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Benefits Byte: All 2005 Issues

December 30, 2005

  • IRS/Treasury Release Final Roth 401(k) Regulations

December 23, 2005

  • IRS Provides Relief for Relative Value Disclosures

December 22, 2005

  • Medicare Retiree Drug Subsidy Program Estimated to Support Coverage for 6.5 Million Retirees
  • House, Senate Approve One-Year Mental Health Parity Extension

December 21, 2005

  • House, Senate Approve Budget Bill Conference Report; House Must Vote Again
  • DOL Releases Final USERRA Regulations

December 19, 2005

  • Conferees Reach Agreement on Budget Reconciliation Bill
  • House, Senate Approve KETRA Extension Legislation; Includes Dependent Definition, Deferred Compensation Provisions

December 15, 2005

  • House Passes Pension Protection Act with Minor Changes, Conference Likely in Early 2006
  • Hybrid Plan Issues to Be Discussed in Conference; Consultants Letter to Congress Available on Council Web Site

December 13, 2005

  • Legislative Activity on House Pension Bill Continues
  • Rep. Cantor Introduces Bill to Improve HSAs

December 9, 2005

  • Council Bids Farewell to Susan Relland; Welcomes Kathryn Wilber as Successor
  • House Passes Tax Reconciliation Bill with Pension and Health Provisions

December 8, 2005

  • Treasury/IRS Releases Code Section 409A Reporting Relief
  • Council Testifies Before IRS on Proposed Regulations Eliminating Defined Benefit Plan Distribution Options
  • House Votes to Extend Hurricane Katrina Relief to Rita and Wilma Victims

December 7, 2005

  • Status of House Pension Bill Still Uncertain
  • Treasury/IRS Issue Updated Mortality Tables
  • Treasury, IRS Release Guidance on Amendment Timing Rules for Retirement Plans

November 30, 2005

  • IRS Issues Guidance on KETRA Loans and Distributions
  • IRS Extends Heinz Amendment Deadline

November 28, 2005

  • Council Files Comments on HSA Proposed Regulations on Comparability
  • Code Section 415 Grandfather Rule to Be Expanded

November 22, 2005

  • IRS Issues Additional Guidance on FSA 2½ Month Spending Extension
  • IRS Issues HSA Clarification Regarding State Mandates
  • Council Posts Chart Comparing Defined Contribution Provisions of Pension Reform Bills
  • Council Files ESOP Dividend Deduction Comment Letter

November 18, 2005

  • Senate Passes Tax Reconciliation Bill with Pension and Mental Health Parity Provisions
  • Work Continues on Funding Reform and Hybrid Plan Legislation: Senators Comment on Need for Comprehensive Hybrid Plan Clarification

November 16, 2005

  • Senate Approves Pension Funding Legislation; Look to Conference with House Bill

November 14, 2005

  • Senate Likely to Vote on Pension Reform Bill This Week

November 11, 2005

  • Capitol Police to Investigate Compromise of Confidential Pension Documents
  • Senators DeWine and Mikulski Agree to Allow Pension Funding Measure to be Considered
  • FASB Votes to Review and Change Pension Accounting Standards

November 10, 2005

  • Court Accepts Council's Amicus Brief in IBM Cash Balance Case
  • Senate Tax Measure Includes Extension of Expiring Mental Health Parity Requirement
  • Council Requests Relief from 2005 Section 409A Reporting

November 9, 2005

  • Ways and Means Committee Approves Pension Funding Legislation with Few Amendments
  • Council Submits Comment Letter to IRS Concerning Proposed Regulations on Eliminating Defined Benefit Plan Distribution Options

November 8, 2005

  • Ways and Means Committee to Consider Pension Funding Legislation; Includes Defined Benefit, Defined Contribution, FSA Rollover Provisions

November 4, 2005

  • Council Files Amicus Brief in IBM Case, GAO Issues Cash Balance Report
  • Senate Passes Reconciliation Bill with Pension, Health Care Provisions
  • HHS Announces Medicare Part D Electronic Prescription Foundation Standards

November 1, 2005

  • Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform Issues Final Report
  • IRS and DOL Provide Relief for Hurricane Wilma Victims

October 28, 2005

  • Minimum Funding Deadline Extended to February 28 for Plans Affected by Hurricane Katrina
  • Health Provisions Move Forward in Budget Bill

October 26, 2005

  • Council Recommends Defined Contribution Plan Changes to House Ways & Means Chairman
  • House Committee Approves PBGC Premium Increase; Thomas, Boehner Send Letter on Cash Balance Plans

October 25, 2005

  • Pension Reform Update
  • House Education and the Workforce Committee to Vote on Budget Bill with PBGC Premium Increases
  • Council Urges Senate Panel to Adopt Medicare Value Purchasing Reforms
  • DOL Launches Contact Site for Plans Affected by Hurricanes

October 20, 2005

  • New Council Web Site Members-Only Password
  • Senate Finance Committee Prepares to Mark-Up Deficit Reduction Legislation

October 19, 2005

  • Council Web Site Members-Only Password to Change
  • President's Tax Panel Proposes Dramatic Reform, Changes for Benefits Plans
  • Council files Amicus Brief in Milofsky v. American Airlines

October 18, 2005

  • Pension Funding Reform Update

October 17, 2005

  • IRS Announces Pension Plan Limits for 2006
  • CMS Issues Reminders about Medicare Retiree Drug Subsidy Applications

October 14, 2005

  • Enzi Proposes Higher PBGC Premiums; HELP Committee to Vote October 7

October 13, 2005

  • Sanders Introduces Hybrid Plan Bill Mandating Choice at Retirement
  • Hurricane Regulatory Relief Bill Includes Loans/Distribution Provisions
  • Council Files Amicus Brief in PBM Disclosure Case
  • Court Rules for Directed Trustee in United Lawsuit

October 12, 2005

  • Older Workers Bill Introduced in Senate
  • Compliance Date for Katrina COBRA/ HIPAA Relief Extended
  • CMS to Hold Medicare Employer Forum Conference Call October 13

October 11, 2005

  • New Automatic Enrollment Bill Introduced in Senate
  • Tax Reform Panel Considering Health Coverage Taxation
  • Council Files Comment Letter on Proposed Electronic Technologies Regulations

October 7, 2005

  • Pension Funding Legislation Remains at Standstill, Senator DeWine Requests Council Members' Continued Support

September 29, 2005

(Second Edition)
  • Treasury/IRS Release Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Regulations
  • Council Sponsors Benefits Briefing Conference Call on Hurricane Katrina; CD Recording Available

September 29, 2005

  • Senate to Vote Soon on New Compromise Pension Funding Reform Bill
  • Medicare Drug Benefit Said to Be on Track and Ready for Launch; Nationwide Conference Call Scheduled for 3 p.m. ET, September 29
  • 409A Regulations Out Soon, Will Be Posted on Council Web Site

September 28, 2005

  • Judge Reverses AARP v. EEOC Retiree Health Decision

September 23, 2005

  • Council Releases Promises to Keep Report on PBGC Deficit
  • Health Plans Offering Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage Announced by HHS
  • New Hurricane Katrina Legislation Would Facilitate Loans and Distributions

September 22, 2005

  • Congress Passes Hurricane Katrina Relief Bill, Treasury and DOL Issue More Guidance

September 21, 2005

  • Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Guidance Expected Soon
  • CMS Announces Retiree Drug Subsidy Conference Call for September 29

September 20, 2005

  • FASB Seeks to Clarify Stock Option Grant Date Issue
  • Hurricane Katrina Regulatory Relief Update

September 16, 2005

  • Correction and Update: Senate Passes Tax Relief Bill Resolving Differences with House Relief Bill

September 15, 2005

  • House, Senate Approve Katrina Relief Package; IRS Continues to Release Additional Guidance

September 13, 2005

  • Grassley-Baucus Announce Hurricane Katrina Tax Relief Package

September 12, 2005

  • Government Offers Additional Hurricane-Related Relief
  • CMS Extends Medicare Retiree Drug Subsidy Application Deadline

September 8, 2005

  • Senate HELP Committee Approves Pension Reform Bill, Text Now Available
  • Maria Ghazal to Lead Business Roundtable Policy and Advocacy on Health and Retirement
  • DOL Proposes Mandated Electronic Filing of Form 5500
  • IRS Issues Two-and-a-Half Month Grace Period Guidance for Dependent Care FSAs

September 6, 2005

  • Government Offers Additional Hurricane-Related Relief; Minimum Funding Contribution Deadlines Extended
  • CMS Releases New Medicare Part D Communication Document
  • IRS Implements Staggered Determination Letter Process
  • Treasury, IRS Finalize Regulations on Valuation of Distributed Life Insurance Contracts

September 2, 2005

  • Senate HELP Committee Schedules Consideration of Defined Benefit Funding Bill
  • DOL and PBGC Provide Relief for Plans Affected by Hurricane Katrina

September 1, 2005

  • IRS Provides Deadline Relief for Companies Affected by Hurricane Katrina
  • Klein, Jacobson tapped for December's White House Conference on Aging

August 30, 2005

  • New HSA Proposed Regulations and 2006 Indexed Amounts
  • Council Testifies Before IRS on Proposed Relative Value Regulations
  • IRS Issues Final Regulations on Eliminating Forms of Distribution in Defined Benefit Plans
  • IRS Proposes Rules Affecting ESOP Dividend Deduction

August 23, 2005

  • Council Testifies Before IRS on Proposed Section 415 Regulations
  • Court Rules Against Company in 401(k) Company Stock Investment Case

August 11, 2005

  • IRS Releases Final and Proposed 411(d)(6) Regulations
  • Treasury and IRS Issues Priority Guidance for 2005-2006

August 5, 2005

  • Funding Reform Efforts Continue Through August Recess; Side-by-Side Chart, Hybrid Provision Analysis Now Available
  • Council Urges Support of FSA Rollover Bill in House, Senate
  • CMS Announces Prescription Drug Premium

July 29, 2005

  • House of Representatives Wraps Up Health Care Week
  • Technical Corrections Bill Includes Some Changes to Definition of Dependent
  • IRS Eliminates Tax-Free Medical Expense Distributions from DC Plans

July 27, 2005

  • House Begins "Health Care Week" by Approving AHP Legislation, Patient Safety Legislation

July 26, 2005

  • Senate Finance Committee Approves Pension Funding Reform in New NESTEG Bill
  • House Continues Pension Work: Democrats Announce AmeriSave Legislation; Boehner Urges Action on His Bill
  • Council Submits Comment Letter on Treasury's Section 415 Proposed Regulations

July 22, 2005

  • Senate Finance Committee Introduces Pension Funding Reform in New NESTEG Bill
  • Technical Corrections Bill Introduced Including Deferred Compensation Provision

July 21, 2005

  • House Energy & Commerce Committee Approves Number of Health Bills
  • Senate HELP Committee Approves Bipartisan Health IT Bill
  • Summary of Electronic Transmission Regulations Available

July 20, 2005

  • Hybrid Legislation May Be Included in Funding Legislation; Member Input Needed

July 18, 2005

  • Senate Finance Committee Leaders Expected to Introduce Bipartisan Pension Reform Bill This Week
  • Summary of CMS Retiree Drug Subsidy National Conference

July 15, 2005

  • House Ways and Means Likely to Delay Debate on Funding Reform; Information on Credit Balances Sought

July 14, 2005

  • House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Approves Measures on Patient Safety and High Risk Health Pools
  • Treasury, IRS Issue Proposed Regulations on Electronic Transmissions

July 13, 2005CORRECTION

  • Council Requests Additional Grace Period for 409a Compliance

July 12, 2005

  • Council Requests Additional Grace Period for 409a Compliance
  • Smith-Conrad Automatic Enrollment Bill Formally Introduced

July 7, 2005

  • Lawmakers Continue to Discuss Pension Reform Legislation; DOL Writes Boehner, Harkin Introduces Cash Balance Bill
  • AARP v. EEOC Retiree Health Case to be Reconsidered at District Court Level
  • CMS to Hold Medicare Employer Forum July 14

June 30, 2005

  • Education and the Workforce Committee Approves Boehner Pension Bill
  • Grassley and Baucus Introduce Bill to Move Medicare to Performance-based Payments
  • House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Promises Consideration of Bill to Change Rules in Individual Health Insurance Market
  • Council Endorses Long-Term Care Bills Introduced in the Senate and House

June 29, 2005

  • Boehner Bill Scheduled for Markup on June 29; Expected Substitute Bill Contains Numerous Changes
  • CMS Issues Agenda for July Retiree Drug Subsidy Conference

June 27, 2005

  • Senate Finance Committee Requests Information on Pension Plans

June 24, 2005

  • PBGC-United Airlines Amendment Added to Appropriations Bill
  • Social Security Update: Legislation Introduced as Congressional Hearings Continue

June 22, 2005

  • Subcommittee Passes Boehner Pension Bill; Council BENEFITS BRIEFING on June 23
  • Benefits Briefing Conference Call information

June 21, 2005

  • CMS Issues Guidance on Account-Based Health Plans
  • Council Submits Supplementary Comments on Deferred Compensation and Application to Foreign Plans

June 16, 2005

  • Council Urges Senators to Cosponsor FSA Rollover Bill (S. 309); Use Capitol Connection Feature of Council's Web Site Today
  • Senate Democrats Meet to Discuss Pension Reform Solutions; House Subcommittee to Review Boehner Bill
  • President Kicks Off National Outreach Campaign on Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit
  • House, Senate Subcommittees Continue Hearings on Social Security

June 15, 2005

  • Education and Workforce Committee Hearing Focuses on Boehner Pension Reform Bill
  • Long-Term Care Bill Introduced in the Senate
  • CMS Announces Conference in July on Retiree Drug Subsidy Program

June 10, 2005

  • Council testifies before IRS on Supplemental Wage Withholding Requirements
  • House Ways and Means Committee Holds Hearing on Tax Reform

June 10, 2005 – Extra

  • Full Text of Boehner Hybrid Bill Now Available on Council Web Site

June 9, 2005

  • Boehner Introduces Funding Reform and Hybrid Plan Bills, Hearing Expected Next Week
  • Smith and Conrad Introduce Automatic Enrollment Bill in Senate
  • GAO Releases Report on PBGC Budget Challenges

June 8, 2005 (PM Edition)

  • Introduction of Comprehensive Funding Reform Legislation Imminent
  • HHS to Create Advisory Panel on Electronic Medical Records
  • IRS Posts Q&As for June 15 GUST Program Closure

June 8, 2005

  • Council says hybrid plans can help staunch the defined benefit system's decline in Senate HELP subpanel hearing
  • Senate Finance Holds Hearing on United Airlines Pension Default
  • Medicare Retiree Drug Subsidy Application Issued

June 3, 2005

  • Council Submits Supplementary Comments on Equity Appreciation Rights
  • Council Comments on DOL's Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program Notice Proposal
  • CMS Announces Programming to Discuss Medicare Retiree Drug Subsidy

June 2, 2005

  • Council Submits Comments to Treasury, IRS on Proposed Roth 401(k) Regulations
  • DOL/SEC Issue Guidance on Pension Consultants

May 31, 2005

  • Justice Department Files Appeal in Retiree Health Case
  • Council Analysis of Proposed 415 Regulations Now Available
  • Long-Term Care Bill Introduced in the House
  • Social Security Hearings Continue on Capitol Hill

May 26, 2005

  • Retirement, Health Policy Status Reports Available Online
  • Medicare Guidance Issued on New Required Disclosure Notices for Prescription Drug Coverage
  • IRS, Treasury Issue Proposed 415 Regulations

May 23, 2005

  • Council Names Dudley as Vice President, Retirement Policy
  • House Committees Hold Social Security Hearings
  • Retiree Drug Subsidy Application Expected Soon

May 18, 2005

  • Treasury Issues Guidance on FSA Spending Extension
  • House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Pay-for-Performance Measures and Other Trends in Employer-Sponsored Health Care

May 17, 2005

  • Democrats Introduce Numerous Pension Bills
  • SEC Issues Report on Pension Consultant Examinations
  • House Subcommittee Approves Bill to Allow Federal Civilian and Military Retirees to Pay Health Insurance Premiums on a Pretax Basis
  • GUST Program for Pre-Approved DC Plans Closes June 15

May 13, 2005

  • House Subcommittee Hears Testimony on Hard 4 rule, 12b-1 Fees
  • Ways and Means Committee Holds Hearing on Social Security

May 10, 2005

  • Highway Bill Includes Deferred Compensation Provision as Revenue Raiser
  • Council Submits Comments on Mutual Fund Redemption Fees
  • Council Files Comment Letters on Orphan Plan Guidance

May 5, 2005

  • Treasury Department Considers Reinstatement of 30-Year Treasury Bonds
  • HSA Expansion and Health Insurance Tax Credit Bill Introduced in the House
  • Healthcare Information Technology Legislative Update

April 29, 2005

  • Congress Passes Budget Resolution Suggesting PBGC Premium Increase; Boehner Preparing Comprehensive Pension Reform Legislation
  • Portman, Cardin Introduce Pension Reform Bills

April 28, 2005

  • Council Submits Comments on Deferred Compensation Guidance
  • Council Submits Comments on Treasury Relative Value Regulations
  • House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Retiree Health Issues for Employers
  • Senate Finance Committee Holds Hearing on Social Security Reform
  • CMS Issues Revised Application Instructions for Medicare Waivers

April 26, 2005

  • Council, Other Employer Groups Testify in Senate HELP Subcommittee Hearing on Pension Funding Reform
  • Council Submits Cessation of Operations and Related Pension Liability Comment Letter to PBGC

April 25, 2005

  • Urge Congress to Eliminate PBGC Premium Increase from FY06 Budget
  • 401(k) Automatic Enrollment Bills Introduced in Congress

April 20, 2005

  • Congress Passes Bankruptcy Reform Legislation Affecting Retirement Plans
  • IRS and Treasury Provide Heinz Case Suspension-of-Benefits Guidance

April 14, 2005

  • SEC Extends Effective Date for Stock Option Expensing
  • IRS Issued Corrected HRA Guidance

April 13, 2005

  • Treasury Clarifies HSA Issue
  • Council Comments to IRS on Supplemental Wage Withholding

April 12, 2005

  • Budget Conference Expected to Begin Shortly, Includes Proposed PBGC Premium Increase
  • Council Details for Senate Aging Panel the Importance of Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans in Overall National Savings
  • Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program Now Covers Plan Loans

April 8, 2005

  • New Guidance Released by CMS for Employers on Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit
  • House Committee to Request Form 4010 Information from PBGC

April 5, 2005

  • IRS Issues New HRA Guidance
  • Treasury Issues New HSA Brochure
  • American Benefits Council IN THE NEWS: Retiree Health and Pension Reform

April 1, 2005

  • SEC Issues Guidance on Stock Option Expensing

March 30, 2005

  • Court Rules Against EEOC in Retiree Health Case
  • Council Files Comments to Proposed HIPAA Portability Rules

March 25, 2005

  • Court Ruling Expected Shortly on Retiree Health Age Discrimination Case

March 18, 2005

  • Budget Amendment Would Secure Senate Dollar Level for Pension Funding

March 17, 2005

  • Inside the Council and Out: Pension Headliners Change Jobs
  • House Education and the Workforce Committee Approves AHP Bill

March 15, 2005

  • Bill Introduced Extending Retirement Benefit Eligibility to Flexible Workforce
  • SEC Releases Final Rule on Redemption Fees
  • Senate Committees Hold Pension Forum

March 14, 2005

  • Council Testifies Before IRS on Proposed Phased Retirement Regulations

March 11, 2005

  • Senate Passes Bankruptcy Reform Legislation Affecting Retirement Plans
  • Bipartisan Alzheimer's Funding and Long-Term Care Bill Introduced in the Senate
  • Council Files to Amicus Brief in Langbecker v. EDS Company Stock Suit
  • PBGC Issues Two Rules on Electronic Filing

March 10, 2005

  • Ways and Means Committee Holds Hearing on Social Security, Legislation Introduced
  • CMS Releases Additional Waiver Guidance for Employers
  • SEC Late Trading Rule Consideration Delayed Until Mid-2005
  • Senate HELP Committee Approves Patient Safety Legislation
  • DOL Proposes Abandoned (Orphaned) Plan Regulations

March 8, 2005

  • Council Testifies Before Ways and Means Select Revenue Measures Hearing on Pension Reform
  • Thomas Announces SAVE Initiative Providing for LSAs, RSAs, ERSAs

March 3, 2005

  • SEC Votes to Permit but Not Require Redemption Fees
  • PBGC Proposes New Liability Rule for Facility Shutdowns

March 2, 2005

  • Pension Funding Takes Center Stage in House, Senate Hearings; Council Testifies before Education and Workforce Committee
  • House Education and the Workforce Hearing
  • Senate Finance Committee Hearing
  • House Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Management, Finance, and Accountability

March 1, 2005

  • Council Board Member to Chair National Citizens' Health Care Working Group
  • IRS Issues Proposed Roth 401(k) Regulations

February 28, 2005

  • Stock Options Bill Reintroduced in House

February 22, 2005

  • Pension Funding Issue Picks Up Steam on Capitol Hill and Executive Branch
  • Council and Other Groups File Amicus Brief to Oppose AARP on EEOC Retiree Health Rule

February 18, 2005

  • GAO Recommends Review of U.S. Health Care System
  • Proposed Legislation would Cut Taxes on Lifetime Annuities but Not from Qualified Plans
  • IRS Opens EGTRRA Opinion and Advisory Letter Program for Pre-Approved Pension Plans

February 17, 2005

  • Council Releases Report on Defined Benefit Pension Plan Funding Reform
  • Senate Unanimously Approves Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act
  • IRS Allows Cash-out Amendments Eliminating Automatic Rollovers by Year End
  • IRS Hears Testimony on 403(b) Regulations

February 15, 2005

  • CMS Releases Initial Waiver Guidance for Employers

February 11, 2005

  • Council Elects New Officers, Executive Committee Members, Policy Committee Chairs
  • Bill Introduced to Allow Limited Carryover of Unused FSA Funds
  • Senators Introduce Health Care Liability Reform Bill

February 10, 2005

  • Senate HELP Committee Approves Separate Bills on Genetic Nondiscrimination and Federal Funding for High-Risk Pools
  • Bush Administration Budget Includes Pension Reform Proposals

February 7, 2005

  • Democrats Urge Changes to Employer Drug Subsidy in MMA Regulations
  • Council Files Comment Letter with IRS Regarding Phased Retirement

February 3, 2005

  • Senate Finance Committee Begins Social Security Hearings
  • CMS Announces February 14 Open Door Forum on Employer-Sponsored Prescription Drug Benefits
  • Directed Trustee Prevails in 401(k) WorldCom Lawsuit

February 1, 2005

  • Grassley, Baucus Reintroduce NESTEG
  • EEOC's Retiree Health Rule May be Published in Federal Register this Week
  • Treasury/IRS Propose Changes to Relative Value Regulations

January 25, 2005

  • Senate Republicans and Democrats Announce Priorities for 109th Congress
  • IRS/Treasury: No Advance Notice Required to Eliminate DC Distribution Options

January 21, 2005

  • CMS Issues Final Medicare Regulations
  • Timing of Definition of Dependent Technical Corrections Bill

January 13, 2005

  • Treasury Releases Guidance for Partnership and S-Corporation HSA Contributions
  • Senators Urge Administration to Fund Health Information Technology

January 12, 2005

  • Bush Administration Details President's Pension Reform Proposal
  • American Benefits Council IN THE NEWS: Pension Reform Proposal

January 10, 2005

  • Labor Secretary Chao announces Administration's pension reform proposal

January 5, 2005

  • OMB Reviewing EEOC Retiree Health Age Discrimination Rule
  • Treasury Responds to Sen. Grassley Letter on FSA Rollover
  • New Code Added to W-2 for Reporting Nonqualified Deferred Compensation

January 4, 2005

  • Medicare Guidance on Employer Subsidies Expected By Month's End; Model Guidelines on Therapies and Drugs Released