Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

January 16, 2017

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Manager, Office of the Actuary
NYS Teachers' Retirement System
in NY

ESOP Administrator
Swerdlin & Company
in GA

Executive Assistant
Western & Southern Financial Group
in OH

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TIAA
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Long Island Employee Benefits Group
in NY

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Webcasts and Conferences

Pension & Welfare Plan Overpayments: What's an Employer to Do?
RECORDED
Practical Law Company

Pension Regulations Explained and Applied
February 22, 2017 WEBCAST
Conference of Consulting Actuaries

2017 Basics of Employee Health & Welfare Plans
April 6, 2017 in MA
New England Employee Benefits Council

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[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Publication 5165: Guide for Electronically Filing ACA Information Returns for Software Developers and Transmitters, for Processing Year 2017 (PDF)
60 pages, rev. Jan. 2017. "[This publication] outlines the communication procedures, transmission formats, business rules and validation procedures for information returns transmitted electronically through the AIR System.... The procedures in this publication should be used when the following information returns are transmitted electronically for TY2015 and TY2016 in PY2017: [1] Form 1094-B, Transmittal of Health Coverage Information Returns; [2] Form 1095-B, Health Coverage; [3] Form 1094-C, Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns; [4] Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

[Advert.]

COBRA Handbook - 2017 Edition

Sponsored by Wolters Kluwer

This practical handbook reviews in detail the rules contained in the IRS and DOL regulations and offers guidance on how to comply with the various rules contained in the regulations.


[Official Guidance]

Text of CMS Instructions for Self-Insured Non-Federal Governmental Health Plans and Health Insurance Issuers Offering Group and Individual Health Coverage on How to Elect a Federal External Review Process (PDF)
3 pages, dated Jan. 12, 2017. "Previous guidance required information regarding this election to be sent to HHS via an email address. This technical guidance now requires health insurance issuers and self-insured, non-federal governmental plans using a Federally-administered external review process to submit information regarding their election of a Federal external review process to HHS via HIOS by the date on which such plans and issuers intend to begin using the Federal external review process."
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]

[Guidance Overview]

New Paid Parental, Family, and Medical Leave Act Approved by D.C. Council
"The Universal Paid Leave Act of 2016 is a bill that will allow individuals who work in Washington D.C. to take eight weeks of qualifying parental leave, six weeks of qualifying family leave, and two weeks of qualifying medical leave, and it establishes a 0.62% payroll tax on all D.C. employers in order to provide those benefits. Additionally, self-employed workers can opt-in to the program by paying the tax.... Employees who qualify for the various types of leave will receive up to 90% of their salary up to 1.5 times the minimum wage, and then 50% of their wage above that amount, with a maximum benefit of $1,000 per week."
Bryan Cave LLP

Exploring the Relationship Between Paid Family Leave and the Well-being of Low-Income Families: Lessons from California
"California's Paid Family Leave [PFL] program is the most accessible of the public PFL programs to low-income working parents because of its modest earnings requirements.... The study found that low-income recipients valued PFL for providing parents with partially subsidized time to spend with newborn children. Parents indicated substantial confusion, however, surrounding program eligibility and other rules, and use was low, particularly among low-income fathers."
Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation [ASPE], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]

OCR Announces First HIPAA Enforcement Action for Untimely Breach Notification
"This enforcement action underscores the need for covered entities and business associates to have clear policies and procedures in place to respond to Breach Notification Rule requirements in an effective and timely manner. All breaches discovered in 2016 affecting fewer than 500 individuals must be reported to HHS by March 1, 2017."
von Briesen & Roper, s.c.

[Advert.]

Online Learning Course: Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Sponsored by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

This course identifies coverage and eligibility requirements of employees and responsibilities of employers, and describes how to avoid common administration mistakes, implement best practices and be aware of interactions with other laws.


[Opinion]

Does Achieving Lower Health Care Premiums Necessarily Mean Lowering Insurance Coverage?
"What would happen if the plans were more attractive -- if people saw value in them? And, if we had 75% of the eligible group signing up as a result, what impact would that have on current premiums? ... [P]rices could come down at least 30% to 40% from 2018 prices. Said another way, the anti-selection load the current Obamacare exchange plans are carrying is worth at least 30% to 40%."
Bob Laszewski's Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

Text of DOL Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustments for 2017
48 pages. "This final rule sets forth the Department's 2017 annual adjustments for inflation to its civil monetary penalties, effective January 13, 2017."
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]

ERISA Preemption After Gobeille V. Liberty Mutual: Completing the Retrenchment of Shaw
"In Gobeille, the Court completed the process of reconciling the restrained approach to ERISA preemption announced in New York State Conference of Blue Cross & Blue Shield Plans v. Travelers Insurance Co. with the Court's literal and expansive approach adopted earlier in Shaw v. Delta Air Lines, Inc....The Court reached this conclusion in a way which indicates that, going forward, Traveler's more restrained approach to ERISA preemption exclusively prevails. This is particularly significant for state-sponsored private sector retirement plans, now immune from ERISA preemption challenge, as well as for state taxes as they apply to the investment trusts of ERISA-regulated retirement plans."
Prof. Edward A. Zelinsky, via SSRN

California State Pension Costs Doubled After Rate Increases
"State payments to CalPERS next fiscal year are expected to total $6 billion, nearly double the $3.2 billion paid six years ago before a wave of employer rate increases.... [S]tate payments to CalSTRS for the fiscal year beginning in July are expected to be $2.8 billion, nearly double the $1.5 billion paid three years ago when a rate increase began. Meanwhile, what had been the fastest-growing annual retirement cost in the budget, retiree health care for state workers, only increased by about half during the last six years, going from $1.5 billion in fiscal 2011 to $2.2 billion next year."
Calpensions

Executive Compensation and Nonqualified Plans

2016 Annual Incentive Plan Report (PDF)
21 pages. "This report presents information on annual incentive plan practices in place for executives at the 250 largest U.S. companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index."
FW Cook

Incentive Bonus Reporting on Form 8-K
"Annual bonus awards/targets set in 2017, for payout in 2018 (or later), do not need be disclosed if they are consistent with awards/targets in prior years.... Annual bonuses paid in 2017 for 2016 performance do not need be disclosed if they are consistent with awards reported in a prior year."
Winston & Strawn LLP

2017 Proxy Voting Guidelines: What's Really Important?
"ISS introduced new financial metrics to analyze CEO pay for performance to supplement total shareholder return (TSR) analysis.... The 2017 proxy voting guidelines: [1] were silent regarding frequency of say-on-pay votes.... [2] emphasized policies regarding director compensation and associated corporate governance issues.... [3] contained changes regarding the review of equity plans requiring minor action by companies."
Bloomberg BNA

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BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9595. Copyright 2017 BenefitsLink.com, Inc. All materials contained in this newsletter are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of BenefitsLink.com, Inc., or in the case of third party materials, the owner of those materials. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notices from copies of the content.

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