The blood remaining in the umbilical cord after childbirth contains stems cells which may be used in a variety of medical treatments. Many parents of newborns are seeking to save this “cord blood”, either with the hopes of curing known ailments, as insurance against future illnesses, or for use in yet-to-be-discovered therapies.

My internet surfing (assign whatever level of reliability you see fit) reveals that cord blood storage costs about $1000-2000 for the initial collection and $150-$250 per year for the storage. Perhaps not insurmountable in a vacuum, but more prohibitive when added to all the other costs of having children (Diapers! Clothes! Lessons! Child care! Downloads! Theme parks in Florida!). So it’s no surprise that many employees are wondering – can I pay for cord blood storage with the money in my health reimbursement account (HRA), health care flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA)?

Maybe.

Continue Reading Can Employees Pay for Cord Blood Storage with an HRA, FSA or HSA?

Written by Alden J. Bianchi

Regulations implementing the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) employer shared responsibility rules including the substantive “pay-or-play” rules and the accompanying reporting rules were adopted in February.  Regulations implementing the reporting rules in newly added Internal Revenue Code Sections 6055 and 6056 came along in March. And draft reporting forms (IRS Forms 1094-B, 1094-C, 1095-B and 1095-C) and accompanying instructions followed in August.

With these regulations and forms, and a handful of other, related guidance items (e.g., a final rule governing waiting periods), the government has assembled a basic—but by no means complete—compliance infrastructure for employer shared responsibility. But challenges nevertheless remain. Set out below is a partial list of items that are unresolved, would benefit from additional guidance, or simply invite trouble.

Continue Reading The Affordable Care Act—Countdown to Compliance for Employers, Week 1: Going Live with the Affordable Care Act’s Employer Shared Responsibility Rules on January 1, 2015 . . . What Can Possibly Go Wrong?

Written by Ann Fievet

In Notice 2014-1, the IRS has provided additional guidance for cafeteria plans (including health and dependent care flexible spending accounts) and Health Savings Accounts on compliance with the changes to treatment of same-sex married couples following the Supreme Court’s Windsor decision. The guidance in Notice 2014-1, issued on December 16, 2013, expands on previous IRS guidance issued in Revenue Ruling 2013-17, which we discussed in our client advisory available here. The bullet points below summarize the key guidance points described in the Notice and offer some practical insight for employers in implementing the guidance.

Continue Reading More IRS Guidance on Cafeteria Plan, FSA, DCAP and HSA Administration Post-Windsor