Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

February 11, 2016

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Webcasts and Conferences

ACA Information Reporting: What do you Need to Know?
March 9, 2016 WEBCAST
(Thompson Information Services)

Women Business Leaders Forum
June 6, 2016 in LA
(ASPPA [American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries])

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[Guidance Overview]

The Impact of Opt-Out Incentives on ACA Affordability Calculations
"Until final regulations are issued, employers with opt-out arrangements in effect before December 16, 2015 do not have to reflect opt-out incentives in affordability calculations nor include on the 1095-C.... Employees can include the opt-out incentive in the cost of coverage should they apply for a premium subsidy. Proposed and final regulations are expected to address both conditional and un-conditional opt-out incentives." (ERISAdiagnostics, Inc.)  


[Advert.]

Employer's Guide to Health Care Reform, 2016 Edition

Sponsored by Wolters Kluwer

This practical guide helps you design your employee health plans to satisfy ACA requirements; minimize penalty exposure; achieve significant cost-savings; understand new notice requirements; meet deadlines and more! Use code BENEFIT20 for 20% discount.



[Guidance Overview]

IRS Issues Private Letter Rulings on Reallocation of VEBA Assets
"IRS has released two PLRs regarding VEBA funds that were originally intended to pay for retiree health benefits but will now be reallocated to provide health benefits for active employees.... Employers interested in using this strategy, however, should keep in mind the following: [1] Legally, PLRs may only be relied upon by the recipient. [2] For ERISA-covered benefit plans, all affected benefits generally must be provided under the same ERISA plan (and the plan needs to permit reallocation) to satisfy ERISA's exclusive benefit rule. [3] Although, in the first PLR, the employer must recognize income under the tax benefit rule, this same amount may be deducted from the employer's income when it is used to fund active employees' benefits." [See PLR 201530022 and PLR 201532037.] (The Wagner Law Group)  

[Guidance Overview]

San Francisco's 2016 Minimum Health Care Spending Requirements (PDF)
"San Francisco's Office of Labor Standards Enforcement has issued the minimum health care spending requirements for 2016. The requirements apply to San Francisco employers with employees who work in the city." (Xerox HR Services)  

Healthy? You'll Spend More on Health Care in Retirement
" 'Excellent health, ironically, can actually raise an individual's lifetime health spending' simply because healthier people can generally expect to live longer ... [A] 65-year-old man with Type 2 diabetes should have about $88,300 accumulated for medical costs, versus $114,900 for a tobacco user and $143,800 for someone in good health. The reason: With diabetes, his life expectancy is 78, versus 81 for a tobacco user and 87 for a 65-year-old man in good health.... While healthier people can generally expect to pay higher lifetime medical bills, their projected monthly and annual health-care expenditures are below those of people in poorer health." (The Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required)  

Fiscal Year 2017 Federal Budget: The ACA's Excise Tax
"[The budget proposal would modify the Cadillac Tax] threshold to be the greater of either the current law threshold ... or a 'gold plan average premium' to be calculated and published for each state.... For health Flexible Spending Arrangements (FSAs), the cost of coverage with respect to salary reduction contributions would be defined as the average amount elected for the year by similarly-situated employees (rather than amounts actually contributed on an employee-by-employee basis)." (Segal Consulting)  


[Advert.]

On-Site & Near-Site Employee Health Clinics Forum April 10-12

Sponsored by World Congress

Employee health professionals exchange strategies and practical solutions to optimize the business of on-site clinics and improve employee health; insight on building, maintaining, and innovating on-site clinics. Use code BLINK2 to attend for $195.



Study: Favorable Ruling for House of Representatives in ACA Challenge Would Cost $47 Billion
"A ruling in favor of the Republican-led House of Representatives in its lawsuit challenging the [ACA's] cost-sharing reduction payments could cost the federal government $47 billion over 10 years. An analysis funded by the Urban Institute ... also determined that such a ruling could eventually cause insurers to pull out of the marketplace altogether." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)  

[Opinion]

It's (Not) All in the Genes (PDF)
"Once genetic testing is perfected and predictive reliability established, can we believe that their revealed knowledge will be enough to make people change? Unfortunately, knowing what is right does not mean people will do what's right.... [T]ime after time, we see human frailty trump test results.... We must be creative, determined and persistent in our employee education, and in our related efforts to foster healthy habits. We're not just fighting healthcare costs. We're fighting for people's lives." (Chelko Consulting Group)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Obama Proposes Cadillac Tax, PBGC Premium Changes
"Under the proposal, in any state where the average premium for 'gold' coverage on the state's individual health insurance marketplace exceeds the Cadillac-tax threshold, the tax trigger would be set at the level of that average gold premium.... [T]he administration says it wants to hold the line on premiums employers pay the [PBGC] and shift to the agency's Board -- comprised of the secretaries of Labor, Treasury and Commerce -- the authority to set premium levels. Congress last year sharply raised PBGC single-employer premiums, but the administration says more hikes are not necessary." (Business Insurance; free registration required)  

Press Releases

Burnham Benefits Promotes Dedicated VP Nooshin George to Partner
Burnham Benefits Insurance Services Inc.

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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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