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Amy N. Moore

Amy Moore advises public and private companies and tax exempt organizations on a wide range of tax, ERISA, and employment law issues concerning all types of benefit programs.  Ms. Moore counsels some of the world’s largest multinational companies on the design and implementation of innovative benefit strategies, including the restructuring of retirement programs to meet the needs of the modern work force; the use of surplus pension and insurance assets to provide non-traditional benefits; and the establishment of funding and security arrangements for welfare plans and executive compensation.  She represents clients in connection with pension fund investments in private equity funds, hedge funds, group trusts, and derivatives.  She also advises on benefits and compensation issues in acquisitions and divestitures, debt finance, joint ventures, and other corporate transactions.  Ms. Moore represents companies in audits and contested agency proceedings involving benefit plans and advises clients on employee benefits issues that arise in connection with ERISA litigation and settlements.  She also counsels employers on issues of plan administration and the correction of operational problems under government-sponsored remedial programs.

Most group health plans must apply to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services by November 5 for a unique health plan identifying number (HPID).  Although self-insured health plans must apply for HPIDs, the application process was not designed with these plans in mind.

In a post this summer, we identified several deficiencies in the HPID rules that will make the application process difficult for employers.  CMS has recently fixed a few problems; but with the November 5 deadline fast approaching, the agency still has not addressed other fundamental shortcomings of the HPID rules.
Continue Reading CMS Fixes Some HPID Problems, But Other Problems Remain

One of the more obscure provisions of the Affordable Care Act says that a group health plan may not discriminate against “any health care provider who is acting within the scope of that provider’s license or certification under applicable State law.”  What on earth does this provision mean?  Apparently not even the federal government is sure.
Continue Reading ACA Prohibits Discrimination Against Licensed Providers

Withholding and paying FICA tax on nonqualified deferred compensation can be a tricky business.  Because special timing rules apply to FICA tax, employers can’t simply withhold and pay FICA tax when they pay deferred compensation to the employee.  Instead, FICA tax is due when the deferred compensation vests (or, in some cases, when the amount of the deferred compensation can be determined).

It is not always easy to tell when these triggering events occur.  In fact, it is sometimes hard to tell whether compensation is “deferred compensation” that is subject to the special timing rules.  Employers faced with these complications often discover long after the fact that they have failed to withhold and pay FICA tax on deferred compensation when the tax was due.  The additional 0.9% Medicare tax introduced in 2013 makes these errors much more difficult to correct.
Continue Reading New Medicare Tax Makes FICA Errors Harder to Correct

Starting in 2015, the Affordable Care Act imposes burdensome new reporting requirements on employers and insurers that provide group health coverage.  We described the reporting requirements in earlier posts, here and here.

Employers and other reporting entities have anxiously awaited the IRS forms on which these reports will be made, so that they can program and test their computer systems, develop administrative procedures, coordinate reporting responsibility with their affiliates, and make arrangements with their business partners to collect and report the necessary information.  The IRS posted drafts of the reporting forms on its website yesterday.  Unfortunately, however, the instructions to the forms—which are expected to provide much of the detail programmers will need—will not be available until August.
Continue Reading IRS Releases ACA Reporting Forms

Yesterday two federal courts of appeal reached opposite conclusions on the question whether individuals in 34 states are eligible for federal subsidies when they purchase health insurance coverage.  Depending on how this issue is resolved, it could have a significant impact on the future of the Affordable Care Act, including the employer mandate scheduled to take effect in 2015.
Continue Reading Key Component of Affordable Care Act Might Be Invalid

Group health plans with 50 or more participants, including self-insured plans, must be able to conduct electronic transactions in accordance with HHS standards and operating rules.  One of the more challenging aspects of the electronic transaction rules has been the transition to the new International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10) codes for health claims.
Continue Reading Health Plans Have an Extra Year to Prepare for ICD-10—And They Might Need It

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has issued new enforcement guidance explaining when an employer’s policies affecting pregnant employees might violate federal law.  The new guidance appears in an updated chapter of the EEOC’s enforcement manual, and in a related set of questions and answers.  Among other topics, the new guidance addresses the rights of pregnant employees under employer health plans, fringe benefit programs, and other benefit plans.
Continue Reading EEOC Issues New Guidance on Pregnancy Benefits

By December 31, 2015, group health plans must complete a testing process and certify that they are able to conduct electronic transactions in accordance with uniform standards and operating rules.  Plans must also ensure that third-party administrators and other outside vendors are in compliance with the electronic transaction rules if the vendors conduct transactions on the plans’ behalf.

December 2015 might seem a long way off to group health plan sponsors and administrators focused on ACA’s shared responsibility rules.  Plan sponsors should bear in mind, though, that compliance with the certification requirements for electronic transactions can involve significant lead time.  Failure to comply carries substantial penalties.  Accordingly, group health plan sponsors that have not already addressed the electronic transaction rules might wish to develop a timetable for compliance.
Continue Reading Health Plans Must Certify Ability to Conduct Electronic Transactions

Recent guidance from the IRS suggests that it will be helpful to segregate funding for retiree health benefits from funding for all other welfare benefits (such as retiree life insurance, disability benefits, and health benefits for active employees) in order to minimize tax liabilities.  A proposed regulation issued earlier this year indicates that segregating the retiree health assets in a separate trust might reduce the unrelated business income tax on the trust’s investment income.  (As we explain below, this tax issue is limited to benefits that are not collectively-bargained.)
Continue Reading Can You Reduce Your VEBA’s Taxable Income?

Group health plan sponsors and administrators focused on compliance with ACA’s shared responsibility rules might not be aware that another compliance deadline is looming.   By November 5, 2014, most group health plans must apply to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for a unique health plan identifying number.  (Please visit the “Deadlines” page of our blog for information about other approaching deadlines.)


Continue Reading Health Plan I.D. Application Deadline Is Approaching