Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

February 7, 2017

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Employee Benefits Jobs


Webcasts and Conferences

How to Communicate Stock Value to ESOP Participants
February 22, 2017 WEBCAST
Ohio Employee Ownership Center

Emerging Trends in the Pharmacy Benefit Marketplace
March 9, 2017 WEBCAST
New England Employee Benefits Council

Retirement Plans: Steering the Fiduciary Ship
March 14, 2017 in PA
Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP

Retirement Industry Update: Experience the Power of 3
April 18, 2017 in LA
Simoneaux Consulting Services

Health Care Management Conference
May 1, 2017 in LA
International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

2017 NIPA Annual Forum & Expo
May 21, 2017 in NV
NIPA [National Institute of Pension Administrators]

EBIA Employee Benefits Seminar
June 20, 2017 in IL
Thomson Reuters / EBIA

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[Guidance Overview]

Should Your Health and Welfare Plan Offer Supplemental Benefits on a Pre-Tax or After-Tax Basis?
"If premiums for indemnity insurance coverage are paid tax free -- whether by the employer or by an employee through a cafeteria plan -- [CCM 201703013 clarifies that] the benefit payments made by these policies in the event of a claim are taxable income and considered part of the employee's wages. The implications are that the employer is required to withhold and pay federal income, FICA and FUTA taxes on those benefit payments. This may be difficult to achieve, as the insurer may not have any way to withhold and submit the required taxes, leaving the employer potentially liable for underpayment penalties."
Warner Norcross & Judd LLP

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Surprise Medical Bills a Costly Problem for Health Plans
"Surprise, out-of-network bills hurt consumers, but two new studies show these bills undermine competition between health insurance plans and particularly harm plans that are trying to limit costs by offering narrower network products."
Healthcare Finance News

Insurer Offers Rebates to Encourage Health Care Shopping
"Bigger co-pays and deductibles for health insurance and the sharp rise in the number of high-deductible plans in recent years are forcing consumers to be smarter about where they get an MRI or blood test. The hitch is there's virtually no comparative pricing information available, no Kelley Blue Book for medicine, and charges can vary wildly, even among providers within the same network."
The Ledger

Dependent Eligibility Audits: Tips for Getting Employees on Board
"[1] Communicate early and often.... [2] Clearly define eligibility.... [3] Emphasize personal impact.... [4] Highlight opportunities for reinvestment.... [5] Make cooperation convenient."
Benefitfocus

Eight Ways to Help Your Employees Find Time for Fitness
"[1] Leadership support ... [2] Offer a variety of fitness options.... [3] Extend hours of corporate fitness center.... [4] Step up to better health.... [5] Take a hike at work.... [6] Educate employees to overcome obstacles.... [7] Office breaks.... [8] Extend your reach with virtual fitness."
HealthFitness

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Building on the Family and Medical Leave Act 24 Years Later
"Over the past 24 years, the FMLA has been used more than 100 million times by workers to help manage the dual demands of the work and family. However, in many ways, the law falls short in protecting working Americans and their families.... In contrast, paid leave is available in some capacity to workers in every other advanced economy. A few states have led the way in the United States by developing their own paid leave programs for workers."
National Academy of Social Insurance [NASI]

Impact of Changing the Age Rating Limit for Health Insurance Premiums (PDF)
"As a result of a policy change to a 5:1 age rating limit: Premiums for adults ages 60 and older would increase by an average of $3,192 per year, from about $14,724 to $17,916. This represents a 22 percent increase. Premiums for adults ages 50-59 would increase by an average of $1,524 per year, from about $11,316 to $12,840. This represents a 13 percent increase."
AARP

[Opinion]

American Benefits Council Letter to White House Policy Council on Employer Reporting Under the ACA
"Employers have worked diligently since the 2010 enactment of the ACA to comply with the myriad of new taxes, fees, mandates, and reporting requirements imposed upon them and the employee health benefit plans they sponsor. In doing so, many employers have expended substantial resources in hours and dollars. This administration has the opportunity to take action to help reduce the excess burdens imposed by the ACA's reporting requirements (Code sections 6055 and 6056) and the employer mandate (Code Section 4980H). We urge you to take action as soon as possible[.]"
American Benefits Council

[Opinion]

Testimony of American Academy of Actuaries to House Subcommittee Hearing: Examining the Effectiveness of the Individual Mandate Under the ACA (PDF)
"Currently, the ACA's individual mandate, annual open enrollment period, and premium subsidies aim to achieve a balanced risk profile. Increased penalties for non-enrollment could help improve the risk profile, as could improving premium affordability, for instance through increased premium subsidies or additional funding for high-risk enrollees. Weakening the incentives for participation, however, could further exacerbate adverse selection issues and lead to higher premiums and more uninsured."
American Academy of Actuaries

[Opinion]

Fixed-Dollar Tax Credits Would Reduce Individual Health Insurance Premiums
"Tax credits that subsidize health insurance offered in Obamacare's exchanges are based on the second-lower cost Silver-level plan in a region. Intuitively, this implies insurers will not compete too much because that would drive down subsidies. As long as subsidies chase insurance premiums, premiums will be higher than otherwise."
National Center for Policy Analysis Health Policy Blog

Benefits in General

Survey Results: Total Rewards Programs and Practices
71 pages. "This report presents the results of an August 2016 survey ... to measure the use of total rewards programs in U.S., Canadian and international companies. The survey focused on the prevalence of 176 different total rewards programs and practices in today's workplace. This report is a robust resource for those benchmarking organizational use of total rewards programs and practices.... Data is reported in aggregate with breakdowns by major industry, sector and size, as well as regrettable turnover and self-reported employee engagement survey results."
WorldatWork

Executive Compensation and Nonqualified Plans

[Official Guidance]

Text of Acting SEC Chairman's Request for Public Comments on Pay Ratio Rule
"[It] is my understanding that some issuers have begun to encounter unanticipated compliance difficulties that may hinder them in meeting the reporting deadline. In order to better understand the nature of these difficulties, I am seeking public input on any unexpected challenges that issuers have experienced as they prepare for compliance with the rule and whether relief is needed. I welcome and encourage the submission of detailed comments, and request that any comments be submitted within the next 45 days."
Acting Chairman Michael S. Piwowar, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC]

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Lois Baker, J.D., President  loisbaker@benefitslink.com
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher  davebaker@benefitslink.com
Holly Horton, Business Manager  hollyhorton@benefitslink.com

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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