Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

February 8, 2017

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Webcasts and Conferences

Retirement Insights & Answers
February 14, 2017 WEBCAST
National Center for Employee Ownership [NCEO]

Retirement Plans: Steering the Fiduciary Ship
March 8, 2017 in PA
Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP

Opioid Crisis: How Employers Can Help Employees and Their Families
March 29, 2017 in IL
Polsinelli

Portfolio Concepts and Management
May 1, 2017 in PA
International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

Institute & Expo 2017
June 7, 2017 in TX
America's Health Insurance Plans [AHIP]

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[Guidance Overview]

Washington, D.C., Finalizes Paid-Family-Leave Law
"[The D.C. Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016 (UPLAA)] will guarantee certain periods of paid family and medical leave to private-sector employees starting on July 1, 2020. Payments will be funded by an additional 0.62 percent employer payroll tax that the city will collect from private-sector employees starting on July 1, 2019.... Paid leave under the UPLAA ... will be provided for ... Eight weeks within a 52-week period to new parents. Six weeks for the care of a family member with a serious health condition. Two weeks for an employee's own medical leave."
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]

[Advert.]

ftwilliam.com Welfare Benefit Plan Documents Webinar

Sponsored by Wolters Kluwer

Stacey Austin & Jennifer Kobayashi of Wang Kobayashi Austin, LLC will discuss the types of plan documents governing welfare benefit plans. Register here for this FREE webinar and earn 1 hour CE credit. Date: Tues. Feb 28 Time: 1 pm (CT)


[Guidance Overview]

Minnesota Legislature Moves Forward to Preempt Municipal Safe and Sick Leave and Wage Ordinances
"The battle over paid sick leave and minimum wage ordinances at the municipal level moved to the Minnesota Legislature as its 2017 ? 2018 session kicked off at the end of January. Several bills introduced in the 2017-2018 session would either establish a statewide standard for paid leaves or preempt and prevent municipalities from passing their own ordinances on these subjects."
Ogletree Deakins

District Court: Diagnosis Is Not Automatically Equivalent to a Finding of Disability
"[M]ere diagnosis of a condition (like fibromyalgia) is not enough to qualify for disability benefits under most policy definitions.... [The court found that it] was a problem that the treating physician 'diagnosed plaintiff with fibromyalgia [but] did not indicate whether she would be able to return to work or if her condition would be permanent.'  " [Decovich v. Venetian Casino Resort, No. 11-872 (D. Nev. Jan.26, 2017)]
Lane Powell PC

Workplace Wellness Programs Focused on Cardiovascular Health May Reduce Prevalence of Disease
"Using a scoring index called the Worksite Health Achievement Index (WHAI) ... [researchers] assessed the comprehensiveness of 20 different employers' heart health programs, policies and environmental support structures to their employees' cardiovascular health.... Among large employers ... higher scores were associated with lower rates of four modifiable risk factors: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, tobacco use and physical inactivity. With those high scores, however, comes higher costs."
mobihealthnews

Employees Turn Away From High-Deductible Health Plans
"High-deductible plans were once a bargain relative to traditional plans so long as you didn't have a big or catastrophic claim, but that relative advantage appears to have ebbed.... Even with PPOs, deductibles are going up substantially, which help keep premiums in check but may be turning PPOs and other traditional benefit plans into something that looks and feels of a high-deductible plan[.]"
InsuranceNewsNet.com

[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.


The Changing Dynamics of U.S. Health Insurance and Implications for the Future of the ACA
"[T]he ACA's unprecedented coverage changes increased transitions to Medicaid and nongroup coverage among the uninsured, while strengthening the existing employer-sponsored insurance system and improving retention of public coverage.... [The authors] identified key opportunities for policy makers and insurers to improve underlying Marketplace risk pools by focusing on people transitioning from employer-sponsored coverage; these people are disproportionately younger and saw almost no change in their likelihood of becoming uninsured in 2014 compared to earlier years."
Health Affairs

Congressman Paul Ryan Says Congress Will Replace Obamacare This Year
" 'We are going to be done legislating with respect to health care and Obamacare this year,' Ryan said, though he added that it could take time for the Trump administration to implement the changes. 'The question about how long it takes to effectuate the change, how long it takes to put these things in place, that's a question that the HHS can answer,' he said."
Morning Consult

Issues Facing Republicans in Replacing the ACA
"Many of the choices facing Republicans are variations of a fundamental question: how much of the [ACA] to keep, and how much to discard? ... Future of Medicaid ... Pre-existing Conditions ... Taxes and Fees ... Transition and Timing"
The New York Times; subscription may be required

[Opinion]

12 Fundamentals of Highly Effective Healthcare (PDF)
"[1] Reform Obamacare to better serve Americans ... [2] Make an advanceable and refundable tax credit available to all Americans ... [3] Reform hospital care to better serve patients ... [4] Encourage price transparency to boost competition in medical services ... [5] Increase Americans' access to primary care ... [6] Reform Medicare Accountable Care Organizations ... [7] Encourage private Medicare Advantage plans ... [8] Help seniors better plan for end-of- life with home-based palliative care ... [9] Empower consumers through Personal Health Accounts ... [10] Improve patients' care coordination through medical homes ... [11] Reform Medicaid to boost flexibility ... [12] Reform prescription drug pricing."
National Center for Policy Analysis [NCPA]

[Opinion]

Call for State Privacy Laws to Align with HIPAA
"State privacy laws supersede HIPAA and can be complex and confusing ... Market impediments include the absence of any economic incentives to share information, in addition to the deliberate blocking of information exchange by providers, insurers, and IT vendors ... By aligning state privacy laws with HIPAA and creating standardized consent forms, states could facilitate information exchange, reducing confusion and legal costs.... [A recent report] includes a detailed roadmap for advancing information flow between providers, including the following steps."
Jeffrey C. Bauer, for HFMA

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Publication 15-A: Employer's Supplemental Tax Guide, for Use in 2017 (PDF)
73 pages. Topics include: [1] Who Are Employees? [2] Employee or Independent Contractor? [3] Employees of Exempt Organizations. [4] Religious Exemptions and Special Rules for Ministers. [5] Wages and Other Compensation. [6] Sick Pay Reporting. [7] Pensions and Annuities. [8]Leave-based donation programs to aid victims of the severe storms and flooding in Louisiana and to aid victims of Hurricane Matthew.
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

Executive Compensation and Nonqualified Plans

Acting SEC Chair Signals Possible Delay in Implementation of Pay Ratio Rule
"Under current rules, the CEO pay ratio rule became effective this year, with the first disclosure of the pay ratio [to be] reported in 2018 proxies.... Despite the likely lack of near-term relief, Mr. Piwowar's statement remains significant and provides hope for delay or ultimate repeal of the CEO pay ratio."
Meridian Compensation Partners, LLC

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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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