Court Orders EEOC to Reconsider Wellness Rules
The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia directed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to reconsider its final wellness rules under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). The final rules allow employers to offer wellness incentives of up to 30 percent of the cost of health plan coverage. The court held that the EEOC failed to provide a reasonable explanation for adopting the incentive limit. Rather than vacating the final rules, the court sent them back to the EEOC for reconsideration, but it's unclear how it will respond to the court’s decision.
Due to this new legal uncertainty, employers should carefully consider the level of incentives they use with their wellness programs and monitor developments related to the EEOC’s rules.
New SBC Template Required for 2018 Open Enrollment
The updated template and related materials for the summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) are required for annual open enrollment periods beginning on or after April 1, 2017. For calendar year plans, this means that the updated template must be used for the 2018 open enrollment period.
Employers should takes these steps to prepare for the 2018 open enrollment period:
- Self-funded plan sponsors should ensure that they are using the new template.
- Employers with insured plans should make sure the carrier is providing the correct version of the template.
Use our 2018 Open Enrollment Checklist and contact your Higginbotham account manager for answers to questions about preparing for your 2018 open enrollment period.
IRS Releases Final Forms for 2017 ACA Reporting
On Sept. 28, 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released final 2017 forms for reporting under Internal Revenue Code (Code) Sections 6055 and 6056.
Forms 1094-C and 1095-C are used by applicable large employers (ALEs) to report under Section 6056, as well as for combined Section 6055 and 6056 reporting by ALEs that sponsor self-insured plans.
Forms 1094-B and 1095-B are used by entities reporting under Section 6055, including self-insured plan sponsors that are not ALEs.
The 2017 forms are substantially similar to the 2016 versions except that sections relating to expired Section 4980H Transition Relief were removed.
Related draft instructions for both sets of forms were released on Aug. 31, 2017 and have not been finalized at this time. They include updated penalty amounts for failures to file returns and furnish statements in 2017. The adjusted penalty amount is $260 per violation with an annual maximum of $3,218,500 (up from a maximum of $3,193,000 for 2016).
As a reminder, individual statements for 2017 must be furnished by Jan. 31, 2018, and IRS returns for 2017 must be filed by Feb. 28, 2018 (Apr. 2, 2018 if filed electronically since Mar. 31, 2018 is a Sunday).
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