Welfare Benefit Plan ERISA News
November 2012

 
Feds to Compete with State Exchanges
& Private Insurers
The U.S. government will soon sponsor at least two nationwide health insurance plans that will be offered to consumers and employers in every state. The national plans will compete directly with private insurers and may have significant advantages over them. These plans may not be required to comply with all state laws, consumer protection standards, or benefit mandates, and they may not have to pay state fees and taxes levied on other insurers. Such an uneven playing field puts private insurers at a competitive disadvantage, and without identical standards, consumers may not be able to make valid comparisons. Additionally, national insurance plans will be subject to regulation by the federal government, state insurance commissioners, and state insurance exchanges. That mix could cause confusion for some consumers who have questions or complaints about their coverage.
New York Times
DOL Begins Auditing Plans for ACA Compliance
"Recent written audit requests to health and welfare plans from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) have included inquiries related to various mandates under the Affordable Care Act (the ACA or the Act). This is a significant development in the ongoing implementation of the ACA's various coverage and related mandates, in that it marks the first appearance of ACA-related topics in DOL auditing practices." Unless these provisions under ACA are repealed, the ACT is enforceable and it will be enforced by the DOL. To find out what the DOL is looking for during an audit and what steps might you have to take to prepare for the possibility of an audit, click here.
Tax Planning under ACA
Two tax increases become effective January 1, 2013 and will increase the amount of Medicare tax paid by certain high income earners. The first new tax is a 3.8% Medicare surcharge on investment income. The threshold modified AGI amount is $200,000 for single filers and $250,000 for married joint filers. The second new tax is a 0.9% Medicare surtax on wages and self-employment income in excess of the above notedthreshold amounts. For a more detailed explanation of these and other tax increases and planning tips to reduce their impact, click here.
ERISA Trivia
Last month's trivia question was "The closing of which automobile manufacturer's plant and its inability to pay pension benefits increased the momentum for pension reform that ultimately led to the enactment of ERISA?" The first correct answer, Studebaker, was submitted by Susan Lowman of Atlanta, Ga.
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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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