Following is a summary of recent course corrections and updates required for the U.S. CEBS courses, as well as scheduled revisions.

Please make certain that you are using the correct edition of the study materials when preparing for a CEBS examination. If you have any questions regarding the status of your study materials, contact the CEBS Department at (262) 786-6710, option 3. Course revision notices are also available in the current issue of NewsScope.

Recent Course Revisions

CMS 2 Compensation Concepts and Principles was revised effective October 1, 2014.

GBA 3 Health Care: Financing, Quality and Reform was revised effective October 1, 2014. 

Course Update Issued for

RPA 4 Personal Wealth Management

A course update has been issued for RPA 4, applicable to exams taken on or after April 15, 2013. It is available to read or download here, or you can request a mailed paper copy here. It is required reading for the examination for this course.

Corrections

Below are corrections to the designated Courses and updates referencing the section(s) of the courses most impacted by the changes.

GBA 1 Group Health Plan Design

New IRS Guidance for the “Use-It-or-Lose-It” Rule of Health Flexible Spending Accounts

On October 31, 2013 the Internal Revenue Service (IRS Notice 2013-71) revised the use-it-or-lose-it rule for health flexible spending accounts (FSAs). It will now permit the carryover of up to $500 in unused health FSA funds from one plan year to another. The employer is not required to offer this option but if it does, it cannot offer the grace period option at the same time. Under the grace period option, the plan is allowed to reimburse any expenses incurred by a plan participant within two and a half months beyond the close of the plan year.

The up to $500 carryover amount can be used to reimburse qualifying medical expenses at any time during the next plan year. The amount does not count against the total amount that a plan allows a participant to contribute, currently capped by law at $2,500.

Assignment 5: Handbook of Employee Benefits, Chapter 7, primary pages 179 and 182; Learning Guide, Questions 10 and 16 on pages 5.11 and 5.15, respectively.

GBA 2 Group Benefits Management

  1. Assignment 1: Learning Guide, page 1.2. The textbook assigned reading page excerpt of 381-393 is from Chapter 14, not Chapter 15.
  2. PPACA’s  Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Program Halted

    The CLASS program was established to develop better long-term care insurance options for Americans; the Department of Health and Human Services announced in October 2011 that the program would not be implemented due to concerns over its viability.

    Assignment 12: Handbook of Employee Benefits, pages 351-353; Learning Guide, Question 22, page 12.19.
  3. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prohibited the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages legalized by states, was deemed unconstitutional by a June 2013 Supreme Court decision. Shortly thereafter, the Treasury Department issued guidance in the form of a revenue ruling and FAQs making it clear that for all federal tax purposes – including benefit plan rules – all lawful same-sex marriages will be recognized as marriages regardless of where the couple lives. Therefore, as long as the law of the state in which a couple resides or the law of the state in which the couple were married (“state of celebration”) recognizes same-sex marriages, employer-sponsored same-sex spouses domestic partner benefits are now permissible on a pre-tax basis under a cafeteria plan and are not subject to imputed income for federal tax purposes. The new expanded definition does not apply to those spouses of registered domestic partnerships, civil unions, or other similar formal relationships that are not marriages under state law.

    Assignment 6: Handbook of Employee Benefits, page 691, “Eligible Employees” Section; Learning Guide, page 6.9, Question 5.
  4. Set to become effective in 2014 the employer “play or pay” reporting requirements and penalties under the Affordable Care Act  have been  postponed until 2015. That is, although in 2014 eligible employees will be able to obtain premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions for health coverage obtained through  an Affordable Care Act (ACA) Exchange, this finanical assistance will not trigger the tax penalties for applicable large employers in 2014 as originally dictated by ACA.

    Assignment 8: Handbook of Employee Benefits, “Additional Tax Provisions…” Section, page 782, Question 21, page 8.17.
  5. New IRS Guidance for the “Use-It-or-Lose-It” Rule of Health Flexible  Spending Accounts
    On October 31, 2013 the Internal Revenue Service (IRS Notice 2013-71) revised the use-it-or-lose-it rule for health flexible spending accounts (FSAs). It will now permit the carryover of up to $500 in unused health FSA funds from one plan year to another. The employer is not required to offer this option but if it does, it cannot offer the grace period option at the same time. Under the grace period option, the plan is allowed to reimburse any expenses incurred by a plan participant within two and a half months beyond the close of the plan year.

    The up to $500 carryover amount can be used to reimburse qualifying medical expenses at any time during the next plan year. The amount does not count against the total amount that a plan allows a participant to contribute, currently capped by law at $2,500.

    Assignments 5 and 6: Handbook of Employee Benefits, Chapter 25, primary pages 678 and 701; Learning Guide, Question 12 on page 5.15 AND Questions 13 and 14 on pages 6.15- 6.17.