April 2011  |  Volume 2, Number 4

National Employee Benefits Day is Monday, April 4

Each year, National Employee Benefits Day acknowledges trustees, administrators, corporate benefits practitioners and professional advisors for their dedication to providing quality benefits and the important role they play in their plan participants' well-being.


This year, National Employee Benefits Day has a special focus on communicating benefits. We encourage you to use the day to evaluate your current communication efforts and to take time to educate your employees on the valuable benefits you offer.


The day is also a time to recognize yourself and your peers for your hard work and dedication. Give yourself a pat on the back for all that you do!

Contract, Compliance and Research Updates
IRS Issues Interim Guidance on Informational Reporting of Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage; Reporting is Voluntary for All Employers for 2011 and Small Employers for 2010
WASHINGTON - On March 29, 2011, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued interim guidance for employers on informational reporting on each employee's annual Form W-2 of the cost of the health insurance coverage they sponsor. The IRS is requesting comments on this interim guidance. The IRS emphasized that this new reporting is for employees' information only, to inform them of the cost of their health coverage, and does not cause excludable employer-provided health coverage to become taxable; employer-provided health coverage continues to be excludable from an employee's income, and is not taxable. The Affordable Care Act provides that employers are required to report the cost of employer-provided health care coverage on the Form W-2. Notice 2010-69, issued last fall, made this requirement optional for all employers for the 2011 Forms W-2 (generally furnished to employees in January 2012). In this guidance, the IRS provided further relief for smaller employers (those filing fewer than 250 W-2 forms) by making this requirement optional for them at least for 2012 (i.e., for 2012 Forms W-2 that generally would be furnished to employees in January 2013) and continuing this optional treatment for smaller employers until further guidance is issued.   Using a question-and-answer format, Notice 2011-28 also provides guidance for employers that are subject to this requirement for the 2012 Forms W-2 and those that choose to voluntarily comply with it for either 2011 or 2012. The notice includes information on how to report, what coverage to include and how to determine the cost of the coverage. 
The 2011 Form W-2, prior IRS Notice 2010-69 deferring the reporting requirement for 2011, and Notice 2011-28 containing the new guidance are available on IRS.gov.
Wisconsin Updates


WI Lawmakers Aim to Align State Law with Federal Health Reform 

As the courts debate the constitutionality of the federal health care act, four state lawmakers, three of which are Republicans, want to make sure state statutes line up with the law. Representatives Pat Strachota, R-West Bend; Bob Ziegelbauer, I-Manitowoc; John Nygren, R-Marinette; and Erik Severson, R-Star Prairie, are introducing a bill that will eliminate differences between state and federal law when it comes to coverage of adult dependents. Since January 1, 2010, Wisconsin insurers have been required to cover adult children up to 27, provided they are unmarried and their employer doesn't offer insurance. The federal health law requires coverage up to age 26.  The authors say the differences between state and federal law, which went into effect in September 2010, have been a source of confusion for employers and employees. "It is imperative that we move forward quickly to make these changes despite the confusion that exists on the impact of recent judicial rulings on the federal health care law," write the authors in a memo circulated for sponsorship. "Employers and employees should not have to continue to deal with this administrative burden for the next several years while this battle makes its way to the Supreme Court." Additionally, in a break from the federal law, the bill retains current state law for full−time students who, before age 27, are called to active military duty while attending college.

Click here to read more.

Appeals Court Upholds Milwaukee's Sick Leave Law

Milwaukee's sick leave law will not take effect until city officials answer legal questions regarding the March 24, 2011, court decision and share more information with the business community regarding details of the law. 

For more on this story, click here for The Business Journal article.
In This Issue
National Employee Benefits Day
Contract, Compliance and Research Updates
Wisconsin Updates
HR & Benefit Essentials has changed to HR360*
More information regarding Health Care Reform and other benefit resources is available on the HR360 website, available to BSG clients under the "Resources" menu of their HR Express website. HR360 includes new features including step-by-step interactive guides which make the processes of hiring, termination, COBRA and FMLA so much easier in addition to the new online tools such as job description builder and salary benchmarking tool.
BSG subscribes to this service for your benefit. If you would like more information regarding this resource please contact your account management team at BSG. 

*The HR & Benefit Essentials website has a new name and look. You can still access HR360 as instructed above. 

Big Jump in Wellness Incentive Dollars

Many U.S. firms adding wellness programs in 2011 

Financial incentives have taken on greater importance in the drive to increase employee participation in health improvement programs, according to a new study by the nonprofit National Business Group on Health (NBGH) and Fidelity Investments.

Click here to read the full study.

Enlighten is published by The Benefit Services Group, Inc., (BSG®) and is provided free of charge to select BSG client representatives and associates.BSG logo

By providing links to other sites, BSG does not guarantee, approve or endorse the information or products available at these sites, nor does a link indicate any association with or endorsement by the linked site to BSG.

The preceding is not intended to be and is not offered as legal advice. We are prohibited from the practice of law. Compliance is the responsibility of the employer or Plan sponsor and affected employees who should seek their own legal counsel regarding questions about information presented in this newsletter.

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