United Benefit Advisors Insight and Analysis Blog

Avoid Increased Penalties by Filing Annual Benefit Plan Reports on Time

Posted by: Jennifer Stanley    Jul 19, 2016 12:56:38 PM

Form 5500 is the annual report that group benefit plans use to report required information about the plan’s financial condition and operations. Most group and pension plans that are subject to ERISA are required to file a Form 5500. With the July 31 deadline for calendar year plans fast approaching, and higher penalties for not filing taking effect in August, this is a good time to review this important plan filing.

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Topics: Form 5500, ERISA, Jennifer Kupper, benefit plan reporting, group benefit plans

Extra, Extra! ACA Tax News, Read All About It!

Posted by: Jennifer Stanley    Jun 10, 2016 10:30:00 AM

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) has many tax provisions written within its 906 pages. I’ll give a brief overview of the taxes, and sprinkle in some good news among some not-so-good news.

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Topics: ACA, PPACA, Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, Transitional Reinsurance Fee, Jennifer Kupper, Play or Pay, Cadillac Tax, employer shared responsibility, ACA excise tax, ACA penalties, health insurers providers fee

As Dragnet's Joe Friday Would Say, "Just the Facts, Ma'am." Get the Facts on COBRA Coverage – Who, When and How Long?

Posted by: Jennifer Stanley    May 3, 2016 10:00:00 AM

As we mentioned in the first edition of this mini-series on the Federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA), “marketplaces” or “exchanges” created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) did not make COBRA obsolete. Rather, COBRA is still going strong. And while the general rule of COBRA is not necessarily that difficult to understand, the timeframes, notice requirements, intricacies, and the ways in which COBRA interacts with other laws presents employers with potentially extremely expensive outcomes.

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Topics: COBRA, Jennifer Kupper, iaCONSULTING, covered employee, benefit eligibility, qualifying event

Transitional Reinsurance Fee for Self-funded Group Health Plans

Posted by: Jennifer Stanley    Oct 27, 2015 12:00:00 PM

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) established the Transitional Reinsurance Program to help stabilize premiums in the individual private and public marketplaces. The Transitional Reinsurance Fee (TRF) applies to fully insured and self-funded major medical plans for 2014, 2015, and 2016, regardless of the policy or plan year. Insurers of fully insured major medical plans and sponsors of self-funded major medical plans are responsible for filing and submitting contributions for the Transitional Reinsurance Program.

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Topics: ACA, TRF, Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, Transitional Reinsurance Fee, Jennifer Kupper, self funded health plans, Group health plans, PCORI Fee, Transitional Reinsurance Program

ACA’S ALE AIR – A Case for Outsourcing

Posted by: Jennifer Stanley    Jul 28, 2015 12:00:00 PM

The Affordable Care Act's Employer-Shared Responsibility (ESR), otherwise known as Play or Pay, is here! Not only are employers struggling to apply the once-abstract-but-now-actual complex and convoluted rules and regulations, employers are facing yet another hurdle – Affordable Care Act (ACA) Information Returns (AIR).

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Topics: ACA, Jennifer Kupper, iaCONSULTING, Play or Pay, employer-shared responsibility reporting, Affordable Care Act, Affordable Care Act Information Returns

Two PPACA Taxes Might Get the Ax

Posted by: Jennifer Stanley    May 12, 2015 12:00:00 PM

Health Insurance Providers Fee

Section 9010 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) imposes a fee on each covered entity engaged in the business of providing health insurance for United States health risks. This is known as the Health Insurance Providers (HIP) fee or the Health Insurers Tax (HIT) tax. The first filings were due from covered entities by April 15, 2014, and the first fees were due September 30, 2014. Self-insured plans are not covered entities for the purpose of the HIP Fee. The HIP fee is an important revenue source for PPACA, amounting to $8 billion in 2014 and rising to $14.3 billion by 2018. While fully insured plans are not directly responsible for the HIP fee, the Congressional Budget Office was correct when it indicated that it would be “largely passed through to consumers in the form of higher premiums.” Some premiums have increased as much as 4.5%.

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Topics: PPACA Affordable Care Act, Jennifer Kupper, excise tax, Cadillac Tax, Health Insurers Tax, Health Insurance Providers fee

Wellness Programs Feeling the Heat as the EEOC Increases Its Efforts - Part 3

Posted by: Jennifer Stanley    Jan 15, 2015 1:00:00 PM

The last few months have seen as many complaints filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against wellness programs. On August 20, 2014, the EEOC brought its first direct challenge of a wellness program under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) against Orion Energy Systems, Inc. (The Orion Suit). On September 30, 2014, the EEOC initiated its second ADA action against Flambeau, Inc.’s wellness program (The Flambeau Suit). The latest petition was filed on October 27, 2014, against Honeywell International, Inc.’s wellness program (The Honeywell Suit), and it includes counts under both the ADA and the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA).

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Topics: wellness programs, EEOC, Jennifer Kupper, Part 3

Wellness Programs Feeling the Heat as the EEOC Increases Its Efforts - Part 2, Federal Regulations

Posted by: Jennifer Stanley    Dec 30, 2014 1:00:00 PM

As mentioned in the first posting, wellness programs must be analyzed under a myriad of laws and regulations. This post will discuss generally the wellness program landscape in light of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)/Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA), the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA), the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and the Nondiscrimination Regulations. This is a 30,000-foot overview of laws and regulations that are in need of microscopic scrutiny when applying them to a wellness program.

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Topics: wellness, UBA, EEOC, Jennifer Kupper, iaCONSULTING, Part 2, Federal Regulations

Wellness Programs Feeling the Heat as the EEOC Increases Its Efforts - Part 1

Posted by: Jennifer Stanley    Dec 18, 2014 1:00:00 PM

While wellness programs have increased in popularity, according to the 2014 UBA Health Plan Survey, actual wellness program adoption has been in a holding pattern. As one might expect, the highest percentage (58.8%) of plans offering wellness benefits came from employers with 1,000 or more employees and the lowest percentage (8%) of plans offering wellness benefits came from employers with fewer than 25 employees. On average, wellness programs are down slightly by 1.3%. It’s no wonder given all the pending litigation and regulation surrounding these programs, including the fact that the health of an employee population is no longer a rating factor for smaller employers.

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Topics: wellness, health plan survey, UBA, EEOC, Jennifer Kupper, iaCONSULTING, 2014, Part 1