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Benefits

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The State of the Union Address and the Employee Benefits Market

On Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, President Donald Trump delivered the 2019 State of the Union Address (SOTU). The SOTU is an annual message delivered by the president to a joint session of Congress at the beginning of each year. At this year’s SOTU, President Trump discussed issues that have the potential to impact the employee benefits industry, including pre-existing conditions, lower prescription drug prices and nationwide paid family leave. Pre-existing Condition Protection In a departure from 2018 Department of Justice actions, President Trump announced in the address that people who have pre-existing conditions should receive protections. If the administration holds true to...

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Deadlines to Furnish Forms 1095-C and 1095-B to Employees Fast Approaching

The IRS deadlines to furnish Forms 1095-C and 1095-B to employees in early 2019 are fast approaching. The deadlines are as follows: Employers with 50 or more full-time employees (including full-time equivalent employees) generally must furnish a Form 1095-C to all full-time employees no later than March 4, 2019. Self-insured employers with fewer than 50 or more full-time employees (including full-time equivalent employees) generally must furnish a Form 1095-B to all responsible individuals--typically the primary insured, an employee or former employee, or other related person named on the application for insurance--no later than March 4, 2019. The deadline for employers to...

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It’s Time to Prep for ACA Reporting in 2019

IRS Extends Form 1095 Distribution Deadline to March 4 On Nov. 29, the IRS extended the deadline for employers to distribute 2018 Forms 1095-C to employees by 30 days—until March 4, 2019, instead of Jan. 31. The delay also applies to self-insured small employers, insurers and others issuing Form 1095-B to covered individuals. See the SHRM Online article IRS Extends Form 1095 Distribution Deadline to March 4.   The IRS has published final forms and instructions to help employers prepare for next year's reporting on the health coverage they offered employees in 2018. Employers subject to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) must distribute reporting forms to employees and file with...

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More Employers Go Direct to Providers, Sidestepping Payers

Some large employers are sidestepping health insurers and contracting directly with providers. A recent Willis Towers Watson survey found that only 6% of employers contract directly with providers now, but 22% are considering it for 2019. Can a small employer do the same? Yes. Here in Richmond, trusted provider Bon Secours had partnered with a third party administrator ACMG to bring direct, lower-cost pricing to small employers with as few as five covered lives. ACMG is a Virginia-based and veteran-owned full-service third-party administrator with over 35 years of operating history. ACMG has extensive experience working with providers in delivering health insurance solutions to local...

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Pay or Play Enforcement: What You Need to Know

In late 2018, the IRS began issuing enforcement letters to employers with generally 50 or more full-time or full-time equivalent employees regarding their compliance with the employer shared responsibility rules under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for the 2016 calendar year. These letters, known as Letter 226-J, inform employers of their potential liability for an employer shared responsibility penalty, if any, for 2016. Who Will Receive These Letters These letters are only sent to employers subject to the employer shared responsibility rules, known as applicable large employers (ALEs). ALEs generally have 50 or more full-time or full-time equivalent employees. The determination of...

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Health FSA Limit to Increase in 2019

The ACA imposes a dollar limit on employees' salary reduction contributions to health flexible spending arrangements (health FSAs) offered under cafeteria plans. This dollar limit is indexed for cost-of-living adjustments and may be increased each year. New Limit Amount In November 2018, the IRS increased the health FSA contribution limit from $2,650 to $2,700 for taxable years beginning in 2019. This increase reflects the steady contribution limit increase from the past few years. Next Steps Employers should ensure that their health FSA will not allow employees to make pre-tax contributions in excess of $2,700 for 2019, and they should communicate the 2019 limit to their...

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401(k) Contribution Limit Increased to $19,000

The IRS has announced that the amounts employees can contribute to 401(k)s and IRAs will increase in 2019. In particular: The employee contribution limit for 401(k) plans will be $19,000, up from $18,500 in 2018. The catch-up contribution limit for employees aged 50 and over remains unchanged at $6,000. The employee contribution limit for IRAs will be $6,000, up from $5,500 in 2018. The catch-up contribution limit for employees aged 50 and over remains unchanged at $1,000. The employee contribution limit for SIMPLE IRAs and SIMPLE 401(k) plans will be $13,000, up from $12,500 in 2018. The catch-up contribution limit for employees aged...

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IRS Releases Forms 1094 and 1095 for Early 2019 Reporting

Form Instructions Also Released The IRS has released the Forms 1094-C, 1095-C, 1094-B, and 1095-B that employers will use in early 2019 to report on the group health insurance coverage they offered during the 2018 calendar year. Instructions on how to complete Forms 1094-C and 1095-C and Forms 1094-B and 1095-B have also been released. As a reminder, employers with 50 or more full-time employees (including full-time equivalent employees) generally must furnish a Form 1095-C to all full-time employees by January 31, 2019, and file Form 1094-C and all Forms 1095-C with the IRS by February 28, 2019 (or March 31, 2019,...

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