Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

January 25, 2017

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Webcasts and Conferences

New Year, New Changes to HR and Tax Compliance
January 31, 2017 WEBCAST
ADP

Health Insurance Markets During a Time Of Change
February 1, 2017 WEBCAST
Alliance for Health Reform

Profiting from Politics and Policies
February 9, 2017 WEBCAST
ftwilliam.com

Healthcare Benefits Trends to Watch In 2017
February 13, 2017 WEBCAST
Healthcare Trends Institute

Certificate in Global Benefits Management
April 24, 2017 in DC
International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

70th Annual National Conference
May 2, 2017 in IL
PSCA [Plan Sponsor Council of America]

GASB Updates: Statements 74 and 75
May 10, 2017 WEBCAST
Conference of Consulting Actuaries

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[Guidance Overview]

ACA Path to Repeal: No Waiting Period for the New Administration
"The new Administration is clearly signaling its intention to replace the ACA with a state-driven solution.... The executive order may represent an opportunity to make changes to the ACA that could benefit employer-sponsored health plans.... However, it is unclear whether such relief extends to self-insured plans.... Any action under the executive order may be delayed by the confirmation process.... The executive order will probably operate in conjunction with the repeal efforts taking place in Congress."
Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP

[Advert.]

Upcoming ftwilliam.com Webinars

Sponsored by Wolters Kluwer

Check out ftwilliam.com's 2017 webinar schedule. Keep up to date on industry topics and trends while earning CE credits! Learn more!


[Guidance Overview]

President Trump's ACA Executive Order: How Does It Impact Employers and Plan Sponsors?
"[A] Trump adviser seemed to suggest that the Employer Shared Responsibility rules (i.e., the 'Pay or Play' Rules) could be subject to some relief.... What that relief would entail is much less clear. Waiving all possible penalties seems unlikely, as the penalties are written into law and are revenue for the federal government. So something less than full waiver of the rules and penalties is more likely."
Quarles & Brady LLP

[Guidance Overview]

Illinois Attempts to Fix State's Employee Sick Leave Act
"[T]he original definition of 'personal sick leave benefits' was vague as to whether it included paid or unpaid employer-provided sick time, was unclear if it applied to paid sick leave benefits that did not accrue and did not address the effect of collective bargaining agreements. Recognizing this infirmity, the state's General Assembly passed amendments to the act on Jan. 10[.]"
Holland & Knight

Sixth Circuit: Failure to Notify Employee That Return to Work Required Proper Medical Release Constituted FMLA Interference
"A hospital interfered with a nurse's FMLA rights as a matter of law by failing to notify him that he wouldn't be restored to his position without a doctor's return-to-work release, and triable issues existed as to when he was entitled to restoration and if his subsequent discharge for purported performance issues was pretextual, a divided Sixth Circuit panel ruled[.]" [Casagrande v. OhioHealth Corp., No. 15-3292 (6th Cir. Dec. 20, 2016, unpub.)]
Wolters Kluwer Law & Business

Disclosing an Employee's Medical Condition May Result in Automatic FMLA Violation
"To the court, the issue was a straightforward one. Under the FMLA, confidentiality of medical information is an employee right, and the allegation here is that the employer violated that right. Therefore, even if the employer granted to Scott all the FMLA leave he was entitled, the court found it possible that the employer still 'materially affected' Scott's working conditions when it allegedly breached confidentiality and other employees mocked Scott for his condition." [Holtrey v. Collier County Bd. of County Commissioners, No. 16-34 (M.D. Fla. Jan. 12, 2017)]
FMLA Insights

[Advert.]

Online Learning Course: HIPAA Security

Sponsored by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

Health plans and business associates must comply with the HIPAA Security Rule. Topics covered include: Administrative Safeguards; Physical Safeguards; Technical Safeguards; and Organizational Requirements.


Minneapolis Safe and Sick Leave Ordinance Survives Broad Injunction Threat But Is Restricted to Employers Within City Limits
"[The] court did not address a threshold issue: whether a city may, consistent with state law, the Minnesota Constitution, and the U.S. Constitution, impose on employers an obligation to compensate employees for time not worked. The Minneapolis ordinance, and others of its kind that have surfaced around the country in the past few years, essentially create an 'unfunded mandate,' the entire cost of which is to be borne by employers. Except in collectively bargained agreements, the requirement of paid benefits, without some type of funding mechanism, is unusual."
Ogletree Deakins

ACA Replacement Bill from Cassidy and Colleagues Offers State Options, Roth HSAs
"Senators Cassidy and Collins state that the [Patient Freedom Act (PFA)] would grant to the states power to 'increase access to health insurance and improve patient choice, while preserving important consumer protections' from the ACA. The PFA does this by selectively -- rather than entirely -- repealing ACA provisions, and by giving the states three choices.... [S]tates could [1] keep the ACA (more or less); [2] adopt a different approach based on subsidized 'Roth HSAs' ... or [3] reject reform altogether."
Health Affairs

How Accessible and Affordable Were Individual Market Health Plans Before the ACA?
"For the most part, what state you lived in determined how easily you could purchase a health plan, the price you would pay, and what the plan would cover. Rules for insurers in the individual market varied from state to state, but in most states, if you had a pre-existing condition, you could be denied coverage, pay more, or have coverage for your pre-existing condition excluded from your health plan." [Includes chart of pre-ACA coverage rules by state.]
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Benefits in General

ERISA Class Action Waivers and Mandatory Arbitration -- Will the Supreme Court Start a Trend?
"[W]hile defendants have solid arguments against class certification following recent Supreme Court decisions cutting back on certification, it may be appealing for plans to avoid class certification litigation altogether, and the associated high costs in attorney's fees, by mandating individual arbitration of ERISA claims. If the Supreme Court endorses arbitration in Murphy Oil, as it has in the recent past ... ERISA plan sponsors might reconsider mandating individual arbitration of ERISA claims."
Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Gorsuch May Bring Employer-Friendly Approach to ERISA Cases
"If nominated as the next U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Judge Neil Gorsuch may bring an employer-friendly approach to issues related to ERISA litigation and employee benefits.... A survey of decisions by Gorsuch shows that, although he has been involved in at least 20 ERISA decisions in the past 10 years, the issues in those cases have been fairly limited."
Bloomberg BNA

[Opinion]

Time to Revisit Electronic Distribution Rules for SPDs
"Employers interested in using electronic distribution methods must solicit consent, track responses, store e-mail addresses and monitor delivery -- an administrative headache few want to take on.... In the almost 15 years since the regulations were last updated, Internet access has skyrocketed -- 84 percent of adults now use the Internet (up from 60 percent in 2002) and usage is almost universal for those of working age[.]"
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]

Executive Compensation and Nonqualified Plans

[Guidance Overview]

ISO and ESPP Reporting and Disclosure Requirements for Employers
"You must furnish an information statement on Form 3921 (ISO) or Form 3922 (ESPP), as applicable, to each employee (or former employee) by January 31, 2017; you must also file information returns with the [IRS] by February 28, 2017, if filing on paper, or March 31, 2017, if filing electronically.... A $50 penalty per return may apply for a filing that occurs on or before 30 days after the filing deadline, increasing to $100 if the filing occurs after 30 days but on or before August 1, 2017. Thereafter, a $260 penalty may be assessed for each delinquent filing, subject to a maximum penalty of $3,193,000 per year or $1,064,000 for small businesses."
Hanson Bridgett LLP

CEO Pay Ratio Disclosure Not Affected by Freeze on Federal Regs
"Last Friday's Reince Priebus memo instructing the heads of federal executive departments and agencies to freeze certain regulatory activity does not affect the CEO pay ratio disclosure set to take effect for the 2018 proxy season because independent regulatory agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission are exempt from its coverage."
Willis Towers Watson

How Hard Is It to Achieve Target Incentive Payouts?
"5% of executives at companies that offered such programs achieved at least 'threshold' performance, meaning they qualified for at least a partial bonus. 'Target' performance was also achieved by a large majority -- 75% -- of executives at those companies. However, only 15% of them qualified for the maximum bonus stipulated in their incentive plan."
CFO

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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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