Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

January 26, 2017

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Webcasts and Conferences

Helping Small Business Owners Save for Retirement
March 1, 2017 WEBCAST
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor

Level-Funded Plans
March 10, 2017 WEBCAST
Lorman Education Services

Benefits Conference for Public Employees: Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) Highlight
April 25, 2017 in OH
International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

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[Guidance Overview]

Certain Small Employers Now May Offer Special Health Reimbursement Arrangements (PDF)
"QSEHRAs are only for 'small employers.' ... The employer cannot offer any other group health plan (such as medical, dental, vision and health flexible spending account plans).... Only the employer may fund the QSEHRA ... The employer must offer the QSEHRA to all eligible employees.... QSEHRAs must be offered on the same terms to all eligible employees.... A QSEHRA may reimburse an eligible employee for eligible medical expenses ... [Here are some other] QSEHRA considerations ... Small employer requirements [also apply]."
Fox Rothschild LLP

[Advert.]

Join ECFC, March 8-10, for our Annual Conference in Washington DC

Sponsored by ECFC [Employers Council on Flexible Compensation]

The Annual Conference in Washington will feature congressional speakers, ECFC lobbying team, inside the beltway keynote speakers, regulatory agency and scheduled meetings on Capitol Hill with congressional members and staffers, and more.


Prior Authorization and Utilization Management Reform Principles (PDF)
"This group strongly urges health plans, benefit managers and any other party conducting utilization management, as well as accreditation organizations, to apply [these] principles to utilization management programs for both medical and pharmacy benefits.... [A]dherence to these principles will ensure that patients have timely access to treatment and reduce administrative costs to the health care system."
American Medical Association [AMA], American Hospital Association, American Pharmacists Association, and 14 other groups

Groups Press Insurers to Reform Prior Authorization
"The coalition ... says the way insurers currently handle preapprovals creates unreasonable hurdles for patients seeking care. It urged health plans, benefit managers and others to reform current requirements ... For instance, the coalition wants to see providers receive a decision from insurers for non-urgent care within 48 hours and for urgent care within 24 hours of receiving all the necessary information. It also wants utilization management programs to be based on accurate and up-to-date clinical criteria that are available to providers and the public."
FierceHealthcare

What's Happening with the ACA?
"The recent flurry of activity around the [ACA] has many people confused about where it stands, and what the employer's obligations are. [This article] summarizes the activity so far ... Legislative Repeal Activity ... Legislative Replacement Activity ... Executive Order."
Venable LLP

President Trump and the ACA Regulatory Freeze: What Happens Now?
"[T]he executive order directs governmental agencies to stop issuing regulations under the ACA and freeze any pending regulations. This means that unregulated sections of the law, including the extension of nondiscrimination rules to fully insured health plans and the Cadillac Tax, remain dormant, potentially indefinitely."
Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP

Massachusetts Governor Hiking Taxes to Rescue Failed Health Reform
"Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts has proposed a tax of $2,000 per worker on businesses which do not offer health coverage to employees who become dependent on Medicaid. This makes him the second Republican governor of Massachusetts to buy into the notion that imposing taxes (or fines or penalties or fees) on individuals and businesses can force them to accept responsibility for government failure at getting health spending under control."
National Center for Policy Analysis Health Policy Blog

Benefits in General

Supreme Court to Rule on Church Plan Status, Possibly Affecting Welfare Benefits and DC Plans
"What the Court must determine is whether the exemption applies if a plan is maintained by a (tax exempt) church-affiliated organization or is available only when a church, per se, established the plan.... While the plans at issue in these consolidated cases are defined benefit pension plans, the question of whether ERISA applies is much broader, as it has implications for defined contribution retirement plans, welfare benefit plans, and even for health care continuation obligations under COBRA, which similarly exempts church plans."
Fox Rothschild LLP

Executive Compensation and Nonqualified Plans

IRS Updates Golden Parachute Payment Audit Tips
"The [2017 Golden Parachutes Payments (Audit Techniques) Guide (ATG)] specifies two additional types of documents reviewed by IRS examiners in golden parachute payment examinations, including: Information Statement (Schedules 14A and 14C).... Registration Statements (Forms S-4 and F-4).... The 2017 ATG specifies the interplay between I.R.C. Section 162(m) and golden parachute payments."
Bloomberg BNA

Employee Stock Plans: 2016 Year-End International Reporting Requirements
"This White Paper highlights some of the principal calendar and year-end reporting requirements for employee stock plans that U.S. companies most commonly encounter when offering these programs to their employees in selected jurisdictions worldwide.... A chart summarizing these items [is included]."
Jones Day

Trends in Stock Compensation, ESPPs, and Participant Behavior
"Use of full-value awards continues to increase.... Use of stock options continues to decline.... Performance awards are for executives.... [Total shareholder return (TSR)] is the top metric for performance grants.... Dividend payments increase.... Payouts to retirees."
myStockOptions.com

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David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher  davebaker@benefitslink.com
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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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