Many employee benefits are subject to annual dollar limits that are periodically updated for inflation by the IRS. The IRS typically announces the dollar limits that will apply for the next calendar year well in advance of the beginning of that year. This gives employers time to update their plan designs and make sure that their plan administration will be consistent with the new limits.
The following commonly offered employee benefits are subject to inflation-adjusted dollar limits...
The Department of Labor (DOL) released a final rule that expands who is considered a “fiduciary” when providing investment advice to retirement plans and their participants. The rule also applies to individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs).
On June 22, 2017, Republicans in the U.S. Senate released their proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), called the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA). The Senate bill closely mirrors the proposal passed in the House of Representatives—the American Health Care Act (AHCA)—with some differences.
On May 4, 2017, members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted 217-213 to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA), after it had been amended several times. The AHCA is the proposed legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
On March 24, 2017, Republican leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives withdrew the American Health Care Act— their proposed legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
A House vote was scheduled to take place on that day, but House Republicans could not secure enough votes to approve the legislation and, instead, canceled the vote. As a result, the ACA will remain in place at this time.
Telemedicine is becoming a popular method of providing a variety of medical services. Some employers offer a telemedicine benefit that allows employees to interact with health care professionals via phone, video chat, email or text for diagnosis, consultation and treatment.
On March 6, 2017, Republican leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives issued two bills to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through the budget reconciliation process. These bills, which were issued by the Ways and Means Committee and the Energy and Commerce Committee, are collectively known as the American Health Care Act.
The IRS has released the inflation-adjusted limits for HSAs and HDHPs for 2017. These limits include: (1) the maximum HSA contribution limit; (2) the minimum deductible amount for HDHPs; and (3) the maximum out-of-pocket expense limit for HDHPs. The HDHP limits will not change for 2017 plan years. The only limit that will change for 2017 is the HSA contribution limit for individuals with self-only coverage under an HDHP, which will go up by $50.
In an effort to respond to the rising cost of health insurance, many employers make use of tax-favored accounts such as health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), health flexible spending accounts (health FSAs), and health savings accounts (HSAs) to offer consumer-driven health plans.
These accounts have grown in popularity because they offer potential health care cost savings to both employers and employees. For example, individuals covered under under one of these benefits are more likely to seek preventive care, choose generic drugs, not misuse the emergency room and use online tools to research health care and providers.