Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

April 11, 2016

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Webcasts and Conferences

Evaluating the Reasonableness of Plan Fees in Light of the New Disclosures
RECORDED
(University Conference Services)

Evaluating, Selecting and Monitoring Target Date Fund Offerings
RECORDED
(University Conference Services)

Fiduciary Regulations
April 14, 2016 WEBCAST
(Convergent Retirement Plan Solutions, LLC)

Fiduciary Regulations
April 20, 2016 WEBCAST
(Convergent Retirement Plan Solutions, LLC)

Im A Fiduciary?!? ERISA Fiduciary Duties and the New Regulations
April 27, 2016 WEBCAST
(Findley Davies, Inc.)

All You Ever Wanted to Know About Late Remittances But Were Afraid to Ask
April 28, 2016 in CA
(Western Pension & Benefits Council - Orange County Chapter)

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[Official Guidance]

Return Preparer Best Practices: Resolving Information Form 1095 Conflicts (PDF)
"[In] certain circumstances an individual who is eligible for -- or even enrolled in -- other minimal essential coverage may still be eligible for the premium tax credit. Some of these situations are listed [in this document]. Accordingly, if a client's Form 1095-B contains information that appears to indicate that the client is not eligible for the premium tax credit, the preparer will need to ask clients about their specific circumstances to determine whether the client is eligible for the premium tax credit." [Unnumbered document; updated Apr. 7, 2016.] (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])  


[Advert.]

Master Health Reform Guide, 2016 Edition

Sponsored by Wolters Kluwer

This concise yet authoritative guide highlights everything employers need to know about health reform, explaining complex concepts in plain English and clarifying even the most complicated requirements. Use code BENEFIT20 for 20% discount.



[Guidance Overview]

San Francisco Passes Paid Parental Leave Ordinance
"As of January 1, 2017, the Ordinance will apply to all employers with 50 or more employees, regardless of location. As of July 1, 2017, covered employers will include all employers with 20 or more employees, regardless of location.... Employers are required to pay employees supplemental compensation ... during the covered leave period. Employers may require employees to first use accrued but unused vacation leave to meet these pay obligations, but the use of vacation leave for this purpose is limited to two weeks." (Winston & Strawn LLP)  

[Guidance Overview]

New York Enacts Paid Family Leave Law
"Employers will be able to establish rules limiting employees from receiving paid leave benefits for the care of the same family member at the same time as another employee. Employers can require this leave to run concurrently with any unpaid leave for which an employee may be eligible under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. The law will be employee-funded as it will be financed by employee payroll deductions of about $1 per week per employee." (Ford & Harrison LLP)  

Office for Civil Rights HIPAA Audits Are Underway (PDF)
"Because OCR is communicating by email and the email may be incorrectly classified as spam, covered entities and business associates should regularly check spam and junk folders for communication from OCR.... Failure to reply to OCR's requests for information will not shield an entity from audit. Instead, OCR will use publicly available information about the entity to add to the subject pool." (Xerox HR Services)  

Resources for Improving Cancer Care for Employees at Your Organization
"[Six resources are described, including:] [1] Learn about applicable workplace laws; ideas for workplace accommodations; how to support caregivers; making a workplace transition or return to work plan; and more.... [2] [E]mployer strategies for cancer treatment and prevention ... with information on SPD guidance, vendor contracting and plan reporting.... [3] [H]ow the ADA limits an employer's ability to ask questions related to cancer and other disabilities. It includes the limits of conducting medical examinations at three stages: pre-offer, post-offer, and during employment." (The Alliance)  


[Advert.]

Interaction of Health Care Reform with Other Laws in 2016 and 2017

Sponsored by Lorman and BenefitsLink

April 19 webinar - What parts of the ACA are to be implemented in 2016 through 2020 (when the Cadillac Tax will be due)? Timelines and websites with information on future forms and filings will be provided. BenefitsLink discount.



California Gov. Brown's Long Road to Retiree Health Cost Relief
"The state paid $458 million in 2001 (0.6 percent of the general fund) for state worker retiree health care and is expected to pay $2 billion (1.7 percent of the general fund) next fiscal year -- up 80 percent in just the last decade.... The debt or 'unfunded liability' for retiree health care promised state workers has grown to $74.1 billion ... much larger than the unfunded liability reported by CalPERS for state worker pensions, $43.3 billion.... The state usually pays 100 percent of the health care insurance premium for retirees and 90 percent of the premium for dependents." (Calpensions)  

Paying for Medicare Now and in the Future (PDF)
32 pages. "Though the [Medicare] program is progressive within generations, each generation's retirement benefits are paid in part by higher taxes on succeeding generations. Moving toward equalizing the tax burden across generations can be accomplished by constraining the tax financed portion of Medicare so that per capita spending grows at the same rate as per capita GDP. [The authors] outline four alternative ways to recast the program's financing and insurance structure so as to constrain the tax-financed portion of retiree health care spending." (Private Enterprise Research Center, Texas A&M University)  

CMS Launches Largest-Ever Multi-Payer Initiative to Improve Primary Care in America
"[T]he Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+) model will be implemented in up to 20 regions and can accommodate up to 5,000 practices, which would encompass more than 20,000 doctors and clinicians and the 25 million people they serve. The initiative is designed to provide doctors the freedom to care for their patients the way they think will deliver the best outcomes and to pay them for achieving results and improving care.... Primary care practices will participate in one of two tracks. Both tracks will require practices to perform the functions and meet the criteria listed above, but practices in Track 2 will also provide more comprehensive services for patients with complex medical and behavioral health needs, including, as appropriate, a systematic assessment of their psychosocial needs and an inventory of resources and supports to meet those needs." (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS])  

House Oversight Subcommittee Continues Work Examining Obamacare
"Despite the clear language of the statute, [CMS] is continuing to divert funds intended for the U.S. Treasury to insurance companies as reinsurance payments. Over the last two benefit years, CMS has illegally paid out $3.5 billion in reinsurance payments. At [an April 15] hearing, subcommittee members will have the opportunity to ask CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt, the hearing's sole witness, about the program." (Energy & Commerce Committee, U.S. House of Representatives)  

Obamacare Will Cost $136 Billion More, Cover Fewer People Than We Thought, CBO Says
"Last year, CBO projected that the average subsidy would be $4,040. Turns out, it was $4,240. CBO now thinks subsidies will average $4,550 next year ... a reflection of the fact that premiums leapt upward this year, and are likely to make another big jump for next year. As a result, even though the CBO expects that 4 million fewer people will be getting insurance subsidies in 2024, the total cost of those subsidies paid out that year will stay exactly the same: $99 billion.... CBO [has also hiked] its 10-year Medicaid cost projection by $146 billion.... Instead of 45 million enrolled in Medicaid this year, as the CBO had been predicting, there are 68 million." (Investor's Business Daily)  

Sales of Short-Term Health Policies Surge
"Sales of short-term health insurance are up sharply since the health law's major provisions took effect in 2014, according to insurance agencies. New sales figures show the temporary policies, traditionally sold to consumers who are trying to fill coverage gaps for a few months, have continued their surge recently -- even though people who buy them face mounting financial penalties because the coverage doesn't meet the ACA's standards." (The Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required)  

UnitedHealth Quitting Obamacare Markets in Georgia, Arkansas
"UnitedHealth Group Inc., the largest U.S. health insurer, has decided to call it quits in two state Obamacare markets ... The insurer won't sell plans for next year in Georgia and Arkansas, according to state insurance regulators.... [A] UnitedHealth spokesman confirmed the exits and declined to say whether the company would drop out of additional states." (Bloomberg)  

[Opinion]

Four Options for Saving Medicare from Collapsing under its Own Weight
"Raising premiums to ensure the standards of living for future generations is not eroded is not a bad idea. Forcing future taxpayers to bear the cost of today's retirees' vacation homes and RVs is not fair. Higher deductibles and co-pays is the gold standard that employers and commercial insurers have used for years. Reference pricing is a great idea and allowing some fully disclosed balanced billing would not offend me since doctors and hospitals would have to compete for seniors business. A risk adjusted credit to buy a private Medicare plan would also give seniors more options." (National Center for Policy Analysis Health Policy Blog)  

Executive Compensation and Nonqualified Plans

Pay Ratio Disclosures Begin to Appear in Proxy Statements
"Some companies have begun to disclose pay ratios in their proxy statements in advance of the SEC requirement. [Samples are included in this article.] Of course, you'll want to compare the samples to the rules before relying on them." (Dodd-Frank.com, a blog by Stinson Leonard Street)  

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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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