Employee Benefit Guidance & Compliance Solutions

Monthly Newsletter July 2018

Posted by on July 1, 2018 in Newsletters

Dear Valued Clients and Associates,

We hope you have a relaxing and enjoyable 242nd Independence Day! It looks like it’s going to be a hot one so don’t forget to hydrate!

July comes with some important deadlines your organization may be subject to – read below and let us know if you have any questions or need help navigating.

Here is your July 2018 Newsletter with a combination of HR and Health related news. Enjoy!



Form 5500 Filing Deadline for Many Health Plans is July 31

Group health plan administrators are reminded that Form 5500 must be filed with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) by the last day of the seventh month after the plan year ends. For calendar-year plans, that due date falls on July 31.

Who must file form 5500?

In general, all group health plans covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) are required to file Form 5500. However, group health plans (whether fully insured, unfunded [meaning its benefits are paid as needed directly from the general assets of the plan sponsor], or a combination of the two) that covered fewer than 100 participants as of the beginning of the plan year are exempt from the Form 5500 filing requirement. For more on this requirement, click here.

How to File Form 5500

Forms 5500 must be filed electronically with the DOL using either the IFILE web-based filing system or an approved vendor’s software.

Visit our ERISA section for more ERISA compliance information.



Thinking About An Association Health Plan? Read The Fine Print

By Michelle Andrews

Federal officials say loosening the regulation of these plans will offer small businesses a more affordable health insurance option, but critics are wary.



Form I-9 Audits Up Dramatically Since October

From October 1, 2017-May 4, 2018, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted 2,282 Form I-9 audits, up from 1,360 audits from October 1, 2016-September 30, 2017. Given this dramatic increase, employers should take a moment to ensure that their Form I-9 compliance practices meet federal requirements. Businesses that fail to comply with these requirements are subject to penalties of up to $2,236 per violation.

4 Quick Form I-9 Compliance Tips

  1. All U.S. employers generally must fill out and keep a Form I-9 for every person they hire for employment in the United States, as long as the person works for pay or other benefits.
  2. Newly hired employees must complete and sign Section 1 of Form I-9 no later than the first day of employment.
  3. An employee must present to the employer an original document or documents that show his or her identity and employment authorization within 3 business days of the date employment begins.
  4. Employers must retain an employee’s completed Form I-9 for as long as the individual works for the employer. However, Form I-9 does not need to be filed with any federal agency.

For additional Form I-9 compliance information, check out our Form I-9 section.



Geriatric Assessments Could Fine-Tune Cancer Care For Older Adults

By Judith Graham

The American Society of Clinical Oncology issued a new guideline that recommends adults 65 and older receive a geriatric assessment when considering or undergoing chemotherapy.



Don’t Forget to Pay PCORI Fees

Employers that sponsor certain self-insured health plans–including some health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) and health flexible spending arrangements (health FSAs)–are reminded that they are responsible for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) fees. Fees for self-insured plans with plan years that ended in 2017 are due July 31, and are required to be paid via IRS Form 720.

Employer-sponsored self-insured plans with plan years that ended between January 1, 2017 and September 30, 2017 must pay a fee of $2.26 multiplied by the average number of lives covered under the plan. Employer-sponsored self-insured plans with plan years that ended between October 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017 must pay a fee of $2.39 multiplied by the average number of lives covered under the plan. Details on how to determine the average number of lives covered under a plan are included in these regulations.

For additional information, visit our section on PCORI Fees for Self-Insured Plans.



Cigna’s Chief Medical Officer Says Value-Based Care Is The Best Hope For Lowering Healthcare Costs.

The Hartford (CT) Business Journal (6/25, Pilon) reports the top medical doctor at Cigna says the insurer’s long experience with “value-based” or “accountable” care “has shown promise,” but there is “still work to do.” Cigna Chief Medical Officer Dr. Alan Muney said that Collaborative Care is showing results, adding that “Cigna’s annual medical-cost growth rate, across all types of contracts, has been hovering around 3 percent, he said” while employers nationally are seeing medical costs “grow between 6 and 7 percent per year.” Muney said, “Scaling this, getting more patients in these relationships, getting more doctors with these types of incentives, is really the way to go.”



Summer’s Here and So is Spear Phishing

Cyberattacks and resulting data breaches often begin with a spear-phishing email. Spear phishing differs from regular email phishing in its use of extensive research to target a specific audience, which allows the spear phisher to pose as a familiar and trusted entity in its email to a mark. Spear phishers seek a company’s valuable information–such as credentials providing access to customer lists, trade secrets, and confidential employee information–and some of their methods include:

  • Directing email recipients to fake (but authentic-looking) websites that ask for information like account numbers, passwords, or other credentials.
  • Inducing recipients to click on links or attachments that download malware onto the recipient’s computer. The malware often allows the phisher to steal passwords and sensitive data by, for example, tracking keystrokes.

The IRS offers the following tips to protect against spear phishing:

  1. Educate all employees about phishing in general and spear phishing in particular.
  2. Use strong, unique passwords with a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters. Also remember to use different passwords for each account.
  3. Never take an email from a familiar source at face value, especially if it asks you to open a link or attachment, or includes a threat about a dire consequence that will result if you fail to take action.
  4. If an email contains a link, hover your cursor over the link to see the web address (URL) destination. If it’s not a URL you recognize, or if it’s an abbreviated URL, don’t open it.
  5. Poor grammar and odd wording are warning signs of a spear-phishing email.
  6. Consider calling the sender to confirm the authenticity of an email you’re unsure of, but don’t use the phone number in the email.
  7. Use security software that updates automatically to help defend against malware, viruses, and known phishing sites.

Click here for additional information about protecting yourself from spear-phishing attacks.

Check out our Employee Records and Files section for more on how to protect confidential employee information.



Top Policy Expert’s Ties To Giant Drugmaker Often Go Unstated

By Sarah Jane Tribble

Dr. Mark McClellan joined Johnson & Johnson’s board of directors after leaving the FDA, but the connection often isn’t mentioned in research papers or public events.



HR Action Steps for Employee Name Changes

With the summer wedding season underway, many employees may soon be changing their names. As a result, in the coming months, it is critical for employers to ensure that each employee’s name is accurately reflected on required forms and internal records. Watch the video below to learn how to stay compliant.


For additional HR guidance, visit our Human Resources section.



I am constantly looking for ways to improve this newsletter, comments and suggestions are welcome. Thank you!


All the best to your success,

Brandi Bowers | Benefits Consultant
PF Compass Employer Guidance & Benefit Solutions

461 Somerset St. North Plainfield NJ 07060
Tel (732) 258-1032



Source Credits: HR 360, Inc., Keiser Health News, NJAHU

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