A Q&A and More Delay: IRS Begins to Issue Clarifying Guidance on SECURE 2.0 Provisions

In late December 2023, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2024-2 (the Notice), providing guidance on key provisions of the SECURE 2.0 Act of 2022 (SECURE 2.0). SECURE 2.0, which was passed in December 2022, includes more than 90 provisions affecting US retirement plans, many of which are specifically aimed at enhancing savings opportunities for workers. The Notice provides guidance on many of the provisions of SECURE 2.0 in the form of questions and answers. This article covers the most significant provisions affecting 401(k) and 403(b) qualified retirement plans.

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California Imposes New Workplace Violence Prevention Mandate

On September 30, 2023, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 553 into law, creating a new layer to California employers’ existing injury and illness prevention programs (IIPP). Under SB 553, employers are required to implement a workplace violence prevention plan (WVPP) no later than July 1, 2024, to provide training to employees regarding the WVPP and to keep records of workplace violence incidents. As of January 1, 2025, the law also expands employers’ and employee representatives’ rights to obtain restraining orders on behalf of employees affected by threats of workplace violence.

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HHS Publishes New Rights of Conscience Final Rule

On January 11, 2024, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published its new final rule governing federal healthcare conscience protection statutes. The 2024 final rule, which went into effect March 11, 2024, repeals the majority of the prior final rule from 2019 that was found to be unlawful by three federal courts and reverts to the 2011 framework created by the Obama administration to address rights of conscience.

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Update on Texas Senate Bill 14-Related Lawsuits

In May 2023, the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill No. 14 (SB 14), which prohibits physicians and other licensed medical professionals from providing gender-affirming medical care to minors. The bill faced numerous legal challenges but ultimately went into effect on September 1, 2023. The case challenging the bill remains pending before the Texas Supreme Court.

Amidst the legal challenges, the Texas Office of the Attorney General has used its investigative and enforcement powers under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act to initiate investigations of a hospital and telehealth clinic based outside of Texas in connection with their provision of gender-affirming care to minors.

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CMS Releases CY 2025 Advance Notice for Medicare Advantage and Part D

On January 31, 2024, the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the Advance Notice of Methodological Changes for Calendar Year (CY) 2025 for Medicare Advantage (MA) Capitation Rates and Part C and D Payment Policies. CMS also released a press release and fact sheet. The advance notice is released on an annual basis and includes proposed updates to the capitation and risk adjustment methodologies used to calculate payments to MA plans, as well as other payment policies that impact Part D. The final CY 2025 rate announcement will be published no later than April 1, 2024.

The advance notice discusses several updates the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) made for 2025, including:

As a result of the IRA, CMS proposes updates to the Part D risk adjustment model to reflect the Part D benefit design.

CMS is annually required to update the parameters for the defined standard Part D drug benefit. This is meant to ensure that the actuarial value of the drug benefit tracks changes in Part D expenses. For non-low-income subsidy beneficiaries, the advance notice outlines the benefit parameters for defined standard benefits in 2025 as follows:




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