Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

June 20, 2016 logo logo LinkedIn logo Twitter logo Facebook logo
Get Retirement News | Advertise | Previous Issues | Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Manager, 401(k) Compliance
Newport Group
in IL

Supervisor / Manager
Newport Group
in CA

Compliance Specialist
Newport Group
in AL

Benefits Attorney
The Air Line Pilots Association, Int'l
in VA

Health Benefits Analyst
Georgia Municipal Association
in GA

Plan Administrator
My Benefits & First Party Administrator
in GA

Client Relationship Manager
RMB Capital
in CO

Post Your Job

View All Jobs

RSS feed for jobs RSS Feed: All Jobs

Webcasts and Conferences


Subscribe Now to This Newsletter (free)

We also publish the BenefitsLink Retirement Plans Newsletter (free): Subscribe Now

[Official Guidance]

Text of CMS FAQ: Alternative Schedule for Payment of Charges for Reconciliation of the Cost-Sharing Reduction Portion of Advance Payments for the 2014 and 2015 Benefit Years (PDF)
Unnumbered document, dated June 17, 2016. "CMS will consider providing flexibility on the payment schedule for reconciliation of the cost-sharing reduction component of advance payments to assist issuers with cash flow constraints, to ensure they may continue to provide coverage to enrollees through the end of the benefit year. To request such flexibility, an issuer must email no later than 11:59 p.m. ET on Tuesday, July 5, 2016." (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS])  


Innovations in Wellness and Population Health Management - July 25-26, 2016 - Boston, MA

Sponsored by World Congress

Health plans discuss implementation/sustainability of wellness programs, engaging consumers, incentives, & privacy. Promo Code BLINK2 takes $200 off your registration (May not combine w any other offer. Invalid twd Govt Rate/Workshop Only/Webcast

[Guidance Overview]

The Emerging Contours of the Rules Governing Wellness Programs Under (Conflicting) Federal Tax, Benefits and Employment Laws (PDF)
18 pages. "This paper ... examines the regulation of wellness programs under HIPAA and the ACA, with respect to which final regulations are in place ... provide[s] background on the ADA and GINA, respectively, as they affect wellness program design and operation ... surveys EEOC enforcement actions prior to its recent proposed rules ... offers a look at two recent proposed EEOC rules relating to voluntary wellness programs under the ADA and spousal participation in wellness programs under GINA ... [discusses] emerging trends in third-party wellness programs and vendors, with a particular emphasis on service agreements ... [and] offers some predictions concerning the eventual content of the final EEOC rules on the subject." (Mintz Levin, via Tax Management Compensation Planning Journal)  

[Guidance Overview]

Wellness Plans: Final ADA and GINA Regulations (PDF)
12 pages. "It's important for an employer to be aware of the subtle differences among the categories of incentive limits and to ensure that, based on program design, the incentive does not exceed the limit. That said, these categories don't appear to address some common wellness program designs. For example, it's not clear if the EEOC contemplated multiple coverage options offerings where only employees enrolled in the health plan are eligible for the wellness program." (Xerox HR Services)  

[Guidance Overview]

Agencies Release Guidance on Application of ACA Rules to Expatriate Health Plans
"Substantially all of the benefits provided under an expatriate health plan must be benefits that are not excepted benefits. The proposed regulations consider group or individual supplemental health insurance benefits and travel insurance to be excepted benefits.... The proposed regulations add new requirements for hospital and other indemnity insurance to comply with in order to be considered an excepted benefit. For instance, enrollment materials provided to enrollees must indicate that the coverage is a supplement to major medical coverage and that a failure to have MEC may result in additional taxes." (The Wagner Law Group)  

[Guidance Overview]

Healthcare Subsidies for Grad Students: An ACA Conundrum
"Colleges and universities historically have provided graduate student employees (e.g., teaching assistants) with a stipend or reimbursement to help defray (or even fully cover) the cost of their medical coverage under the student health plan. Competing guidance ... from [HHS, DOL,] and the Treasury ... will soon make such arrangements quite problematic." (Jackson Lewis P.C.)  


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]

Chicago Poised to Pass the Latest Employee Paid Sick Leave Law
"Under the Ordinance, employers must allow employees to accrue at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours per year ... The accrual begins from the employee's first day of work or from the Ordinance's effective date of July 1, 2017, whichever is later." (FMLA Insights)  

[Guidance Overview]

Los Angeles Expands Sick Pay Obligations Beyond Current State Law Requirements
"Employees subject to the Los Angeles Ordinance may take leave for themselves, a family member, and now, 'any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.' The Los Angeles Ordinance does not define 'affinity,' but it is clearly more expansive than California's Healthy Workplace, Healthy Families Act of 2014." (Blank Rome LLP)  

Transparency Tools Work -- But Require Appropriate Incentives
"According to [author Reed] Abelson, transparency tools are mostly ineffective at reducing health care spending because patients aren't using them.... How can employers encourage workers to use the tools? It requires the appropriate application of training -- and incentives." (National Center for Policy Analysis Health Policy Blog)  

Struggling for Profit Selling Health Insurance in State Marketplaces
"In an effort to attract customers, insurers put prices on their plans that have turned out to be too low to make a profit. The companies also assumed they could offer the same sort of plans as they do through employer-based coverage ... But the market has turned out to be smaller than they hoped ... Fewer employers have dropped health insurance than expected ... keeping many healthy adults out of the individual market. And among the remaining population, the insurers cannot pick and choose their customers." (The New York Times; subscription may be required)  

CBO Cost Estimate H.R. 5445, Health Care Security Act of 2016
"H.R. 5445 would amend the Internal Revenue code to modify the rules regarding contributions to and treatment of distributions from Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) ... The staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimates that enacting H.R. 5445 would reduce revenues by about $20.5 billion over the 2017-2026 period. Of that reduction, about $4.8 billion would result from changes in off-budget revenues (from Social Security payroll taxes)." (Congressional Budget Office [CBO])  

Hearing Aids and the Sound of Mobile Health Disruption
"There are several reasons why innovative businesses harnessing modern technologies have found health care a difficult nut to crack.... [W]hat is the impact of health care regulation? Beyond the traditional trope that regulation stifles innovation, how does health care regulation impact disruption? Recent developments in the markets for hearing aids suggest some answers[.]" (Health Affairs)  


DOL Awakening Could Have Greater Impact on Healthcare Than Obamacare
"With employers/employees spending more than twice [as much] on health benefits as they do on retirement benefits, one would think there'd be a similar level of scrutiny.... [One attorney was asked] what he thought would trigger a spate of ERISA-related lawsuits. His belief is that the 'kindling' is high deductible plans that have grown rapidly. With employees now being a major 'payor' in their own right, the math doesn't work for many with high deductible plans." (Forbes)  

Benefits in General

2016 SHRM Employee Benefits Report (PDF)
88 pages. "From 2015 to 2016, three out of five organizations (60%) report that their benefits offerings have remained the same, one-third (33%) report an increase and 7% a decrease in benefits -- similar to changes from 2014 to 2015. Compared with five years ago, more organizations are offering monetary bonus benefits ... Looking back 20 years, telecommuting benefits have seen a threefold increase, from 20% of organizations offering the benefit in 1996 to 60% in 2016." (Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM])  

Will the 'Gig' Workforce Drive New Normal for Benefits?
"Consider the next generation of workers -- digitally savvy kids who see the global grid as their toy. Pair that with two more trends -- an increasingly global labor pool and the aging baby boomer population interested in retirement on their own terms. What does this mean as we think about the future workforce and a possible 'new normal' for benefits?" (Mercer/Signal)  

Press Releases

Connect   LinkedIn logo   Twitter logo   Facebook logo, Inc.
1298 Minnesota Avenue, Suite H
Winter Park, Florida 32789
(407) 644-4146

Lois Baker, J.D., President
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher
Holly Horton, Business Manager

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.

Links to web sites other than and are offered as a service to our readers; we were not involved in their production and are not responsible for their content.

Privacy Policy