Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

September 28, 2016

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Employee Benefits Jobs

Retirement Plan Administrator
Matthews Benefit Group, Inc
in FL

Sr. Legal Counsel, ERISA Fiduciary
T. Rowe Price
in MD

Retirement Products & Services Compliance Officer
T. Rowe Price
in MD

Project Manager 3
Wells Fargo
in NC

Defined Contribution Administrator
TPA Firm
in AZ, TX

Vice President, Retirement Division
American Trust & Savings Bank
in IA

Relationship Manager
Newport Group
in IL

Implementation Project Manager
Newport Group
in FL, Telecommute

Senior Defined Contribution Analyst
Retirement Horizons Inc.
in TX

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Webcasts and Conferences

Becoming a Retirement Investment Expert: The 5 Essentials
October 13, 2016 WEBCAST
InvestmentNews

New York Employee Benefits Breakfast Briefing
October 25, 2016 in NY
Nixon Peabody LLP

ACA Best Practices: Annual Reporting Accuracy & Strategic Employee Communications
October 25, 2016 WEBCAST
HR.com

New York Employee Benefits Breakfast Briefing
October 26, 2016 in NY
Nixon Peabody LLP

DOL Update with the Associate Regional Director, Chicago Office of the EBSA
October 26, 2016 in IL
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Chicago Downtown Chapter

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[Guidance Overview]

The Next Big Thing: Audits Regarding the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (PDF)
"On April 20, 2016, the DOL, IRS and HHS (the 'Agencies') issued FAQ guidance that ... stated that a plan or issuer cannot base its analysis on an insurer's entire overall book of business for the year. To the extent plan-specific data is available, each self-funded and fully insured plan must use such data in making their compliance projections.... [The authors] have recently become aware of several plan investigations in which the DOL has alleged compliance violations with this plan-specific testing requirement. This suggests that the DOL will attempt to enforce the plan-specific testing requirements for prior years, notwithstanding the recent nature of its FAQ guidance."
Alston & Bird LLP

[Advert.]

Register Today for the 26th Annual Health Benefits Conference & Expo!

Sponsored by Health Benefits Conference & Expo [HBCE]

From new strategies in population health management to cost-containment solutions and ACA updates, HBCE will provide the in-depth information you need to keep your benefit plans compliant and your employees engaged. Register today!


[Guidance Overview]

New ACA Rules for HRAs, Flex Credits and Opt-Out Payments
"Although the rules in Notice 2015-87 generally apply for plan years beginning on or after December 16, 2015, under transition relief, many of the new rules will take effect for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2017. Final regulations regarding opt-out payments will likely be issued later this year ... In planning for next year, employers and plan sponsors that include any of these features in their health plans should review plan documents and operations for compliance with the new requirements, several of which are explained in this article."
Hanson Bridgett LLP

District Court Decision Upholds Employer's Wellness Program But Signals Support for EEOC Positions Going Forward
"The Orion decision endorses the EEOC's position on wellness programs for 2017 and future years. At the same time, it is only one case in a federal district court.... [T]he same issue is currently on appeal to the Seventh Circuit in EEOC v. Flambeau, Inc. Although the issues have not yet been fully resolved by the courts, the path of least resistance is to follow the EEOC's new regulations for 2017 and future years." [EEOC v. Orion Energy Systems, Inc., No. 14-1019 (E.D. Wis. Sept. 19, 2016)]
Proskauer's ERISA Practice Center

New District Court Decision on Wellness Programs Raises More Questions
"If the case is appealed to the Seventh Circuit (where the Flambeau decision currently is pending), and the inapplicability of the ADA safe harbor to wellness programs is upheld, then Orion could create a circuit split on the issue, call into question both the Eleventh Circuit's decision in Seff and the district court's decision in Flambeau and potentially be ripe for Supreme Court review.... It is also important to emphasize that Orion did not actually interpret or apply the EEOC's May 2016 final regulations on voluntary wellness programs; and if it had, the program at issue likely would not have failed, in light of the regulations' 30% limit on incentives." [EEOC v. Orion Energy Systems, Inc., No. 14-1019 (E.D. Wis. Sept. 19, 2016)]
Miller & Chevalier

Wellness Award Goes to Workplace Where Many Measures Got Worse
"Program participants ... 'showed improvements in health behavior,' helping Boise save money on medical costs. Data collected by the company that sold Boise the wellness program ... cast doubt on that claim. More key measures of health deteriorated than improved. Self-reported quality of health got worse. And health care costs jumped around in a way that suggests any changes were due at least in part to random fluctuations and possibly employee turnover, not any benefits of the wellness program."
STAT

[Advert.]

Is Your Wellness Program Ready for 2017?

Sponsored by Lorman and BenefitsLink

September 29 webinar. We will attempt to reconcile differences in the regulations under the ADA, GINA and HIPAA, with the goal of identifying changes that should be implemented no later than plan years beginning on January 1, 2017.


Report on the Proposed 2016 Cancer Claim Cost Valuation Table (PDF)
59 pages. "The purpose of this project was twofold: [1] To develop a new set of valuation tables for use with cancer insurance policies; [2] To aid actuaries pricing and reviewing product filings by providing information about the initial data provided by the industry in response to the data call. The current tables used to value reserves for cancer policies were developed in 1985 based on experience data from the late 1970s. Since that time there have been changes in the medical treatment of cancer and therefore the product design of cancer policies."
Joint American Academy of Actuaries and Society of Actuaries Cancer Claims Cost Tables Work Group

Cigna to Offer Telehealth for Marketplace Plans
"Cigna is expanding telehealth for its members enrolled in medical and behavioral health coverage in 2017, including those in plans offered through the Obamacare exchanges. There is no additional cost to consumers. The same cost share will apply to video-based services as face-to-face office visits[.]"
Healthcare Finance News

UW-Madison Cuts Student Workers' Hours, Citing ACA
"Student leaders at [the Student Labor Action Coalition (SLAC)], whose mission is to engage students in labor issues, say they are concerned that not only student workers, but other limited term employees of the UW-Madison will see cuts to their hours so that the university doesn't have to offer them health insurance."
Wisconsin State Journal

Call for Legislative Fix for ACA Exchanges, 'Accountable Care 2.0'
"Peter Orszag, vice chairman of investment banking and managing director at Lazard, called for legislative intervention ... To save the exchanges, Orszag said, policymakers must pass such fixes as extending the reinsurance and risk corridor programs, which are set to end after this year, as well as dialing back individual coverage for off-exchange plan members. Another possibility policymakers should consider, Orszag said, would be a personalized, clinically-driven risk score for patients that operates like a credit rating."
FierceHealthcare

Snapshot of Where Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Stand on Seven Health Care Issues
"While health care has not been central to the 2016 Presidential campaign, the election's outcome will be a major determining factor in the country's future health care policy. A number of issues have garnered media attention, including the future of the [ACA], rising prescription drug costs, and the opioid epidemic. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have laid out different approaches to addressing these and other health care issues."
Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

[Opinion]

Can The IRS Save Obamacare?
"You might think the IRS would be hounding those who took subsidies but neglected to file returns, in an effort to learn what happened to that $11 billion. The agency instead appears far more occupied with stalking people who paid their taxes, including the Obamacare tax on the uninsured. The administration's zeal in pursuing taxpayers and laxity in accounting for subsidies serve a common goal: To save Obamacare by herding as many people as possible into the exchanges by any means necessary."
Galen Institute

Benefits in General

6 in 10 Millennials Would Sacrifice Pay for Retirement Benefits
"[T]he number of millennials willing to pay a higher amount for a guaranteed retirement benefit has increased from 42% in 2009 to 59% this year. Two-thirds of boomers (66%) would also be willing to sacrifice pay for more secure retirement benefits, versus half in 2009. However, only a third of millennials (32%) and boomers (34%) said they are willing to pay a higher amount for lower or more predictable health costs, a decline from 43% and 45%, respectively, in 2009."
Willis Towers Watson

Executive Compensation and Nonqualified Plans

Mercer Spot Survey Finds CEO Pay Ratios to Be Lower Than Expected
"A recent Mercer spot survey of over 100 companies in 12 industries found that the CEO-to-median-employee pay ratio is less than 200:1 at the majority of respondents that have estimated a ratio. These estimates, calculated in preparation for the SEC's pay ratio disclosure rule, are significantly lower than the AFL-CIO's 335:1 average ratio for 2015 frequently cited by the media."
Mercer

Wells Fargo Claws Back Millions from CEO After Scandal
"Wells Fargo & Co. Chairman and Chief Executive John Stumpf will forfeit $41 million for the bank's burgeoning sales scandal, marking one of the biggest rebukes to the head of a major U.S. financial institution. The bank's board moved to rescind pay for Mr. Stumpf and former community-banking head Carrie Tolstedt ahead of a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee ... The awards being forfeited by Mr. Stumpf represent about a quarter of the total compensation he has accrued over his nearly 35 years at the bank[.]"
The Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required

Press Releases

NBCH Changes Name to National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions
National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions

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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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