United Benefit Advisors Insight and Analysis Blog

Understanding W-2 Reporting under the ACA

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Dec 21, 2017 9:30:00 AM

The ACA requires employers to report the cost of coverage under an employer-sponsored group health plan. Reporting the cost of health care coverage on Form W-2 does not mean that the coverage is taxable.

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Topics: ACA, Affordable Care Act, employer-sponsored health insurance, W-2 reporting

New Guidance from CMS on Accommodation Revocation Notices under the Contraception Mandate Exemption

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Dec 19, 2017 9:30:00 PM

Two tri-agency (Internal Revenue Service, Employee Benefits Security Administration, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) Interim Final Rules were released and became effective on October 6, 2017, and were published on October 13, 2017, allowing a greater number of employers to opt out of providing contraception to employees at no cost through their employer-sponsored health plan.

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Topics: contraception coverage, religious opposition to contraception, Group health plans

Advance Informational Copies of 2017 Form 5500 Annual Return/Report

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Dec 14, 2017 9:30:00 AM

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.

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Topics: benefit plan reporting, group benefit plans, IRS Form 5500, tax reporting

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

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Dec 12, 2017 9:30:00 AM

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 take steps to minimize the possibility of individuals losing benefits because of a failure to comply with pre-established time frames.

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Topics: group benefits, leave-based donation program, hurricane relief

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

Posted by: Bill Olson    Dec 7, 2017 9:30:00 AM

When most experts think of group healthcare plans, Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans largely come to mind—though higher cost, they dominate the market in 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 plans continues to grow in most regions—a main reason why it was one of the top 7 survey trends recently announced.

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Topics: health plan benchmarking, CDHPs, UBA Health Plan Survey, group benefit plans, consumer-directed health plan

IRS Updates Guidance on Play-or-Pay Penalty Assessments

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Dec 5, 2017 9:30:00 AM

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.

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Topics: IRS, employer shared responsibility, Affordable Care Act, play or pay requirements

Climate Leave: PTO for when the Wind Blows

Posted by: Bill Olson    Nov 30, 2017 9:30:00 AM

This year, much of the United States had some form of major natural disaster—hurricanes, wildfires, floods, tornados—and millions of people were either directly affected, or had a family member or close friend who was affected. This life-changing disruption often meant that people couldn’t, or weren’t able to, go to work. While many companies were understanding and granted people the time they needed to take care of their issues, only a handful of those businesses kept paying their employees. Even worse, some businesses insisted that their employees report for work or risk termination.

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Topics: absence management, fringe benefits, personal time off, PTO

Employee Benefit Plans and the House Republican Tax Reform Bill

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Nov 28, 2017 9:30:00 AM

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.

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Topics: dependent care flexible spending account, dependent care, tax reform, adoption assistance, education assistance

Top 3 Frequently Asked Questions about Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangements

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Nov 22, 2017 9:30:00 AM

On December 13, 2016, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act) into law. The Cures Act provides a method for certain small employers to reimburse individual health coverage premiums up to a dollar limit through HRAs called "Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangements" (QSE HRAs). The provision went into effect on January 1, 2017. On October 31, 2017, the IRS released Notice 2017-67, providing guidance on the implementation and administration of QSE HRAs.

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Topics: health reimbursement arrangements, Affordable Care Act, 21st Century Cures Act, Qualified Small Employer HRA, QSE HRA

UBA Survey: Weary Families Get a Break While Singles See Out-of-Pocket Cost Increases

Posted by: Bill Olson    Nov 21, 2017 9:47:00 AM

While the rate impact of the regulatory environment plays out, one thing is clear from the 2017 UBA Health Plan Survey: employers continue to shift a greater share of expenses to employees through out-of-pocket cost increases. While this is just one of 7 mega trends uncovered in the survey, it is particularly interesting this year because singles were hit more heavily than families as compared to years past.

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Topics: UBA Health Plan Survey, health care trends, health care deductibles, out-of-pocket costs