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November 18, 2016 logo logo
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ERISA Compliance Analyst
TCG Administrators
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Defined Contribution Administrator
TPA Firm
in AZ, TX

Manager Retirement Benefits
Norfolk Southern Corporation
in VA

Sr. Product Advisor, Healthcare Programs
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association [NRECA]
in VA

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Webcasts and Conferences

What’s New and What Changes Can We Expect Post-Election?
December 7, 2016 in IL
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Chicago Downtown Chapter

Deloitte Research: Tech-Enabled Health Care: Is the Health Care System Ready?
December 15, 2016 WEBCAST
Healthcare Web Summit

Plan Governance in a Changing World
December 20, 2016 WEBCAST
ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits [JCEB]

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[Official Guidance]

Text of OPM Final Regs: Coverage for Certain Firefighters and Intermittent Emergency Response Personnel under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (PDF)
"This final rule provides eligibility for health insurance coverage under the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program to certain wildfire protection employees and certain intermittent emergency response personnel.... OPM recognizes that there may be other groups of employees not currently eligible for the FEHB Program because of the nature of their work schedules, but who are similarly situated to firefighting personnel in that they perform emergency response services. Accordingly, OPM has also added a new subsection (i) to its regulations that permits agencies to request that OPM extend FEHB coverage to such employees. OPM intends to construe this subsection narrowly, applying it only to employees engaged in emergency response services similar to the services being performed by those responding to the wildfires, and only when requested by their employing agencies."
U.S. Office of Personnel Management [OPM]


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.

[Guidance Overview]

How the Final Regs on Supplemental Insurance Plans and Dollar Limits Will Affect Employees (PDF)
"[A]ny benefit included in the supplemental policy that is either (a) covered under the primary group health plan, or (b) is considered an EHB in the state where the coverage is issued would not be considered a supplemental excepted benefit plan.... [L]arge group health plans, self-funded group health plans and grandfathered plans (collectively 'exempt plans') are not required to provide EHB benefits. However, these exempt plans may not impose annual and lifetime dollar limits on any EHBs that they cover."
Cherry Bekaert Benefits Consulting, LLC

Five Year-End ACA Tips
"More than 50 employees? You must report your offer of coverage ... Must offer FT coverage for 95% of employees ... Coverage must have started January 1 ... New codes for conditional offers ... Most errors found in dependent SSNs."

Opt-Out Rules Go Into Effect in 2017
"[Proposed IRS regulations], which are intended to be effective for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2017, provide that unless an opt-out arrangement qualifies as an 'eligible opt-out arrangement,' then the amount of the opt-out payment will be added to the cost of the employee's coverage for ACA affordability purposes.... [To] qualify as an eligible opt-out arrangement, opt-out payments can only be made available to employees who: decline employer-sponsored coverage; and provide reasonable evidence that they and their expected tax dependents have or will have minimum essential coverage other than individual market coverage during the plan year or other period covered by the opt-out arrangement."
Corporate Synergies

2016 Trends: How Employers Use Wellness Programs (PDF)
"Employers are eager to offer incentives as a way to both encourage wellness and also lower health care costs. However, employee privacy is on the line, and some argue, at risk. Even though many employers may never see the data collected, there is a philosophical debate brewing about what should -- or should not -- be permitted."
United Benefit Advisors

Nearly Half of Employers View Employer Mandate as Top Health Care Concern Going Into 2017
"[O]ther top areas of concern for employers include: Prescription drug costs -- 17 percent; Excise Tax -- 15 percent; Tax exclusion limitations on employer sponsored health care -- 10 percent; Paid leave laws -- 8 percent; Employee wellness programs -- 2 percent."
Aon Hewitt

The ACA Transitional Reinsurance Program (PDF)
"This report provides an overview of one of the three risk-mitigation programs, the transitional reinsurance program.... The first section of the report provides background information on reinsurance and the ACA risk-mitigation programs. The second section describes the components of the transitional reinsurance program, as well as the amounts currently collected and remitted through the program. The third section discusses questions, including those raised by a recent [GAO] report, regarding the scope of HHS's authority to administer the transitional reinsurance program. The last section briefly summarizes relevant legislation regarding the transitional reinsurance program." [Report R44690, Nov. 16, 2016]
Congressional Research Service [CRS]


Making American Healthcare Great Again
"The [ACA] got a few things right. There should be no pre-existing condition exclusions and no lifetime maximums. There should also be essential benefits which every American should be guaranteed. This system should not be government run. The Veterans Affairs healthcare system and Medicare funding paralysis give us a very sharp focus on the future if government is in charge of healthcare."
Frenkel Benefits


Bill Clinton Is Right: Obamacare is Crazy for Workers
"The more you work, the more you earn; and the more you earn, the higher net premium you pay. This is not a characteristic of the employer-based group market in which most of us participate.... The proportion of workers who work part-time because they choose to limit their hours, rather than because employers will not give them more work, has increased from 71 percent of the part-time workforce in December 2013 (the month before Obamacare launched) to 78 percent this September."
National Center for Policy Analysis Health Policy Blog

Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]

Form 5500 Penalties Increase: Do You Know Who Is in Your Controlled Group?
"The penalty [under ERISA Section 502(c)(2) for a failure or refusal to file Form 5500] has been increased from a maximum of $1,100 per day to a maximum penalty of $2,063 per day.... [G]iven the size of the increase, there could be more incentive for the DOL and IRS to pursue Form 5500 audits. Given the significant penalties, plan sponsors should carefully analyze their controlled group relationships to ensure that they are properly reporting subsidiary or other related entities on the Form 5500."
Wilkins Finston Friedman Law Group LLP

[Guidance Overview]

Changes to Employee Benefit Plan Auditor's Reports May Be on the Way
"Changes to the auditor's report were intended to better help the auditors understand their responsibilities as well as to provide users of the financial statements with additional information on what the auditors do.... Much of the auditor's report under the proposed [Statement of Auditing Standards] will look familiar; however, there are some new aspects to it. Highlighted [in this article] are some of these difference for limited and full-scope audits, including whether the changes apply only to limited or full-scope audits."
Schneider Downs

Executive Compensation and Nonqualified Plans

[Official Guidance]

Text of FASB Proposed Accounting Standards Update to Topic 718: Stock Compensation -- Scope of Modification Accounting
24 pages. "The Board is issuing this proposed Update to provide clarity and reduce diversity in practice, as well as to reduce cost and complexity, when applying the guidance in Topic 718, Compensation: Stock Compensation, about a change to the terms or conditions of a share-based payment award.... The amendments in this proposed Update would affect any entity that changes the terms or conditions of a share-based payment award."
Financial Accounting Standards Board [FASB]

Press Releases

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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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