Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

January 19, 2017 logo logo
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Senior Conversion Analyst
BlueStar Retirement Services, Inc.
in FL

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Webcasts and Conferences

Basics of 401(k) Plans - Session 1
January 19, 2017 WEBCAST

Technology Solutions for IRA Fiduciary Rule Compliance
January 24, 2017 WEBCAST
Fiduciary Benchmarks, Inc.

Recruiting, Managing and Retaining Millennials to Your Employee-Owned Organization
January 25, 2017 WEBCAST
Ohio Employee Ownership Center

Enhancing Financial Wellbeing through Voluntary Benefits
January 26, 2017 WEBCAST

Basics of 401(k) Plans - Session 2
February 2, 2017 WEBCAST

DC Benchmarking for Fee Reasonableness Determination
February 2, 2017 WEBCAST
Fiduciary Benchmarks, Inc.

DC Plan Design and Other DC Trends
February 14, 2017 in GA
ISCEBS - Georgia Chapter

Basics of 401(k) Plans - Session 3
February 16, 2017 WEBCAST

Service Provider's Due Diligence & Required Enforcement Actions
March 16, 2017 WEBCAST

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[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Notice 2017-14: Individual Shared Responsibility Payment Hardship Exemption (PDF)
"An individual meeting the requirements [described in HHS guidance released on August 12, 2016] may claim a hardship exemption on a 2016 Federal income tax return without obtaining a hardship exemption certification for any month or months between July 2016 and December 2016 for which that individual (or qualifying family member) would have been eligible for the [health care tax credit (HCTC)] if he or she enrolled in HCTC-qualifying coverage."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]


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[Guidance Overview]

Deadline Around the Corner for Form 1095-C Employee Statements -- Unlikely to Change If ACA Is Repealed
"The deadline for employers to furnish the Form 1095-C employee statements is March 2, 2017.... [T]here is not much time left to accurately complete lines 14, 15, and 16, print and address the Forms, and place the Forms in the mail. Predictably, some employers are waiting to see what happens in the opening weeks of President Trump's administration. This could place providers processing these employers' Form 1095-Cs in an impossible position to meet the March 2, 2017 deadline and has only a miniscule chance of being beneficial to the employer."
Accord Systems, LLC

[Guidance Overview]

The Excise Tax on High-Cost Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance: Estimated Economic and Market Effects (PDF)
16 pages. "This report ... evaluates the potential of the Cadillac tax to affect health insurance coverage and the health care market. It also examines the expected incidence (burden) of the tax -- that is, which group's income will be reduced by the tax. Finally, the report discusses implications for economic efficiency in the context of tax administration." [Report R44159, Jan. 12, 2017]
Congressional Research Service [CRS]

[Guidance Overview]

Complying with San Francisco's New 2017 Paid Leave Law (PDF)
45 presentation slides. Topics include: [1] Effective date determined by employer size; [2] Which SF employees are covered? [3] How much must employees receive under the SF PPLO -- and who pays? [4] Timing of SF PPL payment difference for birth mothers; [5] Maximum benefit amount; [6] Recordkeeping and notice requirements.
ABD Insurance & Financial Services

[Guidance Overview]

Status Quo for Contraceptive Coverage Mandate Accommodation (PDF)
"The Obama administration will retain the current ACA contraceptive coverage mandate accommodation process for nonprofit religious objectors ? but it is unclear how the Trump administration will handle it going forward. While this issue has garnered significant media attention, it does not affect most employer plans subject to the contraceptive coverage mandate."


Online Learning Course: HIPAA Privacy

Sponsored by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

This course will explain who and what are covered by the Privacy Rule, including business associates, how to properly disclose Protected Health Information (PHI), when the minimum necessary standards apply and additional administrative requirements.

Work-from-Home Arrangements as FMLA: 7th Circuit Decision Shows Need for Proper Supervisor Training
"Judge Posner reasoned that since the employee had successfully worked from home in the preceding months, the jury's best inference was that the company was angered by her request to stay home. This inference was supported by the HR representative's 'phony line' that she could not use FMLA leave to care for her child, which contradicted the express language of the statute." [Wink v. Miller Compressing Co., Nos. 16-2336, 16-2339 (7th Cir. Jan. 9, 2017)]
Polsinelli PC

Supreme Court Declines to Hear Challenge to Michigan Claims-Paid Tax
"[T]he Sixth Circuit, had decided, on remand from the Supreme Court, that the Michigan Health Insurance Claims Assessment Act was not preempted by ERISA. The Act imposes a 1 percent tax on all paid claims by insurers or third-party administrators for health services rendered in Michigan to Michigan residents.... On remand, the Sixth Circuit reaffirmed its original decision, finding that nothing in Gobeille warranted overturning its decision. SIIA's attempt to appeal this decision to the Supreme Court was declined on January 9, 2017." [Self-Insurance Inst. of America v. Snyder, No. 12-2264 (6th Cir. July 1, 2016; cert. denied Jan. 9, 2017)]
McDermott Will & Emery, via Lexology

Six-Month Market Exclusivity Extensions to Promote Research Offer Substantial Returns for Many Drug Makers
"[F]or the thirteen FDA-approved drugs that gained supplemental approval for a rare disease indication from 2005 through 2010, the median projected cost of clinical trials leading to approval was $29.8 million. If the exclusivity extension had been in place, the median discounted financial gain to manufacturers would have been $94.6 million.... Extending market exclusivity would provide substantial compensation to many manufacturers, particularly for top-selling products, far in excess of the cost of conducting these trials."
Health Affairs

Interstate Insurance Sales: Wishful Thinking or a Viable Policy Option?
"A provision in [the ACA] allows states to establish what are called 'health care choice compacts,' which permit insurers to sell policies to individuals and small businesses in any state that participates in the compact -- provided they abide by specific rules.... [As] of yet, nothing has materialized. Several explanations point to why ... Whatever the reason or combination of reasons may be, the upshot is that interstate insurance sales are already legal under certain conditions."
Health Affairs

Did 2016 Marketplace Consumer Respond to Changes in Gross Premiums or to Changes in Premiums Net of Tax Credits? (PDF)
10 pages. "A substantially greater fraction of Marketplace enrollees switched plans in 2016 when average premiums increased but benchmark premiums did not keep pace than if premiums did not change.... When average premiums increased but benchmark premiums increased by the same amount, the fraction of Marketplace enrollees that switched plans in 2016 increased by a small amount, consistent with the fact that only a small percentage of enrollees are not eligible for premium tax credits.... These results suggest that consumers primarily respond to net premiums, rather than to gross premiums, when making plan selections in 2016."
Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation [ASPE], Office of Health Policy, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]


ACA's Impact on Small Business Wages and Employment
"[R]egulations from the [ACA] are driving up health care premiums and are costing small business employees at least $19 billion in lost wages annually. These figures varied by state ... Premium increases ... also significantly diminished the number of business establishments and jobs nationwide. Across the country, small businesses (20-99 workers) lost 295,030 jobs, 10,130 business establishments, and $4.7 billion in total wage earnings."
American Action Forum

Benefits in General

Supreme Court Declines to Hear Challenge to Validity of Forum Selection Clauses in ERISA Plans
"The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 17 ended a yearlong legal challenge to the enforceability of a forum selection clause in an ERISA-governed benefit plan, when the court denied the plaintiff's petition for writ of certiorari. The petitioner unsuccessfully opposed transfer, moved for retransfer and twice sought review of the Eighth Circuit before filing her petition for writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court."

Press Releases

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