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2018 APEX award for Operational Efficiency and Excellence from Alegeus leadership

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Category: Cafeteria Plans, CDHC, COBRA,

American Benefits Group (ABG) of Northampton MA, a leading national benefits service and solution provider in the health benefits industry has been recognized by healthcare benefits payments giant Alegeus as the 2018 APEX Award winner for Operational Efficiency and Excellence. The award was presented at the Alegeus National Conference on May 16th in Orlando Florida.

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HSA Family Maximum Contribution for 2018 to Remain at $6,900

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Category: Cafeteria Plans, Compliance and Regulatory, Health Savings, HSA,

On April 26, 2018, the IRS announced (through Rev. Proc. 2018-27) that the 2018 HSA maximum family contribution is reverting back to the original $6,900. As reported in March the IRS had previously announced a decreased limit of $6,850 (Rev. Proc. 2018-18).

In restating the original limit of $6,900, the IRS shared many reasons for the decision, including taxpayer complaints that the $50 limit reduction imposed “numerous unanticipated administrative and financial burdens” for those that had already maxed out their contributions before the reduction was announced, and administrators who had to modify their systems to reflect the reduction. Most interestingly, some stakeholders had pointed out the fact that Section 223 of the IRC requires the IRS to publish the annual inflation adjustments by June 1 of the preceding calendar year.

As a result of the new announcement, HSA eligible individuals with family coverage may now contribute up to $6,900 for 2018. Employers wanting to take advantage of the increased limit will need to make the appropriate adjustments in their payroll and benefits administration systems, if they had previously change the systems to reflect the $6,850 limit.

A further complication comes with the new announcement: Some employees had already maxed out the $6,900 before the March 5, 2018, reduction announcement. To help the employees avoid the 6 percent excise penalty tax for excess contributions, the employers already completed the corrective action of distributing the excess $50. Now, with the limit back at $6,900, that $50 is no longer considered an excess contribution. If the $50 was associated with employer contributions or employee pretax contributions, it would now be considered a nonqualified distribution, subject to a 20 percent excise penalty tax (plus income tax). To avoid the tax, the employees will need to work with the employer and HSA bank/trustee to repay the $50 to the HSA. The repayment will need to take place by April 15, 2019. Again, this last complication only applies to those employees who maxed out their contribution prior to March 5, 2018, due to employer or employee pretax contributions and whose employers had already refunded the excess $50 to them. 

Rev. Proc. 2018-27 »

IRS Announces Change to 2018 Family HSA Contribution Limit

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Category: Cafeteria Plans, Compliance and Regulatory, HSA, IRS,

On March 5, 2018, the IRS released Rev. Proc. 2018-18 (as part of Bulletin 2018-10). Due to changes made in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (2017 tax reform), certain adjustments needed to be made to inflation amounts. One of those adjustments is to the annual family contribution for HSA's in 2018. The family max contribution is decreased from $6,900 to $6,850. The single contribution limit remains unchanged at $3,450.

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IRS and DOL Publish Guidance for Those Impacted by Hurricane Irma

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Category: CDHC, COBRA, Compliance and Regulatory, IRS,

Similar to action taken a few weeks ago in response to Hurricane Harvey, the IRS and DOL both recently published guidance containing certain relief for those individuals and businesses in Hurricane Irma’s path.

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IRS and DOL Publish Guidance for Those Impacted by Hurricane Harvey

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Category: COBRA, Compliance and Regulatory,

The IRS and DOL both recently published guidance containing some relief for those individuals and businesses in designated Texas counties that have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Specifically, the IRS offered extensions for certain tax filing deadlines that applies automatically to any individual or business who resides with the affected Texas counties (as outlined in the notice). As a result, if a form was due on or after Aug. 23, 2017, the form is now due on Jan. 31, 2018. The relief would apply to those employers that may have previously applied for a Form 5500 filing extension (either automatically or via Form 5558), as well as for any quarterly payroll/employment/excise tax filings due. Employers should work with their broker and/or professional accountant (or outside tax counsel) when it comes to appropriately filing extensions.

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Fighting for Commuter Benefits in Tax Reform

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Category: Compliance and Regulatory, Parking, Transit, Transit and Parking Section 132,

The new Congress and particularly the House Ways & Means Committee continue work on legislation to simplify and reform the tax code. One potential provision could be the elimination of the Commuter Benefit (IRC Section 132(f)). The threat of eliminating the parking and transit benefit is real and the consequences are significant.

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MTA NYCT Fare Increase Effective April 2017 Benefit Month

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Category: Commuter, Transit, Transit and Parking Section 132,

The MTA New York City Transit (NYCT) has confirmed an approved fare increase that is effective on March 19, 2017, corresponding with the April 2017 benefit month.

It is our understanding there will be a fare increase for both Metro North Railroad (MNR) and Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), which will also correspond to the April 2017 benefit month.  

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Use commuter benefits cards to pay for uberPOOL and Lyft Line rides

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Category: Commuter, Parking, Transit, Transit and Parking Section 132,

American Benefits Group, a leading national provider of pre-tax commuter benefits announces a new addition to our commuter benefits program. We have recently partnered with Uber and Lyft to offer a solution that will allow employees to pay for uberPOOL and Lyft Line rides with their ABG Prepaid MasterCard and the Commuter Check Prepaid MasterCard. Beginning immediately, employees can use their Commuter Benefit to pay for uberPOOL and Lyft Line rides to commute to and from work.

Download uberPOOL flyer
Download Lyft Line flyer 

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Congress Passes “Cures Act” Allowing Stand-Alone HRAs for Small Employers

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Category: Compliance and Regulatory, Health Care Reform, Health Reimbursement Arrangements, HRA,

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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IRS Announces 2017 Health FSA and Commuter Plan Limits

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Category: Commuter, Compliance and Regulatory, Flexible Spending, FSA, Transit and Parking Section 132,

On October 26, 2016, the IRS announced the 2017 annual inflation adjustments, which included increased limits for Health Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) under an IRC §125 cafeteria plan. The Parking and Transit limits for 2017 remain the same.

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Cadillac Tax Would Have a Deep Impact on Employers

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Category: ACA, Compliance and Regulatory,

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Cadillac Tax Would Have a Deep Impact on Employers

BusinessWest on March 8, 2016 in Banking and Financial Services

New Rules of the Road

By BOB CUMMINGS

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Although many provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have already been implemented, a few major ones are still to come. None are as far-reaching as the proposed ‘Cadillac tax’ on employer-sponsored health benefits.

Originally scheduled to take effect in 2018, the Cadillac-tax implementation was recently pushed off to 2020. If implemented, the IRS will impose a 40%, non-deductible excise tax on certain employer-sponsored health benefits that exceed a dollar threshold of $10,200 for an individual and $25,500 for a family. Health-insurance companies and self-insured plan sponsors will have to pay the tax on excess dollar amounts for benefits provided above this threshold. After 2020, the limits are to be adjusted for future changes in the consumer price index.

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Getting a Grasp on the New Health-benefits Reporting Rules

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Category: ACA, Compliance and Regulatory,

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Getting a Grasp on the New Health-benefits Reporting Rules

BusinessWest on January 12, 2016 in Banking and Financial Services

Delayed Reaction

By BOB CUMMINGS

tl_files/content/about/Bios/RCummings_Head.jpgFor many employers, their first challenge with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may be compliance with the new reporting requirements.

Under the ACA, the Internal Revenue Code added IRS Section 6056, which requires ‘applicable large employers’ to file information returns with the IRS and provide statements to their full-time employees about the health-insurance coverage that the employer offered. Under the terms of the ACA, an applicable large employer generally means an employer that had 50 or more full-time employees (including full-time equivalent employees) in the preceding calendar year.

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Getting a Grasp on the New Health-benefits Reporting Rules

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Category: ACA, Compliance and Regulatory,

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Getting a Grasp on the New Health-benefits Reporting Rules

BusinessWest on January 12, 2016 in Banking and Financial Services

Delayed Reaction

By BOB CUMMINGS

tl_files/content/about/Bios/RCummings_Head.jpgFor many employers, their first challenge with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may be compliance with the new reporting requirements.

Under the ACA, the Internal Revenue Code added IRS Section 6056, which requires ‘applicable large employers’ to file information returns with the IRS and provide statements to their full-time employees about the health-insurance coverage that the employer offered. Under the terms of the ACA, an applicable large employer generally means an employer that had 50 or more full-time employees (including full-time equivalent employees) in the preceding calendar year.

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American Benefits Group is Featured in the current edition of BusinessWest

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Category: CDHC, COBRA, Flexible Spending, FSA, Health Reimbursement, Health Reimbursement Arrangements, Health Savings, HRA, HSA, Section 125 Plans, Transit and Parking Section 132,

When Bob Cummings started out in benefits administration, health-insurance co-pays were $3, premiums were well under $100 a month, his office ran on MS-DOS, and it issued paper statements. Much has changed since then, obviously, but not his company’s success formula, based on personalization, creativity, knowledge of a complex and ever-changing subject, and what American Benefits Group prefers to call ‘enabling technology.’
 
George O'Brien on October 5, 2015 in BusinessWest


See the entire American Benefits Group story in the October 5th Issue of BusinessWest and BusinessWest.com 
http://businesswest.com/blog/abg-thrives-in-complex-world-of-benefits-administration/ 

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ACA Reporting and HRAs

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Category: ACA, Health Reimbursement Arrangements, HRA, IRS,

Section 6056 Update

Good news!  The IRS has changed their position on both of these issues!
 
We just received final 2015 versions of the instructions for Forms 1094-B, 1095-B, 1094-C, and 1095-C.
 
Reporting HRA Coverage
In the instructions for Forms 1094-B and 1095-B, the IRS states:

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