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December 13, 2016
Health Care Reform

IRS Publishes Proposed Regulations on Health Insurance Providers Fee

On Dec. 9, 2016, the IRS published two sets of proposed regulations amending the Health Insurance Providers Fee final regulations.
As background, PPACA instituted the Health Insurance Providers Fee to help fund the cost of PPACA implementation and exchanges. This fee, also called the “health insurance tax” or “HIT”, applies to any "covered entity" engaged in the business of providing health insurance to U.S. citizens, residents and certain other persons present in the U.S.
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Congress Passes “Cures Act” Allowing Stand-Alone HRAs for Small Employers

On Dec. 7, 2016, the US Congress passed HR 34, called the “21st Century Cures Act” (Cures Act). The Cures Act legislation will permit small employers (those with fewer than 50 full-time employees during a calendar year who are not subject to the employer mandate) who do not offer a group health plan to provide a qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangement (QSEHRA).
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Federal Updates

U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Church Plan ERISA Exemption Cases

On Dec. 2, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to three cases involving church affiliated hospitals and whether ERISA preemption applies. In December 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (Third Circuit) (ruled in St. Peter’s Healthcare v. Kaplan (2015 WL 9487719(3d Cir. 2015)), that the employee pension plan maintained by the church affiliated hospital was subject to ERISA and did not fall under ERISA’s exception for church plans. Similar decisions were issued by the Seventh Circuit in March 2016 in Advocate Health Care v. Stapleton (2016 WL 1055784(7th Cir. 2016)); and the Ninth Circuit in July 2016 in Dignity Health v. Rollins (2016 WL 3997259(9th Cir. 2016)).
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