Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

January 7, 2016

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Employee Benefits Jobs

Retirement Plan Client Service Representative
120 Year Old Full Service Financial Firm
in MA

Sales Consultant - Retirement Plans
Polycomp Administrative Services, Incl.
in CA

Account Manager
Lincoln Financial Group
in ANY STATE

401(k) Plan Administrator
Retirement Planners
in VA

Benefits Assistant
Arnold & Porter LLP
in DC

Pension Consultant - Technical Director
Employee Benefit Resources, Inc.
in ANY STATE, MT

Customer Service & Communication Manager
Southern California Pipe Trades Administration Corporation
in CA

Pension Administrator
Retirement Strategies, Inc.
in GA

Pension Plan Administrator
Dienstag Pension Services, Ltd.
in NY

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Webcasts and Conferences

Affordable Care Act Reporting Requirements
January 14, 2016 WEBCAST
(Steptoe & Johnson LLP)

2016 Midwinter Meeting of the Employee Benefits Committee
February 10, 2016 in NV
(ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits [JCEB])

17th Annual Conference on Emerging Issues in Healthcare Law
March 2, 2016 in CA
(ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits [JCEB])

Investments Institute
March 14, 2016 in NV
(International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP])

Health Care Management Conference
April 11, 2016 in AZ
(International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP])

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Discussions


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[Guidance Overview]

New Brunswick New Jersey's Paid Sick and Safe Leave Law Goes Into Effect
"Although it is similar to most other New Jersey paid sick leave ordinances ... the New Brunswick ordinance differs in several important respects: [1] Leave for safe time.... [2] Covered employers ... [3] Documentation and notice / posting obligations." (Ogletree Deakins)  


[Advert.]

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IRS Extends ACA Reporting Deadlines
"All employers should note that the reporting and filing requirements apply to applicable large employers for 2015 even if, under applicable transitional relief, the employer was not required to make an offer of minimum essential coverage to full-time employees until January 1, 2016 or later." (Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP)  

Three Things You Need to Know About Court Ruling in Wellness Program Lawsuit
"Employers should feel buoyed by the fact that this decision so clearly places this wellness program into the protections of the ADA's safe harbor.... But in order to stay on the right side of the law, you would do well to heed some lessons from the Flambeau decision when establishing your wellness program. The court examined the program at issue from various angles to make sure it satisfied a number of conditions." [EEOC v. Flambeau, Inc., No. 14-cv-638 (W.D. Wis. Dec. 30, 2015)] (Fisher & Phillips LLP)  

Federal District Judge Dismisses Ohio Lawsuit Challenging the ACA
"The State of Ohio, four of its state universities, Warren County, and the Ohio Turnpike Authority had sued claiming that the fee imposed on insurers and group health plans under the ACA's Transitional Reinsurance Program did not apply to them, and that indeed, Congress lacked the constitutional authority to impose the fee on them.... A dense 71 pages in length, the opinion scrutinizes carefully and rejects in turn each of the plaintiffs' statutory construction arguments." [Ohio v. U.S., No. 2:15-cv-321 (S.D. Ohio Jan. 5, 2016)] (Health Affairs)  

New IRS Regs Define the Lines of the ACA's Premium Tax Credits
"The regulations amend the income tax regulations to clarify or make changes to the relationship between premium tax credits and [1] the definition of modified adjusted gross income (MAGI); [2] tobacco-related wellness program incentives; [3] employer contributions to health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs); [4] employer contributions to cafeteria plans; [5] post-employment coverage; [6] newborns and others enrolled in plans midmonth; and [7] partial months of coverage[.]" (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)  

What Does a Deductible Do? The Impact of Cost-Sharing on Health Care Prices, Quantities and Spending Dynamics
"[The authors] find no evidence of consumers learning to price shop after two years in high-deductible coverage. Consumers reduce quantities across the spectrum of health care services, including potentially valuable care (e.g. preventive services) and potentially wasteful care (e.g. imaging services).... [C]onsumers respond heavily to spot prices at the time of care, and reduce their spending by 42% when under the deductible ... In the first-year post plan change, 90% of all spending reductions occur in months that consumers began under the deductible, with 49% of all reductions coming for the ex ante sickest half of consumers under the deductible, despite the fact that these consumers have quite low shadow prices. There is no evidence of learning to respond to the true shadow price in the second year post-switch." (National Bureau of Economic Research [NBER])  

[Opinion]

Congress Votes to Repeal Obamacare: What Should Replace It?
"The following are some of the elements that a new Obamacare replacement bill should include: [1] The open-ended tax exclusion should be converted to a fixed sum.... [2] Community rating should be used only to create beneficial incentives; not to increase cross-subsidies ... [3] Americans deserve the right to purchase the coverage of their choice; not the coverage Obamacare proponents believe Americans should have.... [4] Americans should be protected from surprise medical bills (but not necessarily from high medical bills)[.]" (National Center for Policy Analysis Health Policy Blog)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]

DOL and Treasury Update 2015-2016 Regulatory Agendas for Employee Benefits
"The DOL's agenda and related materials include 15 pending projects related to employee benefits ... The IRS Business Plan includes 32 pending items addressing retirement benefits and 16 pending items addressing executive compensation, health care and other benefits.... There are 2 new DOL initiatives." [A chart lists the agenda items from both agencies, along with their current status.] (Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP)  

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Provides Guidance on Application of Federal Tax Law to Employee Benefit Plans in Light of Obergefell Decision (PDF)
"Solely for federal tax law purposes, Obergefell does not require additional amendments to be made to qualified retirement plans or to health and welfare plans. However, [Notice 2015-86] provides helpful guidance in the event that an employer wishes to make discretionary changes to its plan and/or to allow employees to make mid-year cafeteria plan election changes in light of Obergefell -- and it reminds employers that there may be changes in the operation (as opposed to the form) of their health and welfare plans as a result of Obergefell." (Groom Law Group)  

The Intersection of Sections 457(f) and 409A: Is Guidance Really Imminent? (PDF)
"At this point, it is not yet clear what the nature of any transition relief under the proposed regulations will be. While informally the Service has indicated there will be some such relief, it is not anticipated that it will either provide a general grandfather for existing arrangements or cover some of the more aggressive designs under Code section 457 that have been known to be used in the past." (Groom Law Group)  

Discourage Costly Stockholder Derivative Lawsuits by Obtaining Stockholder Ratification of Reasonable Limits on Non-Employee Director Equity and Cash Compensation
"If the company places a per person limit on the compensation that can be granted, the company can have discretion to select from a range of pre-approved stockholder performance standards that must be re-approved by stockholders every five years. For this reason, most public companies have a per person limit on the performance-based awards that can be granted under the equity plan.... As [one Delaware court opinion illustrates], just because a corporation's existing equity plans contain certain stockholder-approved grant limits, that does not mean that those limits will be 'meaningful' limits on non-employee director compensation under Delaware law." [Calma v. Templeton, No. 9579-CB (Del. Ch. Apr. 30, 2015)] (Trucker Huss)  

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BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9595. Copyright 2016 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 that content. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.

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