Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

February 13, 2017 logo logo
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Business Relationship Consultant
Aspire Financial Services LLC
in FL

Contributions Supervisor
Aspire Financial Services LLC
in FL

DC Administrator
Creative Plan Designs, Ltd.
in NY

Employee Benefits Attorney
in OH

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Webcasts and Conferences

Science Behind Workplace Financial Wellness
February 15, 2017 in MO
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - St. Louis Chapter

Adding Financial Health to Your Wellness Program
March 8, 2017 in TX
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Houston Chapter

Creative Uses of HSAs
March 31, 2017 WEBCAST
Lorman Education Services

New Parental Leave Laws in Rhode Island
April 27, 2017 WEBCAST
Lorman Education Services

Advanced Pension Conference - Chicago 2017
September 6, 2017 in IL
FIS Relius Education

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[Guidance Overview]

Qualified Small Employer HRAs Face Steep Compliance Path
"The compliance path for QSE HRAs is steep enough that they may not be adopted by a significant number of eligible employers.... [C]ompliance hurdles that small employers will face: [1] Requirement that no group health plan be maintained.... [2] Confusion over impact on premium tax credits.... [3] Annual notice requirement.... [4] Annual tax reporting duties.... [5] Lack of financial incentive for benefit advisers."
E is for ERISA


Health Care Management Conference

Sponsored by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

Still Time to Register Attend the Health Care Management Conference and review the latest communication strategies, management methods, ACA updates and tactics for lowering health care costs.

[Guidance Overview]

HIPAA Small Breach Notifications Due to OCR March 1
"Covered Entities should submit notice for each small breach online via OCR's breach portal. The breach portal requires a separate fillable report for each breach rather than a simple upload of the covered entities' breach logs."
von Briesen & Roper, s.c.

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Issues Proposed Regs Redefining Dependent for Federal Tax Purposes
"In the context of employee benefit plans, the federal definition of dependent determines whether an individual (e.g., domestic partners, children over age 27) can receive employer-provided health insurance on a tax-free basis, and whether certain expenses related to child care are eligible for reimbursement from a dependent care flexible spending account."
The Wagner Law Group

Employers Balk at Curbs on Generous Health Plans
"Several Republican plans for replacing the ACA include their own curb on generous health plans: a cap on how much of employer-provided health benefits could be shielded from taxes. Such a cap could force certain workers to start paying income tax on a portion of the cost of their coverage."
The Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required

Insurers Seeking Risk Corridor Payments Get First Courtroom Win
"The Court of Federal Claims has about as many judges as there are pending risk corridor cases, and none of them are bound to follow the decisions of the other judges. In November of 2016, one of the judges dismissed one of the cases ... that case is now on appeal. In early January another judge refused a motion to dismiss on jurisdictional grounds ... but did not rule on the merits. On February 9, 2017, a third judge entered a partial summary judgment in favor of Moda Health Plans. This is the first victory for a health plan on the question of liability in a risk corridor challenge." [Moda Health Plan, Inc. v. U.S., No. 16-649 (Cl. Ct. Feb. 9, 2017)]
Health Affairs


Save $200 use promo code BLINK2 (not valid for webcast)

Sponsored by World Congress

9th Annual Health Plan Marketing Summit. Convening marketing, strategy, and innovation professionals from across the health insurance industry to discuss trends in consumerism and market strategy.

Using High-Risk Pools to Cover High-Risk Enrollees (PDF)
"The impact of adopting a high-risk pool approach on access to coverage, premiums, and government spending depends on the specific approach and how its details are structured, including those related to eligibility criteria, benefit coverage requirements, and funding sources. It is also important to consider how high-risk pool approaches would interact with other insurance market rules pertaining to insurance issue, benefit coverage requirements, and premium rating."
American Academy of Actuaries

Long-term Individual and Population Consequences of Early-life Access to Health Insurance
"This paper analyzes the impact of gaining health insurance in childhood on health and economic outcomes during adulthood using dynamic microsimulation.... [I]ncreased access to health insurance in childhood results in 11 additional months of life expectancy and 16 additional months lived free of disability. There is no change in total lifetime medical spending, although both Medicaid and Medicare expenditures fall. Lifetime earnings increase by about 8% for individuals who gain the benefits of childhood health insurance."
Michigan Retirement Research Center [MRRC]

Appropriations and Fund Transfers in the Affordable Care Act (PDF)
34 pages. "This report summarizes all the mandatory appropriations and Medicare trust fund transfers in the ACA and provides details, where publicly available, on the status of obligation of these funds.... The report also includes a brief discussion of the impact that sequestration is having on ACA mandatory spending. This report is periodically revised and updated to reflect important legislative and other developments." [Report R41301, Feb. 7, 2017]
Congressional Research Service [CRS]

Discretionary Spending Under the Affordable Care Act (PDF)
49 pages. "This report examines the ACA's effects on discretionary spending. First, it discusses all the ACA authorizations (and reauthorizations) of appropriations for grant and other programs. This information, along with the appropriation amounts (if any) for each program since FY2010, is summarized in a series of tables. The report then briefly discusses the ACA administrative costs borne by CMS and the IRS. Appendix A provides background information on the enforceable discretionary spending limits (caps) and the annual spending reductions under the Budget Control Act of 2011." [Report R41390, Feb. 8, 2017]
Congressional Research Service [CRS]

Legislative Actions in the 112th, 113th, and 114th Congresses to Repeal, Defund, or Delay the Affordable Care Act (PDF)
26 pages. "This report summarizes legislative actions taken during the 112th, 113th, and 114th Congresses to repeal, defund, delay, or otherwise amend the ACA.... Most of the House-passed ACA legislation was not considered in the Senate during that period. A few bills to amend specific elements of the ACA that attracted sufficiently broad and bipartisan support were approved by both the House and the Senate and signed into law." [Report R43289, Feb. 7,2017]
Congressional Research Service [CRS]


A Plan to Repeal and Replace Obamacare
"The new Administration and Congress have the opportunity not only to free America from the failure of Obamacare but also to improve on the prior system. Congress should act immediately to initiate repeal while the Administration takes aggressive administrative actions to stabilize the private market. Congress must replace Obamacare through a careful transition process that establishes everyone on more solid ground."
The Heritage Foundation


ERIC Comments on Maryland's Proposed Paid Leave Bills
"Rather than impose additional layers of regulation and costly complexity on companies that are already offering generous paid leave to their workforce, legislators should instead exempt employers from additional regulation if they offer more paid leave days/hours than is required by the law. This approach gets to the heart of the concern that workers in the state are not provided a certain amount of paid leave."
The ERISA Industry Committee [ERIC]

Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]

DOL, PBGC and HHS Increase Penalties for Violations (PDF)
"The DOL, PBGC, and HHS have announced annual inflation penalty adjustments.... The penalties listed [in this article] represent the maximums and minimums stated in associated laws and may not represent the penalty applied under administrative protocols established by an agency."

Executive Compensation and Nonqualified Plans

The 'Average' Non-Qualified Defined Contribution Plan (PDF)
"[A] recent review of 200 medium-to-large company non-qualified defined contribution plan design features ... found: 94 different types of eligibility provisions; 124 different company contribution allocation formulas; 95 plans with unique lineups of mutual funds as investment alternatives with 25 including company stock; 61 different vesting schedules."
NQDCSolutions, LLC

Press Releases

PBGC Announces Appointments
PBGC [Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation]

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