By Employee Benefit Research Group
More healthcare-related regulatory news for plan sponsors, including links to detailed information.
House passes ‘doc fix’ bill with means testing of higher-income Medicare beneficiaries
The House voted to approve the “Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015” (H.R.2). The bill has been sent to the Senate. A short-term extension – to be approved by the House and the Senate – will be necessary to keep physician payments from being reduced by 21% starting April 1.
Early evidence finds premium tax credit likely contributed to expanded coverage
The Government Accountability Office has released a study entitled “Private health insurance: Early evidence finds premium tax credit likely contributed to expanded coverage, but some lack access to affordable plans” (GAO-15-312). The study came about as a result of a mandate by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) for the GAO to review the affordability of health insurance coverage. The GAO examined: (1) what is known about the effects of the advance premium tax credit (APTC) and (2) the extent to which affordable health benefits plans are available and individuals are able to maintain minimum essential coverage.
To download the entire study, click here.
IRS issues private letter ruling on VEBA income used to pay benefits
The IRS released a private letter ruling on the treatment of income received by a voluntary employees’ beneficiary association (VEB) to pay plan benefits. The IRS ruled that a voluntary employees’ benefit association established by an earlier collective bargaining agreement between a union and a liquidating company to provide health insurance for retired union members is maintained pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement for the purposes of Section 419A(f)(5) of the tax code. Also, employer contributions and any income received by the VEBA and set aside to pay plan benefits is exempt function income under Section 512 and therefore won’t constitute unrelated business taxable income within the meaning of that section.
To read the entire private letter ruling, click here.