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<< Older News   |  February 17, 2018

Benefits in the News

Text of 2018 IRS Form 8963: Report of Health Insurance Provider Information (PDF)
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]
[Official Guidance]
Feb. 16, 2018
"On the first line, list information for the single-person covered entity or designated entity, whichever applies. Next, for a controlled group, separately list information for every person who is a controlled group member at the end of the day on December 31, 2017, and who would qualify as a covered entity in 2018 if it were a single-person covered entity (see instructions)."
Prescription Drug Coupons: A One-Size-Fits-All Policy Approach Doesn't Fit the Evidence
Health Affairs
Feb. 16, 2018
"Drug manufacturer coupons used by consumers to reduce the size of their prescription copayments are increasingly under fire by federal and state policy makers, as well as by insurers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). Medicare and Medicaid consider them kickbacks and completely ban their use. Massachusetts has considered a similar move, and California recently outlawed coupons for branded drugs where a generic equivalent exists. New Jersey is considering similar legislation to California's."
Middle Market Companies Want More from Insurers
Feb. 16, 2018
"Employee benefits represents enormous opportunity for forward-thinking insurers who want to partner on deals with benefits providers. Selected by 48 percent of respondents, it ranked No. 1 among a lengthy list of support services companies are interested in receiving from insurers."
Bipartisan Multiemployer Hybrid Plan Bill Introduced in House
Pensions & Investments
Feb. 16, 2018
"Reps. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., and Donald Norcross, D-N.J., introduced H.R. 4997, the Give Retirement Options to Workers (GROW) Act, that would allow sponsors to create the composite plans. The idea is part of an effort in Congress to address struggling multiemployer plans, including proposals to create a federal loan program. The legislation is based on a proposal developed with the National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans."
EBSA Private Pension Plan Bulletin: Abstract of 2015 Form 5500 Annual Reports (PDF)
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]
Feb. 16, 2018
68 pages; February 2018. "The total number of pension plans grew again in 2015 to approximately 694,000 plans, a 1.3 percent increase over 2014.... [T]he number of DB plans increased in 2015 by 1.8 percent.... The number of 401(k) type plans increased yet again in 2015 by 2.5 percent, from 534,000 to 547,000. There were 65.3 million active participants in 401(k) type plans.... [T]he total amount of assets held by pension plans decreased for the first time since 2008, by 1.8 percent from $8.3 trillion to $8.2 trillion."
What Delayed Retirement Means for Your Health and Well-Being Programs
Feb. 16, 2018
"79% of employees trust their current employer to give sound advice on planning, saving and investment for retirement.... [B]usiness leaders ... see savings as the most important factor for a financially secure retirement, with health ranked fifth. Participants ranked health as the number one priority in retirement by far, followed by close relationships and having enough income for basic necessities."
Transportation and Parking Benefits Provided by Tax-Exempt Employers Might Be Taxable
Quarles & Brady LLP
[Guidance Overview]
Feb. 16, 2018
"There is significant confusion and lack of clarity regarding how these provisions will be interpreted or applied. For example, will an organization have UBTI if it permits employee parking in spaces owned by the employer, or only if the parking is in spaces for which the employer must pay a third party? Will an organization have UBTI if it sponsors a pre-tax employee parking or transit program, or only if it provides those benefits at no cost to the employees?"
How to Respond to DOL Pension Plan Investigatory Findings
Morgan Lewis
Feb. 16, 2018
"[T]he DOL has provided no generally applicable guidance on the fiduciary responsibility to maintain pristine records or outline the scope of a fiduciary's obligations to resolve discrepancies. Instead, the DOL now appears to be using the threat of enforcement action, based on ad hoc, unarticulated, and conclusory standards, to coerce individual plan administrators to adopt procedures -- and most likely, achieve results -- that are subjectively satisfactory to the DOL."
How to Think About Your 401(k) Vesting Schedule
Feb. 16, 2018
"Your plan's vesting schedule provides another way to tailor employee benefits to produce the combination of incentives and rewards that best fit your business.... If you are competing heavily for workers, you may want to consider your employer contribution as a hiring incentive and your vesting schedule as an incentive to remain with the company."
Airlines Association Challenges State of Washington Paid Sick Leave Requirements
Polsinelli at Work
Feb. 16, 2018
"Airlines for America is challenging the application of Washington Paid Sick Leave Act to the airlines on the grounds that it violates the United States Constitution ... because the law also applies to employees outside the state of Washington and has a negative impact on interstate commerce. The lawsuit also challenges the sick leave law on the basis that it is preempted by the Airline Deregulation Act because it negatively impacts carriers' 'prices, routes, and services.' " [Air Transport Ass'n of America v.Wash. Dept. of Labor & Industries, No. 18-5092 (W.D. Wash. complaint filed Feb. 6, 2018)]
Sick Pay Is Not 'Wages' Under Massachusetts Law
The Wagner Law Group
Feb. 16, 2018
"Under the Massachusetts Payment of Wages Law, employees who resign must be paid in full on the next regular pay day. However, employees that are discharged must be paid in full on the day of discharge.... [T]he Court noted that the mere fact that the statute does not specifically include sick pay as wages does not exclude sick pay from this law. Nevertheless, the Court ultimately concluded that the statute was not intended to include sick pay as wages." [Mui v. Mass. Port Authority, No. 12296 (Mass. Jan. 29, 2018)]
Class Certified in ERISA Lawsuit Targeting NYU Retirement Plan
Feb. 16, 2018
"[The seven named plaintiffs] will represent a putative class of at least 20,000 individuals ... The decision goes into some detail when considering the defendants' arguments that the plaintiffs here do not 'adequately' represent the class they have successfully established." [Sacerdote v. New York Univ., No. 16-6284 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 13, 2018)]
Prior to Distribution, ESOP Lacked 'Actual Knowledge' of Participant's Developmental Disability
Wolters Kluwer Law & Business
Feb. 16, 2018
"An ESOP plan administrator did not violate plan terms when it distributed about $80,000 to a developmentally disabled former employee who had been adjudged in state court to be legally incompetent ... Delivery of conservatorship papers regarding the employee's incompetency to the grocery store where he worked was insufficient to provide the plan administrator with the 'actual knowledge' of the worker's legal incompetency required by the plan." [Bauman v. Publix Super Markets, Inc. Employee Stock Ownership Plan, No. 17-11709 (11th Cir. Oct. 10, 2017)]
Few Prepare for Retiree Health Needs/Expenses
Plan Sponsor Council of America [PSCA]
Feb. 16, 2018
"Few employers offer retiree health coverage. Fewer still provide any employer financial support. In the 54th annual PSCA survey, reflecting 2010 data, only 8.5% of employers confirmed that they offered access to a retiree health plan. [The] just-released 60th annual PSCA survey shows that percentage continues to decline -- now only 4.8%."
The Bipartisan Budget Act Boosts Medicare: Flexibility and Financing for Healthcare Plans and Providers
Sheppard Mullin
Feb. 16, 2018
"[Changes made by the Act] include: [1] the addition of non-medical services ... and telehealth services to the range of MA-covered services that an MA plan can offer to its members; ... [2] disbanding the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a board comprised of presidential appointees whose sole authority and responsibility was to cut Medicare costs and expenses; and [3] an increase in the discounts that pharmaceutical companies must give seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D drug plans by making the so-called 'doughnut hole' disappear in 2019."
IRS Updates Publication 974 (Premium Tax Credit) to Address QSEHRAs
Thomson Reuters / EBIA
Feb. 16, 2018
"Although Publication 974 is intended for individuals, employers (particularly those that provide QSEHRAs or are subject to employer shared responsibility) may also find it helpful. The new information regarding QSEHRAs is based on [IRS Notice 2017-67]."
Post-Retirement Risks and Related Decisions (PDF)
Society of Actuaries
Feb. 16, 2018
10 pages. "This report is the introduction to a series of reports that will offer highlights and key findings from the 20 years of Committee research and related SOA work, together with guidance about where to find more information. This introductory report focuses on understanding the risks and the related key decisions, and introduces the SOA's research."
Massachusetts Agency Files Fiduciary Rule-Related Complaint
American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries [ASPPA]
Feb. 16, 2018
"The Massachusetts Securities Division has filed charges against a firm for knowingly violating its internal policies regarding implementation of the DOL fiduciary rule ... Commonwealth Secretary William Galvin ... has charged Scottrade with 'dishonest and unethical activity and failure to supervise' for conducting sales contests that violated the DOL's impartial conduct standards."
A Few Suggestions to Simplify Healthcare
Frenkel Benefits
Feb. 16, 2018
"The front door to healthcare delivery should be an easy-to-use smartphone application which is pre-populated with a healthcare calendar, set up with you and your doctor, to remind you of milestones including appropriate checkups for medical, dental and vision care.... Selecting your provider has to be easier.... [D]rug costs are too confusing.... Doctors' offices should be paperless."
A Transformative Year for Health Care
Findley Davies | BPS&M
Feb. 16, 2018
"The time has come to think beyond using a carrier-administered narrow network or having a health system and its TPA partner market directly to the employers using the system's Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) platform. Rather than replicate old models with broad-based PPOs (and their primary focus on discounts), or imposing higher, HDHP-style employee cost sharing (believing the covered members will magically become better health care consumers) a new approach is necessary for these AHPs (or any employer-sponsored health plan for that matter) to succeed and be self-sustaining."
Going Up But Never Down: 2018 ERISA Penalties
McDermott Will & Emery
[Guidance Overview]
Feb. 16, 2018
"The [DOL] announced increased penalties for employee benefit plans under ERISA. The increases generally apply to penalties that involve employee benefit reporting and disclosure failings if the penalty is assessed after January 2, 2018, and if the violation occurred after November 2, 2015. [A chart outlines] the ERISA penalty amounts assessed for violations on or before January 2, 2018, and those amounts assessed after January 2."
Are Your Plan Files Complete? What an Auditor Will Want to See
Cohen & Buckmann, P.C.
Feb. 15, 2018
"Make sure that your plan document and amendments are signed and dated. If the corporate practice is to adopt these by resolution instead of an officer's or committee member's signature, attach a certified copy of the resolution to the document.... Each year, fiduciaries need to review their bonding coverage and determine whether the amount of coverage required has increased."
Making Sure Your Plan's 401(k) and 403(b) Fees Are 'Necessary' and 'Reasonable'
Fiduciary Plan Governance, LLC
Feb. 15, 2018
"You should create a master list of items you want to see addressed by each respondent. This can, essentially, be the items in your RFP. You'll want to create a fairly detailed spreadsheet to analyze the fee component of the proposals. [Your list should include] at least the following items[.]"
New DOL Regs Require Changes to Plan Claims Procedures
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
[Guidance Overview]
Feb. 15, 2018
"One could avoid dealing with the new regulations by referencing a third-party determination of disability, such as a determination by the Social Security Administration. The practical problems with that approach are that the Social Security Administration can take a long time to determine that a disability exists, and the SSA definition may be a more restrictive definition of disability, which could raise employee relations concerns. Also, in the qualified retirement plan area, a more restrictive definition may result in an impermissible cut-back of an accrued benefit, such as where a retirement subsidy attaches to a finding of a disability."
New Tax Law Creates Uncertainty for Some Hardship Distributions
Feb. 15, 2018
"One option is to deny a hardship request for repair to a primary residence if the loss occurs on or after January 1, 2018 and is outside of a federally declared disaster area. To account for this change, a plan may need to modify the instructions provided as part of hardship request materials as well as the guidelines used for reviewing and approving hardship requests. Alternatively, a plan could opt to ignore the section 165 amendment -- and maintain the status quo -- when determining hardship eligibility, unless and until the IRS issues guidance to the contrary."

<< Older News   |  February 17, 2018

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