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The following articles were posted in 2015.

IRS Extends First Filings of Forms 1094/1095

Under the ACA Sections 6055 and 6056, all Applicable Large Employers (ALEs) [that is, employers with 50 or more full-time employees plus full-time equivalents] as well as all employers of any size whose health plan(s) were self-funded were to begin distributing IRS Form 1095-C to employees by February 1, 2016 (since January 31st was a Sunday). Those same employers were to file the IRS Form 1094-C along with a copy of each individual 1095-C with the IRS by no later than February 29, 2016 if filing by paper, or by March 31, 2016 if filing electronically. Similarly, for non-ALEs with fully insured plans, the insurance carriers were responsible for preparing and distributing 1095-B forms to employees and filing the 1094-B along with a copy of the individual 1095-Bs on the same timeline. Those deadlines are now extended only for the first 2015 filings of those forms.

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Posted on December 28, 2015 by Gary B. Kushner, SPHR, CBP, President and CEO

Transit Pass Parity with Parking Benefit Starting in 2016

In the year-end tax and spending bill passed by Congress, one of the items now provides for permanent parity between eligible transit passes and the parking benefits previously allowed in the Internal Revenue Code under Section 132.

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Posted on December 21, 2015 by Gary B. Kushner, SPHR, CBP, President and CEO

Cadillac Tax Delayed Until 2020

Employers concerned about the implementation of the ACA’s so-called Cadillac Tax can breathe a bit of a sigh of relief today, as Congress has extended the Tax’s start date from 2018 until 2020. Many believe that this is only the first step in the eventual repeal of the tax.

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Posted on December 18, 2015 by Gary B. Kushner, SPHR, CBP, President and CEO

Health Care Costs Stabilizing - Is It Permanent or Temporary

In a very interesting article by NY Times columnist David Brooks, recent data on overall health care cost increases in the US shows annual growth at only 1.6 percent since 2010 (not coincidentally, the year of enactment of the ACA). Is this a permanent reduction, even in part, or is it a temporary reaction to any number of factors such as the 2008 recession, low general inflation, or a lack of significant technological gains in the medical field? Only time will tell, although the Congressional Budget Office has used the data this year to reduce its projection of Medicare expenditures in 2020 by $175 billion from its 2010 estimate.

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Posted on November 07, 2015 by Gary B. Kushner, SPHR, CBP, President and CEO

Budget Deal Would Repeal ACA's Automatic Enrollment

The budget deal worked out between President Obama and Congressional leaders would, if enacted, have one impact on employer-based group health plans. It would repeal the ACA’s requirement that employers with more than 200 employees automatically enroll full-time employees in its group health plan.

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Posted on October 28, 2015 by Gary B. Kushner, SPHR, CBP, President and CEO

DOL Issues 13 New FAQs Dealing with the ACA

On October 23, 2015, the DOL issued 13 new FAQs dealing with a number of issues about preventive services; lactation counseling; weight management counseling; colonoscopies; contraceptive services and religious accommodations; and BRCA testing.

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Posted on October 26, 2015 by Gary B. Kushner, SPHR, CBP, President and CEO

Response to NY Times Editorial on the Cadillac Tax

On August 12, 2015, a New York Times editorial called for maintaining the so-called Cadillac Tax as a part of the ACA. Their reasoning for tweaks to the law, rather than outright repeal of the tax was based on many inaccurate assumptions.

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Posted on August 12, 2015 by GARY B. KUSHNER, SPHR, CBP, PRESIDENT AND CEO

Congress Increases Penalties for Failing to File ACA-Required Information Reports

As part of the ACA, starting in January, 2016 for the 2015 calendar year, applicable large employers (ALEs, that is, employers with 50 or more full-time equivalents) are required to distribute individual 1095-B or 1095-C reports to all full-time employees, and to file all the individual reports to the IRS, covered by the applicable 1094-B or 1094-C report. Fully insured employers with fewer than 50 full-time equivalents (FTEs) must ensure that their carrier distributes the 1095-B to all full-time employees, and if self-funded, those same less-than-50-FTE employers must file the reports themselves. Previously, the penalty for failure to file was $100 per missed return, with an annual cap on the penalty of $1.5 million.

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Posted on July 23, 2015 by Gary B. Kushner, SPHR, CBP, President and CEO

SHRM 2015 Preview, The Changing Nature of Work and The Worker: 4 Global Trends Impacting HR Strategy

Preview Gary Kushner’s SHRM 2015 presentation, “The Changing Nature of Work and the Worker: Four Global Trends Impacting HR Strategy.”

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Posted on June 22, 2015 by GARY B. KUSHNER, SPHR, CBP, PRESIDENT AND CEO

Gary Kushner Named The 2015 Lewis Shattuck Small Business Advocate of the Year!

Congratulations, Gary! We are so proud of our President and CEO Gary Kushner for winning this year’s Lewis Shattuck Small Business Advocate of the Year award!

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Posted on June 02, 2015

Fiduciaries Beware: Supreme Court Extends Duty to Monitor

In a very closely watched case within the employee benefits community, the US Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion in Tibble v. Edison International that plan fiduciaries have an ongoing duty to monitor and take action if an investment in the plan becomes imprudent. The decision, which remanded the case back to the Ninth Circuit for further review, stresses the importance of what the courts have called “procedural prudence” in administering a qualified plan such as a 401(k) or 403(b) program.

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Posted on May 21, 2015 by Gary B. Kushner, SPHR, CBP, President and CEO

Why Partner with a Retirement Plan TPA

Qualified plan rules are complicated and are constantly changing. Failure to effectively maintain your plan’s required compliance can be costly. Your third party administrator (TPA) can help you navigate these diverse rules so that your retirement plan maintains its tax deferred status and keeps your plan in compliance with ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code, and all DOL and IRS regulations.

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Posted on May 20, 2015 by Marla Shires, Account Manager-Retirement Plans

Gary Kushner nominated for the 2015 Lewis Shattuck Small Business Advocate of the Year Award

We are very proud to announce that Kushner & Company President and CEO, Gary Kushner, is a finalist for the 2015 Lewis Shattuck Small Business Advocate of the Year Award!

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Posted on May 14, 2015 by JOEL KUSHNER, SPHR

2016 HSA Limits and HDHP Designs Announced

On May 4, 2015, the IRS issued the HSA contribution limits and HDHP design requirements for 2016.

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Posted on May 08, 2015 by Gary B. Kushner, SPHR, CBP, President and CEO

Most Employers Not Prepared for ACA Reporting

Only 10 percent of 480 employers surveyed by PricewaterhouseCoopers L.L.P. and Equifax Inc. indicated that they already have an in-house or outsourced solution in place to track benefits eligibility of their full-time employees and submit annual reports to the Internal Revenue Service to document their group plans’ compliance with the Affordable Care Act. The first reports are due in early 2016, but employers’ reports must contain month-by-month data for each employee.

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Posted on April 28, 2015 by Gary B. Kushner, SPHR, CBP, President and CEO

DOL Expands Definition of Who is a Fiduciary

The DOL has re-proposed a rule, first offered in October 2010, regarding who is an investment advice fiduciary under ERISA. That 2010 proposed rule was withdrawn in 2011 after much feedback from many corners, but in particular Congress and the investment provider community, and was re-proposed in April 2015. The re-proposed rule uses the same framework as the 2010 proposal, but differs markedly from the original.

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Posted on April 22, 2015 by GARY B. KUSHNER, SPHR, CBP, PRESIDENT AND CEO

Start Planning Now for the ACA’s Cadillac Tax

Effective in 2018, high-cost health plans will be subject to the ACA’s new “Cadillac tax.” For fully insured plans, the carrier will be responsible for paying this excise (that is, nondeductible) tax. For self-funded plans, the plan sponsor (employer) is responsible.

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Posted on April 22, 2015 by GARY B. KUSHNER, SPHR, CBP, PRESIDENT AND CEO

EEOC Issues New Wellness Proposed Regulations

In response to employer and employee concerns regarding wellness initiatives aimed at improving the health status of its workforce, the EEOC issued new proposed regulations on the intersection of wellness incentives and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In the new EEOC guidance, in order to comply with the ADA’s rule permitting disability-related inquiries and medical examinations by a voluntary health program (the category most wellness programs would most likely fall into), the proposed regulation has four main requirements.

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Posted on April 22, 2015 by GARY B. KUSHNER, SPHR, CBP, PRESIDENT AND CEO

Today’s HR Professional - Internal or Outsourced?

In today’s world, an HR professional should be a partner with the organization’s C-Suite to help find solutions for the complex process of ensuring each member of the organization is doing the right job for his/her skill set and bringing the highest value to the organization. Through the use of well thought-out HR programs, policies and cultural fits, these goals can be accomplished.

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Posted on April 20, 2015 by JOEL KUSHNER, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

DOL Extends Annual Participant-Level Fee Disclosures in Retirement Plans

In a significant new regulation, the DOL has provided relief for plan sponsors to provide required fee disclosures to participants in qualified retirement plans, including 401(k) and 403(b) programs.

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Posted on March 26, 2015 by Gary B. Kushner, SPHR, CBP, President and CEO

Who Can Incur Qualified Eligible Medical Expenses in an FSA, HRA, or HSA?

With tax season in full swing, often the question arises regarding who can incur qualified medical expenses for an FSA or HRA. In 2010, the qualifications were amended with the introduction of the ACA, otherwise known as Health Care Reform. Previously, qualified medical expenses could be incurred by an employee or their spouse, all eligible dependents claimed on the employee’s federal tax return, and any person the employee could have claimed as a dependent on his or her tax return unless that person filed a joint return, had a gross income in excess of $3,950, or if the employee, or spouse if filing jointly, could be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s prior year return.

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Posted on March 25, 2015 by Alicia Ball, Senior Account Manager - Health & Welfare Plans

The Next Employer Worry: Anonymous Social Media Apps

When Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other apps first made their appearances over a decade ago, employers reacted (some say over-reacted) and quickly began issuing workplace policies to limit or even curtail all employee use of these outlets.

Now, a newer form of social media, apps where users can post completely anonymously, have led to some workplace issues that employers need to carefully consider and address.

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Posted on March 09, 2015 by Gary B. Kushner, SPHR, CBP, President and CEO

LIVE BLOG: Supreme Court Hears Arguments in King v. Burwell Case

Follow along on starting at 10am EST for minute by minute coverage of the oral arguments in King v. Burwell at the Supreme Court with expert opinion from CEO and President Gary Kushner and Workforce.com

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Posted on March 04, 2015 by GARY B. KUSHNER, SPHR, CBP, PRESIDENT AND CEO

Harvard University's Health Plan Joins the 20th Century

In an at-times amusing NY Times article, Harvard’s faculty are “outraged” at the University’s health plan changes made for the 2015 plan year. Yet many of these changes are similar to those faced by virtually every US employer over the past decade.

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Posted on January 06, 2015 by GARY B. KUSHNER, SPHR, CBP, PRESIDENT AND CEO

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