Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

February 28, 2017

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[Guidance Overview]

IRS Extends Deadline for Providing Small-Employer QSEHRA Notices
"[C]onceding that many employers could find it hard to comply with this notification requirement in the absence of further guidance, Notice 2017-20 further extends this transition relief. The new notification deadline is 90 days after the IRS issues guidance on the notice's content. There is therefore still ample time for a small employer to adopt a QSEHRA for 2017."
Spencer Fane

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[Guidance Overview]

New York Proposes Regs on State Paid Family Leave Law
'[All] private employers with at least one employee will be required to provide paid family leave benefits to their employees by purchasing a paid family leave insurance policy or electing to self-insure. The premium for such policies will be fully funded through employee payroll deductions.... The proposed regulations clarify that employees who have been employed by a covered employer full-time for at least 26 weeks or part-time for at least 175 days at the time they apply for benefits will be eligible for these paid family leave benefits."
Ogletree Deakins

Does an ERISA Plan Administrator Breach Fiduciary Duties by Informing the Employer of Participant's Substance Abuse Problem?
"Can an ERISA plan administrator tell an employer about an employee's substance abuse? Doesn't that breach fiduciary duties to the employee/claimant? Probably not. Check the employer's employment policies because an ERISA plan administrator's '[c]ompliance with [an employer's drug/alcohol] policy cannot constitute breach of fiduciary duty.' " [Williams v. FedEx Corp. Services and Aetna Life Ins. Co., No. 16-4032 (10th Cir. Feb. 24, 2017)]
Lane Powell PC

Keeping Up with Changes to Employee Benefits Rules (PDF)
28 presentation slides. Topics: [1] Perspective on changes; [2] Republican plans and initiatives; [3] Recent developments; [4] The latest from Washington D.C.; and [5] What to watch for, going forward.
Assurex Global

From Machine-Readable Provider Directories, a Preview of a Revolution
"By enabling the aggregation of provider information and plan comparisons as never before, [standardized, machine-readable provider directories] permit researchers and regulators to advance what we know about health plan provider networks ... This advance in network information and transparency comes at an important time -- as policymakers consider new balances between regulatory requirements, product diversity, and consumer choice."
Health Affairs

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Healthcare Reform 2.0: How the Current Administration May Transform the Industry (PDF)
12 pages. "Hospitals, health plan issuers, and states are trying to understand the impact of the various repeal and replace scenarios under consideration by the Trump administration ... This paper explores the most prominent policies under consideration and the issues that stakeholder should be keyed in on as the legislative process develops."
Wakely Consulting Group

Insurance Market Stability: The High-Deductible Problem
"A number of solutions have been proposed to make inclusive risk pools healthier, including increasing the subsidies for young people or increasing the spread of the age-related rate banding. In addition to these approaches, there is a solution that would not require additional legislation or appropriations: fix 'the deductible problem' that erodes the value of insurance and drives healthier people of all ages away from purchasing insurance that they believe they are unlikely to use."
AcademyHealth

[Opinion]

Healthcare Reform Checklist: How to Protect the Health Benefits of 177 Million Americans
"Fully and permanently repeal the 40% 'Cadillac Tax' on employer-sponsored health coverage.... Maintain the current tax incentives for employer sponsorship of health care benefits.... Strengthen ERISA uniformity.... Support flexibility in health care plan design.... Emphasize measures to control health care costs while maintaining high quality care."
American Benefits Council

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

Text of FASB Accounting Standards Update 2017-06: Employee Benefit Plan Master Trust Reporting
"This Update relates primarily to the reporting by an employee benefit plan for its interest in a master trust.... The amendments in this Update clarify presentation requirements for a plan's interest in a master trust and require more detailed disclosures of the plan's interest in the master trust. The amendments also eliminate a redundancy relating to 401(h) account disclosures." [This update addresses Defined Benefit Pension Plans (Topic 960), Defined Contribution Pension Plans (Topic 962), and Health and Welfare Benefit Plans (Topic 965).]
Financial Accounting Standards Board [FASB]

[Guidance Overview]

FASB Updates Employee Benefit Plan Master Trust Presentation, Disclosure Requirements
"The new standard is designed to make disclosures more useful to users of financial statements. All plans will be required to disclose the dollar amount of their interest in each general type of investment. This will supplement the existing requirement to disclose the master trust's balances in each general type of investment."
Journal of Accountancy

Disability Plans Must Follow Claims Procedures Final Rule
"[T]he DOL is attempting to create a more comprehensive review of disability claims, clearly hoping to reduce the need for participants to resort to litigation and reduce difficulties participants experience with delayed claims processing ... A defined benefit pension plan may be affected by these regulations ... [T]he regulations will impact only those pension plans under which a plan fiduciary -- rather than the employer's long-term disability insurer -- makes an independent determination of a participant's disability."
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]

2016 in Review: ERISA Criminal Enforcement Rises, Civil Enforcement Falls
"In FY 2016, DOL, working in conjunction with the Department of Justice, closed 333 total criminal investigations, marking a 20% increase over FY 2015 and the second highest performance in the last decade. This trend continued the drastic increase in criminal investigations since the DOL's 2009 announcement that it would increase its efforts to enforce the criminal provisions applicable to ERISA plans."
Eversheds Sutherland

ERISA Advisory Council Report Addresses Benefit Plan Cybersecurity
"While a majority of the Report discusses the challenges of cybersecurity, current legal framework, and other background information, the Report also includes an appendix intended to serve as a resource for plan sponsors and service providers, so that they can establish and customize appropriate strategies on cybersecurity for benefit plans."
Morgan Lewis

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

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