Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

November 21, 2016

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Employee Benefits Jobs


Webcasts and Conferences

From Obamacare to Trumpcare: What to Expect from the Likely "Replace" Alternatives
November 29, 2016 WEBCAST
ABD Insurance & Financial Services

Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program Workshop
December 6, 2016 in WA
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor

Designer Defenses: What You Can Do Today to Prevent Benefits Litigation Tomorrow
February 9, 2017 WEBCAST
Jackson Lewis LLP

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[Official Guidance]

Text of CMS Risk Corridors Payment and Charge Amounts for the 2015 Benefit Year (PDF)
13 pages. "[CMS is] confirming that all 2015 benefit year risk corridors collections will be used to pay a portion of balances on 2014 benefit year risk corridors payments. [CMS is] also announcing issuer-level risk corridors payments and charges for the 2015 benefit year. The tables [in this document] show risk corridors payments and charges calculated for the 2015 benefit year, by State and issuer, and the additional amount based on anticipated 2015 risk corridors collections that HHS expects to pay towards the calculated 2014 benefit year payments."
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]

[Advert.]

5th Annual Telehealth and Remote Patient Monitoring Summit - Jan. 25-26, 2017 - Atlanta, GA

Sponsored by World Congress

Telehealth execs discuss engaging providers & consumers in digital health to optimize ROI & improve population health. Promo Code BLINK2 takes $200 off your registration (May not combine w any other offer. Not valid twd Govt Rate/Workshop Only/Webcast)


[Guidance Overview]

IRS Extends Distribution (Not Filing) Deadline for ACA Reporting and Continues Good Faith Standard
"The regulations issued under Code Section 6055 and 6056 allow for an automatic 30-day extension to distribute and file the forms if good cause exists. An additional 30-day is extension is available upon application to the IRS. Notice 2016-70 provides that these extensions do not apply to the extended due date for the distribution of the forms, but they do apply to the unchanged deadline to file the forms with the IRS. In addition to extending the distribution deadline, the IRS continued the interim good faith compliance standard that was in effect for the first year of ACA reporting (for the 2015 year)."
Proskauer's ERISA Practice Center

[Guidance Overview]

ACA Reporting Deadline Extended by 30 Days
"After repeatedly warning that last year's 'good-faith compliance' standard would not be available for 2016, the IRS has now reversed course.... As with the relief granted for 2015, however, this relief does not apply to missing or late filings.... [E]mployers may want to be prepared to answer questions from their employees who do not receive a Form 1095-B or 1095-C by the time they wish to file their personal tax returns."
Spencer Fane

[Guidance Overview]

2016 ACA Reporting Deadline Extended by 30 Days
"The IRS states the reason for the extension is because they 'have determined that a substantial number of employers, insurers, and other providers of minimum essential coverage need additional time beyond the January 31, 2017, due date to gather and analyze the information and prepare the 2016 Forms 1095-B and 1095-C to be furnished to individuals.' There was no extension to the standard deadline to file the Forms 1094-B and 1094-C (and copies of the Forms 1095-B and 1095-C) with the IRS because they found 'no similar need.' "
ABD Insurance & Financial Services

Millennials Come of Age (PDF)
"The first step in reimagining the 21st century workplace with millennials at the center may be to change how we position benefits from the start. Insurance -- whether health and dental or life and disability -- has long been considered a vital tool to protect America's workers and their families from negative events that impact all of us. This thinking needs to evolve. For millennials, being healthy doesn't just mean not feeling sick. It's a commitment to ongoing healthy eating habits and exercise and avoiding activities that can be viewed as damaging."
Colonial Life

Paid Family and Medical Leave: What and Why
"Proponents of mandatory paid family and medical leave argue that it's long past time that the United States got in step with other wealthy nations. They point to the hidden costs of the status quo and a growing body of evidence that shows that paid leave improves family financial stability and public health, and that it's a plus for businesses as well as workers. Opponents assert that mandatory paid family and medical leave places a significant burden on businesses and should be a benefit they choose to offer, or not. They point to the many large and midsize employers that offer paid leave to full-time employees as examples of this alternative system. In addition, they argue, it's a policy issue best left to states."
Health Affairs

Tax Implications for Non-Discriminatory Employer-Paid Life Insurance Coverage That Exceeds $50,000 (PDF)
"Your employees may have to pay taxes on the value of the following types of employer-sponsored group term life insurance: [1] Employer-paid group term life benefits that exceed $50,000; [2] Discriminatory employer-paid term life plans; [3] Employer-sponsored voluntary life coverage; [4] Employer-sponsored voluntary life insurance paid for with pre-tax dollars under a Section 125 plan. This [article] clarifies the key Section 79 areas to review at the end of each calendar year [and] details potential tax consequences for each situation."
Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC

The 80/20 Rule Increases Value for Consumers for Fifth Year in a Row (PDF)
"Since the 80/20 rule was enacted in 2011, nearly $2.8 billion in total rebates have been paid to consumers, including rebates for 2015.... Consumers are receiving approximately $107 million in rebates in the individual market, $154 million in the small group market, and $136 million in the large group market. The average refund per family is $124 in the individual market, $142 in the small group market, and $146 in the large group market."
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]

Health Reform and Health Insurance Coverage of Early Retirees
"[B]etween 2013 and 2014, the fraction of early retirees without health insurance declined significantly from 14.7 percent to 11.2 percent ... Gains in coverage were larger in states that implemented the [ACA]'s Medicaid expansion in January 2014 than in states that did not. The gains in coverage disproportionately benefited low-income early retirees ... There is no evidence of an acceleration of the decline in employer-sponsored coverage for early retirees, either overall or in states that expanded Medicaid."
Michigan Retirement Research Center [MRRC]

Insurer Anthem to Defend Cigna Deal in Court
"The Justice Department has been aggressive in challenging mergers recently, but none of its efforts is bigger than its lawsuits challenging the Anthem-Cigna deal, the largest ever in the industry, and a $34 billion deal that would combine insurers Aetna Inc. and Humana Inc. A trial on the latter transaction begins Dec. 5.... Rulings in both cases could come before President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration ... Anthem, Aetna and Humana are all defending their deals, saying they will produce notable consumer benefits without hurting competition."
The Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required

The Individual Mandate: It's What Keeps Everyone in the Risk Pool
"When guaranteed issue health insurance went into effect in Washington in the 1990s, there was no individual mandate to accompany it. The results were higher premiums, lack of choice and no progress in reducing the number of uninsured. It was the same story in Kentucky, where guaranteed issue and community rating reforms enacted in the 1990s came without an individual mandate.... A number of studies looked at the impact of getting rid of the mandate while keeping key [ACA] market reforms. All the studies found that this would result in a dramatic rise in the uninsured population and higher premiums compared to health reform with a mandate."
InsuranceNewsNet.com

[Opinion]

A Portfolio Strategy for Affordable Coverage: Disaggregating Problems, Aggregating Solutions
"Improving the affordability of coverage will be challenging. It will require that analysts, policymakers, and stakeholders identify and disaggregate the forces and factors that are propelling costs -- and then that we devise, secure, and implement a portfolio of strategies to moderate a wide range of cost drivers."
Health Affairs

Benefits in General

DOL Receives Cybersecurity Suggestions, While Union Acknowledges Hack
"The [ERISA Advisory Council] boiled its recommendations down to: [1] making its report publicly available as soon as administratively feasible, and [2] providing information to the employee benefit plan community to educate them on cybersecurity risks and potential approaches for managing those risks."
Bloomberg BNA

Executive Compensation and Nonqualified Plans

The Election of Donald J. Trump: What it Means for Executive Pay
"SEC will refrain from further significant rulemaking on executive pay mandates until Dodd-Frank is retooled or replaced. Complete repeal of Dodd-Frank and all of its executive pay mandates is highly unlikely. The tug of war between deregulation and populism will influence which executive pay mandates fall. CEO pay ratio, mandatory recoupment policy and pay for performance have a 50% chance of repeal. For now, companies should assume requirements regarding the CEO pay ratio will remain."
Meridian Compensation Partners, LLC

Press Releases

WTIA Launches Multiple Employer 401k Plan
Washington Technology Industry Association [WTIA]

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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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