Keeping You Current
March 2015 Newsletter

Please take a few minutes to get up to speed on this month's updates:
  1. Laurie Joins the SEAC Board of Directors
  2. Just in Time for Spring; Flonase is now OTC
  3. Tax Season, Tax Questions
  4. Anthem Cyber Attack Update
  5. IRS Penalties for Small Employers Reimbursing Individual Health Insurance Premiums Will Not Apply Until July 2015
  6. FMLA Protections Extended to All Eligible Employees in Same-Sex Marriages

Sacramento Employer Advisory Council        

Earlier this year, BDR's CEO Laurie Rood joined the Board of Directors of the Sacramento Employer Advisory Council (SEAC). SEAC is a non-profit organization that consists of a cross-section of employer volunteers from businesses and organizations throughout the Sacramento area. Its goal is to educate employers about relevant employment issues and related legal concerns, and provide an environment where employers and HR professionals can explore the tricky issues they face each day. SEAC holds regular meetings, webinars and half-day workshops on topics such as wage and hour compliance, leave administration, disability accommodation, protecting employer property, and numerous other "hot" topics for employers. In addition, SEAC is in partnership with the Employment Development Department, and provides its members with convenient access to EDD representatives at each of its meetings.     


A s the Membership Chair, Laurie serves in a critical role for SEAC, as she develops the membership and fosters a positive relationship with SEAC's members to ensure that SEAC is meeting the needs of its members. Laurie says, "I look forward to working with this highly skilled and knowledgeable group. This is a coordinated effort with the EDD and is one of the best kept secrets. I want to spread the word about this non-profit organization, especially to employers who do not have legal advisers on staff."

Just in Time for Spring: Flonase is now OTC 

The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology says that roughly 50 million people in the US suffer from nasal allergies. So it is welcome news that full prescription-strength Flonase is now available without a prescription. The FDA cleared this number one prescribed allergy treatment to be sold over the counter last year. So, while it will now be easier to obtain, it will likely cease to be covered under many RX plans.


Tax Season, Tax Questions        

With tax season upon us, your employees may be requesting proof that they have health insurance. Insurance carriers are not required to send proof of essential benefits directly to the insureds homes, but they are providing this information directly to the IRS. Employees will need to simply check the box 1095-b that they have medical coverage. 

Anthem Data Breach Latest News  

Anthem reported that they started mailing letters out to members whose compromised data included social security numbers last week. The letters are just a first in a series of letters they will send to affected members. The written notifications about the unauthorized access will include verification of what happened, a description of the type of information involved, steps Anthem is taking to investigate the event, and how Anthem continues to work to minimize potential harm to affected members. They will also include information on the credit monitoring services they will offer members who have been impacted.  


As we we previously reported, Anthem will only be providing information via US Postal service. Calls or emails regarding the breach said to be from Anthem are most likely the work of scam artists.  


Anthem has created a dedicated website ( where everyone can access information such as frequently asked questions and answers.They have also established a dedicated toll-free number that both current and former members can call if they have questions related to this incident. That number is: 1-877-263-7995. 


IRS Penalties for Small Employers Reimbursing Individual Health Insurance Premiums Will Not Apply Until July 2015* 
For small employers with less than 50 full time employees   

IRS Notice 2015-17 provides limited transition relief from the assessment of excise taxes for small employers who reimburse, or directly pay, the premium for an employee's individual health insurance policy.

Prohibited Plans

An "employer payment plan" is an arrangement under which an employer reimburses an employee for some or all of the premium expenses incurred for an individual health insurance policy, or an arrangement under which the employer uses its funds to directly pay the premium for an individual health insurance policy covering the employee. Pursuant to prior agency guidance, employer payment plans are generally considered group health plans that do not comply with certain market reforms of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and therefore may be subject to a $100 per day excise tax per applicable employee under the federal tax code.

: While Medicare premium reimbursement arrangements generally constitute employer payment plans, an employer payment plan that has fewer than two participants who are current employees (for example, a retiree-only plan) on the first day of the plan year is not subject to the ACA market reforms.

Transition Relief

The transition relief applies to employer healthcare arrangements that constitute employer payment plans if the plan is sponsored by a small employer-generally an employer with fewer than 50 full-time employees, including full-time equivalents, as determined in accordance with the "pay or play" rules.

An excise tax will not be asserted for any failure to satisfy the ACA's market reforms by employer payment plans sponsored by small employers that pay, or reimburse employees for individual health policy premiums (or Medicare Part B or Part D premiums):

  1. For 2014, for employers that qualify as small employers for 2014; and
  2. For January 1 through June 30, 2015, for employers that qualify as small employers for 2015.

After June 30, 2015, such employers may be liable for the excise tax. The relief does not extend to stand-alone HRAs or other arrangements to reimburse employees for medical expenses other than insurance premiums.

Additional Information

Notice 2015-17 also clarifies that employers can generally increase an employee's compensation to assist with payments of individual market coverage, so long as the payment of additional compensation is not conditioned on the purchase of health coverage and the employer does not otherwise endorse a particular policy, form, or issuer. Due to the potential for significant penalties and the complexity of the law in this area, employers considering a cash (or payroll practice) option are strongly advised to consult knowledgeable benefits counsel to ensure full compliance with the law.


Additional information on these types of arrangements is available from the federal agencies in IRS Notice 2013-54, the ACA FAQs, and other IRS Q&As.



FMLA Protections Extended to All Eligible Employees in Same-Sex Marriages*  
For large employers with 50 or more full time employees   

Effective March 27, 2015, a final rule from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will extend the protections of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to all eligible employees in legal same-sex marriages, regardless of where they live.

Under the FMLA, an eligible employee of a covered employer (50 or more employees in at least 20 workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year) is entitled to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons. Consistent with previously issued proposed rules and agency guidance, the final rule makes the following major changes:

  • The FMLA regulatory definition of "spouse" is based on the law of the place where the marriage was entered into (previously, the definition of "spouse" only applied to same-sex spouses residing in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage).
  • The final rule's definition of "spouse" expressly includes individuals in lawfully recognized same-sex and common law marriages, as well as same-sex marriages entered into abroad that could have been entered into in at least one state.

This definitional change means that eligible employees, regardless of where they live, are entitled to:

  • Take FMLA leave to care for their lawfully married same-sex spouse with a serious health condition;
  • Take qualifying exigency leave due to their lawfully married same-sex spouse's covered military service;
  • Take military caregiver leave for their lawfully married same-sex spouse; and
  • Take FMLA leave to care for their stepchild (child of the employee's same-sex spouse) or stepparent who is a same-sex spouse of the employee's parent, even if certain in loco parentis requirements are not met.
More information is available on the DOL's FMLA Final Rule Website, which includes links to the DOL's fact sheet and frequently asked questions. 


*Source: HR360: The information and materials herein are provided for general information purposes only and are not intended to constitute legal or other advice or opinions on any specific matters and are not intended to replace the advice of a qualified attorney, plan provider or other professional adviser. This information has been taken from sources which we believe to be reliable, but there is no guarantee as to its accuracy. In accordance with IRS Circular 230, this communication is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used as or considered a 'covered opinion' or other written tax advice and should not be relied upon for any purpose other than its intended purpose.


Benefits Done Right Insurance Agency, Inc.
601 University Avenue, Suite 250 / Sacramento, CA  95825
800 482 1817 / 916 568 2345 / fax: 916 564 9228

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