Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

March 21, 2017

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ERISA Attorney
John Hancock Retirement Plan Services
in MA

TAG (Technical Answer Group) Editor
Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory
Telecommute

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Webcasts and Conferences

Helping Small Business Owners Save for Retirement
RECORDED
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor

Filling the Void in Guaranteed Retirement Income
March 28, 2017 WEBCAST
fi360

General Nondiscrimination Testing for DC Plans (401(a)(4))
April 18, 2017 WEBCAST
FIS Relius Education

What's New with 403(b) Plans?
April 20, 2017 WEBCAST
ASC

Executive Compensation
April 20, 2017 in FL
ASPPA Benefits Council [ABC] of Central Florida

Form 5500 Reporting Update
April 26, 2017 WEBCAST
Lorman Education Services

Retiree Medical Valuations for Pension Actuaries
August 16, 2017 WEBCAST
ASPPA College of Pension Actuaries [ACOPA]

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[Guidance Overview]

Welfare Plan Compliance Under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (PDF)
"GINA was enacted to protect individuals against discrimination in health insurance coverage and employment based on their genetic information. This note describes key definitions and concepts under GINA, provides a detailed look at the prohibitions on the collection and use of genetic information and other rules in the context of group health plans, and reviews the application of GINA to wellness programs and health risk assessments."
Dechert LLP

[Advert.]

Only 8 days left until $250.00 PreShow Savings expire

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[Guidance Overview]

IRS Provides E-File Instructions for ACA Information Reports on Form 8963
"If you are a Health Insurance Provider that files information report Form 8963, Report of Health Insurance Provider Information, [the IRS encourages] you to file electronically.... Use this three step process to e-file ACA information reports: [1] Registration; [2] e-file Application; [3] Form Submission."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

[Guidance Overview]

New York State Proposes Regs on New Paid Family Leave Law
"The proposed regulations clarify that both full-time and part-time employees are eligible for paid family leave benefits.... [E]mployees may be eligible for New York paid family leave benefits even if they are not eligible for leave under the federal [FMLA]. Part-time employees are entitled to only a pro-rated percentage of the maximum paid family leave benefit available for full-time employees."
Littler

Including Employee's FMLA Request as Reason to Fire Her Was Direct Evidence Warranting Trial
"A supervisor's remark that one of the 'several reasons' supporting an employee's termination was that she 'submit[ted] a request for medical leave' constituted direct evidence of FMLA retaliation, as it did more than merely suggest a discriminatory motive but rather was a 'blatant remark.' ... [A] federal court ... ruled that the remark itself precluded summary judgment in the employer's favor ... since the employee's estate only needed to show that retaliation was a 'motivating factor' and not the 'but for' cause of her termination[.]" [Stewart v. Wells Fargo Bank, No. 15-988 (N.D. Ala. Mar. 14, 2017)]
Wolters Kluwer

What Benefits Can Companies Offer Gig Workers?
"[B]usinesses should take care when including gig workers in company activities or programs.... [T]he question of determining whether workers are independent contractors or employees [is] 'very fact-intensive,' meaning that even if your contract makes clear the gig worker is an independent contractor and not an employee, every perk you offer them could affect the relationship's balance."
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]

[Advert.]

Online Learning Course: Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Sponsored by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

This course identifies coverage and eligibility requirements of employees and responsibilities of employers, and describes how to avoid common administration mistakes, implement best practices and be aware of interactions with other laws.


Employer Attitudes on Private Exchanges
"With 74% of employers not interested in using an exchange as a solution for delivering benefits to their active employees, it appears this once heavily touted option lacks any real forward momentum. In fact, less than one percent of respondents were currently using an exchange for active employees."
Chelko Center for Benefits Management

Health Plan Innovators Focus on Clinical Outcomes
"Consumer-centric innovations such as providing tools to engage members in their own care, enabling providers to better coordinate care, and collaborating with providers to improve members' clinical health outcomes, are gaining momentum. The idea of improved clinical outcomes, something long thought to have been in the purview of health systems and other providers, is now considered to a be a worthy and achievable health plan goal."
America's Health Insurance Plans [AHIP]

Would Proposed Law Require Genetic Testing for Employees?
"The House may soon vote on the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act, which its sponsors say would clarify conflicting rules for incentives paid to employees who participate in voluntary health screenings, some of which may be genetic health tests.... [O]pponents ... claim the measure would compel employees to undergo genetic testing, leaving them vulnerable to discrimination by their employers. A nonpartisan could be forgiven for wondering how both sides could be talking about the same legislation."
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]

House Republicans Announce Updates to Strengthen American Health Care Act
"To provide more immediate help, the amendment accelerates repealing the Obamacare taxes to 2017, rather than 2018.... Under current law, Americans can deduct from their taxes the cost of medical expenses that exceed 10 percent of their income. Our proposed amendment reduces this threshold to 5.8 percent of income.... This amendment would allow states to opt out of the per capita [Medicaid] allotment baseline and instead receive federal funds through a block grant.... [T]he amendment would prevent new states from opting in to Obamacare's Medicaid expansion."
Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives

GOP Recycles Controversial 2003 Bill To Boost Small-Business Insurance
"The bill would allow the establishment of nationwide 'association health plans' that could be offered by professional or trade groups, chambers of commerce and the like. Small businesses could buy coverage through these associations, in theory gaining strength in numbers to enhance their bargaining leverage with insurers, leading to cheaper, better coverage and lower administrative costs. The Small Business Health Fairness Act of 2017 is slated to head to the House floor this week."
Kaiser Health News

The Unfolding Medicaid Story: Congress, Governors, and the Trump Administration
"Over a half century, federal and state policymakers alike have turned to Medicaid because its flexible structure repeatedly has offered the ability to nimbly respond to social problems as they emerge ... Thus, how to change Medicaid's growth trajectory without weakening its unique and indispensable qualities represents perhaps the most significant of all U.S. health policy challenges. The rest of the nation's intensely market-driven system, as well as Medicare, rests on Medicaid's features and capabilities. The debate over Medicaid is now playing out on three fronts."
Health Affairs

House GOP Health Plan Would Accelerate Depletion of Medicare Trust Fund by Four Years
"The House bill to repeal the [ACA] would move up the Medicare's Hospital Insurance trust fund's depletion from 2028 to 2024. Repealing a payroll tax on high earners would advance the depletion date by three years ... Additional Medicare payments to hospitals that serve many uninsured payments would advance it one more year[.]"
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]

GASB Omnibus Statement Addresses Pension and OPEB Issues
"The issues covered by GASB Statement No. 85, Omnibus 2017, include: ...Timing of the measurement of pension and other postemployment benefits (OPEB) liabilities and related expenditures recognized in financial statements prepared using the current financial resources measurement focus ... Recognizing on-behalf payments for pensions or OPEB in employer financial statements ... Simplifying certain aspects of the alternative measurement method for OPEB."
Governmental Accounting Standards Board [GASB]

ERISA Attorney Fee Awards: What Are 'Reasonable Hours' for a Plaintiff's Attorney to Spend on a Summary Judgment Motion?
"The Court reduced the hourly rates and approved the following rates: lead attorney -- $300; associate attorney $175; paralegal $90 per hour.... For the summary judgment motion and related pleadings alone, Plaintiff's attorney billed a total of 163.2 combined hours ... 'The Court finds that this is excessive in light of what other district courts have found reasonable for litigating a case through summary judgment.' ... The Court allowed only 85 hours for the lead attorney's time spent on the summary judgment, and excluded time spent by the associate and paralegal as duplicative. " [Standish v. Federal Express Corp. LTD Plan and Aetna Life Ins. Co., No. 15-6226 (W.D.N.Y. Mar. 6, 2017)]
Lane Powell PC

Executive Compensation and Nonqualified Plans

[Discussion]

Text of IRS Rev. Proc. 2017-28: Credit or Refund of FICA or Railroad Retirement Tax -- Employee Consents (PDF)
16 pages. "The purpose of this revenue procedure is to provide guidance to employers on the requirements for employee consent used by an employer to support a claim for credit or refund of overpaid taxes under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) and the Railroad Retirement Tax Act (RRTA) ... This revenue procedure clarifies the basic requirements for both a request for employee consent and for the employee consent, including the requirement that an employee consent must include the basis for the claim for refund and be signed by the employee under penalties of perjury. In addition, this revenue procedure permits, but does not require, employee consent to be requested, furnished, and retained in an electronic format as an alternative to a paper format. It also contains guidance concerning what constitutes 'reasonable efforts' if employee consent is not secured in order to permit the employer to claim a refund of the employer share of overpaid FICA or RRTA taxes."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

Press Releases

National Employee Benefits Day is April 3, 2017
International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

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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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