IRS Allows Employers to Recover Mistaken HSA Contributions

The IRS recently released an information letter describing circumstances that would allow an employer to recover contributions mistakenly made to its employees’ HSAs. Previously, IRS guidance allowed employers to recover HSA contributions in very limited situations, such as when the contribution exceeded the applicable annual limit. The new guidance also …

2018: A Record Year for HIPAA Enforcement Actions

In 2018, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) settled 10 cases and was granted summary judgment in a case in Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) enforcement. The enforcement actions resulted in an all-time record year for OCR, with enforcement penalties collected totaling $28.7 million—a 22 percent increase from the …

Proposed Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2020

On Jan. 24, 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published its proposed Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2020. This proposed rule describes benefit and payment parameters under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that would be applicable for the 2020 benefit year. Proposed standards included in …

Avoid These Foods to Live Longer

If healthy food can be used as medicine, it stands to reason that unhealthy food could have a negative impact on your well-being. Case in point: A recent study revealed that we face a 14% higher risk of early death for every 10% increase in the amount of ultraprocessed foods …

HHS Proposes Rule That Would End Certain Drug Rebates

On Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General released a proposed rule that effectively eliminates certain drug rebates. This move is the latest of the Trump administration’s efforts to reduce prescription drug costs and increase transparency. What is included in the rule? …

The State of the Union Address and the Employee Benefits Market

On Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, President Donald Trump delivered the 2019 State of the Union Address (SOTU). The SOTU is an annual message delivered by the president to a joint session of Congress at the beginning of each year. At this year’s SOTU, President Trump discussed issues that have the …

Proposed Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2020

On Jan. 24, 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published its proposed Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2020. This proposed rule describes benefit and payment parameters under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that would be applicable for the 2020 benefit year. Proposed standards included in …

ACA Individual Mandate Penalty No Longer Applies

On Dec. 22, 2017, President Donald Trump signed into law the tax reform bill, called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, after it passed both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. This tax reform bill makes significant changes to the federal tax code. The bill does not …

Proposed Rule Would Expand Options for HRAs

A proposed rule to expand the use of health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) and other account-based group health plans was recently released by the Departments of the Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services. If finalized, the rule may allow employers to terminate their existing medical plans and shift their employees …

Furnishing Deadline Delayed for 2018 ACA Reporting

The IRS Notice extends the due dates for the 2018 information reporting requirements for employers to furnish information on returns and statements regarding minimum essential coverage provided to individuals. Specifically, the notice extends the due date for furnishing the following to individuals from January 31, 2019 to March 4, 2019: …

CVS Health Completes Acquisition of Aetna

Announced November 28, 2018, CVS Health, the nation’s premier health innovation company, has completed its acquisition of Aetna. This venture is speculated to have transformative impacts on the industry and the way consumers access health care. In an announcement released yesterday, Aetna revealed that the goal of the acquisition is …

PCORI Fee Amount Adjusted for 2018

Under the Affordable Care Act, certain health insurance carriers and health plan sponsors are required to pay fees based on the average number of lives covered by welfare benefits plans. These fees are commonly referred to as Patient-Centered Outcome Research Institute (PCORI) fees. The applicable fee was $2.39 for plan …

IRS Announces 2019 Contribution Limits

The IRS has announced the 2019 maximum contribution limits for Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), Commuter Reimbursement Accounts (CRA), and Qualified Small Health Reimbursement Arrangements (QSEHRA). Please see the chart below which compares 2018 contribution limits to the adjusted contribution limits for 2019. For additional information regarding plan limit changes for …