Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

March 16, 2017

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Withdrawal Liability: The Ticking Time Bomb of Participating in Multiemployer Pension Plans
April 13, 2017 WEBCAST
Jackson Lewis LLP

Hot Topics in Health and Welfare Plan Litigation
April 18, 2017 WEBCAST
ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits [JCEB]

Top QDRO Mistakes in Divorce
June 21, 2017 WEBCAST
National Business Institute

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The Caregiving Landscape: Challenges and Opportunities for Employers (PDF)
24 pages. "[T]oday more than one in six American workers is a caregiver, a number which will surely increase over time.... Employers face caregiving-related costs resulting from: Absenteeism.... Lost productivity.... Increased healthcare costs.... Recruiting and training new staff costs ... It's been estimated that all these factors combined equal a loss of almost $38 billion each year for employers."
Northeast Business Group on Health [NEBGH]

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Employer Association's Administrative Services Arrangement Is Not an ERISA Welfare Plan or a MEWA
"The program was developed by an association of large employers that sponsor self-insured benefit plans through administrative services only (ASO) agreements with insurance companies.... Noting that a program that has no employee participants and does not offer or provide benefits to employees or their dependents is not an ERISA welfare plan, the DOL concluded that this program is not an employee welfare benefit plan under ERISA Section 3(1) because it has employers rather than employees as participants.... The DOL also determined that the program is not a MEWA under ERISA Section 3(40) because it was not an arrangement established or maintained to provide welfare benefits to employees of two or more employers[.]"
Thomson Reuters / EBIA

IRS Information Letter Addresses Cafeteria Plan Forfeitures
"The letter responds to a question about whether unused funds in a cafeteria plan are paid to the U.S. Treasury when the employer ceases operations and the plan terminates ... [T]he disposition of unused funds when a cafeteria plan terminates depends on the plan document's provisions regarding plan termination and the facts and circumstances at the time.... [P]roposed regulations under Code Section 125 provide ... [that] forfeitures may be used to defray plan expenses, allocated among participants on a reasonable and uniform basis (but not based on claims experience), or retained by the employer."
Thomson Reuters / EBIA

Five Reasons Why Private Exchanges Will Thrive Post-ACA
"[1] With a private exchange, ... [y]ou choose the amount you want to contribute ... [2] A multi-carrier private exchange gives employees access to multiple health plans, so they can select the option that makes the most sense to them.... [3] Private exchanges offer tools to help employees find out which health care providers and prescription drug benefits are associated with each available plan.... [4] Simple administration ... [5] Easy renewal."
Healthcare Trends Institute

Participation Pay-For-Value High-Need Patients
"[R]esearchers identified 17,443 Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan members with two or more chronic diseases, including mental health problems. They compared outcomes for members assigned to a [primary care provider (PCP)] that participated in the insurer's pay-for-performance program for at least four years to outcomes for members assigned to PCPs not in the program. Results were inconsistent.... Sustained involvement by PCPs in pay-for-value programs may be important to improving specific quality and cost outcomes for high-need patients. But PCPs do not have control over overall spending and broader approaches may be needed to improve costs for complex patients."
The Commonwealth Fund

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Ensuring Compliance with Network Adequacy Standards: Lessons from Four States
15 pages. "Quantitative standards and related metrics help regulators evaluate network adequacy, but regulators need flexibility in applying those standards. A combination of standardized forms and narrative submissions help regulators analyze network adequacy. States vary in the extent to which regulators require insurers to change or supplement proposed networks. States vary in their transparency about insurer network submissions and regulators' review of those submissions. Challenges remain in assessing and monitoring network adequacy."
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Improvements in Access and Quality Nationwide Following ACA's Major Coverage Expansions
"The uninsured rate among low-income working-age adults dropped an average of 14.1 percentage points in states that expanded Medicaid, compared to 8.9 points in nonexpansion states. The percentage of low-income adults who said they went without care because of its cost dropped an average of 5.5 points in expansion states compared to 2.3 points in nonexpansion states.... Some Medicaid expansion states saw gains beyond coverage."
The Commonwealth Fund

[Opinion]

America's Employers Play a Vital Role in the 'Repeal and Replace' Debate
"Employers are uniquely positioned to help control healthcare spending and promote positive health outcomes. They have long provided the tools employees need to become fiscally responsible insurance consumers, and they are a trusted source of health information and resources. That is why policymakers should view this health reform 'reboot' as an opportunity to partner with American businesses to address the underlying causes of healthcare cost growth.... [L]egislators should reject policies that merely shift costs to private payers or vulnerable consumers. They should push for new policies and regulations that encourage responsible consumer health spending, transparency in healthcare pricing, and use of value-based models."
The Hill

[Opinion]

What the CBO Gets Wrong About the House GOP's Obamacare Repeal Bill
"CBO's new estimate neglects the behavioral effects that would result from the Republican plan. By dismantling Obamacare, insurance companies would be able to offer a wider variety of plans and people would be more enthusiastic about buying them. CBO states that average premiums would decline after 2020, and this would lead to more enrollment."
Manhattan Institute for Policy Research

[Opinion]

Sensible Medicare and Federal Employees Health Benefits Reform for All Annuitants
"The Postal Service Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 756) would force postal annuitants to buy Medicare insurance they neither need nor want. The Postal Service does need to address a serious retiree health care prefunding obligation imposed by Congress over a decade ago. But the problem can be resolved without forcing seniors to purchase insurance they do not need or want."
The Heritage Foundation

Executive Compensation and Nonqualified Plans

Stock Utilization in U.S. Companies Continues to Decline with the Increased Use of Full-Value Awards
"As U.S. companies continue a decade-long shift away from granting employees stock options toward issuing more full-value (time- or performance-lapsing) shares as part of their long-term incentive (LTI) programs, the number of shares required to deliver the same value to LTI plan participants has declined. At the same time, shareholders have increasingly monitored stock incentive usage at the companies in their portfolios and have taken action in limited cases where share usage exceeds norms via negative votes on LTI plan proposals. As a result, stock usage is at its lowest point in years as companies face continuing pressure to operate their LTI plans within market norms."
Willis Towers Watson

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David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher  davebaker@benefitslink.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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