Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

March 15, 2017

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March 29, 2017 WEBCAST
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April 26, 2017 in TX
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June 21, 2017 WEBCAST
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CBO Exchange Enrollment Projections Over Time
Graph shows CBO Obamacare exchange enrollment projections over time, compared to actual enrollment figures (through 2016) and future enrollment projections provided by The Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity.
Energy and Commerce Committee, U.S. House of Representatives

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Employee Denied FMLA Leave for Sick Grandparent Can Go to Jury
"The appeals court faulted MCU's notice of FMLA rights to Coutard, which stated that leave was not available to care for a grandparent. According to FMLA regulations, the employer must advise the employee that he or she need only provide sufficient information to show that the requested leave may be FMLA-qualifying. If such information is provided by the employee and the employer needs additional information, it is the employer's responsibility to request it. The court found that Coutard's notice of his situation was sufficient to inform MCU of his potential entitlement to FMLA leave." [Coutard v. Municipal Credit Union, No. 15-1113 (2d Cir. Feb. 9, 2017)]
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]

FMLA Liquidated Damages: Double the Trouble
"The employee won on his FMLA interference claim even though he had been selected for termination as part of a reduction-in-force before anyone -- including the employee -- knew that he would require surgery. The evidence showed that the employee was scheduled to be laid off in March as part of a reduction-in-force but when the employer learned in late January that he would need surgery, it accelerated the termination date to early February. The court affirmed the jury's verdict that the employer had wrongfully interfered with the employee's FMLA rights, noting that proof of unlawful intent is not required for an unlawful FMLA interference claim." [Crain v. Schlumberger Technology Co., No. 15-1777 (E.D. La. Feb. 23, 2017)]
Sun Life Financial, Inc. via Lexology

D.C. Universal Paid Family Leave Bill Submitted to Congress, But Changes Are Still Possible
"[T]he Paid Leave Compensation Act of 2017 (B22-130) would provide the same guarantees for time off but would lower the payroll tax from 0.62% to: [1] 0.20% for large employers, defined as employers 'with 50 or more employees or whose annual payroll equals $3.5 million or more'; and [2] 0.40% for small employers, defined as employers 'with between 5 and 49 employees and whose annual payroll equals less than $3.5 million.' Large employers would be required to administer the benefits on their own, while the D.C. government would run the program for small employers."
Proskauer's Law and the Workplace

The Economic Effects of Repealing and Replacing the ACA (PDF)
15 presentation slides. "Repealing ACA and replacing it with the House Plan would by 2027: [1] Increase real GDP by $426 billion, or 1.5%. [2] Increase private sector employment by 940,000, or 0.49%. [3] Increase personal income by $185 billion, or 0.76%. [4] Reduce federal revenue by $132 billion, or 2.51%."
The Beacon Hill Institute, for National Center for Policy Analysis [NCPA]

The Latest: The American Health Care Act
16 presentation slides outline provisions of the proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA) and other legislative and administrative proposals for ACA changes.
American Benefits Council

Early Perceptions of AHCA Show Public Thinks It Would Cover Fewer People and Raise Health Costs
"Fielded March 6-12 as Americans were first learning about the American Health Care Act [AHCA] and before the [CBO] estimated its effects, ... large shares of the public expect the House Republican health care plan would result in fewer people having health insurance and higher costs for people who buy their own health insurance. Republicans are generally more likely to expect positive results from the plan while Democrats and independents are more likely to foresee negative ones."
Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Employment and Benefits Law Developments of the First 100 Days, Part Two
"The ACA (aka Obamacare): ... What Would Stay The Same? ... What Might Change For Employer Plans? ... What Should Employers Do Now?"
Gray Plant Mooty

Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]

FASB Changes the Presentation of Pension Cost (PDF)
"On March 10, 2017, the FASB issued final guidance on the presentation of net periodic pension and postretirement benefit cost (net benefit cost).... The amendment requires the bifurcation of net benefit cost. The service cost component will be presented with other employee compensation costs in operating income (or capitalized in assets). The other components will be reported separately outside of operations, and will not be eligible for capitalization."
PricewaterhouseCoopers

[Guidance Overview]

ERISA Civil Penalties: Adjusted Amounts for 2017
"DOL's penalties as they relate to ERISA violations pursuant to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Annual Adjustments for 2017, which became effective on January 13, 2017."
Butterfield Schechter LLP

Executive Compensation and Nonqualified Plans

Stock Compensation Would Be Affected by the Repeal and Replacement of Obamacare
"The AHCA seeks to eliminate most of the taxes introduced by the ACA, including the net investment income tax on capital gains, dividends, and interest (also known as the 3.8% surtax) and the additional Medicare tax (0.9%) on wages.... While it is paid with a taxpayer's annual tax return rather than by income withholding, the ACA's 3.8% surtax on investment income also can be triggered by stock compensation."
myStockOptions.com

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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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