Medicare Part D Notices Due Before Oct. 15, 2021
Each year, Medicare Part D requires group health plan sponsors to disclose whether the health plan’s prescription drug coverage is creditable to individuals eligible for Medicare Part D and to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
Plan sponsors must provide the annual disclosure notice to Medicare-eligible individuals before Oct. 15, 2021—the start date of the annual enrollment period for Medicare Part D. CMS has provided model disclosure notices for employers to use.
Medicare beneficiaries who do not have creditable prescription drug coverage and do not enroll in Medicare Part D when first eligible will likely pay higher premiums if they enroll at a later date. Although there are no specific penalties associated with the notice requirement, failing to provide the notice may be detrimental to employees.
Employers should confirm whether their health plans’ prescription drug coverage is creditable or noncreditable and prepare to send their Medicare Part D disclosure notices before Oct. 15, 2021. To make the process easier, employers often include Medicare Part D notices in open enrollment packets they send out prior to Oct. 15.
A group health plan’s prescription drug coverage is considered creditable if its actuarial value equals or exceeds the actuarial value of standard Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. In general, this actuarial determination measures whether the expected amount of paid claims under the group health plan’s prescription drug coverage is at least as much as the expected amount of paid claims under the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit.
On Sept. 14, 2021, federal agencies announced proposed revisions to the Form 5500 Annual Return/Report. These changes are primarily designed to implement the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (SECURE Act) and make other improvements.
Key proposed form revisions would:
- Consolidate the Form 5500 for defined contribution retirement plans.
- Modify the Form 5500 to reflect pooled employer plans (PEPs) as a new type of retirement plan.
- Improve financial reporting by adding new fee and expense reporting requirements.
- Expand the number of defined contribution retirement plans that would be eligible for small plan simplified reporting options.
- Add questions to improve financial and funding reporting by certain defined benefit pension plans, and improve oversight and compliance of tax-qualified retirement plans.
Employers are constantly looking for ways to attract and retain workers. These efforts often include tailoring benefits packages or adjusting compensation. While valuable offerings, these solutions don’t always address the needs of one critical workplace segment: part-time workers.
In some cases, part-time employees don’t qualify for benefits packages; in others, they are only offered limited perks. An obvious solution would be expanding all benefits to all employee segments, but that’s not feasible in many cases.
Instead, employers can consider offering perks that speak directly to the unique needs of part-time workers. This article identifies three coveted workplace perks that part-time employees are looking for right now.
1. Scheduling Power
Scheduling autonomy is a huge perk for part-time employees. These workers might not work full time for a variety of reasons, scheduling conflicts chief among them. Part-time workers may have multiple jobs, school, dependent care duties or other responsibilities that necessitate their schedules.
Allowing part-time employees to choose when they work can be a huge attraction and retention tool. An even bigger draw could be allowing employees to also choose where they work. While this is only reasonable for some workplaces, remote working opportunities are consistently among the most coveted employee perks.
2. Early Wage Access
Financial difficulties might affect any worker segment, but they are especially problematic for part-time employees. While salaried workers can expect a consistent paycheck, part-time employees do not have this luxury. Sometimes other life responsibilities take precedence, and part-time workers cannot pick up their usual shifts, resulting in budget shortages.
In these instances, offering part-time employees early access to earned wages can be critical. This is when an employee receives money they earned a few days ahead of their normal pay date. This early access can lead to greater overall employee productivity and well-being, as it saves employees from seeking high-interest loans that can lead to further debt. Moreover, since the employees have already earned the money they’re gaining access to, there is little risk to employers.
3. Streamlined Communication Solutions
Communication is vital to part-time employees. These workers often rely on timely messages from managers for scheduling and other information. Sometimes this information is only available through limited channels, such as paper schedules or in-person chats.
Alternatively, employers can consider streamlining communication using a consistent technology platform, such as a company webpage or app. On such a platform, employers could post scheduling information and important announcements. Most platforms also allow managers to communicate directly with employees and retain message records in one spot rather than using individuals’ personal emails.
Part-time workers can be just as important to businesses as full-time employees. Offering workplace perks that speak to part-time employees’ unique needs can be critical for productivity, well-being and retention.