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Compliance Corner

February 22, 2017

Health Care Reform

2017 Federal Poverty Levels and Employer Mandate Penalties Announced

On Jan. 26, 2017, HHS announced the 2017 federal poverty levels (FPL). The threshold for the 48 contiguous states is $12,060 for a single household and $24,600 for a household of four individuals. The thresholds are different for Alaska ($15,060 and $30,750) and Hawaii ($13,860 and $28,290).

The FPL plays an important role under the PPACA. Individuals purchasing coverage through the exchange may qualify for a premium tax credit if their household earnings are within 100 percent to 400 percent of the FPL.

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CMS Proposes Rule on PPACA Market Stabilization

On Feb. 15, 2017, CMS issued a proposed rule for 2018, which proposes new reforms to assist with the stabilizing of the individual and small group health insurance markets.

The goal is to help protect patients participating in the individual and small group health insurance markets while future reforms are being employed. Ultimately, the hope is that this will provide more flexibility to states and insurers, and give patients access to more coverage options.

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Federal Health Updates

IRS Updates Publication 969 Addressing HSAs, HRAs and Health FSAs

On Feb. 10, 2017, the IRS released an updated version of Publication 969 for use in preparing 2016 individual federal income tax returns. While there are no major changes to the 2016 version (as compared to the 2015 version), the publication provides a general overview of HSAs, HRAs and health FSAs, including brief descriptions of benefits, eligibility requirements, contribution limits and distribution issues.

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IRS Releases 2016 Versions of Publications 502 and 503

The IRS recently released the updated versions of Publications 502 (Medical and Dental Expenses) and 503 (Child and Dependent Care Expenses).

Publication 502 describes what medical expenses are deductible on taxpayers’ 2016 federal income tax returns. For employers, Publication 502 provides valuable guidance on what expenses might qualify as IRC Section 213(d) medical expenses, which is helpful in identifying expenses that may be reimbursed or paid by a health FSA, HSA, HRA or other employer-sponsored group health plans.

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Retirement Updates

DOL Requests Delay of Conflict of Interest Rule

On Feb. 9, 2017, the DOL requested a delay in the applicability date of the Conflict of Interest Rule. As background, the rule was set to take effect on April 10, 2017. However, President Trump recently instructed the DOL to conduct additional analysis of the rule and its impact on American investors.

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House Republicans Release PPACA Replacement Blueprint

Late last week, Republicans in the House circulated a blueprint of their PPACA replacement plan. The 19-page blueprint describes Republicans’ views on current PPACA problems and issues, and outlines their primary foundation for a PPACA replacement. The blueprint is loosely based on House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R—Wis.) “A Better Way” proposal, which includes the implementation of portable individual health care tax credits based on age (not income), an expansion of the use of HSAs (in both annual contribution limits and distributions for over-the-counter medical expenses), an overhaul of Medicaid and the elimination of penalties relating to PPACA’s individual and employer mandates.

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New Podcast Series!

Check out the most recent episode with NFP’s Suzanne Spradley and Chase Cannon – and subscribe to the series.

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Reminder: Upcoming Reporting Deadlines

IRC Sections 6055 and 6056 Reporting
Medicare Part D Disclosure to CMS

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DOL Hosting Educational Seminars

On March 1, 2017, the DOL is hosting a webcast entitled “Helping Small Business Owners Save for Retirement.” The DOL will be hosting this webcast in conjunction with the Small Business Administration and the IRS, and the agencies will discuss retirement savings options for small businesses, including information on how to start and operate a savings plan.

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State Updates


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What is the new EEOC Wellness Program Notice and to whom does the requirement apply?

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Commonly Used Acronyms

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NFP Corp. and its subsidiaries do not provide legal or tax advice. Compliance, regulatory and related content is for general informational purposes and is not guaranteed to be accurate or complete. You should consult an attorney or tax professional regarding the application or potential implications of laws, regulations or policies to your specific circumstances.