Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

September 16, 2016

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Employee Benefits Jobs

Employee Benefits Attorney
Wiggin and Dana LLP
in CT

Senior Pension Administrator
CBIZ
in PA

Senior Consulting Actuary, Health & Benefits
Retirement Plan Services Organization
in PA

Financial Services Representative (FSR) Team Lead
eRIA
in WI

401(k) Account Manager
Alliance Benefit Group of Illinois
in IL, Telecommute

Trust Accountant
The MandMarblestone Group, llc
in PA

ERISA Audit Senior Associate
CBIZ MHM
in MO

Team Lead, Pension Ops
Nationwide
in OH

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Webcasts and Conferences

Plan Year 2017 Agent and Broker Registration and Training
September 16, 2016 WEBCAST
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS]

Top QDRO Mistakes Attorneys Make - and How to Avoid Them!
December 14, 2016 WEBCAST
National Business Institute

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[Guidance Overview]

Go All the Way with HSA: Everything HDHP/HSA You Need to Know (PDF)
57 presentation slides. Topics: What are the requirements for a plan to meet HDHP status? Which individuals are eligible to make or receive HSA contributions? What are the forms of disqualifying coverage that prevent HSA eligibility? What are the contribution limit rules for HSA-eligible individuals? How do the rules apply for individuals who gain or lose HSA eligibility mid-year? What tax reporting requirements apply to HSAs? How does HSA eligibility interact with Health FSA and HRA coverage? How and when can employers correct mistaken HSA contributions?
ABD Insurance & Financial Services

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[Guidance Overview]

Nondiscrimination Standards Under ACA Section 1557: Now Is the Time to Act
"A Covered Entity must take appropriate initial and continuing steps to notify beneficiaries, enrollees, applicants, or members of the public of individuals' rights under Section 1557 ... This notice must be posted in significant publications and communications, in conspicuous physical locations, and on the Covered Entity's website by October 16, 2016 ... Covered Entities must also post by October 16, 2016, taglines in at least the top 15 languages spoken by individuals with limited English proficiency in the state or states where the Covered Entity operates."
Epstein Becker Green

[Guidance Overview]

Can We Allow Laid-Off Employees to Spend Down Their Health FSAs Without Electing COBRA?
"No. Under the cafeteria plan rules, health FSA participants can only be reimbursed for eligible medical expenses incurred while their health FSA coverage is in effect, and coverage stops when the participant stops making contributions. Furthermore, any amounts remaining when coverage stops are subject to the 'use-or-lose' rule, which generally requires forfeiture of health FSA contributions not used to reimburse expenses incurred during the coverage period."
Thomson Reuters / EBIA

EEOC Appeal of Wellness Plan Case May Dead-End Over Lack of Damages
"During oral argument ... a three-judge panel peppered attorneys from the [EEOC] and Flambeau Inc.... with questions about potential damages an employee suffered under a since-ended wellness program. Without a determination that the now-retired employee suffered an economic loss, emotional distress or some other damage, the case likely constituted 'much ado about ancient history,' one of the judges said." [EEOC v. Flambeau Inc., No. 16-1402 (7th Cir. oral argument Sept. 15, 2016)]
Bloomberg BNA

State Law Barring Enforcement of Discretionary Clauses Is Not Preempted When Applied to Self-Insured Plan
"The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has argued that [discretionary clauses] allow insurers to engage in inappropriate claim practices and then rely on the [language] as a shield. But insurers have argued that discretionary clauses keep insurance costs manageable by limiting access to de novo review. Similar policy arguments can be made about discretionary clauses in self-insured plans. A number of states have attempted to prohibit or restrict discretionary clauses, but courts have reached differing conclusions as to whether such laws are preempted by ERISA." [Thomas v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., No. 15-1112 (E.D. Cal. Aug. 15, 2016)]
Thomson Reuters / EBIA

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Honeywell Not Required to Arbitrate Retiree Health Cuts
"This proposed class action between Honeywell and retirees of a Greenville, Ohio, plant is one of at least three pending lawsuits challenging the company's decision to terminate retiree health coverage for certain workers beginning in 2017. On Sept. 13, a federal judge in Ohio overruled the Greenville retirees' request for arbitration and partly dismissed their lawsuit, reasoning that Honeywell only agreed to arbitrate with unions and employees, and not with former workers or retirees." [Fletcher v. Honeywell Int'l, Inc., No. 16-00302 (S.D. Ohio Sept. 14, 2016)]
Bloomberg BNA

Company Switches to Reference-Based Pricing with Incredible Success (PDF)
"In the first year of the reference-based pricing model, the company promised -- and delivered -- incredible results: Deductibles stayed the same. Coinsurance rates stayed the same. And instead of a 23 percent hike, premiums did not increase at all. Here is the story of how one employer fought back against rising healthcare costs, the status quo, and that law known as health reform . . . and won."
Lockton

Why Do Employers Hate the Cadillac Tax?
"From a business perspective, companies want to continue to take advantage of the full tax exclusion since untaxed dollars make paying workers a little cheaper ... And ultimately, employers have realized it would be a political and reputational nightmare in the short term to stop providing health benefits. It would immediately raise the ire of workers who expect jobs to come with a halfway decent health plan."
Crain's Chicago Business

D.C.-Area Federal Employees One Step Closer to Having Uber Covered Under Transit Benefits
"A House oversight panel .. advanced legislation that would allow federal employees in the capital region to apply their transit benefits toward ride-sharing services such as Uber. The bill ... would require agencies to offer employees using ride-sharing networks the same transit benefits as those using public transportation. It was prompted by the Washington Metrorail's SafeTrack program of extensive systemwide repairs and upgrades."
Government Executive

ERIC Works to Create Barrier-Free Access to Telehealth
"ERIC recently submitted testimony to the Michigan House Committee on Health Policy, as well as presented letters to the Missouri State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts, the Louisiana Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and the Delaware Board of Dietetics/Nutrition."
The ERISA Industry Committee [ERIC]

Changes in Coverage by State and in Selected Metropolitan Areas
"Between 2013 and 2014, the percentage of people in the United States without health insurance fell from 16.9 percent to 13.4 percent. Non-Medicaid expansion states reduced their uninsured rate by 2.8 percentage points compared to 4.2 percentage points in Medicaid expansion states. Reductions in the uninsured rate were broad, touching every demographic and socioeconomic group."
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]

Rules for Posting an SPD on Company's Intranet Website
"The [DOL] provides a safe harbor for electronic disclosure of plan documents including the use of an intranet. The safe harbor sets forth general requirements for all electronic disclosures and additional requirements for recipients that do not have computer access at work."
Kushner & Company

[Guidance Overview]

DOL Expands Plan Compliance Relief for Louisiana Floods (PDF)
"The DOL's news release makes allowances for delays in providing blackout notices as well as processing participant contributions, loan repayments, health plan benefit claims and COBRA elections."
Xerox HR Services

Amazonian Benefits: Swipe, Click, Enroll
"[M]obile apps are the future -- if not the present -- of consumerism. It's rapidly becoming commonplace for people to use apps to shop for cars, do their taxes and even apply for a mortgage. If your employees can use apps for those traditionally complex processes, wouldn't it only make sense for them to be able to use apps to enroll in their benefits?"
Benefitfocus

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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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