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[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Notice 2016-69: Treatment of Amounts Paid to Section 170(c) Organizations Under Employer Leave-Based Donation Programs to Aid Victims of Hurricane Matthew (PDF)
"This notice provides guidance for income and employment tax purposes on the treatment of cash payments made by employers under leave-based donation programs for the relief of victims of Hurricane Matthew. The Service will not assert that cash payments an employer makes to Section 170(c) organizations in exchange for vacation, sick, or personal leave that its employees elect to forgo constitute gross income or wages of the employees if the payments are: [1] made to the Section 170(c) organizations for the relief of victims of Hurricane Matthew; and [2] paid to the Section 170(c) organizations before January 1, 2018."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]


Upcoming Webinar - Overview of Reporting Requirements under ACA

Sponsored by Wolters Kluwer

Join for a webinar on November 15th! The webinar will provide a high level review of the reporting requirements under ACA, including filing deadlines in 2017 and a summary of the forms. To register, click here.

[Guidance Overview]

2016 Year-End 'To Do' List for Health & Welfare Plan Sponsors
"Consider impact of nondiscrimination rules ... Report and pay reinsurance fees ... Comply with large employer shared responsibility rules if applicable, or pay penalties ... Do code section 6055 and 6056 reporting ... Cover preventive services without cost sharing in non-grandfathered health plans ... Update HIPAA privacy and security policies and business associate agreements ... Implement a business associate agreement with your cloud service provider ... Consider proper treatment of telemedicine benefits ... Distribute summaries of benefits and coverage (SBC) ... Provide 60-day advance notice of changes impacting SBC ... Update [SPDs] if needed ... Distribute Summary Annual Report ... Comply with mental health parity requirements ... Continue to report and pay [PCORI] fees ... Reflect cost-of-living increases."
Snell & Wilmer

How to Design a Better Consumer-Driven Health Plan
"To be effective, CDHPs must be designed so the employee can 'win,' which happens when the employer contributes to the health savings account (HSA) or health reimbursement account (HRA).... Properly-designed CDHP plans will save money as behaviors shift. By the fifth year after adoption, a CDHP plan is expected to save an employer 25 percent compared to the cost of a traditional plan."
The Alliance

Trump Describes Healthcare Policy in the New Administration
"To maximize choice and create a dynamic market for health insurance, the Administration will work with Congress to enable people to purchase insurance across state lines. The Administration also will work with both Congress and the States to re-establish high-risk pools -- a proven approach to ensuring access to health insurance coverage for individuals who have significant medical expenses and who have not maintained continuous coverage."
President-Elect Donald J. Trump

Election of President Trump Does Not Give Employers a Free Pass on 2016 ACA Reporting
"[This article explores] the four possible outcomes that may occur with regard to 2016 reporting.... [T]he logical choice for all employers is compliance with the ACA reporting requirements in 2016."
Accord Systems, LLC


How to Survive an ACA Audit

Sponsored by Lorman and BenefitsLink

Dec. 13 webinar. Ensure that your policies and procedures mitigate audit inquiries from various federal agencies. Documentation and record retention will be the key to minimizing potential penalties.

Election Results Likely to Result in the End of the ACA as We Know It, But Employers and Plan Sponsors Should Stay the Course for Now
"President-elect Trump could issue a directive to agencies to stop all enforcement of regulations currently in effect under the ACA.... Moreover, a significant part of the ACA's enforcement infrastructure is found in sub-regulatory guidance ... meaning that there are opportunities for the new administration to take action without significant procedural hurdles. One could surmise that the days of expansive interpretations of the ACA in sub-regulatory guidance are over and, in some cases, prior sub-regulatory guidance would be reversed."
Proskauer's ERISA Practice Center

Day One and Beyond: What Trump's Election Means for the ACA
"Congress and the President, can ... repeal many of the provisions that are identified by the public as 'Obamacare' using the budget reconciliation process.... [R]econciliation legislation could probably not change the insurance reform provisions of the ACA -- the ban on preexisting condition exclusions and health status underwriting, caps on annual and lifetime dollar limits, actuarial value requirements, age underwriting restrictions, as they do not affect revenues and outlays. The continued imposition of these requirements without the financing provided by the ACA could cause serious distortions and damage in insurance markets."
Timothy Jost, in Health Affairs

California Faces Major Reversal If Trump, Congress Scrap Health Law
"The Golden State fully embraced the [ACA] by expanding Medicaid coverage for the poor and creating its own health insurance exchange for about 1.4 million enrollees. Supporters held California up as proof the health law could work as intended.... The number of uninsured Californians would more than double to 7.5 million people if the [ACA] was repealed[.]"
Kaiser Health News


Now What Do We Do? 'Trumpcare'?
"As challenging as creating a replacement will be the transition period before the new plan can be operative. It is not possible to instantly replace the Obamacare policies and the exchanges overnight. There will need to be a transition period between the old and the new that will be at least a year, if not two, for the new market to be prepared and implemented."
Bob Laszewski's Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review


Will President-Elect Trump Make Employee Benefits Great Again?
"The most consequential changes will likely be repeal of: [1] Pay or Play (a.k.a. employer mandate, employer shared responsibility); [2] ACA reporting; [3] Prohibition of lifetime and annual dollar limits on essential benefits; [4] Essential benefits coverage requirements for small group plans; [5] Cadillac Tax (2020); [6] Fully insured medical nondiscrimination."
ABD Insurance & Financial Services

Benefits in General

The Financial Un-Wellness of HR
"Are we contributing to the financial 'un-wellness' of employees by putting such a heavy focus on retirement planning? Furthermore, are HR executives the most fitting to help people with these areas of their financial lives? ... According to a recent study, 56% of employers indicated they are very likely to create or focus on the financial well-being of employees in ways that expand beyond retirement decisions in 2016.... Unfortunately, because one benefit (retirement savings) has historically been placed in the spotlight for HR leadership and team members, handling the ever growing emphasis on personal finance is challenging."

Executive Compensation and Nonqualified Plans

[Guidance Overview]

More ISS Guidance
"For companies subject to ISS's quantitative pay-for-performance screens, ISS will display a company's three-year performance not only on TSR but also on six financial metrics relative to its ISS peer group ... ISS will compute relative three-year measures for each of the metrics, compared to the ISS selected peer group, compare performance on these metrics with relative compensation levels, and present the results, including an overall weighted financial performance metric, in a new standardized table."
Winston & Strawn LLP

Only Half of U.S. Employees Think They Are Paid Fairly
"Only about two-thirds of employees (65%) say they understand how their salary is determined, and less than four in 10 employees say they understand how their total compensation compares with that of the typical employee in their organization (39%) and with the typical employee in other companies (34%). When organizations begin to report on the CEO pay ratio and the pay of the median employee, these employees will not have the context to properly interpret those numbers."
Willis Towers Watson

Press Releases

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