Welfare Benefit Plan ERISA News
July 2012

 
DOL Reports to Congress on MHPAEA Compliance
DOL LogoTo achieve its ultimate goal of successfully implementing MHPAEA, EBSA has created a robust MHPAEA infrastructure that includes four strategies: 1) issuing interpretive guidance; 2) conducting external outreach and compliance assistance activities; 3) providing participant assistance; and 4) enforcing the law and regulations. EBSA is also conducting internal training and quality control as well as commissioning research studies to reinforce each strategy and ensure EBSA accomplishes its mission of helping the marketplace understand MHPAEA and benefit from it, as intended.
As a precursor to robust enforcement activities, EBSA updated the investigator check sheet to include the requirements of MHPAEA and the interim final rules to help with the investigative process. These tools are used by investigators to effectively review group health plan documents for compliance with the requirements of MHPAEA and the interim final rules. These trainings and tools play an important role in ensuring that investigators are knowledgeable and prepared to work with plans in identifying and correcting MHPAEA compliance problems. These practices are collectively a key aspect of the MHPAEA implementation process. DOL Mental Health Parity Webpage | DOL Report to Congress
W-2 Reporting of Employer-Sponsored
Health Coverage
ppaca logoThe Affordable Care Act requires businesses, tax-exempt organizations, and federal, state and local government entities to report the cost of coverage under an employer-sponsored group health plan. The value of the employer's contribution is not taxable to the employee; it is ostensibly for informational purposes only and to provide employees useful and comparable consumer information on the cost of their health care coverage. In general, the amount reported should include both the portion paid by the employer and the portion paid by the employee.
IRS LogoThe IRS has published a chart illustrating the types of coverage that employers must report on the 2012 Form W-2 (generally provided to employees in January 2013). Certain items are listed as "optional" based on transition relief provided by Notice 2012-9. The chart reviews the reporting requirements for Box 12, Code DD, and has no impact on requirements to report these items elsewhere. For example, while contributions to Health Savings Arrangements (HSA) are not to be reported in Box 12, Code DD, certain HSA contributions are reported in Box 12, Code W. See the IRS' Questions and Answers for more information.
Significant Transition Relief for $2,500
Health FSA Limit
Effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2012, health FSAs must provide that an employee "may not elect for any taxable year" to make salary reduction contributions in excess of $2,500. The term "taxable year" created significant confusion whether it referred to the plan year of the cafeteria plan, as intended by the law, or the individual participant's tax year. The IRS has provided meaningful transition relief to employers with fiscal year health FSAs by delaying the effective date of the $2,500 limit until plan years beginning after December 31, 2012. Employers with fiscal year health FSAs may keep higher reimbursement limits in effect through the end of their 2012-2013 plan year. All employers may adopt retroactive amendments to impose the $2,500 limit at any time before December 31, 2014. More on the ERISA Wonk blog
ERISA Jumble
Congratulations to Jess Knoth of Overland Park, Kansas for submitting the first correct solution to the ERISA Jumble in last month's newsletter: "COBRA."
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© 2017 ERISAPros, LLC, All rights reserved. Information on ERISAPros' website, its newsletter, “News & Views,” and its blog, “ERISA Wonk,” is published as a general informational source. Information and articles are general in nature and are not intended to constitute legal or tax advice in any particular matter. Blog posts and comments reflect the personal views of their respective authors - not those of ERISAPros. Transmission of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship. ERISAPros, LLC is not a law firm and is not giving legal or tax advice. It does not warrant and is not responsible for errors or omissions in the content on its website or in its newsletters. ERISA is a complicated and confusing law. Summary Plan Descriptions (SPDs), Wrap Plan Documents, and Form 5500s require review and updating by qualified ERISA compliance professionals.

 

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