Co-authored by Christopher K. Buch.

On June 26, the US Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Windsor that Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court ruled that DOMA’s federal exclusion of state-recognized same-sex marriages was unconstitutional under the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause. As a result

Co-authored by Christopher K. Buch.

Late last month the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two cases concerning same-sex marriage. The Court’s decisions are expected by the end of June and, depending on how the Court rules, the decisions could have a significant impact on employee welfare and retirement plans.

 


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Co-authored by Christopher K. Buch.

On January 25, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published its highly anticipated Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Omnibus Final Rule (Final Rule). The Final Rule covers many topics, including the extension of some of HIPAA’s privacy and security compliance obligations to “business associates” or organizations that do business with HIPAA-covered entities.


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Co-authored by Christopher K. Buch.

On January 30, the Internal Revenue Service released proposed and final regulations regarding the health insurance premium tax credit and the requirement that an employer maintain minimum essential coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The IRS is preparing to release a series of questions and answers to help individuals and entities comply with the new ACA rules.


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Co-authored by Christopher K. Buch.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued proposed regulations in the Federal Register on December 7 which provide guidance regarding the Transitional Reinsurance Program (the Program). The Program will be effective for three years: 2014–16. It will impose heavy fees upon employer-sponsored health care plans, whether insured or self-insured.


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Co-authored by Christopher K. Buch.

On April 17, the Internal Revenue Service published in the Federal Register proposed Regulations setting forth the details for the new fees imposed upon self-insured plans and health insurance policy issuers. These fees were mandated in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and are effective for current plan years and for the six years thereafter.


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On August 22, federal government agencies (the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Labor, and U.S. Treasury Department) published proposed regulations concerning the new mandated “summary of benefits and coverage” (SBC). Beginning March 23, 2012, group health plans (and health insurance issuers) must provide plan participants and beneficiaries with plan information in the form of the new SBC.


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The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) cuts back on which drugs may be reimbursed from flexible spending accounts, health reimbursement arrangements, health savings accounts and Archer medical savings accounts. Such plans are prohibited from reimbursing for medicine or drug expenses incurred after December 31, 2010, unless the item requires a prescription, the item is available over-the-counter but the individual obtained a prescription, or the drug is insulin.


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