jjappa

About Jason Jappa

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Jason Jappa has created 31 entries.

How Your Company Can Benefit From an Executive Reimbursement Plan

Today’s companies are constantly struggling to attract and retain good talent. And, most companies are offering special perks, or benefits to help do this. But, what about something a little more enticing than a parking spot that’s close to the entry door? What about an executive reimbursement plan? An executive reimbursement plan offers select executives, or group of employees chosen by an employer, additional medical, dental or eye coverage to pay the left over portion […]

By |July 28th, 2016|Employee Benefits, Human Resources, Voluntary Benefits|Comments Off on How Your Company Can Benefit From an Executive Reimbursement Plan

Legal Alert: HHS Issues Final Rule on ACA Nondiscrimination Provisions (Section 1557)

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a final rule implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of, among other grounds, sex (including gender identity) in certain health programs and activities. Entities covered under the rule cannot deny, cancel, limit or refuse to issue health coverage; deny or limit a claim; or impose additional cost sharing on a protected individual.

The rule will require many group health plans and employers to cover health care services provided to transgender individuals and is expected to have broad implications for the provision of transgender- and gender transition-related medical treatment. The length to which the rule may apply to a particular plan or employer involves some analysis. However, it is clear that HHS intends to encourage coverage of health care services […]

By |July 22nd, 2016|Employee Benefits, Health Care Reform, Legislation, Medical|Comments Off on Legal Alert: HHS Issues Final Rule on ACA Nondiscrimination Provisions (Section 1557)

The Numbers Are In… And They’re Shocking!

We’ve successfully identified two types of brokers in the benefits industry and created a short video to explain things a little further. Once the video comes to an end you will be able to easily determine if your company is with the majority, or the minority. Making this determination could be exactly what you need to save money, and gain the extra support your HR Department has been hoping for.

So, who are you working with? […]

By |July 11th, 2016|Employee Benefits, Employee Benefits Adviser, Human Resources|Comments Off on The Numbers Are In… And They’re Shocking!

Legal Alert: ACA Reporting Update: AIR System Will Remain Up and Running After June 30th Deadline

While the deadline to electronically file Affordable Care Act (ACA) information returns with the IRS passed on June 30, 2016, the ACA Information Returns (AIR) system used to electronically file those returns will remain up and running.

On June 30th, the IRS noted the following on its AIR system home page:

  • The AIR system will continue to accept information returns filed after June 30, 2016. In addition, employers can still complete required system testing after June 30, 2016.
  • If a filing was rejected, the employer has 60 days to submit a replacement and have the rejected submission treated as timely filed.
  • When a filing is “accepted with errors,” employers may continue to submit corrections after June 30.
  • Employers that were unable to submit their returns by June 30 should still file their returns after the deadline. Employers that missed the deadline will generally not be assessed late filing penalties if the employer made legitimate efforts to register with the AIR system and to file its information returns, and it continues to make such efforts and completes the process as soon as possible.

When an employer’s filing is “accepted with errors” due to incorrect name/TIN combinations, it does not necessarily require resubmission; however, the employer should make a good faith attempt at validating the information. Any corrections should be made as soon as possible once the correct information becomes available.

Also, while there is no specific relief provided in the case of employers that fail to file returns by the deadline, relief may be available if the IRS determines that there was reasonable cause for the delay

Employers that did not file electronically and that missed the May 31, 2016, paper filing deadline should also complete the filing of their paper […]

By |July 8th, 2016|Compliance, Human Resources, Legislation|Comments Off on Legal Alert: ACA Reporting Update: AIR System Will Remain Up and Running After June 30th Deadline

Legal Alert: Marketplace Subsidy Notices: What Employers Need to Know

In late June, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reportedly mailed out several hundred thousand notices to employers, dated June 21, 2016, informing them that one or more of their employees have been certified as eligible for a premium subsidy through a federal Health Insurance Marketplace. Employers in states with state-run Marketplaces may have received similar notices since 2015; however, HHS has just begun sending notices from the federal Marketplaces this June. A list of states and whether their Marketplace is state-based or federally-facilitated can be found here.

The notice informs the employer that the individual indicated that he or she worked for the employer and either: (i) didn’t have an offer of health care coverage from the employer; (ii) did have an offer of health care coverage, but it wasn’t affordable or did not provide minimum value; or (iii) was in a waiting period and unable to enroll in health care coverage.

This alert describes the appeal process and provides recommendations for employers who have received a notice and are considering whether to appeal.

Foremost, receipt of a Marketplace subsidy notification […]

By |July 6th, 2016|Compliance, Human Resources, Legislation|Comments Off on Legal Alert: Marketplace Subsidy Notices: What Employers Need to Know

Unique HR and Benefit Department Challenges for Law Firms

The Human Resource and Benefits departments of law firms face unique challenges when dealing with attorneys and staff, personnel issues, and hiring and retaining talent.  Because Broad Reach Benefits works closely with law firms of all sizes, we are familiar with the issues you face every day.  Some of the expected challenges HR and Benefits departments can keep in mind when working at a law firm include:

Reporting Structure
While attorneys must supervise the legal work conducted by paralegals and assistants, there is often a reporting structure within the legal support staff, as well as the need to report to HR for performance, administrative, and personnel issues. With so many levels and layers in the organization, consistency is key. It is important to have a handbook that everyone can reference and rely on and an engaged HR department that maintains professionalism and proactively avoids conflict. […]

By |June 22nd, 2016|Employee Benefits, Employee Benefits Adviser, Law Firms|Comments Off on Unique HR and Benefit Department Challenges for Law Firms

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, 2012.  Under health care reform, most employer sponsors and insurers will be required to pay PCORI fees until 2019.

The amount of PCORI fees due by employer sponsors and insurers is based upon the number of covered lives under each “applicable self-insured health plan” and “specified health insurance policy” (as defined by regulations) and the plan or policy year end date.

  • For plan years that ended between January 1, 2015 and September 30, 2015, the fee is $2.08 per covered life and is due by August 1, 2016.
  • For plan years that ended between October 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015, the fee is $2.17 per covered life and is due by August 1, 2016.
  • The fee is payable by August 1, 2016 for any plan years ending in 2015.

NOTE: The insurance carrier is responsible for paying the PCORI fee on behalf of a fully insured plan.  The employer is responsible for paying the fee on behalf of a self-insured plan, including an HRA.  In general, health FSAs are not subject to the PCORI fee.

Employers that sponsor self-insured group health plans must report and pay PCORI fees using IRS Form 720, Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return.

Note that because the PCORI fee is assessed […]

By |June 8th, 2016|Compliance, Employee Benefits, Legislation|Comments Off on REMINDER: PCORI FEES DUE BY AUGUST 1, 2016

Beware of FICA-Reduction Arrangements using Wellness Programs

It has come to our attention that certain arrangements are being marketed to employers that are intended to reduce an employer’s FICA obligation by significantly increasing employees’ pre-tax salary reductions. We want to caution employers against entering into these types of arrangements before having a conversation with an employee benefits attorney who understands them. This alert provides some background on these schemes and our concerns with them.

Background
Over the last 15 years, we have seen certain arrangements that reappear from time to time. They come with various bells and whistles but they all have a common feature: They purport to have found a new way to save employer’s money on their FICA contributions at no cost to the employer or employees. Promotional materials from the vendor show employees receiving the same take home pay they received prior to the employer adopting the program, with perhaps even a little extra to spend on voluntary products.

The earliest versions were known as “double-dip” arrangements, where employees were reimbursed for premiums that had already been paid on a pre-tax basis. Once those were prohibited (Rev. Rul. 2002-3), variations surfaced. Under one, employees were reimbursed in advance for potential future medical expenses. Under another, employees received “loans” that were either offset by unreimbursed medical expenses or forgiven. In response, the IRS issued guidance (Rev. Rul. 2002-80) prohibiting those two variations. A more recent twist on the loan program involves the use of credit life insurance to secure the loan rather than it being forgiven, although it would also appear to be prohibited under Rev. Rul. 2002-80, as it is understood that the employee will never become obligated to repay any of the purported “loan.” A loan that is forgiven, or […]

By |May 31st, 2016|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Beware of FICA-Reduction Arrangements using Wellness Programs

EEOC Releases Final Rules for Wellness Programs under ADA and GINA

On Monday, May 16, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released final regulations (Final Regulations) under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) governing wellness programs.  The ADA rules cover an employer’s requests for health information from employees and the GINA rules cover requests for health information from family members.

The Final Regulations can be found here (ADA) and here (GINA).  Additional Q&A guidance and information for small employers can be found here.  The Final Regulations are effective for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2017, and they apply to all workplace wellness programs, including those offered to employees or their family members that do not require participation in a particular health plan.

The rules clarify the EEOC’s stance on wellness programs and how to determine limits on incentives for spouses, although it is not all good news for employers.  As discussed below, there continues to be significant disconnect between EEOC and U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) rules on wellness programs, most notably on the treatment of health risk assessments (HRAs) and biometric screenings when used as a gateway to eligibility.

Overview of the Final Regulations

The Final Regulations apply to any wellness program—both participation-based and outcome-based—that includes disability-related inquiries and/or medical examinations.  In other words, if there’s no medical exam or inquiry, the program isn’t subject to the Final Regulations.

Under the ADA rules, the maximum reward (or penalty) attributable to an employee’s participation in a wellness program is 30% of the total cost of self-only coverage.  Likewise, under GINA, the maximum reward (or penalty) attributable to a spouse’s participation in a wellness program is also 30% of the total cost […]

By |May 26th, 2016|Compliance, Human Resources, Legislation, Medical, Wellness|Comments Off on EEOC Releases Final Rules for Wellness Programs under ADA and GINA

Final FLSA Overtime Regulations to Take Effect December 1, 2016

The reporting service Bloomberg BNA has reported that the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) final overtime regulations will take effect December 1, 2016.  The Obama administration is planning to provide additional details this evening and release the full rule tomorrow (May 18).  The final regulations more than double the existing minimum salary threshold for overtime exemption from $23,660 to $47,476.

BNA is reporting that the salary threshold will be updated once every three years, which is a reduction in frequency from the proposed rule, which called for annual indexing.

The effective date of December 1, 2016 provides significant time for employers to prepare for the new rules.  It had previously been thought that the rules would be effective 60 days from the date of publication.

Additionally, it is being reported that the rule will not include a carve-out for higher education institutions, which had asked for a carve-out from the final rule that at least delays the time in which they will be required to comply. […]

By |May 20th, 2016|Compliance, Legislation|Comments Off on Final FLSA Overtime Regulations to Take Effect December 1, 2016