Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

January 25, 2016 logo logo LinkedIn logo Twitter logo Facebook logo
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Webcasts and Conferences

Health Reform: Beyond the Basics - Preventing and Resolving Data-Matching Issues in the Federally-Facilitated Marketplace
(Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)

fi360 Fiduciary Talk: Recent Trends in Socially Responsible Investing

Looking for New Ways to Control Costs for Your Medical, Prescription Drug, and Other Employee Benefit Plans?
February 24, 2016 in IL

2016 City Event
September 29, 2016 in TX
(PSCA [Plan Sponsor Council of America])

2016 City Event
October 20, 2016 in CA
(PSCA [Plan Sponsor Council of America])

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[Guidance Overview]

IRS Issues Guidance on Employer Health Plan Opt-Out Payment Arrangements
"[Notice 2015-87] covers a number of important issues, including the effect of health reimbursement account contributions, cafeteria plan flex credits, and employer opt-out payments on an employee's cost of coverage for purposes of determining affordability under Code Section 4980H(b). The Notice also addresses the application to government entities of the employer shared responsibility rules, information reporting for applicable large employers, health savings account matters for persons eligible for benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs, COBRA continuation coverage for carried over health flexible spending account balances, and penalty relief for employers that make a good faith effort to comply with the ACA reporting rules." (Verrill Dana LLP)  


Executive Forum on Rewarding Healthy Behaviors Feb 2-3 - Las Vegas

Sponsored by World Congress

Learn how innovative workplace wellness strategies, preventive health management initiatives, and evidence-based success impact workforce productivity and increase ROI. HR/Benefits Staff: Use code BLINK2 to attend for $195.

[Guidance Overview]

CMS Releases Final 2017 Actuarial Value Calculator and Methodology, 2016 Enrollment Updates
"Although CMS considered a number of potential changes to the 2016 AV calculator, and is considering further changes for 2018, the final 2017 AV calculator is essentially unchanged from 2016. The calculator implements a couple of technical changes and a couple of technical corrections, but the only significant change is that it updates the maximum out-of-pocket limit to $7,200, the estimated 2017 MOOP limit." (Health Affairs)  

Supreme Court Limits ERISA Plans' Reimbursement Rights
"The Court appeared to cast aside the issue of whether the dissipation of the tort recovery was 'wrongful' conduct by the ERISA plan member. Instead, the Court found such conduct -- wrongful or not -- did not change the analysis and conclusion that relief in such a situation was not 'typically available in equity.' " [Montanile v. Bd. of Trustees of Nat. Elevator Ind. Health Benefit Plan, No. 14-723 (U.S. Jan. 20, 2016)] (Littler)  

Five Things to Know About Value-Based Insurance Design
"As the healthcare industry in the United States moves full-speed ahead with shifting from a fee-for-service environment to a value-based one, some tools will be especially helpful. Value-based insurance design (VBID) can be used to combat nonadherence as Americans are asked to pay a greater portion of their healthcare expenditures." (American Journal of Managed Care)  

Telemedicine's Rapid Growth Offers a Low-Cost Alternative
"[O]fferings of telemedicine services jumped from 18% to 30% of all large employers in 2015. And, since an additional 35% said they were considering it, another big increase is likely this year. Among the nation's largest employers -- those with 20,000 or more employees -- 44% already offered telehealth services in 2015." (Mercer/Signal)  

Issuers Reminded to Prepare for Cost-Sharing Reduction Reporting
"The standard methodology allows issuers to submit an enrollee's complete set of claims to be calculated as if they had been enrolled in a standard plan to determine the total cost sharing reductions [CSRs] provided by the issuer. Under the simplified option, users calculate the estimated cost sharing for standard plans and apply those to a policy's total allowed essential health benefit claims to determine the value of CSRs provided. Issuers must develop two to six estimated cost-sharing parameters based on average claims experiences. The draft manual expands on previous CMS guidance and describes in detail the five steps for the simplified methodology." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)  

How Do Snow Days Affect FMLA Leave?
"[T]he general rule for counting FMLA leave during a holiday week would likely apply. So, if the employee is out on FMLA for the entire week, then yes, you can count the snow day against the employee's 12 weeks of FMLA leave. If the employee worked any part of the week, then only the days the employee would actually have been expected to report to work should be counted as FMLA leave." (FMLA Insights)  

Giving Parental Leave a Major Boost
"[It's] been 'new-economy' companies like Apple, Netflix and Microsoft that have been getting much of the attention on this front. But ... 'old-economy' companies are jumping on this bandwagon, too. Dow Chemical, founded in 1897 ... [announced] the launch of its Global Parental Leave Policy, giving a minimum of 12 weeks paid leave to mothers and two weeks paid leave to non-birthing parents. Leave can be taken during the 12 months following the birth of a child." (HRE Daily)  

Early Retiree Wannabes Need Health Insurance as Much as Pension or Savings
"Anyone who chooses to retire at 55 better have a ton of retirement income earmarked specifically for health insurance coverage. Premiums for basic coverage for a couple ranged from $800 to $1,500 per month. Even people who retire with health care benefits from their employers have reason to be concerned." (USA TODAY)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS IR-2016-9: Tax Relief to Missouri Storm Victims; Tax Deadline Extended to May 16
"[A]ffected taxpayers in Barry, Barton, Camden, Cape Girardeau, Cole, Crawford, Franklin, Gasconade, Greene, Hickory, Jasper, Jefferson, Laclede, Lawrence, Lincoln, Maries, McDonald, Morgan, Newton, Osage, Phelps, Polk, Pulaski, Scott, St. Charles, St. Francois, St. Louis, Ste. Genevieve, Stone, Taney, Texas, Webster and Wright counties will receive this and other special tax relief. Other locations in Missouri and other states may be added in coming days, based on damage assessments by FEMA." (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])  

The Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plans Dirty Dozen: An Administrative Guide to Avoiding 12 Traps
"[1] 409A plan recognition; [2] Plan document requirement; [3] 'Top-Hat' group determination; [4] 409A grandfathering; [5] Application of FICA taxation; [6] Timing of deferral elections; [7] 401(k) contingent benefit rule; [8] Timing of distributions; [9] Forms of distributions; [10] NDCP/defined benefit (DB) plan funding connection; [11] Plan termination rules; [12] Separate rules for tax-exempt organizations." (Milliman Retirement Town Hall)  


Expect Reported CEO Compensation to be Lower for 2015
"CEO compensation for 2015 generally will be down from 2014.... Pension discount rates have risen. Equity markets generally did not perform well.... Did the economic conditions in 2014 that resulted in extremely large reported CEO compensation meant that CEOs were overpaid in 2014 compared to other years. And, similarly, were those same CEOs underpaid in 2015 compared to 2014?" (Benefits and Compensation with John Lowell)  

Press Releases

A Young Person's Guide to Social Security, Third Edition
National Academy of Social Insurance

MHK Retirement Partners is Certified for Fiduciary Excellence
Centre for Fiduciary Excellence [CEFEX]

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BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9595. Copyright 2016, 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, 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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