United Benefit Advisors Insight and Analysis Blog

Danielle Capilla

Senior VP of Compliance and Operations, United Benefit Advisors

Recent Posts

IRS Releases Draft Forms and Instructions for 2017 ACA Reporting

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Oct 5, 2017 8:30:00 AM

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), individuals are required to have health insurance while applicable large employers (ALEs) are required to offer health benefits to their full-time employees.

Reporting is required by employers with 50 or more full-time (or full-time equivalent) employees, insurers, or sponsors of self-funded health plans, on health coverage that is offered in order for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to verify that:

  • Individuals have the required minimum essential coverage,
  • Individuals who request premium tax credits are entitled to them, and
  • ALEs are meeting their shared responsibility (play or pay) obligations.

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Topics: Affordable Care Act, applicable large employers, ACA reporting

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

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

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.

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Topics: employer shared responsibility, Affordable Care Act, IRS reporting

Court Remands Wellness Regulations to EEOC for Reconsideration

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

On August 22, 2017, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia held that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) failed to provide a reasoned explanation for its decision to adopt 30 percent incentive levels for employer-sponsored wellness programs under both the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) rules and Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) rules.

The court declined to vacate the EEOC's rules because of the significant disruptive effect it would have. However, the court remanded the rules to the EEOC for reconsideration.

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Topics: wellness, wellness incentives, UBA Health Plan Survey, employee benefit trends

DOL Issues Compliance Guidance for Employee Benefit Plans Impacted by Hurricane Harvey

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

The DOL issued guidance for employee benefit plans, plan sponsors, and employers located in a county identified for individual assistance by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) due to Hurricane Harvey.

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Topics: employee benefit plans, Hurricane Harvey

What You Need to Know about Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Sep 7, 2017 9:30:00 AM

A dependent care flexible spending account (DCFSA) is a pre-tax benefit account used to pay for eligible dependent care services. The IRS determines which expenses are eligible for reimbursement and these expenses are defined by Internal Revenue Code §129 and the employer's plan. Eligible DCFSA expenses include: adult day care center, before/after school programs, child care, nanny, preschool, and summer day camp. Day nursing care, nursing home care, tuition for kindergarten and above, food expenses, and overnight camp are ineligible expenses.

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Topics: voluntary benefits, dependent care flexible spending account, dependent care, employee benefit plans

What You Need to Know about Health Flexible Spending Accounts

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Aug 29, 2017 9:30:00 AM

A health flexible spending account (FSA) is a pre-tax account used to pay for out-of-pocket health care costs for a participant as well as a participant's spouse and eligible dependents. Health FSAs are employer-established benefit plans and may be offered with other employer-provided benefits as part of a cafeteria plan. Self-employed individuals are not eligible for FSAs.

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Topics: FSA, group benefit plans, health flexible spending account

The COBRA Payment Process

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Aug 23, 2017 9:30:00 AM

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) allows qualified beneficiaries who lose health benefits due to a qualifying event to continue group health benefits. The COBRA payment process is subject to various rules in terms of grace periods, notification, premium payment methods, and treatment of insignificant shortfalls.

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Topics: health insurance premiums, COBRA, group health insurance, Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, qualified beneficiary

ERISA's "Church Plan" Exception

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Aug 3, 2017 9:30:00 AM

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) was signed in 1974. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is the agency responsible for administering and enforcing this law. For many years, most of ERISA's requirements applied to pension plans. However, in recent years that has changed, and group plans (called "welfare benefit plans" by ERISA and the DOL) now must meet a number of requirements. Government and church plans do not need to comply with ERISA.

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Topics: ERISA, group benefit plans, church plan

Determining COBRA Premiums for Fully Insured and Self-Funded Health Plans

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Aug 1, 2017 1:04:34 PM

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) allows qualified beneficiaries who lose health benefits due to a qualifying event to continue group health benefits. While some group health plans may provide COBRA continuation coverage at a reduced rate or at no cost, most qualified beneficiaries must pay the full COBRA premium. The COBRA election notice should include information about COBRA premiums.

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Topics: health insurance premiums, COBRA, fully insured health plans, COBRA continuation coverage

Best Practices for Initial COBRA Notices

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Jul 25, 2017 9:30:00 AM

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) requires group health plans to provide notices to covered employees and their families explaining their COBRA rights when certain events occur. The initial notice, also referred to as the general notice, communicates general COBRA rights and obligations to each covered employee (and his or her spouse) who becomes covered under the group health plan. This notice is issued by the plan administrator within the first 90 days when coverage begins under the group health plan and informs the covered employee (and his or her spouse) of the responsibility to notify the employer within 60 days if certain qualifying events occur in the future.

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Topics: group health insurance, COBRA continuation coverage, notice of coverage