May the Force Be With You

In the Star Wars movie franchise, Obi-Wan Kenobi explains the Force to Luke as “an energy field created by all living things.  It surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together.”  Let BASE® be the Force that surrounds your business with compliance within the ACA, IRS, DOL, ERISA, and insurance rules and regulations, penetrates your business with our commitment and outstanding customer service, and binds all your benefit needs and money saving strategies together!

BASE® offers businesses a variety of Health Reimbursement Arrangements tailored to each business’ structure and needs.  With an HRA in place, there are sizeable savings for both the employer and employee.  Whether a business owner is self-employed or has a business with multiple employees, BASE® HRAs have varying plan designs to meet client needs.

Take for example the BASE® Section 105 HRA, self-employed business owners are able to take advantage of tremendous tax savings by deducting up to 100% of their family’s qualifying medical expenses as a business deduction.  More often than not, small businesses only take the standard personal deduction for health insurance costs when filing taxes.

With the Section 105 HRA, on average, small business owners save over $4,700 in tax savings each year.  Not only do they reduce the financial impact of health care expenses, but can also pay for eligible out-of-pocket health care expenses while paying no taxes on their reimbursements.

Sounds like a good Force to be partnered with, but don’t just take our word for it.  Check out what Colleen E., a BASE® HRA client, had to say:

The Section 105 BASE® HRA is the most affordable health reimbursement plan that we have found. The staff has been very friendly and helpful from the very beginning. From the guidance offered the very minute we enrolled in the plan to the necessary documentation, we have felt everything has been very easy to understand. My husband and I feel that the staff is very knowledgeable with answers to any questions, and always keeps us informed of compliance issues that might arise in the age of healthcare reform. The best part would be the thousands in additional tax savings each year that wouldn’t be possible without the BASE® HRA in place.

If you are a self-employed farmer or business owner or own a small company looking for ways to save on the cost of out-of-pocket medical expenses and health insurance premiums, BASE® has many HRA options available for you to inquire about.  They have the knowledge to help you get started with the proper option for you.  As a self-employed farming team, we highly recommend the Section 105 BASE®HRA to create a means to save on your taxes each year.

BASE® provides plan design, implementation, and compliance services with a staff that is well- trained in assisting each and every business in maximizing a company’s tax savings.  Plus, BASE® is making sure the plan is in compliance with all government rules, as well as, insurance rules and regulations.

May the force be with you.  Call today to take advantage of the tremendous tax savings options with BASE®.  For more information, please call 1-888-386-9680. 

Importance of BASE® ERISA Wrap to Mitigate Risk

Continuously adapting and changing, we must take compliance rules and regulations as they come.  It is important to understand just how important an ERISA Wrap document is in avoiding risk during this volatile time of unremitting ACA, IRS, and ERISA updates.  Recent Department of Labor regulatory changes serve as a good reminder of how important it is for employers to arm themselves with wraparound compliance protection.  All it takes is one random audit or employee complaint to cost an employer thousands in penalties for not having the proper plan documentation up-to-date.  There is no question it pays to have an ERISA Wrap in place, and serves as a great reminder that the quicker employers get into compliance with an ERISA Wrap, the better.

Effective April 1, 2018, a new rule from the US Department of Labor (DOL) requires ERISA-covered employee benefit plans to re-issue plan documentation (ERISA Wrap documents) to all participants.  While the rule is in effect, employers have 210 days to comply with this new ruling.  Please note this change revolves around changes to claim processing requirements, which can be found in the Summary Plan Description and Plan Document that BASE® provides as part of important ERISA Wrap documentation that was updated on March 5, 2018.

 The most notable changes to claim processing requirements include: 

  • Improvement to Basic Disclosure Requirements. Benefit denial notices must include a more complete discussion of why the plan denied a claim and the standards used in making the decision.
  • Right to Internal Protocols. Benefit denial notices must include specific criteria of the plan that were used in denying a claim, or a statement that none were used.
  • Access to Claims File. The Plan Administrator must inform participants, in benefit denial notices, that they are entitled to access all documents relevant to an adverse claim determination.
  • Avoiding Conflicts of Interest. Plans must ensure that disability benefit claims and appeals are adjudicated in a way that ensures the independence and impartiality of individuals making the decision.

Without this updated documentation employers are at risk of not providing the amended claims procedures to their employee participants, which puts them at risk for $110 per-day per-employee penalty. BASE® reissues ERISA Wrap Documentation to all clients affected by regulatory changes, such as this, to keep steep penalties at bay. 

 But don’t just take our word for it; look at the case of Lee. ING Groep, N.V., 2016 WL 3974176 (9th Cir. July 25, 2016) which serves as a reminder of how a court can impose such penalties.  In this case, a district court moved in favor of a former employee for an ERISA violation, which could have been avoided had the proper documentation been provided. While the case stemmed from a former employees challenge of the denial of benefits and the failure to follow claims procedures imposed on benefits plans, another ERISA violation was uncovered.  In the end, the court granted summary judgement to the plaintiff and imposed a penalty of $27,475 for failure to produce a Plan Document in a timely manner.  So while this case started because an employee was unhappy regarding the handling of claims, it proves that one complaint can lead to a DOL audit and put employers at risk for thousands of dollars in penalties.

This is just one example of how the BASE® ERISA Wrap keeps employers up-to-date and in compliance with the latest IRS and DOL rules and regulations as they become available.  Not to mention the other ways that having an ERISA Wrap in place provides wraparound coverage, this includes important distribution guidelines along with our extensive ERISA Wrap compliance package.

 BASE® provides the service and protection they deserve with the BASE® ERISA Wrap in place.  Should you have any questions regarding these changes or want to learn more about the BASE® ERISA Wrap, please contact our office at 1-888-386-9680.