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December 21, 2017

What Industry News Is Saying About the Tax Bill

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As the ink dries on the Tax Reform and Jobs Act, we wanted to know how the benefits industry is reacting to the news. Let's take a look at reaction from around the web.

On the repeal of the Individual Mandate provision of the ACA:

From SHRM:

"The individual and employer mandates are intertwined, so eliminating one could start to unwind the other."

"If healthy individuals opt out of coverage without penalty, employer premiums are likely to spike, and overall, this is an unsustainable option."

From Benefits Pro:

"The true importance of the mandate has been debated by economists and policymakers, and the CBO has said it is revising how it calculates the effect. S&P Global Ratings suggested last month that rolling back the penalty would save less than expected, and increase the number of uninsured by only 3 million to 5 million."

From Employee Benefit News:

"To prevent market destabilization and the estimated 10% hikes that officials believe will be the result of individuals fleeing the health insurance marketplace, employer and business groups are turning their attention to other bills that could ease the disruption."

On the bill's impact on retirement plans:

From Employee Benefit News:

"The retirement industry “dodged a lot of bullets” in terms of what could have been included in the GOP tax reform bill that would have negatively impacted retirement savings."

"But just because Rothification of workplace retirement plans didn’t happen and the reform bill didn’t include changes to non-qualified deferred compensation doesn’t mean that those topics won’t resurface in the future."

From CNBC:

"Ordinarily, savers have until Oct. 15 of the year following the IRA conversion, also called a recharacterization, to go back and change it [to a pre-tax 401k]. But if you did an IRA conversion at any time in 2017, you will only have until the end of 2017 to reverse your decision."

On the Cadillac tax:

From Employee Benefit News/Jim Klein, American Benefits Council President: 

"We’re working hard on pushing for the Cadillac tax repeal. There is Republican interest to deal with the medical device tax and the health insurance plan tax as part of a year-end funding bill. Those two taxes have always been addressed in conjunction with the Cadillac tax, and we strongly believe they should continue to be."

On HSAs:

From Kaiser Health News:

"At this time, there are no changes aimed specifically at HSAs. These are savings accounts linked to high-deductible plans and exempt from tax liability...Some analysts say it’s still possible that HSA changes could be attached to other pieces of legislation, such as a spending bill or a bill to extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program."

On deductions for medical expenses:

From Consumer Reports:

"For 2018 and 2019 you’ll be able to deduct your medical expenses when they exceed 7.5 percent of your income, instead of the current 10 percent."

On other employee benefits:

From SHRM:

"Passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which limits the tax deductions that businesses can claim for certain employee benefits, is likely to cause some employers to revisit their offerings."

How are you planning for changes to employee benefits in 2018?

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