BAS Blog


 

BAS' Notice Distribution Services

BAS can assist employers with sending important benefit plan information through its document distribution services. These services are useful for new employee enrollment materials and active employee ongoing communications. The Notice of Privacy Practices and COBRA Initial Rights Notice and are just two examples of the many notices that BAS can send on an employer's behalf.

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Distribution of Exchange Notice Delayed

As reported in our article dated December 6, 2012, all employers must provide a Notice to their employees describing the availability of the health care Exchanges for purchasing health coverage. The Notice was required to be distributed by March 1, 2013. The Department of Labor has delayed the notification requirement to give employers additional time to comply. While no distribution date has been set, the DOL has stated that it expects to require distribution in the late summer or fall of 2013 to coordinate with the open enrollment period for Exchanges.

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Employment Tax Correction for 2012 Transit Benefit Increase

The American Taxpayer Relief Act retroactively increased the monthly transit benefit exclusion under the Internal Revenue Code for 2012 for transit passes and commuter highway vehicles. The available exclusion for 2012 was increased from $125 per month per participating employee to $240 per month per participating employee. In early January, the Internal Revenue Service issued a special notice addressing procedures for administering the retroactive transit pass benefit exclusion increase.

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Question of the Week

Q.- Several employees are not using the full amount in their FSA. Can we take the unclaimed money and use it as part of general assets? Can we give the money back to the employee?

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A Report on Cyber, Privacy & Social Media Risk for Religious & Nonprofit Entities

Article By: Steven R. Robinson, Area President, RPS Technology & Cyber (A division of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.). Reprinted by permission of our friends at Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.
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FSA Debit Card Unsubstantiated Expense Reports

BAS provides employers who offer debit cards for their flexible spending account programs a report of participants who have debit card claims that are unsubstantiated. This report is used by employers to document and determine their FSA due diligence and compliance posture.

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Java Security

The Department of Homeland Security advised that the most recent versions of Oracle's Java software should be disabled from computers due to security flaws. Web browsers using the Java 7 plug-in were identified as being a particularly high risk.

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Remember Online CMS Disclosure for Prescription Drug Coverage

Employers who provide prescription drug coverage must remember to file the online disclosure with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) about the creditability of that coverage. The disclosure must be made annually.

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New HIPAA Guidance Issued under Health Care Reform

Health care reform builds on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and requires the government to revise certain HIPAA provisions. Toward that end, the Department of Health and Human Services, along with the Office of Civil Rights, issued 563 pages of long-awaited guidance on the privacy and security provisions of HIPAA. This final rule codifies existing guidance, incorporates the amendments to HIPAA made as part of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, and makes other changes.

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Question of the Week

Q.- We are an employer with several locations. We are no longer going to offer health coverage at one of the locations. Is this a COBRA qualifying event that will allow employees to continue health coverage?

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What's the Penalty?

The IRS has issued detailed guidance on the pay-or-play penalty under health care reform. Click here for our comprehensive article on the shared responsibility provisions of the Affordable Care Act applicable to large employers.

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BAS Client Services Team and Call Center Success

The BAS Client Services team and Call Center is committed to providing a high level of customer service. The team is comprised of skilled benefits specialists who are able to handle a wide range of inquiries including Flexible Spending Account (FSA) claims, COBRA administration, open enrollment, and specific plan inquiries. Trained specialists also assist participants and administrators with navigating the MyEnroll.com system.

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Banks Face Cyber-Attacks

In the past few weeks, various banks have been the subject of cyber-attacks purportedly linked to Iran. Iran has responded by confirming that it respects international law and refrains from targeting other nations' economic or financial institutions.

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Fiscal Cliff Legislation Changes Some Employee Benefits

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, also known as the legislation passed to avert the "fiscal cliff," included several changes impacting employer-provided benefits.

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Question of the Week

Q.- We are a non-profit school. Is our Health Plan subject to ERISA and do we have to file a Form 5500 for the plan?

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BAS Offers Direct Deposit for FSA Reimbursements

Through MyEnroll.com, BAS provides flexible spending account plan participants the ability to have their FSA reimbursements directly deposited into an approved bank account (checking, savings, or money market) through ACH Authorization. Employees who authorize direct deposit are assured faster access to their FSA reimbursements.

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HIPAA Must Be Taken Seriously Regardless of Size

The Department of Health and Human Services has entered its first settlement agreement for a HIPAA breach involving fewer than 500 individuals. Hospice of North Idaho must pay the government $50,000 to settle HIPAA violations resulting from a stolen laptop. The laptop, which was not encrypted, contained protected health information (PHI) for 441 patients.

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Additional Guidance Issued on Pay-Or-Play Mandate

Beginning in 2014, the shared responsibility provisions of health care reform require certain employers to offer qualified health coverage to their full time employees or pay a penalty. Because of this pay-or-play mandate, employers must determine this year who will be considered a full time employee for health coverage purposes and if their health plan qualifies as an acceptable plan.

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Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence and Stalking Protected from Discrimination

Employers may have to add domestic/dating violence, sexual assault and stalking to the factors that cannot be considered with respect to an employee or potential employee. The EEOC issued a fact sheet explaining that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disability Act may apply to employment situations involving applicants and employees who experience domestic or dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

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Question of the Week

Q.- We forgot to provide a COBRA notice to a recently terminated employee. Is there a time limit for providing notice? What should we do and what are the rules on this?

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COBRA Payment Coupons

A group health plan subject to federal COBRA does not have to provide coverage to a qualified beneficiary until a timely election is made and required premiums are paid. Qualified beneficiaries have 45 days after the initial election for coverage to pay for that coverage. For months thereafter, continuants must pay by the premium due date, but are given a 30 day grace period to make payment. A continuant must make timely payment without any reminders.

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EDI File Transmission

Each week, BAS' Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) department sends electronic data files to clients' insurance vendors across the United States. To ensure the data BAS sends is protected from interception or malicious use, BAS protects the files through one of two methods: PGP Encryption or Secure File Transfer.

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Withholding for Additional Taxes Required Under Health Care Reform

The Affordable Care Act increased the Medicare Part A payroll tax rate for certain individuals. The change under health care reform increases the rate from 1.45% to 2.35% of earnings over

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Background and Credit Check Documentation Must Be Updated

Employers who use background checks as part of their pre-employment screening should review the documentation they use to communicate screening results.

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Question of the Week

Q.- We are trying to determine if we are subject to COBRA in 2013. How do we know if we have to offer COBRA?

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