Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

March 20, 2017

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Morgan Stanley
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PAi
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Webcasts and Conferences

Annual Legal & Regulatory Update
March 23, 2017 in OH
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Cleveland Chapter

DOL Fiduciary Rule: What’s Next?
March 23, 2017 in DC
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Washington Metropolitan Chapter

Choosing Voluntary Benefits that Drive Engagement and Support Your Overall Benefit Strategy
March 23, 2017 in IL
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Chicago West Chapter

Getting It Right - Know Your Fiduciary Responsibilities
April 20, 2017 in MD
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor

New Parental Leave Laws in Washington
April 25, 2017 WEBCAST
Lorman Education Services

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Ask Your Doctor If It's Right for You: Prescription Drug Costs -- and TV Ads -- on the Rise
"[Pharmaceutical advertising] exceeded $6 billion last year, with television picking up the lion's share ... [T]he ads inevitably promote high-priced drugs, some of which doctors say have limited practical utility for the average patient-viewer.... Critics say the ads encourage patients to ask their doctors for expensive, often marginal -- and sometimes inappropriate -- drugs that are fueling spiraling health care spending."
Kaiser Health News

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As Opioid Epidemic Rages, Worksite Policies Overlook Prescribed Drugs
"Seventy-one percent of U.S. employers say they have been affected in some way by employee misuse of legally prescribed medications, including opioids ... 19 percent of employers feel 'extremely prepared' to deal with prescription drug misuse in the workplace. 81 percent lack a comprehensive drug-free workplace policy. 41 percent of those that drug test employees are not testing for synthetic opioids."
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]

Is It Time to Refresh Your Voluntary Benefits?
"Employers can analyze the employee population by conducting an employee census, or other type of workforce evaluation to help determine the group make up. Retirement preparation may be important for the 'baby boomers', technological enhancements and remote access may be more of a priority for Millennials, and supplemental medical benefits more critical for Generation Xers -- all needs which can be incorporated into a voluntary benefits offering."
Strategic Benefit Services

Employer-Backed Insurance Could Take a Huge Hit from GOP Healthcare Plan
"With tax credits for workers earning up to $215,000, the Republicans' health care plan would push the incentives for companies not to offer benefits further up the income spectrum ... If a wider pool of employees opts to take the tax credit and enter the individual market, companies would have a tougher time negotiating with insurers for coverage that is both affordable and comprehensive, with less-attractive offerings leading even more workers to forgo the benefit."
NBC News

How Will the Proposed AHCA Be Different from the ACA for Employers?
"The AHCA would eliminate penalties imposed on employers with at least 50 full-time equivalent employees when one or more of their full-time employees obtains a premium tax credit through a health insurance exchange. The elimination would be retroactive to 2016.... The AHCA would delay implementation of the ACA's so-called Cadillac Tax ... The AHCA would repeal the ACA's maximum contribution of $2,500 to a health FSA that is part of a cafeteria plan as soon as tax year 2017. The AHCA also would repeal the tax on over-the-counter-medication without a prescription, allowing cafeteria plan participants to purchase over-the-counter medication with health FSA funds."
Bloomberg BNA

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HHS Launches Web Page Highlighting Administrative Actions to Empower Patients
"New measures will be announced as soon as is allowable by law. In particular, future actions will: [1] Lower costs and increase choices by providing relief from the burdensome regulations and fostering competition in insurance markets; [2] Work to ensure a stable transition period; [3] Offer states greater flexibility of their Medicaid programs to meet the needs of their most vulnerable populations; and [4] Increase the opportunities for patients to get the care they need when they need it."
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]

Prominent Health Lawyers Offer Help for Obamacare Reform
"The most recent group to weigh in calls itself Health Lawyers for Responsible Reform, and consists of 10 of the last 17 attorneys to chair the American Bar Association's Health Law Section.... Although the group advocated against a blanket repeal of the ACA, it didn't go so far as to oppose any effort to reform the health-care law. Instead the members provided 16 principles that they believe should guide any future legislative efforts beyond the current Republican plan being debated in Congress."
Bloomberg BNA

Republicans Focusing on Health Bill Changes as Leaders Seek Support
"Major changes include making tax credits to help people afford insurance [that's] more generous for low-income people or adults between ages 50 and 64, adding some sort of Medicaid work requirements and adding a block grant option for Medicaid funding."
Morning Consult

Happy Anniversary ACA!
"This Thursday, March 23, marks the seventh anniversary of the passage of the [ACA]. It also marks the date the House will vote on its partial replacement, the American Health Care Act [AHCA].... Amidst the clamor of the current debate ... it's useful to harken back to the circumstances under which the ACA passed and reflect on what might be learned."
Paul Keckley

[Opinion]

High-Risk Pools Do Not Serve Consumers Well (PDF)
"Current proposals to subsidize high-risk pools fall far short.... [O]ne recent health reform bill would establish state high-risk pools and allocate $3 billion over three years to fund them. Another recent proposal offered $25 billion over 10 years to fund them.... [It] would cost at least $178 billion a year to adequately fund high-risk pools today[.]"
AARP

Benefits in General

Why You Should Share Total Compensation Statements with Your Employees
"Most comp statements will at minimum provide information on the employee's cash compensation and a monetary value for non-cash benefits.... [S]hare compensation reports when it is relevant to the employee: Upon hire, after an increase in pay, or after a promotion."
PayScale

Please Pass the Matches: The Unfortunate Truth About Your SPDs
"Litigation has changed the original focus of the SPD from being a clear and concise summary of benefits to being an extensive and legalistic enumeration of a plan's provisions. Instead of plain, easy-to-understand English, the typical SPD is crammed with detailed minutia about the plan, which is generally written in the finest 'legalese.' ... [P]lan sponsors should consider communication and design techniques that will make the SPD a better reference tool by making it: [1] Easy to navigate; [2] Easy to understand; [3] Easy to access."
Findley Davies | BPS&M

Press Releases

NAPA Welcomes Paul D’Aiutolo as President
National Association of Plan Advisors [NAPA]

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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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