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Newport Group
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Webcasts and Conferences

Statewide Pension Fund Seminar Fall 2016
September 20, 2016 in NY
Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC

New EEOC Regulations and More: Is Your Wellness Program Ready for 2017?
September 29, 2016 WEBCAST
Lorman Education Services

401(k) Beyond the Basics 10: After-Tax Contributions
October 17, 2016 WEBCAST
FIS Relius Education

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[Guidance Overview]

Draft 1094-C and 1095-C Forms Released for 2016
"The IRS has published the draft 2016 1094-C and 1095-C forms and instructions ... that applicable large employers must complete. Not surprisingly, there are minimal changes to the forms.... Other modifications were only clarifying changes to the forms."


11th Executive Forum on On-Site and Near-Site Employee Health Clinics - Sept. 12-13, 2016 - Orlando, FL

Sponsored by World Congress

Employers & wellness execs exchange ideas & gain the latest insight on building, maintaining, & innovating on-site care. Promo Code BLINK2 takes $200 off your registration (May not combine w any other offer. Not valid twd Govt Rate/Workshop Only/Webcast)

[Guidance Overview]

Illinois Employers: Become Familiar with the Now-Effective Employee Sick Leave Act and Child Bereavement Leave Act
"The Child Bereavement Leave Act This Act took effect July 29, 2016 and applies to all employers covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This type of leave is only available to employees who fall under the definition of an 'eligible employee' under the FMLA.... The Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act takes effect on Jan. 1, 2017. The Act provides that employees may use 'personal sick leave benefits' provided by an employer for absences due to an illness, injury, or medical appointment of the employee's child, spouse, sibling, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandchild, grandparent, or stepparent for reasonable periods of time as the employee's attendance is necessary, on the same terms and conditions upon which the employee is able to use sick leave benefits for the employee's own illness or injury."
The Lowenbaum Partnership, LLC

[Guidance Overview]

Illinois Increases Employee Opportunities for Protected Leave
"Just two months after Chicago became the second city in the Midwest to require employers to provide paid sick leave, Illinois has enacted three laws that entitle employees to additional protected leaves. The Child Bereavement Leave Act, the Employee Sick Leave Act, and an amendment to the Victims' Economic Security and Safety Act are described [in this article]."

HHS Releases Proposed Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2018
"[T]here are a wide range of rules addressed in these proposals. And copious detail is provided in the preamble about alternatives that were considered, which may be useful for stakeholders wanting to provide comments. HHS has also asked for comments on numerous ideas for future guidance, including the possibility of eliminating a requirement 'tying' an insurer's participation in the federal SHOP to its participation in the federal Exchange, and doing away with online enrollment in the federal SHOP."
Thomson Reuters / EBIA

To Cover Spouses, or Not? Managing the Cost of Spousal Health Coverage
"Charging for working spouses is effective at lowering costs because it has a dual effect. First, it lowers overall gross cost by incentivizing spouses to stay off their health plan. Second, it shrinks the net employer cost by raising employee paycheck deductions for those spouses that choose to stay on the plan and pay the surcharge.... [A]lmost 10% of the 1,974 employers surveyed have implemented a spousal surcharge, with the technology (17%), healthcare (15%) and manufacturing (13%) sectors leading the way."


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Price Transparency Is Magic Bullet to Healthcare Cost Control
"On June 2nd, Vermont passed compromise legislation requiring the drug makers of 15 of the most costly drugs to show cause for their high prices. And both Ohio and California (Massachusetts legislative effort was rebuffed) have pending bills that would require drug companies to reveal more about drug costs and how those drugs are priced.... Transparency is the key to affordability."
Frenkel Benefits

Small Biz Health Exchange (SHOP) Still Worth Considering
"[Massachusetts Institute of Technology economics professor Jonathan Gruber] believes the savings rate offered by SHOP-based plans was simply not significant enough to disrupt the existing small group market, which suffered, pre-ACA, from languishing in the worst of all worlds. Selling to small groups was not as lucrative as large groups for insurers and agents, while premiums for customers were high."
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]

How an HSA Can Help You Save for Retirement
"HSAs are portable and can be transferred to the custodian of your choice. While many retirement accounts are subject to required minimum distributions once you reach age 70-1/2, HSAs do not have this requirement. There is also no level of income that excludes you from participating in HSAs as long as you have a qualifying high deductible health plan. You can also accumulate a balance in the account that can be used tax-free for future medical expenses."
U.S. News & World Report

HHS Secretary Says Health Law's Insurance Markets Are Viable
"Addressing concerns about rising premiums and dwindling competition, [HHS] Secretary Sylvia Burwell asserted Thursday that the federal health law's insurance markets clearly are sustainable. Willingness by Congress to help smooth out problems would definitely help, Burwell told reporters, but it is not absolutely essential.... Burwell said she hasn't yet set a goal yet for 2017 enrollment but that she believes it will continue to grow. She cited steps the administration is taking to attract more customers[.]"
The Washington Post; subscription may be required


California's Answer to Surprise, Out-of-Network Medical Bills
"The out-of-network provider is no longer able to demand payment for the full fee but has to accept either the same payment that in-network providers receive or 125% of the Medicare rate, whichever is higher. If the out-of-network provider demands more, a dispute resolution process with the insurer is established, but in no circumstances does the patient pay more than the contracted in-network cost sharing.... This places the private insurer in the position of being able to dictate price controls within the private health care delivery system."
Physicians for a National Health Program [PNHP]

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

Text of Final Regs: Definition of Terms Relating to Marital Status
"This document contains final regulations that reflect the holdings of Obergefell v. Hodges ..., Windsor v. United States, ..., and Revenue Ruling 2013-17 ... and that define terms in the Internal Revenue Code describing the marital status of taxpayers for federal tax purposes.... While [the regulations] will continue to provide that registered domestic partnerships, civil unions, and other similar relationships not denominated as marriage under state law are not recognized as married for federal tax purposes, [they are clarified to] ensure that there is a point of reference for which state law is applicable when determining whether the alternative legal relationship is recognized as marriage under state law. Accordingly, ... the terms 'spouse,' 'husband,' and 'wife' and 'husband and wife' do not include individuals who have entered into a registered domestic partnership, civil union, or other similar relationship not denominated as a marriage under the law of the state, possession, or territory of the United States where such relationship was entered into, regardless of domicile."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

[Guidance Overview]

More Filers, More to File: ERISA Agencies Slate Major Expansion, Revamp of Form 5500 for 2019
"Although the new forms are not slated for use until plan years beginning in 2019 (with the first filings in 2020), many of the data that they demand are not routinely collected and may not be easily retrievable from current information systems. Some changes are matters of form rather than substance. Some questions have been moved to different schedules, others have been rephrased, and numerical codes for plan features have been replaced by a series of 'yes/no' choices. More substantively, the new regime will expand both the universe of plans that must file annual reports and the quantity of information that the reports must include."
Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Executive Compensation and Nonqualified Plans

ISS Change Means Companies May Need to Review Grandfathered Employment and Other Agreements
"Companies and committees should be conscious of the fact that ISS is taking a firmer approach to problematic pay practices in 'grandfathered' agreements, including 'evergreen' agreements with problematic pay practices. In fact, the 2016 U.S. Executive Compensation Policies' Frequently Asked Questions does not include the phrase 'grandfathered.' "
Winston & Strawn LLP

Press Releases

2016 Leadership Award Winner - The City of New York Deferred Compensation Plan “The Individual Consultation”
National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators [NAGDCA]

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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.

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