Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

July 20, 2016

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Webcasts and Conferences

2014 Affordable Care Act Tax Provisions for Individuals, Families and Small Businesses
RECORDED
(IRS [Internal Revenue Service])

Accumulated Sick and Vacation Pay Deferred to 403(b) or 457(b) Plans
RECORDED
(IRS [Internal Revenue Service])

457(b) and (f) Plans under the New Proposed Regulations
August 10, 2016 WEBCAST
(FIS Relius Education)

All About the ACA: Manage Compliance so it Doesn't Manage You
August 16, 2016 WEBCAST
(The Alliance)

Advanced Pension Conference
September 7, 2016 in IL
(FIS Relius Education)

SEP Plans
September 8, 2016 WEBCAST
(Ascensus)

Executive Compensation in ESOP Companies
September 20, 2016 WEBCAST
(National Center for Employee Ownership [NCEO])

Executive Compensation National Institute 2016
November 14, 2016 in DC
(ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits [JCEB])

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[Official Guidance]

Text of CMS Enrollment Manual for FFM and FFM-SHOP (PDF)
167 pages, effective as of October 1, 2016. "This manual provides operational policy and guidance on key topics related to eligibility and enrollment activities within the FFM and FF-SHOP, as well as within the SBM-FP, which use the federal platform for eligibility and enrollment platforms.... The information provided in this document applies to organizations and entities that may be involved in or assist with enrolling a QI or SHOP enrollee into a QHP and/ or QDP using the FFM or FF-SHOP eligibility and enrollment functions." (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS])  


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[Official Guidance]

OCR Training Materials for Health Insurers, Hospitals and Other Healthcare Providers: ACA Section 1557 Nondiscrimination Provisions
"HHS OCR strongly encourages covered entities to train their employees on compliance with Section 1557. To help covered entities, HHS OCR has prepared a Presenter's Guide and accompanying PowerPoint slides. These training materials were created to supplement covered entities' trainings on their internal policies and procedures that are now required under Section 1557." (Office for Civil Rights [OCR], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS])  

[Guidance Overview]

Banks Not Likely to Be Subject to Executive Order on Paid Sick Days for Federal Contractors
"The banking industry has traditionally been included within the definition of 'government contractor' by the [DOL] and Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). On Feb. 25, 2016, DOL issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to implement EO 13706.... [A] careful review of the Notice, in conjunction with prior DOL and OFCCP enforcement activities, shows that it is highly unlikely that the banking industry will be subject to this burdensome new requirement." (Fox Rothschild LLP)  

What's a 'Limited Purpose' FSA?
"A general purpose FSA allows account holders to pay for a long list of IRS-approved expenses, including prescription medications, copays, most dental treatments, and other medical related needs. If a person has an HSA, they are not eligible to also have a general purpose FSA. An LPFSA allows account holders to receive reimbursement for eligible dental and vision expenses. A person with a high deductible health plan with an HSA is eligible for an LPFSA." (DataPath)  

Employers Confident Public Health Insurance Exchanges Will Be an Option for Pre-65 Retiree Coverage Within Two Years
"More than half (56%) of U.S. employers are confident that public health insurance exchanges will be a viable alternative to group health plans for pre-65 retirees by 2018 ... 72% of employers plan moderate to significant changes in pre-65 retiree health benefits over the next four years.... [E]mployers expect a 4.1% cost increase for pre-65 retiree health care after plan changes or 5.7% without plan changes in 2016. This compares with an expected 2.0% cost increase for Medicare-eligible retiree health care after plan changes or 3.3% before plan changes this year." (Willis Towers Watson)  


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Unique Fringe Benefits to Engage Employees

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July 27 webinar. Employers are working to become more and more creative in offering fringe benefit packages that are non-traditional, that will help them recruit and retain the best employees.



Justice Department Will Seek to Block Two Health Insurance Mergers
"Antitrust officials are concerned that Aetna's $37 billion deal with Humana, and Anthem's $48 billion pursuit of Cigna, will harm competition in the health insurance industry ... The deals would have decreased the number of the largest insurers to three, from five.... If the lack of regulatory approval scuttles their deal, Anthem will need to pay a $1.85 billion breakup fee to Cigna, according to the merger agreement. Aetna will be required to give $1 billion to Humana under those same circumstances[.]" (The New York Times; subscription may be required)  

How Reinsurance Limited Health Insurers' Financial Losses in the ACA's First Year
"[O]verall, health insurers' operating profits in 2014 from selling insurance (not including profits from investments) were 1 percent of premiums, or $3.7 billion. In previous years, overall operating profits ranged from 2.5 to 3 percent, or $8 billion to $9 billion. A portion of the drop in profits was caused by increased losses in the individual market, which averaged -4.2 percent, or $2.5 billion, compared with -3.1 percent or $1 billion loss the prior year." (The Commonwealth Fund)  

How Has the ACA Affected Health Insurers' Financial Performance?
"This issue brief uses newly available data to understand how health insurers fared financially during the ACA's first year of full reforms. Overall, health insurers' financial performance began to show some strain in 2014, but the ACA's reinsurance program substantially buffered the negative effects for most insurers. Although a quarter of insurers did substantially worse than others, experience under the new market rules could improve the accuracy of pricing decisions in subsequent years." (The Commonwealth Fund)  

Health Insurance Premiums on California Exchange to Rise by Average of 13%
"After last year's 4% rate increase, California's Obamacare insurance exchange rates appear to be catching up to the rest of the country. The two biggest carriers are raising rates by much more than the average 13.2% increase. Blue Shield said its average increase was 19.9% and Anthem said it would increase rates an average of 17.2%." (Bob Laszewski's Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review)  

Press Releases

President Obama Names Babette A. Ceccotti to PBGC Advisory Committee
PBGC [Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation]

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Lois Baker, J.D., President  loisbaker@benefitslink.com
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher  davebaker@benefitslink.com
Holly Horton, Business Manager  hollyhorton@benefitslink.com

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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