Category: Benefits

From 401(k) plans to vacation policy, this topic gives HR and Compensation professionals specific strategies on how to handle benefit plans. Articles also provide guidance to brokers, advisers and consultants.

What Is a ‘Leased Employee,’ Anyway?

Confused about what exactly a “leased employee” is? Turns out a lot of people the IRS contacted were, too. The IRS’ Employee Plans Compliance Unit (EPCU) recently completed its study on the role of leased employees in retirement plans. When EPCU asked plan sponsors who used pension feature code “3F” on their Forms 5500 — […]

Faint response to economic upturn: Pension funding takes a tumble in 2011

The economy may have slowly crept back up last year (as ABC News writes here; see also the Jan. 6 economic report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics), but that doesn’t mean that everything is rebounding. A new analysis by actuarial firm Milliman shows that the funding deficit for 100 of the largest pension plans […]

9 Flexible-Benefit Guidance Challenges to Watch Out for in 2012

By Rich Glass. The IRS is hitting the ground running. Just a few days into 2012, we received Notice 2012-09, which addresses reporting health care coverage costs on Forms W-2. Following are a nine more things that Glass says we can expect from the federal government this year. Affordable Care Act (ACA), Part I: Health […]

Interesting COBRA Implications, and Silver Lining, Are in New W-2 Reporting Guidance

New guidance on a group health coverage reporting requirement raises some important issues regarding COBRA coverage and provides a silver lining for employers, who should be able to use their current COBRA premiums to determine the reportable cost of health coverage — making the new burden of this requirement a little easier to bear, according […]

Airline Fee Unbundling Challenges Travel Managers

The airline industry is helping to shift more of the cost of business travel away from the booking phase — the stage at which costs can be managed most easily — to the trip itself when expenses are incurred on the fly. This creates challenges for corporate travel managers — and the federal government, which […]

IRS Further Clarifies Rules on Reporting Health Plan Costs on 2012 W-2 Forms

In its latest guidance on W-2 reporting of health benefits (Notice 2012-9, issued Jan. 5) the IRS has clarified that employers need not include the cost of coverage under an employee assistance program (EAP), health reimbursement accounts (HRA), wellness program or on site-medical clinic in the reportable amount if the employer does not charge a premium […]

Is a COBRA Notice ‘Postcard’ Too Far From the Edge of Compliance?

Postcards are designed to provide a brief message, but it will be interesting to learn if such brevity is sufficient to adequately notify an individual of COBRA continuation coverage rights — particularly when the law identifies at least 14 content requirements for COBRA election notices. In a recent court case, an employer/plan administrator faced with […]

New EFT Standards Issued for Health Plans Paying Claims

A mandatory uniform standard for health plans to pay claims electronically was adopted in rules issued Jan. 5 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The rules are designed to help health care providers match payments received with the “remittance advice” transactions that plans are already sending them under an existing HHS […]

Nearly $23K in COBRA Penalties Assessed Due to Dearth of Evidence on Notice Procedures and Breadth of Misleading Info

A recent court case highlights two crucial issues in administering COBRA continuation coverage: (1) a plan administrator has the sole legal obligation to prove compliance with COBRA’s notice rules — it cannot pass the buck to third-party administrators; and (2) lack of sufficient evidence on COBRA notice procedures can be a costly mistake. Recently, an […]

HHS Solicits Comments on Essential Health Benefits

An important component of health reform implementation is the imposition of an “essential benefits” package (of health goods and services that insurers of groups and individuals must cover). Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), that benefit package will be de rigueur (1) for policies sold on exchanges and (2) insurers of small […]