Beth Alcalde

Beth Alcalde

Beth Alcalde serves as the office managing partner of Akerman’s Palm Beach County offices. Beth has experience with employer-sponsored benefit plans, including those plans’ compliance with the various federal laws and regulations, including ERISA, federal healthcare reform, COBRA, and HIPAA. She regularly assists clients with internal audits of their 401(K) and health and welfare plans, including cafeteria plans, to satisfy plan documentation, participant disclosure, and government reporting obligations. Beth has advised clients on complex compliance issues related to the benefits-related implications of corporate transactions, including with regard to qualified retirement plans. She has also handled multiple employer welfare arrangements (MEWAs), and has represented clients before the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Department of Labor.

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ERISA Exemption Upheld for Religious-Affiliated Hospitals

Hospitals that are “church-affiliated” may be breathing easier this week, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Monday that defined benefit qualified retirement plans (a/k/a pension plans) are not subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The Supreme Court confirmed that ERISA does not require an exempt “church plan” to have actually been established by the church itself.  … Continue Reading

House Republican Health Care Bill: Good News for Health Insurance Executives

An Affordable Care Act (ACA) provision that is often-overlooked by the media, but has impacted the ability of insurers and their non-insurance related entities, in their role as employers, to take tax deductions for certain compensation paid to their highly paid employees may be ending at the end of the year. If passed, the House Republican’s health care bill repealing … Continue Reading

Wellness Programs May Need a Check-Up Following Recent EEOC Guidance

Many employers offer some type of “wellness program” to their employees as a way to improve employee health and reduce healthcare spending. Wellness programs can be called many different things, including “weight loss challenges” or “healthy employee programs”. Recently, there were new rules issued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regarding the way these programs can be structured, … Continue Reading

Extension of ACA Reporting Deadline is Welcome News to Employers

On December 28, 2015, the IRS announced in Notice 2016-4 that the deadlines for complying with the new reporting requirements under the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) will be temporarily extended for purposes of 2015 coverage. The original and updated deadlines are provided below:

  • Deadline for Providing the Forms 1095-B and 1095-C to Individuals
    • Original Deadline: February 1, 2016
    • New Deadline:
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Preparing for the Approaching ACA Reporting Deadlines

With ACA reporting deadlines quickly approaching, many employers should be preparing to address the various reporting requirements in order to avoid the significant fines and penalties associated with non-compliance. As of January 2016, employers with 50 or more full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees (Applicable Large Employers or ALEs) will be subject to several complex ACA reporting requirements.… Continue Reading

ACA Issues for Employers to Stay Aware of in 2015

With the Affordable Care Act’s Employer Mandate (Pay-or-Play penalties) now officially in effect, employers with 50 or more full-time or full-time-equivalent employees should have already made all significant changes to their benefit programs necessary to ensure that they offer “minimum essential” and “affordable” coverage to their full-time employees to avoid penalties in 2015. However, there are several ongoing ACA issues … Continue Reading

Self-Insured Group Health Plans: Two Deadlines to Note

As 2014 winds down, plan sponsors are likely thinking ahead to some of the significant changes that will take effect in 2015, most notably, the employer “pay or play” mandate under the ACA. However, there are two deadlines that plan sponsors of self-insured group health plans should be aware of.

November 5, 2014 – Health Plan Identifier (Enforcement is Continue Reading

IRS Disallows Shifting Employee Health Coverage Burden to Exchanges

Certain employers hoped that they had discovered a way to “have their cake and eat it too”. In response to the looming employer mandate for employers with 50 or more employees – the requirement to offer full – time employees group health plan coverage or else face penalties under the Affordable Care Act, – some creative Human Resource leaders had … Continue Reading

ACA Temporary Reinsurance Fees – Clues from HHS Guidance of October 30, 2013

What is the “temporary reinsurance fee”?  The Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) requires the creation of a transitional reinsurance program for the first three years (2014-2016) of the state health insurance exchanges to help stabilize the exchange premiums.  It is intended to shift the risk of covering certain catastrophic medical expenses from the primary insurer to a reinsurer.  The funding for … Continue Reading

Health Flexible Spending Accounts – Modification of “Use It or Lose It” Rule

Many employers offer health flexible spending account arrangements (“Health FSAs”) through cafeteria plans to their employees.  Historically, Health FSAs have been subject to a “use it or lose it” requirement, meaning that any unused amounts in a Health FSA at the conclusion of a plan year or at the conclusion of a grace period (if any) must be forfeited by … Continue Reading

Avoiding ACA Fraud: Proving Individual Eligibility for Tax Subsidies Available Through Insurance Exchanges in 2014 and Beyond

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), certain low- and moderate-income people will qualify for health insurance tax credits beginning in 2014.  The tax credits will be jointly administered by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through the insurance exchanges.  The first open-enrollment period for the exchanges, and thus the first opportunity for individuals … Continue Reading

Affordable Care Act Update: Pay or Play Delay, and What Does it Say Today?

Late Tuesday afternoon, July 2, 2013, the federal government issued a statement through the US Department of the Treasury, announcing that the controversial employer shared responsibility provisions, coined the ‘pay or play’ provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have been delayed for one year.  This pushes the enforcement date of this provision from January 1, 2014 to January 1, … Continue Reading

ACA Cap on Deductibility of Compensation to Health Insurance Carriers’ Executives May Have Broad Tax Impacts

Health insurance carriers are keenly aware of many provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). But an often-overlooked ACA provision may actually impact the ability of these insurers and their non-insurance related entities, in their role as sophisticated employers, to take tax deductions for certain compensation paid to their executives.  This change results from the addition of … Continue Reading

Employers Receive Sample Exchange Notice and Face October 1 Deadline to Send to Employees

Employers have long been anticipating sample notices from the Department of Labor (“DOL”) that are required under the Affordable Care Act, informing employees (i) of the existence of the health care exchange (“Exchange”) and certain information about the services provided through the Exchange; (ii) of the possibility that in certain circumstances the employee may be eligible for a premium tax … Continue Reading

Coverage of Domestic Partners within Employer-Sponsored Group Health Plans: Are Changes on the Horizon?

Many employers offer group health plan coverage to domestic partners of their eligible employees. This extension of coverage is purely voluntary and not legally required, either presently or even next year under the mandates facing large employers under the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). However, for a variety of reasons related to employee morale, recruiting and retention efforts, it is increasingly … Continue Reading

Departments Release Proposed Regulations on ACA’s 90-Day Waiting Period Limit

The Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) generally limits the maximum length of employer-sponsored group health plans’ waiting periods to no more than 90-days in 2014.  In the March 21, 2013 Federal Register, the U.S. Department of Labor, Health and Human Services , and the Internal Revenue Service jointly released proposed regulations to provide guidance to employers on how to implement this … Continue Reading

HHS Changes Position on State Insurance Laws’ Minimum Participation Standards for Small Group Health Plans Sponsored by Employers

The interplay between the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) legislation/interpreting regulations and existing state insurance laws continues to evolve.  To further complicate matters, the regulators’ own positions on certain state insurance law issues have themselves changed over time.  For example, some state insurance laws permit insurers to require small groups to maintain certain threshold participation or contribution levels, and employers preparing … Continue Reading

Health Care Reform – Should Employers Reduce Expected Health Costs in 2014 by Transitioning Some Full Time Employees to Part Time Status Now?

2013 is shaping up to be a very busy year for employers in all industries, with the continued implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). Recognizing that in 2014, applicable large employers will avoid ACA-related penalty taxes by offering required affordable group health plan coverage just to full-time employees (i.e., those working an average of 30 hours … Continue Reading

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