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Employee Benefits Jobs

ESOP Administrator
Blue Ridge ESOP Associates
in VA, Telecommute

Multi-Employer Benefit Manager
Calibre CPA Group
in MD

Senior Compliance Administrator
Associated Pension Consultants
in CA, Telecommute

Defined Contribution Plan / 401k Plan Administrator
N.A. Falcone & Associates, Inc.
in PA

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Webcasts and Conferences

Death, Taxes and Retirement Plans
November 10, 2016 in OH
McDonald Hopkins

Are Your Wellness Programs Well? Regulatory Landscape for Wellness Programs
November 17, 2016 in DC
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Washington Metropolitan Chapter

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Blue Cross Dodges ERISA Lawsuit Over Alleged 'Hidden' Fees
"Judge Mark A. Goldsmith ... [held] that the plan beneficiaries lacked standing to pursue their claims for restitution and injunctive relief under [ERISA]. The beneficiaries failed to allege that they suffered any particularized and concrete injury as a result of Blue Cross' alleged charging of hidden fees, Goldsmith said. They also failed to allege any likelihood of repeated injury or future harm, a prerequisite for the injunctive relief they sought, the judge said." [Cox v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mich., No. 14-13556, (E.D. Mich. Oct. 28, 2016)]
Bloomberg BNA


Preconference Workshop Announced!

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. Want to enhance your learning? Register today!

Failure to Present 'Objective Findings of Impairment' Supports Denial of Mental Disability Claim
"You know that courts can expect a claimant to establish 'objective evidence of impairment' from a physical condition. But does this apply to claims arising out of a mental condition? Courts can require the claimant to establish objective impairment related to a diagnosable mental condition, too." [Gailey v. Life Ins. Co. of North America, No. 15-564 (M.D. Penn. Oct. 17, 2016)]
Lane Powell PC

Transitional Reinsurance Program Enrollment Count: 2015 Fee Due by November 15 (PDF)
"Employers with self-funded medical plans are responsible for paying fees under the Transitional Reinsurance Program (TRP). The deadline to pay the second installment of 2015 fees is November 15, 2016. The deadline to submit the enrollment count for 2016 is also November 15, 2016.... No fees or filings will be due for 2017 or later."

Is High-Deductible Health Insurance Worth the Risk?
"In the last five years, the share of employees enrolled in high-deductible plans has more than doubled, to 29 percent ... Since the bulk of Americans receive their coverage through an employer, that means about 50 million people are enrolled in high-deductible plans.... On average, families saved almost $150 a month in premiums, or $1,800 a year, if they chose the high-deductible option, coupled with a health savings account offered by many large employers[.]"
The New York Times; subscription may be required

BigLaw Benefit Trends Emerge
"In a stark reversal from prior years, [law firms] have achieved heath-inflation rates below the national employer averages for the middle-market segment and collectively have achieved increases averaging 3-5%.... Over the last two years, [there has been] a large increase in law firms embracing self-funding, embracing high-deductible health plans as the primary or single plan option ... while negotiating tighter prescription drug contracts with pharmacy benefit managers.... [M]any major firms are moving towards introducing exotic high-limit, Lloyd's disability policies that can now protect up to $250,000 of monthly partner compensation in the event of a disability."
Frenkel Benefits

What Are Recent Trends and Characteristics of Workers with High Drug Spending?
"Growth in prescription drug spending had slowed, but increased rapidly in 2014 nationally and for employer-sponsored plans ... Spending has increased for both retail and non-retail drugs ... Workers and their family members with certain diagnoses have much higher average drug spending ... The majority of people with employer coverage have little or no retail drug spending, but about 3.9% exceed $5,000 in drug spending."
Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

DOL Announces Online Tool to Help Workers, Employers Understand Medical- and Disability-Related Leave
"The new tool asks users a few questions, such as type of business or organization, workforce size and if the entity receives federal financial assistance; with that information, the advisor quickly directs users to federal employment laws that apply and provides additional information. These laws include the Family and Medical Leave Act which provides eligible employees of covered employers up to 12 work weeks of leave in a 12-month period for certain reasons, among them the employee's own serious health condition; and the Americans with Disabilities Act and other disability nondiscrimination laws, under which leave may be considered a reasonable accommodation."
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]

Startup Fights South Carolina Law on Online Eye Exams
"A Chicago-based health care startup that allows customers to conduct eye exams from their homes and obtain a prescription is fighting back against a South Carolina law that prohibits the company from operating in the state.... Opternative, which was founded in 2012 and launched to the public in 2015, developed technology that allows customers to obtain a prescription for glasses and contacts without ever stepping foot in a doctor's office."
The Daily Signal

Short-Term Health Plans Cut to Under Three Months in New Rule
"Short-term health plans bought by as many as a million people that don't comply with the [ACA] must be limited to less than three months under a final rule issued Oct. 28 by three agencies. The short-term plans currently are limited to less than one year. They must end by Dec. 31, 2017 ... The plans are popular in states that haven't expanded Medicaid under the ACA because they cover fewer benefits and cost less."
Bloomberg BNA

Benefits in General

Benefit Plans: Upcoming Compliance Deadlines and End of Year Planning
"Provided [in this article] is a non-exhaustive list of quickly approaching employee benefits deadlines for retirement plans and health and welfare plans in the fall of 2016 and early 2017."
Holland & Hart LLP

Executive Compensation and Nonqualified Plans

[Guidance Overview]

SEC Issues Interpretative Guidance on CEO Pay Ratio Rule
"The SEC interpretive guidance addresses narrow issues related to the identification of the median employee for purposes of the Pay Ratio calculation.... Many companies have assumed that using a base salary or a cash compensation measure would comply with the Final Rule. However, the SEC's guidance suggests that such a compensation measure may not reasonably reflect the annual compensation of employees under limited circumstances, such as where equity awards are broadly granted to employees."
Meridian Compensation Partners, LLC

Decision Time for Nonqualified Deferred Compensation: Top Issues in Choosing Salary Deferrals for 2017
"In the analysis for choosing deferrals to make in 2017, one ongoing issue stems from the tax increases that took effect in 2013, including the additional Medicare taxes for high earners. Other points to consider include ... [1] Maximizing the amount you can contribute to your 401(k) plans.... [2] Cash needs for the year ahead and multi-year projections for your income.... [3] The financial security of your company, and your job security.... [4] Company match.... [5] The thresholds for higher taxes and rates."

Press Releases

PSCA's 2017 Signature Awards Nominations Now Open
PSCA [Plan Sponsor Council of America]

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David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher
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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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