Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

January 27, 2016

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Employee Benefits Jobs

Sales Consultant
PlanTech, LLP
in AL, GA, NC, SC, TN

Quality Control - Plan Valuation, Withdrawal and Compliance Testing
Third Party Administrator Firm
in ANY STATE

TPA Sales & Marketing Wholesaler
Nova 401(k) Associates
in CA, DC, FL, GA, IL, MA, MD, MI, NJ, NY, OH, PA, VA, WA

Account Executive - Midwest
Fringe Benefit Group
in ANY STATE, IA, IL, IN, KY, MI, MN, MT, OH, WI

DC Plan Administrator
Third Party Administrator
in ANY STATE

Regional Sales Director
Ameritas Life Insurance Corp
in DC, DE, MD, NC, SC, VA

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Webcasts and Conferences

IRA Required Minimum Distributions
March 24, 2016 WEBCAST
(Ascensus)

Cash Balance Plans Ten Years after PPA 2006
April 19, 2016 WEBCAST
(ASPPA [American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries])

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[Guidance Overview]

Materials from ACA Information Returns (AIR) Working Group Meeting, January 26, 2016 (PDF)
19 presentation slides. Topics include: [1] Two types of rejections and replacement; [2] Triggering events -- responses for rejections and corrections; [3] Tax year 2015 lessons learned; [4] Form 1094/5-C questions & answers; [5] Technical online resources. (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])  


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[Guidance Overview]

Mixed News for ACA Forms and What to Do About It
"[T]he IRS has indicated that employers and other coverage providers who make a reasonable effort to file properly, by, for example, gathering and transmitting necessary data to an agent in preparation for its submission to the IRS, and testing their ability to transmit information to the IRS, may be eligible for a penalty waiver. Furthermore, the extent to which steps are being taken to ensure compliance with 2016 reporting requirements will also be taken into account by the IRS[.]" (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)  

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Issues Procedures for Implementing Retroactive Transit Benefit Parity
"[N]ot all sponsors of pretax transit benefit programs are required to make corrections. Many employer-provided transit benefit programs provided a maximum monthly tax-free amount of transit-related expenses of $130 -- the amount imposed by the IRS prior to the passage of the PATH Act. No correction is necessary (or permissible) for programs with such a limit." (Lockton)  

Health Care Surcharge for Smokers Leads to Decreased Smoking in the Workplace
"Forty-five percent of employers who have health care surcharges in place for smokers say employee smoking in the workplace decreased since the policy was implemented, according to a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey. Approximately one-fifth of survey respondents (18 percent) impose smoking surcharges, which result in higher health care premiums for smokers. In addition, about one-half of respondents (54 percent) are providing smokers with wellness information on the benefits of a smoke-free lifestyle." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)  

Three Ways to Help Employees Understand and Utilize New Benefits
"Today's workforce spans four generations, soon to be five. So when you craft your communications, it's important to know whom you're talking to.... Many insurance plans offer perks that your employees may not be aware of, and by communicating these little extras, you can help your workforce understand the true value of their benefits ... [M]ake your communication more enjoyable with simple videos to explain complex health care terms and insurance concepts." (Benefitfocus)  


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Supreme Court Says Plans Must Move Quickly to Enforce Subrogation Rights
"The Court's decision made clear that an equitable lien persists until the property subject to the lien is dissipated in a way that cannot be traced into any product. It also noted 'a lack of record evidence as to whether Montanile mixed the settlement fund with his general assets.' The Court remanded the case to the lower courts for a 'determin[ation] whether Montanile kept his settlement fund separate from his general assets or dissipated the entire fund on nontraceable assets.' " [Montanile v. Bd. of Trustees of Nat. Elevator Ind. Health Benefit Plan, No. 14-723 (U.S. Jan. 20, 2016)] (Steptoe & Johnson LLP)  

Task Force Urges Doctors to Screen All Adults for Depression
"All adults, including pregnant women and new mothers, should be screened for depression as a routine part of health care, a government advisory group recommended Tuesday.... The second part of the recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is more difficult -- ensuring systems are in place to properly diagnose and treat people identified through screening." (The Washington Post; subscription may be required)  

Drug Costs, Risk Adjustment Drive 2016 Q2 Health Insurance Rate Increases
"Most insurers said they were unable to exercise any control on manufacturers' prices, and that their premiums had to take continued cost growth into account. Specialty drugs were a particular area of concern.... Many carriers cited the ACA risk adjustment requirement as a cost driver. The testimony identified pay-outs under this formula as affecting premium rate setting, contributing to a competitive disadvantage for small insurers, and generally affecting the ability to set accurate prices because of the variability in risk adjustment pay-outs/pay-ins each year." (Mintz Levin)  

CBO Report: Obamacare Will Enroll 40% Fewer Than It Predicted Last Year
"[B]uried deep inside [a new CBO report] was the revelation that the best, least partisan experts available were off by nearly half in their evaluation of PPACA's ability to cover the uninsured.... The CBO further projects that the number of people receiving taxpayer handouts to buy Obamacare plans will be higher than expected. Roughly 11 million people are expected to receive subsidies this year, compared to about 8 million people last year." (Benefit Revolution)  

The Implications of a Finding for the Plaintiffs in House v. Burwell (PDF)
"In 2016, the case House v. Burwell will be decided in the United States district court of the District of Columbia.... [T]he House of Representatives claims that the cost-sharing reductions the Obama administration paid to low-income enrollees ... in Marketplace coverage were inappropriate because Congress had not made a specific line-item appropriation to do so.... [If the plaintiffs are successful,] premiums for silver Marketplace plans would increase $1,040 per person on average. This premium increase would, on average, make silver plan premiums higher than those of gold plans ... [and] lead to higher federal payments for Marketplace tax credits because such payments are tied to the second-lowest-cost silver plan premium.... Marketplace enrollment would decrease by 1.0 million people because enrollees ineligible for tax credits could find less expensive coverage elsewhere, and federal government costs would increase $3.6 billion in 2016 ($47 billion over 10 years).... [T]he change would also reduce the number of people uninsured by approximately 400,000." (Urban Institute)  

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