Alert / Employee Benefits
A holiday gift to America, from Congress (and a podcast too!)

Congress pushed a year-end omnibus spending bill across the finish line this week. While the main objective of the bill was to keep the federal government running, the package includes some long-awaited gifts to the nation’s employers, but a wee chunk of coal too. 

Listen to the podcast! To tell you more about the year-end bill, what it includes and what’s missing, and what it all means for employers, the ERISA is a friend of mine podcast team went back to the studio for a special holiday episode. Let Ed and Scott walk you quickly through the package, while Priya wonders when that department transfer request is going to come through. Listen to the podcast (including a bonus song from us to America) here.

The down and dirty look: The bill accomplishes the following …

  • Finally repeals the Affordable Care Act’s much-despised tax on health plans with a high total cost (the “Cadillac tax”), an ill-conceived tax that had twice been kicked down the road by Congress.
  • Repeals the near equally maligned health insurer tax, but not until 2021.
  • Scuttles the 2.3% tax on medical devices, a tax that had been set to come online shortly.

The bad news: The bill resurrects, for another decade, the nuisance Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute fee, a fee of nearly $2.50 per covered life paid by insurers and self-insured plan sponsors each July 31.

And there are some things missing from Congress’ gift basket, gifts that many healthcare consumers had hoped for and expected Congress to deliver.

For an in-depth written account of the employee benefits-related provisions of the bill, see the Alert released this week by Lockton’s Government Relations practice.

For more information about impacts on retirement and risk insurance programs, please see our Executive Summary from Lockton Government Relations.

Not legal advice: Nothing in this Alert should be construed as legal advice. Lockton may not be considered your legal counsel, and communications with Lockton's Compliance Services group are not privileged under the attorney-client privilege.

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