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- New final regulations for wellness programs apply to plan years beginning on and after January 1, 2014. If you have a wellness program and a health plan operating on a calendar year, you will want to consider the new requirements in preparing for 2014 open enrollment.
- Yesterday afternoon the Senate Finance Committee unveiled a substitute version of House Bill 59, the state biennial budget bill. The substitute legislation incorporates many changes, significant among which is the replacement of an across-the-board 7% income tax cut proposed in the House-passed version of the bill with a tax cut package specifically targeted at helping small businesses in Ohio.
- Employers must distribute a new Notice of Coverage Options to all employees (full-time and part-time, regardless of eligibility for benefits). The initial distribution of the Notice must be before October 1, 2013. Thereafter, the Notice must be given to each new employee within 14 days after work begins.
- “Use” of a trademark or service mark under U.S. trademark law is often misunderstood. Even the best-intended trademark owners encounter unexpected, sometimes fatal, barriers in their attempts to register their marks and maintain their registrations.
- On May 1, 2013, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency published notice of proposed revisions to its Best Available Technology (BAT) program.
- Under the pay-or-play penalties going into effect next year, an employer is subject to penalties if it does not offer "affordable" health coverage to its full-time employees (using the new 30-hour federal standard). The IRS has now proposed that premium discounts and other rewards for participation in an employer-sponsored wellness program not be taken into account in determining whether the health coverage offered by your company is affordable.
- The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently published an interim final rule indicating its intention to automate its Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record.
- The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently published a revised Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 for use by employers.
- Health Care Alert: CMS Proposed Rule Would Establish Powerful New Measures for Uncovering and Combating Medicare FraudOn April 24, 2013, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a Proposed Rule revamping the Medicare Incentive Reward Program (IRP) and providing CMS with greater discretion to deny or revoke enrollment privileges to certain providers and suppliers posing a higher risk of fraud to the Medicare program.
- On April 17, 2013, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a notice completely revising its Provider Self-Disclosure Protocol (SDP). OIG originally published the SDP in 1998 to establish a process for providers to voluntarily identify, investigate, disclose and resolve potential fraud involving federal health care programs.
- The Ohio House Finance and Appropriations Committee accepted a substitute version of House Bill 59, the state’s biennial budget bill, at a hearing yesterday afternoon. Among numerous significant changes in the bill, the substitute legislation removes Governor Kasich’s proposed tax reforms and replaces them with an across the board 7% income tax reduction, and removes the proposed expansion of Medicaid that was projected to leverage $2.4 billion in federal funds to provide coverage for uninsured Ohioans over the next two years.
- The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published an interim final rule on March 27, 2013, indicating its intention to automate its Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record. Form I-94, among other purposes, provides documentation of the admission and approved length of stay for individuals in a temporary immigration status.
- The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petition to reach the statutory cap for the fiscal year 2014. USCIS will use a computer-generated random selection process (commonly known as the “lottery”) for all FY 2014 cap-subject petitions received through April 5, 2013.
- On March 14, 2013, Representative Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced a bill (H.R. 1154) to amend the Clean Air Act (CAA) to eliminate the exemption for aggregation of hazardous air pollutants from oil and gas sources. CAA § 112(n)(4) currently prohibits the aggregation of emissions from "any oil or gas exploration or production well (with its associated equipment) and emissions from any pipeline compressor or pump station."
- Labor and Employment Alert: OFCCP Issues New Directive For Analyzing Pay Discrimination Claims For Use By The Federal Contracting CommunityRecently, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) officially withdrew the Bush-era guidance regarding pay discrimination. In its place, the OFCCP issued Directive 307, accompanied by a fact sheet and answers to frequently asked questions.
- At the beginning of each fiscal year, which starts October 1, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) makes available an allocation of new H-1B visas. The number of these new visas that are available each year is capped at approximately 65,000 (plus an additional 20,000 that are exempt from the cap for individuals with advanced degrees from an accredited U.S. college or university). Applications for these new visas can be filed as soon as April 1.
- The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released a final rule on the Physician Payment Sunshine Act. The final rule imposes new reporting requirements on group purchasing organizations (GPO) and manufacturers of drugs, devices, biologicals or medical supplies for which payment is available under Medicare, Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
- Asset protection planners in Ohio will soon have one more arrow in their quivers. Effective March 27, 2013, Ohio law will permit the creation and funding of a domestic asset protection trust.
- On March 8, 2013, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a revised Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 for use by employers.
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