Legislative updates

Industry & Regulatory News

Medicare Enrollment Protection Act Introduced in House

Representative Kurt Schrader (D-OR) has introduced H.R. 8791, the Medicare Enrollment Protection Act of 2022 (the Act). The Act would amend the Social Security Act (SSA) to provide for a special enrollment period under Medicare, Part A (medical insurance) for individuals enrolled in COBRA continuation coverage. The Act would also prevent the increase of premiums in Medicare, Part A, and prevent a group health plan from considering an individual’s eligibility in Medicare, Part B to reduce or eliminate COBRA continuation coverage. In addition, if enacted, the Act would require the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services to update COBRA continuation notices to include an explanation of Medicare secondary payer rules. 

September 20 2022

Industry & Regulatory News

PBGC Issues Interest Rate Assumptions for DB Plans

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has issued updated interest rate assumptions for benefit payments in terminating single-employer defined benefit (DB) pension plans. Specifically, these interest assumptions are for benefit payments with valuation dates in the fourth quarter of 2022 and apply to plans insured by PBGC.

September 19 2022

Industry & Regulatory News

Senate Finance Committee Formally Introduces EARN Act

Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mike Crapo (R-ID), Senate Finance Committee Chair and Ranking Member, have introduced S.4808, the Enhancing American Retirement Now (EARN) Act. As previously announced, the Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved the bill in June based upon an outline released at that time.

Changes in the legislative text from the June outline include:

  • Individuals age 60 or older could start making higher catch-up contributions in 2025 (versus 2024).
  • Employees with wages below $100,000 could make catch-up contributions on a pretax or Roth basis. Employees with wages exceeding $100,000 would still be required to be make catch-up contributions on a Roth basis.
  • The option to treat employer contributions as Roth contributions would be available starting in 2023 (versus 2024).

While it is unclear whether the bill will be brought to a stand-alone vote with the Senate’s limited number of sessions for the remainder of the year, congressional observers anticipate that the EARN Act will be consolidated with the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee’s RISE & SHINE Act and the Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2022, which was passed by the House of Representatives. It appears that a final bill will likely receive a vote this year after the November mid-term elections.

September 09 2022

Industry & Regulatory News

DOL Extends Comment Period, Invites Public Hearing on QPAM Exemption

The Department of Labor (DOL) is extending the comment period for receiving written comments related to prohibited transaction class exemption 84-14 (the Proposed QPAM Amendment) to October 11, 2022. The DOL also intends to hold a public hearing on November 17, 2022, at which time a supplementary comment period will begin, and close approximately 14 days after the hearing transcript is posted on the EBSA’s web page.

Details of the proposed amendment were previously announced.

September 06 2022

Industry & Regulatory News

PBGC Proposes Changes to Annual Reporting of Defined Benefit Plan Information

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation is proposing modifications to reporting information it asks for on supporting schedules related to annual Form 5500 series returns. The proposal modifies line 19a and correlating instructions of the 2023 Schedule R, Retirement Plan Information, by updating the categories of assets used in identifying investments held by the plan and requiring the breakdown to be reported as of the end of the plan year rather than beginning of the plan year. Additionally, the proposal would modify line 19b and eliminate line 19c. With regard to the Schedule SB, Single-Employer Defined Benefit Plan Actuarial Information, the proposal modifies line 6 (Target Normal Cost) and correlating instructions to address an unlikely reporting inconsistency where a plan requires mandatory employee contributions and the mandatory contributions for the plan year exceed the present value of benefits accruing during the plan year. In addition, PBGC is proposing a change to line 26b attachment instructions to clarify that where a plan assumes benefits are paid in a lump sum but uses the annuity substitution rule to determine the funding target, the attachment may show projected benefits payable in the annuity form instead of the form assumed for valuation purposes.

August 26 2022

Industry & Regulatory News

DOL to Reopen Comment Period for Proposed Prohibited Transaction Procedure

The Department of Labor (DOL) has announced a public hearing scheduled for September 15, 2022, (and September 16, 2022, if necessary) regarding its proposal to supersede existing procedures for seeking exemptions from the prohibited transaction provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and the Internal Revenue Code. The DOL will also reopen the comment period beginning on the hearing date until approximately 14 days after the DOL publishes the hearing transcript on the Employee Benefits Security Administration’s (EBSA) web page.  

Details of the release of the proposed rule were previously announced.

August 22 2022

Industry & Regulatory News

Special Committee on Aging Holds ABLE Hearing

Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, conducted a hearing titled “Saving with ABLE: Financial Security for Pennsylvanians with Disabilities.” The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act was passed into law in 2014, creating tax-free savings accounts for individuals with disabilities to cover qualified disability-related expenses. Senator Casey highlighted how ABLE savings accounts have helped hundreds of thousands of Americans with disabilities improve their quality of life through use of these accounts, and several witnesses shared testimony on the ease of establishing accounts without impacting means testing for other benefits.

August 18 2022

Industry & Regulatory News

Retirement Protection Act Proposed in House

Representatives David Schwikert (R-AZ) and Byron Donalds (R-FL) have introduced H.R. 8579, the Retirement Protection Act. The bill proposes modification of the saver’s credit by replacing the three-tier formula with a single 50 percent credit percentage on contributions up to $2,000, with phase outs beginning at certain AGI thresholds. The proposal also provides for a one year $4,000 temporary increase in retirement contribution limits.

August 11 2022

Industry & Regulatory News

Proxy Vote Changes for Index Funds Proposed in House

Representatives Bill Huizenga (R-MI) and Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) have introduced HR 8521, the Investor Democracy is Expected (INDEX) Act. The bill mirrors S. 4241, which was introduced and announced in May. The bill would require investment advisors of passively managed funds to vote proxies in accordance with the fund investors’ instructions—not at the adviser’s discretion. The adviser would be responsible for passing through the proxies, collecting the instructions, and voting according to the investors’ wishes. Except for routine matters, the investment adviser could not vote on the proportion of shares for which voting instructions were not received. The proposal provides for a safe harbor whereby investment advisers would not be in violation of duties by choosing not to solicit voting instructions or voting the particular proxy.

August 09 2022

Industry & Regulatory News

IRS Extends Remedial Amendment Period for SECURE Act, Miners Act, and Certain Provisions of CARES Act

The IRS issued Notice 2022-33 which extends the deadline for amendments to retirement plans and Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs) to adopt provisions enacted under the SECURE Act, the Miners Act, and some provisions under the CARES Act. The Notice provides that qualified plans, IRAs, and non-governmental 403(b) plans must be amended to adopt applicable provisions of each act no later than December 31, 2025. The previous deadline for such amendments under Notice 2020-68 and Notice 2020-86 was December 31, 2022.

August 04 2022