Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)?

Legal Alert: DOL Proposes Changes to Annual Reporting for ERISA Plans

The Department of Labor proposed revisions to Form 5500 (Annual Return/Report for Employee Benefit Plan), the related schedules, and the rules that govern the forms. In general, these changes would first apply for the 2019 plan year, although certain changes may be implemented earlier. These revisions were published on July 21, 2016, and comments are being accepted for 75 days, through October 4.

Reminder: PCORI Fees Due by August 1, 2016

Employers that sponsor self-insured group health plans, including health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) should keep in mind the upcoming August 1, 2016 deadline for paying fees that fund the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).  As background, PCORI was established as part of health care reform to conduct research to evaluate the effectiveness of medical treatments, procedures and strategies that treat, manage, diagnose or prevent illness or injury.  PCORI fees were first due in July 2013 for plan years that ended on or after October 1, 2

U. S. Department of Labor - Final Overtime Rules

The U. S. Department of Labor (DOL) today released the new rules raising the nation’s exempt salary threshold from $455 per week/$23,660 to $913 per week/$47,476 annually. This is the first time since 2004 that the white collar overtime regulations have been updated.

Update on White-Collar Exemption Status Standards

Since March of 2014 I have been reporting on the proposed update to the white collar exemption when President Obama signed a memorandum instructing the Department of Labor to update regulations about who qualifies for overtime pay. As of today, final rules are in review by the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. This is the last step in the process prior to new regulations be issued.

Executive Director Perry Braun Reflects on CFO Concerns in EBN

"That doesn’t mean it will always be an easy conversation or find a receptive ear, warns Perry Braun, Executive Director of the Benefit Advisors Network (BAN). Data points provided by absenteeism, FMLA claims or similar metrics can be useful in anchoring the conversation, he says, but the biggest challenge is getting executives to buy into a future payoff."

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