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As the calendar year comes to an end, group health plan sponsors must remember that if they took advantage of the ACA relief of IRS Notice 2014-55, amendments to their cafeteria plans by year end are needed. Notice 2014-55 was effective as of September 18, 2014, and it allowed participants to revoke a cafeteria plan election for group health coverage, that is not a health FSA and provides minimum essential coverage, for 2 specific…
The DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (“EBSA”) recently completed its report on the quality of audit work performed on employee benefit plans by independent qualified public accountants (“IQPA”) and was not pleased with the results. EBSA reviewed a sample of the 81,000 audits completed as a part of each plan’s Annual Report/Form 5500 filing requirement and found that only 61% of the audits fully complied with the applicable standards or had only minor deficiencies. That…
The U.S. Supreme Court recently decided to hear a case brought under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) to determine whether individual consumers have standing to sue a consumer reporting agency for statutory violations of the FCRA when no “actual damages” were suffered by the consumer. The FCRA, like other privacy laws, imposes monetary damages against consumer reporting agencies for statutory violations. When Congress enacted the FCRA, it also created a private cause of action…
The scramble for group health plan administrators to navigate the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) website and obtain a Health Plan Identifier (HPID) ahead of next week’s deadline is over.  On October 31, 2014, the CMS Office of e-Health Standards and Services (OESS), the division of the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) that is responsible for enforcement of the HIPAA standard transaction requirements, announced a “delay, until further notice,” of the…
The Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) recently released guidance on the application process to obtain a Health Plan Identifier (“HPID”). A HPID is an all-numeric 10-digit identification number that many HIPAA-covered health plans are required to adopt by November 5, 2014. Think of a HPID like an EIN for health plans. HPIDs will be used in all HIPAA standard transactions, such as the payment of health care claims, claim status checks, health plan…
The Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) recently released guidance on the application process to obtain a Health Plan Identifier (“HPID”).  A HPID is an all-numeric 10-digit identification number that many HIPAA-covered health plans are required to adopt by November 5, 2014.  Think of a HPID like an EIN for health plans.  HPIDs will be used in all HIPAA standard transactions, such as the payment of health care claims, claim status checks, health plan…
Under the directive of providing individuals with additional lifetime income options, the IRS issued final regulations on July 2, 2014, permitting the purchase of longevity annuity contracts.  The regulations apply to participants in certain types of retirement plans and IRA owners and allows them to purchase a “qualifying longevity annuity contract” (QLAC) with a portion of their account balance.  According to the regulations’ accompanying press release: This change will make it easier for retirees…
In an earlier post, we discussed the basics behind how Bitcoin operates and how it might create unique issues for employers. In the span of just a little over a month, the Bitcoin community has had its share of stories in the news cycle. One of the largest exchanges, Mt. Gox, has filed for bankruptcy following an apparent security breach costing customers and the exchange nearly $500 million. Within a couple weeks of Mt.…
Ask the average person what they know about Bitcoin and they might be able to tell you that it is a digital currency. Most have probably heard the name mentioned in articles about its giant fluctuations in value or in connection with black market internet transactions. Beyond that, how Bitcoin actually operates remains relatively unknown to the general public. Public opinion of Bitcoin varies wildly and headlines range from “Bitcoin is Flawed, But It