National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors

Update: CMS Reverts to Previous Medicare Marketing Guidance

September 23, 2014

Date: September 23, 2014 Issue: Medicare Marketing Action Taken:  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) rescinded the telephonic guidance that was issued on  August 14, 2014  which prohibited agents from calling existing enrollees to discuss other plan options (Section 70.6), and has reverted to previous guidance  on this matter effective immediately.  NAIFA, Medicare plan sponsors and others were successful in convincing CMS of the many benefits that agents provide to Me...

Medicare Marketing Guidelines Ignore Agent/Client Relationships

September 15, 2014

On August 14, 2014, CMS issued a correction ,  to the 2015 Medicare Marketing Guidelines (MMG) that changes the way in which agents are permitted to communicate (specifically telephonic contact) with existing clients. The clarification in section 70.6 would still allow agents to discuss the terms of existing plans with their clients, but would require a new “scope of appointment” if clients want assistance with the selection of a new plan.  Here’s how it plays out in reality….if a client has...

DOL Issues RFI on 401(k) Plan Brokerage Window Use

September 15, 2014

On August 20, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a request for information (RFI) on 401(k) plan use of brokerage windows, self-directed brokerage accounts, and similar features. DOL said the RFI “will assist the Department in determining whether, and to what extent, regulatory standards or safeguards, or other guidance, are necessary to protect participants’ retirement savings.”   The RFI reflects multiple concerns that DOL has about the use of self-directed investment choices in 401(k)...

Ways & Means Committee Approves Tax-Favored Savings Program to Help People with Disabilities

September 15, 2014

On July 31, the House Ways & Means Committee approved a bill, H.R.647, that would create new tax-favored savings programs to benefit people with disabilities. Patterned after section 529 state education savings programs, the “ABLE Act” (Achieving a Better Life Experience Act) would allow after-tax annual contributions of up to the gift tax exclusion amount—in 2014, that would be $14,000. Earnings on the contributions could accumulate income tax free. Distributions would be tax-free if used to...

IRS Releases Draft Instructions for Reporting under ACA’s Employer Responsibility Rules

September 15, 2014

On August 28, the IRS released draft instructions on how to report employee and health insurance data to the government. That reporting will be required in 2016 for 2015 data, but these instructions cover only the voluntary reporting employers may choose to do in 2015 for 2014 data.   ACA sections 6055 and 6056 require employers to tell the IRS about their full-time workers, and about the health insurance they offer to their full-time workers. These are complex reporting requirements, aim...