While inflation remained low through 2016, certain key benefit plan limits have increased slightly for 2017. Last week the IRS officially announced those limit adjustments for various health, retirement and fringe benefit plans. General IRS information about these notices is available here for Health & Welfare plans and here for Retirement plans.
Employers can find relief in a two-year delay to the start of the unpopular excise tax on group health premiums known as the “Cadillac Tax”. BPC’s largest policy concerns in 2015 were related to the looming impact of the tax. BPC’s CEO, Habeeb Habeeb, along with other industry leaders, spent time in Washington D.C. meeting with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, explaining the need for repeal or reform of this potentially harmful tax. The 40% excise tax on the value of health coverage exceeding certain thresholds was set to go into effect in 2018. Estimates ranged widely across different studies and surveys, but overwhelmingly found that the tax would impact a broad range of employers in the U.S.
With ACA reporting looming on the horizon, many employers are focused on what’s new, but BPC wants to take a moment to review some older regulations that may be thrown into new light in 2016.
BPC fielded questions from clients and employers throughout 2015 about the prospect of dropping group health coverage and instead reimbursing employees for the cost of individual health insurance premiums. These arrangements have taken various forms over the years – pre-tax reimbursement through a cafeteria plan, simple post-tax reimbursement, or non-taxable employer payments through an HRA.