Monthly Archives: October 2017
Tuesday, October 31, 2017

New rules issued by the Trump administration, including both interim final and temporary regulations effective October 6, 2017, significantly expand “who” may object to the Patient Protection and Affordable Coverage Act’s (PPACA) contraceptive coverage mandate and why those entities or individuals may object.


Under the PPACA, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), a division of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has the authority to require that certain preventive care and screenings for women be covered by specific group health plans and health insurance issuers.  HRSA has used that discretion to require, among other things, contraceptive coverage.  HHS, the Department of Labor, and the Department of the Treasury, the agencies tasked with enforcing that requirement, have permitted certain health insurance issuers and group health plans with religious objections, such as non-profit organization and church plans, to receive an exemption or accommodation from this requirement.  As a result of the Hobby Lobby litigation, closely held for-profit organizations with religious objections to contraceptive coverage were added to the list of entities which could request an accommodation; however, accommodations are intended to shift the cost of providing these services and supplies to third-party administrators and health insurance issuers rather than permitting a group health plan to truly not offer the services or supplies.

The new world order:

The first interim final rule and associated temporary regulations provide that all non-governmental plan sponsors and health insurance issuers that object to contraceptive coverage based on sincerely held religious beliefs, including student health plans of institutions of higher education, may qualify for an exemption.  Those same entities may request an accommodation rather than exemption if they prefer.  Individual employees, even those employed by governmental entities, are also permitted to object to contraceptive coverage’s inclusion in their health plan based on their sincerely held religious beliefs.

The second interim final rule provides that the entities and individuals who may request an exemption may also request an exemption because of their sincerely held moral convictions, not just their religious beliefs.


If you, or the group health plan you sponsor, object to contraceptive coverage based on a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction, it is more likely than not that this expansion now permits you to exclude all or a portion of contraceptive coverage from your plan.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Internal Revenue Service today released the 2018 dollar limits for retirement plans, as adjusted under Code Section 415(d). We have summarized the new limits (along with the limits from the last few years) in the chart below.

2018 Qualified Plan Limits

Type of Limitation20182017201620152014
Elective Deferrals (401(k), 403(b), 457(b)(2) and 457(c)(1))$18,500$18,000$18,000$18,000$17,500
Section 414(v) Catch-Up Deferrals to 401(k), 403(b), 457(b), or SARSEP Plans (457(b)(3) and 402(g) provide separate catch-up rules to be considered as appropriate)$6,000$6,000$6,000$6,000$5,500
SIMPLE 401(k) or regular SIMPLE plans, Catch-Up Deferrals$3,000$3,000$3,000$3,000$2,500
415 limit for Defined Benefit Plans$220,000$215,000$210,000$210,000$210,000
415 limit for Defined Contribution Plans$55,000$54,000$53,000$53,000$52,000
Annual Compensation Limit$275,000$270,000$265,000$265,000$260,000
Annual Compensation Limit for Grandfathered Participants in Governmental Plans Which Followed 401(a)(17) Limits (With Indexing) on July 1, 1993$405,000$400,000$395,000$395,000$385,000
Highly Compensated Employee 414(q)(1)(B)$120,000$120,000$120,000$120,000$115,000
Key employee in top heavy plan (officer)$175,000$175,000$170,000$170,000$170,000
SIMPLE Salary Deferral$12,500$12,500$12,500$12,500$12,000
Tax Credit ESOP Maximum balance$1,105,000$1,080,000$1,070,000$1,070,000$1,050,000
Amount for Lengthening of 5-Year ESOP Period$220,000$215,000$210,000$210,000$210,000
Taxable Wage Base$128,700$127,200$118,500$118,500$117,000
IRAs for individuals 49 and below$5,500$5,500$5,500$5,500$5,500
IRAs for individuals 50 and above$6,500$6,500$6,500$6,500$6,500
FICA Tax for employees and employers7.65%7.65%7.65%7.65%7.65%
Social Security Tax for employees and employers6.2%6.2%6.2%6.2%6.2%
Medicare Tax for employers and employees1.45%1.45%1.45%1.45%1.45%
Additional Medicare Tax*.9% of comp
.9% of comp
.9% of comp
.9% of comp
.9% of comp

*For taxable years beginning after 12/31/12, an employer must withhold Additional Medicare Tax on wages or compensation paid to an employee in excess of $200,000 in a calendar year for single/head of household filing status ($250,000 for married filing jointly).