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February 16, 2017 logo logo
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[Guidance Overview]

District of Columbia Mayor Allows Paid Leave Bill to Become Law
"On Feb. 15, 2017, District of Columbia Mayor Bowser returned the Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016 \to the D.C. Council unsigned, effectively allowing the bill to become law. The Act provides for expanded paid leave protections to private-sector workers in the District.... The Act provides for the following benefits for eligible individuals dealing with particular qualified events: [1] Eight weeks of paid leave to care for a newborn, adopted or fostered child; [2] Six weeks of paid leave to care for family members diagnosed or experiencing a serious health condition; [3] Two weeks of paid leave for an individual diagnosed or experiencing a serious health condition."


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Trump Administration Proposes Rule to Stabilize Obamacare Markets
"CMS said that the rule, which modifies the actuarial value used to determine the levels of Obamacare health plans, may lead to higher out-of-pocket costs for consumers.... The rule also addresses insurers' complaints about potential abuse of special enrollment periods in the individual market, requiring people to submit documents proving they qualify for changes to their coverage. Notably, the rule doesn't address age-rating bands that set how much more insurers can charge older people compared to younger participants."
Morning Consult

CMS Proposes New Rules to Encourage Insurers to Stay in ACA Marketplace
"The proposed rule gives states greater authority, CMS said. States with the means to do so will review qualified health plans to assess issuer network adequacy ... CMS is also releasing a revised proposed timeline for the qualified health plan certification and rate review process for plan year 2018."
Healthcare Finance News

National Health Expenditure Projections, 2016-25: Price Increases, Aging Push Sector to 20 Percent of Economy
"Under current law, national health expenditures are projected to grow at an average annual rate of 5.6 percent for 2016-25 and represent 19.9 percent of gross domestic product by 2025. For 2016, national health expenditure growth is anticipated to have slowed 1.1 percentage points to 4.8 percent, as a result of slower Medicaid and prescription drug spending growth. For the rest of the projection period, faster projected growth in medical prices is partly offset by slower projected growth in the use and intensity of medical goods and services, relative to that observed in 2014-16 associated with the [ACA] coverage expansions."
Health Affairs

Employers Tackle Increasingly Complex Leave Requirements
"A plethora of Federal, state and local leave laws and regulations has made employer compliance and leave administration increasingly complex.... Employers are increasingly relying on outside vendors or licensing software to administer and manage these leaves and attempt to keep up with the ever-changing leave landscape. We're seeing the fastest growth in outsourcing leave administration among small and mid-sized employers."
Mercer/Signal: US Health News


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Top and Bottom Earners Responsible for Most Health Care Spending
"Annual total health care spending was highest among those earning above $70,000, who on average spent $5,074 per patient per year. Those earning $24,000 or less weren't far behind, spending on average $4,835 per patient per year. Middle-wage earners had, on average, less than $4,000 per patient per year in health care spending."
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]

Investing HSA Funds Is Key to Substantial Growth
"The ability to invest HSA funds is a significant factor in helping drive account growth. In June 2016, HSA investment assets grew 23 percent from the previous year ... However, it is estimated that only 3 percent of all HSA account holders invest, which means the overwhelming majority of account owners are missing out."

Benefits in General

Seven Things to Know About Limited Discovery in ERISA Long-Term Disability Cases
"[D]iscovery in ERISA cases is generally limited because of the 'significant ERISA policy interests of minimizing costs of claim disputes and ensuring prompt claims-resolution procedures.' Various circuits have different tests on when additional discovery may be taken beyond the administrative record. And, if limited discovery is allowed, then what discovery is allowed? [A] recent case ... highlights the point." [Aitken v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., No. 16-4606 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 19, 2017)]
Lane Powell PC

Executive Compensation and Nonqualified Plans

Another Federal Court Affirms Enforceability of Restrictive Covenants in Electronically Delivered Equity Award Agreements
"The court easily rejected plaintiffs' argument that they had never checked a box stating they 'agreed to' or 'accepted or acknowledged' the terms of the agreements. The court observed that they had checked a box affirming that they 'read' the documents, and the documents explicitly advised them that the non-competes were a condition of accepting the stock award. The court also found the plaintiffs' contention that they did not recall reading the documents, irrelevant." [ADP, LLC v. Lynch, Nos. 16-3617, 16-01111 (3d Cir. Jan 17, 2017; not precedential)]
Winston & Strawn LLP

Tax Season 2017: A Quick Take on What's New for Stock Comp
"In general, 2016 brought no major tax changes to consider.... However, developments over the past few years, such as changes in tax rates or amounts that are indexed yearly for inflation, continue to affect tax-return reporting.... The 2016 version of IRS Form 1099-B, which brokers issue for stock sales made during the tax year, closely resembles the version for the 2015 tax year. However, the 2014 version introduced some major changes that you should continue to keep in mind[.]"

Press Releases

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David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher
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BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9595. Copyright 2017, 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 those materials. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notices from copies of the content.

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