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Benefits Byte: All 2008 Issues

December 23, 2008

  • Pension Relief Measure Signed into Law
  • Members of Congress Urge RMD Relief for 2008

December 18, 2008

  • CBO Releases Reports on Health Care and Budget Issues
  • IRS Issues Revenue Ruling on Permitted Disparity
  • Treasury: No Plans to Provide Minimum Required Distribution Relief for 2008
  • CORRECTION: Additional Information Available on Pension Relief Legislation

December 15, 2008

  • Additional Information Available on Pension Relief Legislation
  • Regulatory Agencies Issue Additional Disaster Relief

December 11, 2008

  • Pension Relief Approved by Congress
  • Congress Approves Technical Correction of Mental Health Parity Effective Date for Collectively Bargained Plans
  • IRS Issues Relief for Section 403(b) Plans, Other Programs Announced

December 10, 2008

  • Pension Relief Update: Efforts Continue in House, Final Outlook Murky
  • Council Responds to Request for Information on GINA
  • IRS Releases Guidance on Executive Compensation Reporting and Wage Withholding Requirements

December 9, 2008

  • Pension Relief Update: Negotiations Continue, New Letters Available
  • Treasury/IRS Propose Regulations on Calculating Taxable Income under 409A
  • PBGC Updates Maximum Guaranteed Benefit, Age Rate Table, Premium Rates

December 5, 2008

  • Council Comments on Proposed Requirements for Filing Excise Taxes
  • IRS Proposes Regulations, Guidance 409A Issues

December 3, 2008

  • IRS Issues List of Required Amendments to Plan Determination Letters
  • IRS Extends Specific Disaster Relief to Midwest Areas
  • Regulatory Agencies Release New Form 5500
  • EBSA Issues Bulletin on Fidelity Bonds for ERISA-Covered Plans

December 1, 2008

  • Massachusetts Connector Issues Guidance on Minimum Creditable Coverage for Health Plans
  • PBGC Issues Final Regulations on Disclosure to Participants of Distress Terminations

November 24, 2008

  • Senate Approves Technical Correction of Mental Health Parity Effective Date for Collectively Bargained Plans

November 20, 2008

  • Senate and House Leaders Fail to Reach Agreement on Pension Funding Relief

November 19, 2008

  • House, Senate Negotiating Defined Benefit Pension Relief Package

November 12, 2008

  • Group Pension Letter Sent to House Committee Leaders
  • Baucus Unveils Comprehensive Health Reform Proposal
  • IRS Issues Multiemployer Plan Amortization Extension Procedure
  • PBGC Issues Additional Disaster Relief

November 10, 2008

  • Senate Finance Committee Chairman Prepares to Unveil Comprehensive Health Reform Proposal
  • Andrews Proposes Legislation to Narrow ERISA Preemption for Employer Plans Not Meeting New Health Coverage Standards
  • Regulatory Agencies Working to Finalize Numerous Issues

November 4, 2008

  • Council Submits Amicus Brief Supporting Review of 9th Circuit Ruling Upholding San Francisco's Employer "Pay or Play" Mandate

October 29, 2008

  • House Ways and Means Committee Hears Testimony on Economic Recovery; Council Submits 10-Point Plan for Hearing Record

October 28, 2008

  • Council Comments on Health Care Spending Disclosure Proposal
  • Congressional Research Service Releases Report on 401(k) Withdrawals, Distributions

October 24, 2008

  • House Committee Holds Hearings on Jobs, Retirement
  • Council Signs on to Group Letter Requesting Extension for 403(b) Plan Regulations
  • Agencies Release Final Regulations for Insurance Coverage under Newborns' and Mothers' Health Protection Act

October 22, 2008

  • Council Unveils 10-Point Plan to Strengthen Employer Savings During Economic Downturn

October 20, 2008

  • Final Minimum Creditable Coverage Regulations Adopted by Massachusetts Connector

October 16, 2008

  • Regulatory Agencies Announce Cost-of-Living Adjustments for 2009 Tax Year

October 15, 2008

  • Council Provides Recommendations to Massachusetts Connector

October 14, 2008

  • Treasury Outlines Executive Compensation Restrictions in Economic Rescue Package
  • McCain Unveils Economic Recovery Plan

October 13, 2008

  • Council Meets with Treasury, IRS to Discuss Proposed Hybrid Plan Regulations
  • Obama Releases Economic Plan Including Defined Contribution Plan Provisions
  • Treasury, DOL, HHS Request Information on Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Law
  • CMS to Brief Group Health Plans on Mandatory MSP Reporting

October 9, 2008

  • Senators Distribute Legislative Discussion Draft for Health Care Spending Disclosure
  • IRS Proposes Guidance on Failure to Defer Receipt of Qualified Retirement Plan Distribution
  • President Bush Signs "Michelle's Law" Legislation

October 7, 2008

  • House Committee Hears Testimony on Financial Crisis and Retirement Security; Council Files Statement

October 6, 2008

  • Council Comments on Proposed Investment Advice Regulations
  • DOL/EBSA Finalizes Regulations for Fiduciaries Selecting Annuity Providers
  • DOL/EBSA Issues Guidance on Orphan Plans, Cross-Trading

October 3, 2008

  • House Approves Economic Rescue Bill; President Signs
  • Defined Benefit Efforts Continue
  • Council Provides Statement for Hearing on Retiree Health Benefits
  • American Benefits Council IN THE NEWS

October 2, 2008

  • IRS, DOL, PBGC Provide Hurricane Ike Contribution and Funding Certification Relief
  • House to Vote on Economic Rescue Package After Senate Approval

October 1, 2008

  • Senate to Vote on Economic Rescue Package along with Numerous Benefits Measures
  • Council Addresses 401(k) Plan Fees

September 30, 2008

  • Ninth Circuit Upholds San Francisco's Employer "Pay or Play" Mandate
  • IRS Revises Substitute Mortality Table Procedure

September 29, 2008

  • Economic Rescue Package Rejected by House, Contains Executive Compensation Restrictions
  • Treasury Opens Money Market Funds Guarantee Program
  • IRS Issues Guidance on HEART Act FSA Provisions
  • House Panel Holds Hearing on Vesting of Retiree Health Benefits
  • Federal Agencies Provide Hurricane Relief

September 26, 2008

  • Negotiations on Economic Rescue Package to Continue Through Weekend
  • House Passes of Tax Extenders, Continued Negotiations Still Necessary
  • House Approves Breast Cancer Coverage Legislation
  • Senate Approves "Michelle's Law" Legislation
  • President Signs Disability Law Expansion into Law
  • IRS Issuance Clarifies Determination Letter Policy

September 24, 2008

  • Senate Passes Energy, Tax Extenders Package with Mental Health Parity, ISO Fix, Offshore Compensation Provisions; House Passes Separate Mental Health Parity Bill
  • House Subcommittee Examines PBGC
  • Council Urges Careful Consideration of Executive Compensation Provisions, Defined Benefit Plan Relief in Financial Bailout Proposal
  • Council Identifies Needed Improvements in Breast Cancer Coverage Legislation

September 22, 2008

  • Economic Relief Proposal Could Have Implications for Employee Benefit Plans
  • Council Urges Senate Leaders to Approve PPA Technical Corrections Legislation Including Smoothing

September 18, 2008

  • House Approves Commodities Investment Legislation

September 17, 2008

  • Council Comments on Proposed Treasury/IRS Rules for "Greater-of" Formulas
  • Senate Committee Hears Testimony on 401(k) Plan Fees
  • House Passes Disability Law Expansion That Could Affect Employer Plans
  • CFTC Releases Report on Commodity Swaps and Index Trades

September 12, 2008

  • Council Requests Additional Guidance from DOL on Form 5500
  • GAO Reports on Defined Benefit Plans and Alternative Investments

September 10, 2008

  • Council Testifies for ERISA Advisory Council at Hearings on Flexible Retirement, Retirement Asset Decumulation
  • Council Comments on DOL Participant Disclosure Regulations

September 5, 2008

  • Council Requests IRS Guidance on HEART Act Pension Provisions
  • IRS Provides Transition Relief to Small Pension Plans
  • IRS Commissioner Suspends Collection of ISO/AMT Liability

August 21, 2008

  • DOL Releases Proposed Investment Advice Regulations
  • GAO Issues Report on 401(k) Fiduciary Challenges
  • IRS Guidance Clarifies Definition of Dependent for Divorced/Separated Parents

August 15, 2008

  • IRS Revises Voluntary Correction Program for Employee Retirement Plans
  • CMS Will Use Web Site to Issue Implementation Guidance for Mandatory Medicare Secondary Payor Reporting Requirements

August 7, 2008

  • Council Letter Expresses Support for Retirement Coverage Bill
  • Legislation Banning 401(k) Debit Cards Introduced in House
  • DOL Issues Revised ERISA Enforcement Manual

August 6, 2008

  • IRS/Treasury Issue Ruling Preventing Certain Pension Transfers

August 4, 2008

  • Council Testifies Before IRS Panel on Minimum Required Contributions

August 1, 2008

  • Senate, House Adjourn Until September
  • House Passes Pay Discrimination Legislation
  • Comparative Effectiveness Research Legislation Introduced
  • Senators Draft Additional Oil Speculation Legislation

July 31, 2008

  • Senate Committee Discusses Tax Preferences for Health Benefits
  • IRS Holds Hearing on Multiemployer Plan Funding Guidance

July 30, 2008

  • House REJECTS Commodities Investment Legislation
  • House Committee Approves "Michelle's Law" Legislation
  • SEC, DOL Announce Joint Effort to Protect Retirement Savings and Investments

July 28, 2008

  • IRS Proposes Regulations on ESPP Options
  • Council Files Amicus Brief in 401(k) Statute of Limitations Case

July 25, 2008

  • New Tax Extenders Bill Introduced: Includes Mental Health Parity Compromise, ISO Correction, Offshore Deferred Compensation Provision
  • House Committee Approves Commodities Investment Legislation

July 24, 2008

  • Health IT Discussed, Approved in House Committee Action

July 23, 2008

  • Summary of DOL Proposed Participant Disclosure Regulations Now Available
  • GAO Issues Report on Defined Benefit Pension Plan Freezes

July 22, 2008

  • DOL Releases Proposed Regulations on Participant-Level Retirement Plan Fee Disclosure
  • Council Files Amicus Brief in Pension Fee Appeal to the Eighth Circuit

July 17, 2008

  • Senate Finance Committee Hears Testimony on Health Care Quality
  • Legislation Banning 401(k) Debit Cards Introduced
  • IRS Proposes Regulations for Stock Transfer Reporting Requirements
  • IRS Proposes Regulations for HSA Comparable Contributions

July 16, 2008

  • Senate Aging Committee Hears Testimony on Plan Loans, Hardship Withdrawals
  • House Committee Approves "Michelle's Law" Legislation
  • Council Submits Amicus Brief in ERISA Case
  • Congress Overrides Presidential Veto of Medicare Legislation

July 15, 2008

  • Council Opposes Offshore Provision in Tax Bill
  • Council Urges Further Deliberation on Continuation-of-Coverage Law
  • House Committee Discusses State and Federal Health Care Reform Efforts; Senate to Follow Later This Week
  • DOL Issues Additional Guidance on Form 5500

July 11, 2008

  • Council Submits Comments to IRS on Minimum Funding Requirements
  • Retiree Survey Suggests Flexible Retirement Options
  • IRS Issues Revenue Ruling on Transfers to Puerto Rican Plans

July 10, 2008

  • Appeals Court Sides with Plan Sponsor in Hirt v. Equitable Decision
  • Council Testifies Before IRS Panel on 204(h) Notices
  • Joint Economic Committee Examines Public Workers' Pension Plans
  • Treasury, IRS Propose Minimum Distribution Rules for Government Plans

July 9, 2008

  • House Approves PPA Technical Corrections Legislation, Council Shifts Focus to Senate
  • Senate Successfully Proceeds to Vote on Medicare Legislation
  • Council Submits Statement for Recent Senate Hearing on Commodities Investment

July 7, 2008

  • Employer Coalition Opposes S. 334 in Letter to Senators
  • IRS Issues Guidance on Part-Year Compensation
  • PGGC Releases Termination Rule for Companies in Bankruptcy

June 26, 2008

  • Council Sends Senate Letter Regarding Medicare Bill as Weekend Vote Possible
  • PPA Technical Corrections Bill Containing Smoothing Provision Introduced in the House
  • Council Releases Chart Comparing Retirement Coverage Proposals
  • Ways and Means Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures Holds Hearing on IRA and the Retirement System
  • House Passes Disability Law Expansion That Could Affect Employer Plans

June 25, 2008

  • House Subcommittee Passes Health Information Technology Legislation
  • IRS Releases New Question and Answer Guidance on HSAs
  • Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Hearing Focuses on Proposals to Prohibit Pension Investment in Some Types of Commodities

June 24, 2008

  • House Passes Medicare Legislation, Senate Continues Negotiating
  • Retiree Health Legislation Introduced in House

June 19, 2008

  • Supreme Court Rules for Participant in ERISA "Conflict of Interest" Case
  • Council Comments to IRS on Proposed 204(h) Notice Regulations
  • Senate Continues to Negotiate Tax Extenders Legislation Including Offshore Compensation Provision, ISO Correction
  • President Bush Signs Military Tax Relief Bill

June 17, 2008

  • Treasury/IRS Issues Proposed Rules for Cash Balance Plans and "Greater-of" Formulas
  • Council Comments on Proposed Multiemployer Plan Funding Regulations

June 13, 2008

  • 401(k) Fee Disclosure Legislation Indefinitely Postponed

June 12, 2008

  • Medicare Legislation Fails to Proceed in Senate

June 11, 2008

  • Senate Committee Examines Supreme Court Decisions on Preemption, Discrimination
  • IRS Releases Guidance on ESOP Dividends

June 6, 2008

  • Council Testifies at IRS Hearing on Proposed Hybrid Plan Regulations
  • GAO Releases Report on Workplace IRAs
  • House Subcommittee Discusses Draft of Health Information Technology Legislation

June 5, 2008

  • House Committee Discusses Bankruptcy Legislation
  • IRS Issues HSA Guidance

June 3, 2008

  • Council Comments to DOL on Electronic Delivery
  • Council Submits Amicus Brief in Citigroup Pension Plan ERISA Litigation
  • Council, Others Release Report on Revenue Estimates and Retirement Policy

May 29, 2008

  • Council Provides Written Congressional Testimony on Consumer-Directed Health Care
  • Council Testifies Before IRS on Smoothing, Other Defined Benefit Plan Issues

May 28, 2008

  • Andrews Introduces PPA Technical Corrections Legislation
  • Ryan Introduces Wide-Ranging Entitlement Reform Legislation
  • Senate Approves Military Tax Relief Bill; President Bush Will Sign

May 22, 2008

  • President Bush Signs Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act

May 21, 2008

  • Memo Sets Deadline for Releasing Regulations Prior to End of Bush Administration
  • Employer Coalition Underscores the Importance of Employer-Sponsored Benefits and ERISA in Letter to Senate Panel
  • House Approves Energy and Tax Extenders and Military Tax Bills with Benefits Provisions; White House Threatens Veto of Energy Legislation

May 19, 2008

  • Council Testifies Before Treasury, IRS on Automatic Contribution Regulations
  • House, Senate Reach Agreement on Military Tax Relief Bill

May 16, 2008

  • House Committee Approves Tax Bill with Nonqualified Deferred Compensation, Stock Option Provisions

May 14, 2008

  • House Subcommittee Hears Testimony on Consumer-Directed Health Care
  • Council, Other Employer Groups Urge Congress to Preserve Medicare Advantage Plans

May 13, 2008

  • Council Files Amicus Brief in 401(k) Fee Case
  • IRS Releases New Indexed Amounts for HDHPs, HSAs, IRAs

May 6, 2008

  • Council Files Amicus Brief in Retiree Health Benefits Case
  • ERISA Advisory Council Releases Recommendations to DOL

May 1, 2008

  • House Approves Genetic Nondiscrimination Legislation, President Expected to Sign Bill into Law

April 30, 2008

  • Older Workers Legislation Introduced

April 29, 2008

  • CBO Letter Analyzes PBGC Shift in Investment Strategy
  • Senate Will Consider FAA Bill with Numerous Benefits Provisions
  • DOL Corrects QDIA Regulations, Issues Further Guidance
  • Council, ICI Comment on Participant Contribution Regulation Safe Harbor

April 25, 2008

  • Pay Discrimination Act Fails in Senate
  • Senate Approves Genetic Nondiscrimination Legislation

April 18, 2008

  • Follow-up: IRS Regulations for Minimum Required Pension Contributions
  • Senate Finance Committee Introduces Tax Extenders Bill

April 17, 2008

  • Follow-up: Additional Details Available on House-Approved 401(k) Fee Legislation
  • Treasury, IRS Issue Final Regulations on Comparable Contributions to HSAs, Accelerated Employer Contributions
  • Federal Appeals Court Hears Oral Arguments in Challenge to San Francisco's Employer Health Care Spending Mandate

April 16, 2008

  • House Committee Approves 401(k) Fee Legislation
  • Council, Other Groups Write in Support of Long-Term Care Legislation

April 15, 2008

  • House Approves Tax Bill with HSA Substantiation Provision

April 11, 2008

  • IRS Proposes Regulations for Minimum Required Pension Contributions

April 9, 2008

  • House Committee Approves Housing Bill with HSA Substantiation Provision
  • Council Members Appointed to ERISA Advisory Council

April 2, 2008

  • Council Comments on Proposed Employer Stock Diversification Regulations
  • American Benefits Council IN THE NEWS

March 31, 2008

  • Council Testifies Before DOL on Proposed Service Provider-Plan Fiduciary Disclosure Regulations

March 28, 2008

  • Council Comments on Proposed Pension Funding Regulations
  • Council Files Amicus Brief in Challenge to San Francisco's Employer "Pay or Play" Mandate
  • Defense Department Proposes New Rules for TRICARE Program and Employee-Sponsored Group Health Plans
  • IRS Offers Direct Roth Rollover Reporting Clarifications

March 27, 2008

  • Council Submits Comments to Treasury/IRS on Hybrid Pension Plans
  • FASB Issues Proposal Expanding Disclosure of Plan Assets

March 24, 2008

  • U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Rehear EEOC-AARP Retiree Health Case
  • PBGC Issues Final Regulations on PPA Variable-Rate Premium Changes

March 20, 2008

  • IRS Issues Proposed Regulations on 204(h) Notices
  • PBGC Proposes Regulations on Allocating Unfunded Vested Benefits to Withdrawing Employers

March 14, 2008

  • IRS Releases Multiemployer Plan Funding Proposed Regulations
  • IRS Announces Process for Determination Letters for Pre-Approved Plans

March 13, 2008

  • House Passes PPA Technical Corrections

March 6, 2008

  • IRS Issues PPA Guidance on Mortality Tables, Roth Rollovers, Lump Sums

March 5, 2008

  • House Passes Mental Health Parity Bill, Including Genetic Non-Discrimination Language
  • Council Files Amicus Brief in ERISA "Conflict of Interest" Case
  • Comparative Effectiveness Legislation Introduced

March 3, 2008

  • Mental Health Parity Update: House to Vote on Reform Bill
  • EBSA Proposes Safe Harbor for Small Plan Assets, Requests Employer Opinion on Applicability to Larger Plans

February 26, 2008

  • Health Information Privacy Bill Introduced in House
  • GAO Issues Report on Hedge Funds, Including Appendix on Retirement Investments
  • DOL Unveils Retirement Planning Resource

February 21, 2008

  • IRS Provides Further Guidance Under Tax Code Section 162(m)

February 20, 2008

  • U.S. Supreme Court Reverses Decision in LaRue 401(k) Case
  • White House Introduces Medicare Funding Legislation
  • PBGC Proposes Regulations with New Information Reporting Requirements
  • Council Letter Requests Further Guidance Under Tax Code Section

February 19, 2008

  • PBGC Implements Diversified Investment Policy

February 15, 2008

  • Congressional Democrats Submit Comments to DOL on Proposed 401(k) Plan Disclosure Rules
  • DOL Issues Advisory Opinion on ERISA Preemption of Kentucky Law
  • IRS Ruling Addresses Use of Qualified Plan Assets for Purchasing Long-Term Care Insurance
  • Council Files Comment Letter on Civil Penalties under PPA Disclosure Requirements

February 13, 2008

  • Council Provides Comments to DOL on Proposed Disclosure Rules Between 401(k) Service Providers and Benefit Plans
  • Council, Others Thank House Leaders for Rejection of Medicare ESRD Expansion
  • Mental Health Parity Update: Extension Passes in House, No Progress on Reform Bill

February 6, 2008

  • Council Comments on Automatic Enrollment Contribution Guidance
  • Council Makes Recommendations for Treasury/IRS Guidance on Rollovers to Roth IRAs
  • DOL Outlines Fiduciary Responsibility for Collection of Delinquent Contributions

February 1, 2008

  • Treasury, IRS Release Guidance on Hybrid Plan Backloading Rules
  • Council Provides Statement for Senate HELP Committee Hearing on Ledbetter Pay Discrimination Issue
  • IRS Private Letter Ruling Addresses Performance-Based Compensation under 162(m)
  • IRS Affirms: Effective Date Interpretation Applies to Earlier Proposed Regulations

January 29, 2008

  • IRS Hears Testimony on Benefit Restrictions for Underfunded Pension Plans
  • Council Files Amicus Brief in Retiree Health Benefits Appeal

January 14, 2008

  • Recent IRS Effective Date Interpretation Applies to Earlier Proposed Regulations

January 10, 2008

  • Ninth Circuit Ruling Allows Implementation of San Francisco's Employer Health Spending Mandate
  • IRS Issues Further Guidance on Corporate Bond Rate

January 8, 2008

  • Council Summary: EEOC Final Regulations on Retiree Health Benefits

January 2, 2008

  • Treasury, IRS Propose Employer Stock Diversification Regulations
  • Federal District Court Rejects San Francisco Health Plan Law