Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

January 30, 2017

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Employee Benefits Jobs

Director of Benefits Operations and Compliance
UFCW Unions and Employers Benefits Administration, LLC
in GA

Trading & Reconciliation Supervisor
Aspire Financial Services LLC
in FL

Plan Client Relations Manager/Analyst
Alliance Benefit Group of Houston, Inc. (ABG)
in TX

Defined Contribution Compliance Analyst
Transamerica
in NY

Defined Benefit Administrator (Remote)
TPA Firm
Telecommute

401K Plan Administrator & Manager
Progressive Growing TPA Firm
in MI

Senior Retirement Plan Administrator
Professional Capital Services
in PA

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Webcasts and Conferences

HIPAA and How It Applies to You
February 8, 2017 WEBCAST
Winston & Strawn

Health and Retirement Policy Under the Trump Administration and 115th Congress: The Next Chapter or a New Book?
February 22, 2017 WEBCAST
Conduent

ERISA Litigation National Institute
June 7, 2017 in IL
American Bar Association [ABA]

Advanced ERISA Benefit Claims Litigation
June 9, 2017 WEBCAST
American Bar Association [ABA]

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Discussions


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[Guidance Overview]

IRS Issues Key Memorandum on Tax Treatment of Fixed Indemnity Health Plans
"According to [CCM 201703013], when a fixed indemnity health plan is employer-paid or purchased on a pre-tax basis, the usual tax free treatment of benefits paid under Internal Revenue Code section 105 is not available because the amount paid is not a reimbursement of medical care under Code section 213(d). Because the amount paid is not entitled to tax free treatment, any amounts paid under the fixed indemnity health plan are included in the employee's gross income and wages."
Morgan Lewis

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[Guidance Overview]

The Trump ACA Executive Order: Legal Considerations (PDF)
"The ACA is a complex statute, and the Administration appears to have broad authority, at least with respect to certain provisions of the Act, to interpret and execute its requirements.... The process and timetable for changes to the implementation of the ACA contemplated by the EO may depend on the specific administrative action at issue.... The EO may also foreshadow changes in the executive branch's position in existing ACA litigation."
Congressional Research Service [CRS]

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Issues Proposed Regs on Definition of Dependent
"The federal tax dependent rules determine whether someone who is not an employee, spouse, or employee's child under age 27 (for example, a domestic partner or a child who is age 27 or older) can receive employer-provided health coverage on a tax-favored basis.... These rules are also relevant when determining whether expenses for an individual's care can be reimbursed by a dependent care assistance program (DCAP), and for purposes of other benefits."
Thomson Reuters / EBIA

[Guidance Overview]

State of Illinois Amends New Employee Sick Leave Act
"The Amendment ... [1] Clarifies that step-children and domestic partners ... constitute covered family members for whom an employee can use sick leave benefits.... [2] Limits the scope of the Act to only personal sick leave benefits available to an employee through an employment benefit plan or paid time off policy.... [3] Limits an employer's ability to request written verification of the employee's absence from a health care professional.... [4] Clarifies employers' ability to limit sick time used for family members."
Quarles & Brady LLP

Exchange Stabilization Bills Represent New GOP Approach to ACA
"As January draws to a close, it appears that a new strategy is coming to the fore: to adopt piecemeal replacement legislation even as repeal legislation proceeds through reconciliation. On January 27, 2017, House Republicans released four bills meeting this description that will be considered at a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on February 2, 2017.... The proposed legislation is primarily an attempt to calm the jitters of nervous insurers, but it also attempts to respond to complaints that Congress is preparing to abandon consumers with preexisting conditions."
Timothy Jost, in Health Affairs

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Text of Discussion Draft: Preexisting Conditions Protection and Continuous Coverage Incentive Act of 2017 (PDF)
"To amend the Public Health Service Act to prohibit application of preexisting condition exclusions and to guarantee availability of health insurance coverage in the individual and group market, contingent on the enactment of legislation repealing the [ACA.]"
Energy and Commerce Committee, U.S. House of Representatives

Text of Discussion Draft: Health Coverage State Flexibility Act of 2017 (PDF)
"To amend the [ACA] to better align the grace period required for non-payment of premiums before discontinuing coverage under qualified health plans with such grace periods provided for under State law."
Energy and Commerce Committee, U.S. House of Representatives

Text of Discussion Draft: Plan Verification and Fairness Act of 2017 (PDF)
"To amend title I of the [ACA] to require verification for eligibility for enrollment during special enrollment periods in PPACA insurance plans[.]"
Energy and Commerce Committee, U.S. House of Representatives

Text of Discussion Draft: State Age Rating Flexibility Act of 2017 (PDF)
"To amend title XXVII of the Public Health Service Act to change the permissible age variation in health insurance premium rates."
Energy and Commerce Committee, U.S. House of Representatives

Policy Recommendations to Promote Sustainable, Affordable Pricing for Specialty Pharmaceuticals
31 pages. "[T]his brief explores the dynamics of the specialty pharmacy market -- including the growth in specialty pharmaceutical development; price and price inflation; increases in utilization for an expanding list of conditions; and the impact of vertical consolidation on specialty drug prices.... [It] identifies areas of opportunity for employers to better manage specialty drugs, followed by a look at public policy barriers to better pricing ... [and] concludes with public policy recommendations for more sustainable, affordable pricing."
National Business Group on Health [NBGH]

[Opinion]

Dump ObamaCare, Keep Exchanges
"One of Obamacare's children, more a stepchild -- Health Insurance Exchanges (HIX) -- can and should survive the demise of its odious parent.... HIXs were conceived, advertised, and originally called marketplaces -- free markets where shoppers (patients) choose among offerings from competing sellers of insurance.... In the marketplaces as implemented by ACA, Washington controls both supply and demand. That is the antithesis of a free market."
Morning Consult

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Disaster Relief Notice ATL-2017-04, for Victims of Severe Storms, Tornadoes, Straight-line Winds, and Flooding in Mississippi
"Victims of the severe storms, tornadoes, and straight-line winds that took place beginning on January 20, 2017, in parts of Mississippi, may qualify for tax relief from the [IRS].... Individuals who reside or have a business in Forrest, Lamar, Lauderdale, and Perry Counties may qualify for tax relief.... This relief also includes the filing of Form 5500 series returns, (that were required to be filed on or after January 20, 2017, and before May 31, 2017) in the manner described in section 8 of Rev. Proc. 2007-56."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

Press Releases

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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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