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August 8, 2017
Health Care Reform

Senate Rejects Proposals to Repeal and Replace the ACA

Early in the morning on Friday, July 28, 2017, the Senate, by a vote of 51-49, rejected the Health Care Freedom Act (HCFA), or “skinny repeal” of the ACA, which was the last-ditch effort of Senate Republicans to repeal and replace the ACA. In dramatic fashion, three Senate Republicans voted no on the measure, including Lisa Murkowski (AK), Susan Collins (ME) and John McCain (AZ), who cast his vote with an emphatic thumbs down. Sen. McCain appeared to be the difference-maker as he returned from his home state to the Senate floor just days after having announced his diagnosis with brain cancer. His “no” vote spelled defeat for the HCFA, as all Democrats and Independents voted no as well. Continue reading »

IRS Releases 2017 Draft Versions of 6055 and 6056 Informational Reporting Forms

On July 28, 2017, the IRS released draft versions of the 2017 informational reporting forms that insurers and self-insured employers will use to satisfy their obligations under IRC Section 6055 and that large employer plan sponsors and health plans will use to satisfy their obligations under IRC Section 6056. These forms, once finalized, will be filed in early 2018 relating to 2017 information. The IRS is currently accepting comments on the draft forms. Instructions for the forms have not yet been released.

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Federal Updates

Sixth Circuit Recognizes Business Records as Sufficient Proof of Notification of COBRA Rights

On June 30, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in Perkins v. Rock-Tenn Servs., Inc., 2017 WL 2829100 (6th Cir. 2017), affirmed a ruling from the U. S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, holding that a COBRA Election Notice had been properly sent to a former employee. The case was an employment discrimination lawsuit. In the district court case, the employee (Perkins) also claimed that the employer (Rock-Tenn) failed to send her an election notice allowing her to continue her health insurance benefits, as is required under COBRA. Rock-Tenn moved for summary judgment, which the district court granted as to all claims. Perkins appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.  Continue reading »

IRS Issues Form 14581-A (Fringe Benefits Compliance Self-Assessment for Public Employers)

On July 5, 2017, the IRS issued Form 14581-A, which is a tool for public employers (federal, state and local governments) to conduct self-assessments of their fringe benefits. Form 14581-A includes a total of 11 questions and has fillable check box and text fields so that the form can be completed electronically or printed and completed manually. This self-assessment tool is a general guide to the most common tax issues that public employers may encounter based on IRS audits, and it directs those entities to additional information as necessary. Continue reading »

Retirement Updates

U.S. Treasury Announces Plans to Wind Down myRA Program

On July 28, 2017, the U.S. Department of the Treasury (“the Department”) announced that it will begin to phase out the myRA program over the coming months after a thorough review found it not to be cost effective. This review was undertaken as part of the Trump administration’s effort to assess existing programs and promote a more effective government. According to the Department, demand for and investment in the myRA program have been extremely low.

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