HR Tips & Alerts

Here are some changes to be aware of and what they mean to you.

Expiration Date of Current Form I-9- On August 13, 2012, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a bulletin regarding the expiration date of Form I-9. The bulletin stated: “Until further notice, employers should continue using the Form I-9 currently available […]. This form should continue to be used even after the OMB control number expiration date of August 31, 2012 has passed. USCIS will provide updated information about the new version of the Form I-9 as it becomes available. Employers must complete the Form I-9 for all newly-hired employees in order to verify their identity and authorization to work in the United States.”

Summary of Benefits Coverage Requirement- Starting September 23, 2012, Insurance companies must provide a Summary of Benefits Coverage (SBC) form to individual policyholders and to their insured employer plans. Employer plans (self-funded and insured) must provide a SBC for open enrollment periods on or after that date (open enrollment in the 4th quarter of 2012 for calendar year plans.). Also, employer medical plans must provide employees and beneficiaries with a uniform glossary of terms commonly used in health insurance coverage (such as co-payment, deductible, home health care, etc.). In addition, the regulations include a new requirement to provide a 60-day advance notice of material plan modifications.

Annual Benefit Limits Waiver Deadline- The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued guidance for healthcare plans seeking to renew waivers on annual benefits. For plan years starting between September 23, 2010, and September 22, 2011, plans could not limit annual coverage of essential benefits such as hospital, physician and pharmacy benefits to less than $750,000. The restricted annual limit will be $2 million for plan years starting between September 23, 2012 and January 1, 2014. For plans issued or renewed beginning January 1, 2014, all annual dollar limits on coverage of essential health benefits will be prohibited.

EEO-1 Report Filing Deadline- By September 30, 2012, private employers with more than 100 employees and federal contractors (with 50 or more employees and a contract of at least $50,000) are required to file an EEO-1 Report with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEO-1 Report is a compliance survey report that is mandated by federal statute and regulations and requires company employment data to be categorized by race/ethnicity, gender and job category.

Senate Vote to Extend Immigration Programs. The Senate approved a bill (S. 3245) that would extend four key immigration programs that are set to expire on September 30, 2012, with a new expiration date of September 30, 2015. The bill authorizes a three-year extension for the E-Verify program, the EB-5 Regional Center program, the Special Immigrant Religious Worker program, and the Conrad State 30 J-1 Visa Waiver Program.