News & Events

| SmartCEO honors SIG as a finalist in the 2015 Healthiest Company Awards

SIG recognized as one of Greater Baltimore’s leaders in workplace wellness

Lutherville, MD, September 29, 2015

SIG has been named a finalist in the 2015 Healthiest Company Awards. The Healthiest Company Awards program honors companies that have demonstrated a commitment to their employee populations through health and wellness programs. Through these programs, today’s health-conscious companies are not only investing in the strength of their businesses’ futures but also the futures of employees and their families.

An independent committee of local business leaders selects finalists based on engagement, effectiveness and ROI. SmartCEO shares the finalists’ inspiring stories in the September/October issue of SmartCEO magazine and celebrates their success at an awards reception in September.

“This year’s healthiest companies are serious about creating robust programs that provide employees with the resources they need to enrich their well-being. By investing in employee wellness, these companies are investing in their own success. Simply put, healthy employees feel energized and thrive,” says Jaime Nespor-Zawmon, president of SmartCEO Events. “SmartCEO is excited and honored to shine a spotlight on the companies that are leading a movement towards healthier and happier workplaces with our inaugural Healthiest Company Awards.”

SIG has won numerous awards for our wellness efforts over the past few years. Our Wellness Director was recently recognized as the Top Health Promotion Professional in the U.S. by the Wellness Council of America (WELCOA). SIG has been recognized four times as an American Heart Association Gold-Level Fit Friendly Company, twice as one of the Baltimore Business Journal’s (BBJ) Healthiest Employers, and as a Wellness Council of America (WELCOA) Well Workplace Small Business, an honor shared by no other benefits consulting firm in Maryland. We’re proud of where we’ve been and excited about where we’re headed.

Click here to read our article that was featured in the September/October issue of SmartCEO magazine.


| Veterans Removed From ALE Determination

September 22, 2015

Consider Hiring a Vet (or His or Her Spouse or Dependent)

The Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) pay-or-play penalties apply only to so-called applicable large employers (ALEs). An ALE is an employer that employs, on average, at least 50 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) in the prior calendar year. (For 2015 only, certain employers with between 50 and 99 FTEs on average in 2014 are exempt from pay-or-play penalties.)

Employers who are not interested in potentially incurring pay-or-play penalties under ACA but who are looking to expand their workforce beyond 50 FTEs should consider hiring a U.S. military veteran or his or her spouse.

| IRS Reverses Course on HRA Reporting

September 17, 2015

The IRS released updated instructions for the 2015 ACA reporting forms today and reversed its earlier guidance regarding reporting for HRAs.

Per the instructions, an employer with an insured major medical plan and HRA coverage for which an individual is eligible because the individual enrolls in the insured major medical plan is not required to report the coverage under the HRA for an individual covered by both arrangements. If an individual is covered by an HRA sponsored by one employer and a non-HRA group health plan sponsored by another employer (such as spousal coverage), each employer must report the coverage the employer provides.

This is welcome relief for employers that provide HRA coverage to employees enrolled in their fully insured group health plan, as separate reporting is not required for the HRA.

| Medicare Part D Creditable Coverage Notices Due Prior to Oct. 15th

You will find a link to the notice in the message below, please note that the notice has not changed from last year. Please feel free to update and use last year’s forms.


In preparation for the Medicare fall open enrollment period, employers sponsoring group health plans that include prescription drug coverage are required to notify all Medicare-eligible individuals whether such coverage is creditable. As a practical matter, group health plan sponsors often provide the creditable coverage notice to all plan participants to avoid overlooking any eligible individuals. Creditable coverage means that the coverage is expected to pay, on average, as much as the standard Medicare prescription drug coverage.

To comply with the law, this written disclosure notice must be provided annually and mailed to the homes of all Medicare Part D eligible enrolled employees, retirees, and COBRA participants prior to October 15th, and at various other times as required under the law, to the following individuals:

  • Medicare-eligible active working individuals and their dependents (including a Medicare-eligible individual when he or she joins the plan);
  • Medicare-eligible COBRA individuals and their dependents;
  • Medicare-eligible disabled individuals covered under an employer’s prescription drug plan; and
  • Any retirees and their dependents.

Model notices are available from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Additionally, employers are required to complete an online disclosure to CMS to report the creditable coverage status of their prescription drug plans. This disclosure is also required annually, no later than 60 days from the beginning of a plan year, and at certain other times.

| Enrollment Counts for Transitional Reinsurance Fee Due Nov. 16, 2015

September 14, 2015

Employers with self-insured major medical plans are reminded to report their membership count to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) via the website by November 16, 2015, as part of the Affordable Care Act’s (“ACA”) transitional reinsurance fee (the “Fee”).

| Draft 2015 ACA Reporting Instructions Require Reporting by Employers with HRAs

September 9, 2015

The IRS has released draft 2015 instructions for the B-Series and C-Series reporting forms (Forms 1094-B, 1095-B, 1094-C and 1095-C) that will be used by employers and coverage providers to report certain information regarding employment and health coverage status to employees and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the first quarter of 2016.

Within the instructions for the B-Series forms is a trap for the unwary. The draft instructions indicate that the ACA’s provider reporting applies to employers of any size that sponsor a self-insured health reimbursement arrangement (“HRA”) for employees, even when the HRA is paired with a fully insured group health plan offered by the employer.

| Federal Court Lets Lawyers and Others Who Don’t Read Off the Hook

September 8, 2015

A recent ruling of a Federal Appeals Court (the 3rd Circuit) arising out of a case in New Jersey should serve as an important reminder to plan sponsors, insurers and third-party administrators that they cannot assume that information has been provided to participants in the plan or the Summary Plan Description (SPD).

| Agencies Finalize Preventive Care Rules, Accommodation for Closely Held For-Profit Entities

August 18, 2015

The Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Department of Labor, and Health and Human Services (the “Agencies”) have released final regulations on several aspects of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) preventive care requirements. The regulations finalize prior guidance on coverage of preventive services and define standards regarding a “closely held” for-profit entity’s decision not to provide coverage for contraceptive services. The final regulations are effective for plan years beginning on or after September 14, 2015.

| IRS Releases Draft 2015 Instructions for ACA Reporting Forms

On August 6, 2015 The IRS released updated draft 2015 instructions for the B-Series and C-Series reporting forms (1094-B, 1095-B, 1094-C and 1095-C) that will be used by employers and coverage providers to report certain information to full-time employees and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

| IRS Releases Second Notice on Cadillac Tax Implementation Issues

SIG Alert

August 7, 2015

On July 31, 2015, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) released Notice 2015-52 (the “Notice”), the second installment in the IRS’s process of developing regulatory guidance regarding the ACA’s “excise tax on high cost employer-sponsored health coverage” – commonly known as the “Cadillac tax.” The Cadillac tax applies starting in 2018, and imposes a 40% nondeductible excise tax on the aggregate cost of “applicable employer-sponsored coverage” in excess of certain statutory limits ($10,200 for self-only coverage and $27,500 for coverage other than self-only).