Health & Welfare

2019 Medicare Part A Deductibles and Part B Premiums

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services ("CMS") has announced the Medicare Part A deductibles and Part B premiums for 2019. Medicare Part A covers inpatient hospital and hospice care, while Part B covers outpatient services such as doctors' visits. The Part A deductible for inpatient hospital expenses will be $1,364 in 2019, a $24 increase over the prior year. For the 61st through 90th day ...

Federal Court Rules Affordable Care Act Unconstitutional

A federal district court, in the Northern District of Texas, has ruled, in Children's Hospital Association of Texas v. Azar et. al., that the individual mandate provision contained in the Affordable Care Act ("ACA") is unconstitutional. Furthermore, the court ruled that the individual mandate was inseverable from the ACA and, therefore, the entire law is invalid. Background. After the ACA's ...

FMLA Claim Viable Even Though Employee Not Yet Eligible for FMLA Leave

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, in Reif v. Assisted Living by Hillcrest LLC, has confirmed that a Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") claim may be triggered when an employer promised FMLA coverage before an employee's eligibility under the statute took effect. Law. Employees are not eligible for FMLA leave unless, among other things, they have worked for a covered ...

IRS Extends Deadline for ALEs to Distribute 2018 ACA Reporting Forms to Individuals

The IRS has issued Notice 2018-94, which provides a 30-day extension to the deadline for Applicable Large Employers ("ALEs") to distribute the 2018 Affordable Care Act ("ACA") reporting forms to employees and covered individuals.

IRS Issues Additional Guidance on Proposed HRA Regulations

The IRS has issued Notice 2018-88 to provide guidance on its proposed Health Reimbursement Account ("HRA") regulations and their application to two Internal Revenue Code requirements: the Affordable Care Act ("ACA") employer mandate penalties (i.e., Code Section 4980H) and the nondiscrimination rules for self-funded group health plans (i.e., Code Section 105(h)). Background. IRS, DOL and HHS have ...

IRS Releases 2019 Limits for Welfare Benefit Plans: Health FSA and HSA Limits Increase

The IRS has released the 2019 inflation-adjusted limits for certain employee welfare benefit plans and the dollar amounts used for certain discrimination tests. Health FSAs. The limit for employee salary reduction contributions for health flexible spending account coverage for 2019 is $2,700, an increase of $50 over the amount for 2018. Health Savings Accounts. The 2019 limit on contributions to ...

Failure to Promote is Viable Basis for FMLA Discrimination Claim

A federal district court, in Browett v. City of Reno, has determined that a plaintiff's claim of discriminatory interference under the Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") could be based on his employer's failure to promote him after he had complained about not being allowed to use his accrued sick leave as FMLA leave. Law. It is unlawful for an employer to: (i) interfere with the exercise of ...

Massachusetts Unveils New Reporting Requirement

Massachusetts has sent emails to many employers in the state, informing them that they are responsible for completing the new Health Insurance Responsibility Disclosure ("HIRD") form by the end of November. The HIRD form is a new annual state reporting requirement in Massachusetts and does not actually relate to certain prior filings, which were also called HIRD forms. The new HIRD form collects ...

Proposed Regulations Expand Employers' Use of HRAs

HHS, DOL and IRS (the "Agencies") have jointly issued proposed regulations intended to expand the use of health reimbursement arrangements ("HRAs") by employers.

No Breach of ERISA Fiduciary Duty for Employer's Failure to Provide Notice of Life Insurance Conversion Rights

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, in Vest v. Resolute FP US Inc., has affirmed a district court's decision to dismiss a breach of fiduciary duty claim based on a sponsoring employer's failure to disclose information about conversion rights, because the plaintiff's complaint did not contain unique facts and circumstances that showed the employer knew its "silence might be harmful."