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The Wagner Law Group Description 

The Wagner Law Group, A Professional Corporation, is a nationally recognized ERISA & employee benefits, estate planning, employment, labor & human resources practice. 

 

Established in 1996, The Wagner Law Group has 23 attorneys engaged exclusively in employee benefits, estate planning and employment law. Seven of our attorneys are AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell as having very high to preeminent legal abilities and ethical standards. The firm is among the largest ERISA boutiques in the country. Our practice is national in scope, with clients in more than 40 states and several foreign countries.

 

 

Contact Info

The Wagner Law Group

 

  Integrity | Excellence

  

Massachusetts Office 

Tel: (617) 357-5200 

Fax: (617) 357-5250 

99 Summer Street 

13th Floor

Boston, MA 02110


Florida Office 

Tel: (561) 293-3590
Fax: (561) 293-3591
7108 Fairway Drive
Suite 125
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418

   

San Francisco Office

Tel: (415) 625-0002

Fax: (415) 358-8300

315 Montgomery Street

Suite 904

San Francisco, CA 94104

 

www.wagnerlawgroup.com

 

 

August 8, 2013 

 State and Federal Law Alert

 

Massachusetts Connector to Terminate All Employers' "Voluntary Plans" and Pre-tax Contributions

 

The Massachusetts Health Connector has sent a letter to employers stating that, due to PPACA requirements, it will be terminating all Voluntary Plans at the end of 2013.

 

Under the Massachusetts Health Care Reform Act, employers doing business in Massachusetts with 11 or more full-time equivalent employees must adopt and maintain a premium conversion plan that allows all its employees (with certain exceptions, such as employees who work fewer than 64 hours per month) to pay their share of health care premiums with pre-tax dollars. Most full-time employees would use a premium conversion plan to pay employee contributions for their employer's regular group health plan coverage. However, those employees who do not meet the eligibility requirements for their employer's regular plan must also have the right to pay for health care coverage through a premium conversion plan.

 

To facilitate this coverage for these other employees, employers could establish a Voluntary Plan through the Connector by setting up an account with the Connector, signing a Terms and Conditions Agreement and describing the plan to eligible employees. These employees could then use the employer's Voluntary Plan and premium conversion plan to select coverage from the Connector and make their required payments on a pre-tax basis.

 

However, under PPACA, payments to an Insurance Exchange may not be made on a pre-tax basis. The Connector is Massachusetts' Insurance Exchange and, therefore, as of January 1, 2014, it generally cannot accept pre-tax contributions.

                     

The Connector's letter reminds employers that they are still required under Massachusetts law to provide a pre-tax payment option to their employees, or face potential penalties. The letter suggests employers "get health coverage outside the Connector." This could include coverage through a private health exchange, individual insurance or a separate group health plan for employees who are not eligible for the employer's regular plan.

 

Needless to say, the current rules seem to put the state at odds with the federal government and will make it quite difficult for employers to comply with both state and federal laws. However, the Connector has announced it plans to issue further "clarifications" in the near future. Hopefully, these clarifications will include a practical solution for Massachusetts employers.

 

We will keep you informed of any developments.

 

This Newsletter is protected by copyright. Material appearing herein may be reproduced with appropriate credit.

  

Pursuant to Internal Revenue Service Circular 230, we hereby inform you that any advice set forth herein with respect to US federal tax issues is not intended or written by The Wagner Law Group to be used and cannot be used, by you or any taxpayer, for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on you or any other person under the Internal Revenue Code.

 

This Newsletter is provided for information purposes by The Wagner Law Group to clients and others who may be interested in the subject matter, and may not be relied upon as specific legal advice.  This material is not to be construed as legal advice or legal opinions on specific facts. Under the Rules of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, this material may be considered advertising.