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Medicare

IRS Issues Guidance on Additional 0.9% Medicare Tax

The IRS has now issued proposed regulations and revised answers to Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”) on the provision of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) imposing an additional 0.9% Medicare tax on wages in excess of specified thresholds.  Employers will want to familiarize themselves with this guidance, which will require that they withhold this additional Medicare tax from any employee’s “Medicare wages” in excess of $200,000 during a calendar year.

Health Plan Assessed Double Damages for MSP Violation

In this recent decision, a federal appeals court has raised the stakes for employer health plans that fail to comply with the Medicare Secondary Payer rules.

CMS Updates Medicare Part D Creditable Coverage Notices

On April 1, 2011, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) issued revised Medicare Part D creditable and non-creditable coverage notices to reflect an amendment made to the Social Security Act by the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). The amendment accelerated the Medicare Part D annual enrollment period — from November 15 through December 31, to October 15 through December 7. This change is effective for 2012 Part D enrollments, occurring in the fall of 2011.

Retirement Plan Limits Unchanged for 2010

Traditionally, the IRS has announced inflation-adjusted retirement plan limits in October, based on the inflation rate during the prior twelve-month period. This time, however, the IRS announcement was that these limits would not be decreased, despite an actual rate of deflation during the prior twelve months.

Medicare Part D Notices Revised (Again)

The Medicare Part D regulations issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) require group health plans providing prescription drug coverage to Part D-eligible individuals to disclose to participants whether the coverage is “creditable” — that is, at least as good as Medicare Part D coverage. Plans must send these notices to participants each fall, prior to the beginning of the initial enrollment period for Medicare Part D coverage.

Court Upholds EEOC’s Right to Exempt Medicare Coordination from ADEA Claims

After protracted litigation, the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has finally upheld regulations issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) allowing employers to reduce, change, or even eliminate retiree health coverage when retirees become eligible for Medicare.

Medicare Part D Notices Revised

As we reported in our July 2005 issue of Benefits in Brief, the Medicare Part D regulations issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) require group health plans providing prescription drug coverage to Part D-eligible individuals to disclose to participants whether that coverage is creditable – that is, at least as good as Medicare Part D coverage.

Plan Sponsors Must Disclose Creditable Coverage Status to CMS

As we reported in our July 2005 issue of Benefits in Brief, regulations issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) require group health plans providing prescription drug coverage to Medicare Part D-eligible individuals to disclose to participants whether that coverage is “creditable.”

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